Ranking every Ole Miss quarterback in the 21st century
The revolving door of leadership at Ole Miss has certainly seen its fair share of quarterbacks come through the turnstile.
Including new head man Lane Kiffin, the Rebels have had 6 coaches — that’s 6 different styles and offensive philosophies — since the turn of the century. They’ve also had a handful of electric signal callers, from legendary Eli to a guy who shared the same name as a Scottish folk hero but simply went by “Bo.”
Interestingly, the carousel includes plenty of transfers. We ranked every Ole Miss QB to attempt 100 or more passes since 2000, and 7 of them started their careers outside of Oxford.
17. Zack Stoudt, 2011
Stoudt spent 1 season at Mississippi, starting 4 games and completing 58-of-120 passes for 559 yards, 2 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. The son of former pro quarterback Cliff Stoudt then retired from football citing “health-related issues.”
16. Brent Schaeffer, 2006-07
It was a winding road to Mississippi for Schaeffer. The 4-star recruit from Deerfield Beach, Fla., began his career at Tennessee, transferred to College of the Sequoias and barely became qualified in time to start all 12 games his junior season for the Rebels. He finished with 14 career TDs and 14 INTs for Ed Orgeron’s squads.
15. Barry Brunetti, 2011-13
Another transfer, and another casualty of the Houston Nutt/Hugh Freeze era that saw 33 victories from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016 erased from the record books. Brunetti came to Mississippi after a year at West Virginia and rushed for more yards (701) than he threw for (634).
14. Seth Adams, 2006-07
Adams backed up Schaeffer in 2006, then beat him out for the starting job a year later. Originally a walk-on, Adams tallied 2,156 yards passing during his career at Ole Miss. He finished with 12 career TDs and 16 INTs.
13. Randall Mackey, 2011-12
Mackey is remembered more for his senior season at running back/wide receiver. But before he torched SEC defenses from those positions, he came to Oxford as a reluctant signal-caller, completing 49.7% of his passes and throwing for 8 touchdowns.
12. Micheal Spurlock, 2003-05
The man who took over for Eli Manning displayed his athleticism on multiple fronts. As a senior in 2005, Spurlock started 7 games at quarterback and 1 at running back, throwing for over 1,700 yards and rushing for a pair of scores. Spurlock went on to a long career as a journeyman NFL receiver and is a personnel analyst on Kiffin’s staff today.
11. Ethan Flatt, 2003-05
Google Flatt’s name these days and the first autocomplete result includes the word “attorney.” That’s because the former backup to Manning passed on his senior year of eligibility to focus on getting into law school. Flatt started 9 games in 2004, his sophomore season, and threw for over 2,000 yards for his career. Today, he works as a lawyer in his hometown of Nashville.
10. John Rhys Plumlee, 2019-?
The jury is still out on Mr. Plumlee, who ran for over 1,000 yards as a true freshman and accounted for 16 touchdowns (12 rushing/4 passing) in 2019. Plumlee led the SEC in rushing yards per game (113.67) but completed just 52.7% of his passes. It’ll be intriguing to see how the Hattiesburg native’s competition with Matt Corral shakes out in the coming weeks.
9. Matt Corral, 2018-?
The latest reports say Corral has the lead to start over Plumlee this season. Corral started 4 games last season and passed for 1,362 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is the better passer of the 2 but can’t match Plumlee’s electric running ability.
8. Jeremiah Masoli, 2010
It’s sometimes easy to forget the former Oregon quarterback finished his career at Ole Miss. The Rebels went 4-8 in 2010, and all 4 of those victories were later vacated due to eligibility violations. But Masoli was a bright spot, throwing for 2,039 yards and rushing for 544. He added 14 TD passes against 13 INTs.
7. Jevan Snead, 2008-09
The transfer from Texas played for some of the best Rebels teams since 2000, leading them to 8-4 and 9-4 finishes and accumulating more than 5,300 yards passing with 46 TD passes in red and navy blue. Tragically, Snead died last September.
6. Romaro Miller, 2000
The bulk of Miller’s career spanned the end of the 20th century, but we’re including him anyway. The three-year starter is often overshadowed by his successor Manning, but 6,500 yards passing and 45 career touchdowns is nothing to sneeze at.
5. Shea Patterson, 2016-17
Ole Miss lost a good one when Patterson transferred to Michigan following an injury-shortened sophomore season. In 2 seasons with the Rebels, the current rookie NFL free agent had a 141.2 passer rating and completed almost 61 percent of his throws. He certainly was fun to watch, throwing 23 TD passes in just 10 games. He set Ole Miss’ single-game record for passing yards with 489 vs. Tennessee-Martin in 2017.
4. Jordan Ta’amu, 2017-18
Ta’amu took over for Patterson with 5 games left in the 2017 season and finished his career with 5,600 yards passing and 507 on the ground. He also threw 30 TD passes. His 156.8 passer rating is tops among Ole Miss QBs since 2000. Of course, Ta’amu started his career elsewhere, spending 2 seasons at the New Mexico Military Institute.
3. Bo Wallace, 2012-14
William Robert Wallace Jr., better known as “Dr. Bo,” started for 3 seasons after beginning his career with Hugh Freeze at Arkansas State. He redshirted, then transferred to East Mississippi Community College of “Last Chance U” fame and set records. Wallace reunited with Freeze at Ole Miss and passed for 9,534 yards and 62 touchdowns as a Rebel. He recorded the 5th, 6th and 7th-highest single seasons for passing yards and is 2nd in program history on the career list.
2. Chad Kelly, 2015-16
Kelly’s story undulates between controversy and comeback, from his dismissal from Clemson to his redemption at East Mississippi to his stalwart career at Ole Miss to the Rebels’ NCAA violations to becoming the 2017 NFL Draft’s “Mr. Irrelevant.” In between, he completed 64% of his passes for 6,800 yards, 50 touchdowns and a 152.3 passer rating from 2015-16 in Oxford. In 2015, he broke Eli Manning’s single-season record with 4,042 yards and tied Manning’s program record with 31 TD passes. Kelly gets an extremely slight nod over Wallace for No. 2 only because of the 2015 success, capped with a Sugar Bowl victory and No. 10 ranking.
1. Eli Manning, 2000-03
Especially with him announcing his retirement in January, Manning’s collegiate career seems like eons ago. So here’s a reminder: Three years as the starter, program-record 10,1119 passing yards (9th on the SEC career list all-time), program-record 81 touchdown passes (8th in the SEC all-time) and 45 single-game, season or career records at Ole Miss.