10 biggest SEC QB busts in past decade
Take one look at Georgia’s recruiting misses over the past few years and it becomes painfully clear why the Bulldogs find themselves in their current quarterback predicament.
Former coach Mark Richt and his staff missed badly on their quarterback choices from the high school Classes of 2013 and 2014 and opted against signing another from the Class of 2015. Those mistakes opened the door for the issues the Dawgs had on the field this fall that paved the way to Richt’s dismissal.
But Georgia is hardly alone … and the issue extends much longer.
Here’s a look at 10 of the SEC’s biggest quarterback busts in the past decade.
1. Christian LeMay (Georgia): LeMay arrived in Athens with great fanfare as a four-star recruit who was tabbed as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback of the Class of 2013. He enrolled in school early amidst the gaudy expectations that he would be Georgia’s quarterback of the future. Unable to climb the depth chart, LeMay attempted just two passes in his three years in the program before transferring to FCS Jacksonville State, where he spent his final two years of eligibility as a backup.
2. Kyler Murray (Texas A&M): The son of former Aggies quarterback Kevin Murray was a coveted five-star prospect who rated as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback of the Class of 2015. The younger Murray grew impatient with sitting behind sophomore Kyle Allen, but finally got his chance and played brilliantly early on this season. He later struggled, opening the door for Allen to retake the starting job by the season’s end. Murray has announced his plans to transfer.
3. Kyle Allen (Texas A&M): Allen, the crown jewel of the Class of 2014 after being ranked the nation’s top-ranked pro-style quarterback, started the final five games of his freshman year, but played very poorly early on this season to allow Murray into the mix. Allen never seemed comfortable with the knowledge that most Aggies fans were hoping to see a fellow Texan in Murray win the job outright. Allen had regained the starting job by the end of this season, but had grown tired of what he felt to be broken promises from coach Kevin Sumlin and announced his plans to transfer.
4. Zeke Pike (Auburn): A four-star prospect who ranked as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback of the Class of 2012, Pike arrived on The Plains with great expectations. His career, however, quickly went south following a string of brushes with the law. Pike soon left Auburn and later attended both Louisville and Murray State, only for trouble to follow him at all three stops. He’s currently out of football.
5. John Brantley (Florida): The former five-star recruit made the egregious mistake of following the illustrious career of Florida legend Tim Tebow. Brantley guided the Gators through two unremarkable years in 2010 and 2011, but the former 2006 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year never blossomed into the star many thought he’d be. He went undrafted and never played in the NFL.
6. Brice Ramsey (Georgia): He arrived in Athens as a four-star prospect who ranked as the nation’s sixth-best pro-style quarterback. It spoke volumes about Ramsey that Virginia graduate transfer Greyson Lambert literally walked in off the street this past summer to a new team and an entirely unfamiliar offense and was still regarded higher than Ramsey – who had been in the program for three years – and given the starting job. Ramsey has proven himself a far better punter than quarterback.
7. Jeff Driskel (Florida): The former five-star and dual-threat prospect was supposed to be another Tim Tebow, but his career in Gainesville quickly flamed out after a strong start. A broken leg ended his season just three games into 2013, while turnovers and poor decisions later led to his benching in 2014 in favor of freshman Treon Harris. Driskel transferred to Louisiana Tech following the 2014 season and completed his fifth year of eligibility. He will likely hear his name called in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft.
8. Russell Shepard (LSU): Shepard was considered the top dual-threat quarterback of the high school class of 2009 by both Rivals.com and Scout.com before being converted to wide receiver upon arriving at LSU. The former five-star recruit wound up primarily playing running back and receiver, but also quarterbacked the Tigers scout teams during his tenure in Baton Rouge. He made just 14 career starts at receiver in his four years, but never completed a college pass. He’s currently playing wide receiver for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
9. Jacob Park (Georgia): Was Georgia’s only signee from the Class of 2014 and was thought to have a lot of promise because of his lofty four-star ranking and No. 5 pro-style quarterback rating. He never panned out and transferred last summer.
10. Jeremy Johnson (Auburn): Johnson, who is the only active player on this list, arrived with great fanfare as part of the Class of 2013 after a legendary high school career. The former four-star dual-threat prospect started one game apiece in place Nick Marshall in both 2013 and 2014 and stardom was supposedly to follow in 2015. The season was instead a disaster that saw Johnson ultimately get benched before an injury to redshirt freshman Sean White helped get him back on the field. He finished the 2015 season with nine touchdowns to seven interceptions as Auburn limped to a disappointing 6-6 record.