Here’s a tidbit fresh from the You don’t see that in the SEC every day department: The SEC only has six starting quarterbacks cemented as their team’s starter come Week 1 this fall: Arkansas’ Brandon Allen, Auburn’s Jeremy Johnson, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, Missouri’s Maty Mauk, Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs and Texas A&M’s Kyle Allen.

One of those quarterbacks has only a half-season of starting experience to his name (Allen); another has only one career start under his belt (Johnson). Only three of the six have made 10 or more career starts, and other than Mauk — a starter on back-to-back division title teams — and Prescott — the reigning first-team All-SEC quarterback — there aren’t many threatening signal callers returning to the nation’s most threatening conference.

So while more than half the conference continues evaluating their respective quarterback competitions, we ranked those competitions in order of significance to the SEC as a whole. To clarify, each of these competitions is significant to the team in question, but we are trying to determine which of these may shape the entire landscape of the conference in the coming year(s).

With that in mind, let’s begin with a competition few SEC fans have been monitoring since the end of last season:


Competitors: Johnny McCrary, Wade Freebeck, Kyle Shurmur

Outlook: The Commodores gave four different quarterbacks at least one start a year ago, and as a result none of the four was ever able to gain any traction with the first-team offense. The race for the starting job opened up upon Patton Robinette’s retirement from playing, and while Johnny McCrary would seem to be the frontrunner, Freebeck is another rising sophomore with starting experience in the SEC. Four-star prospect Kyle Shurmur was the team’s highest-rated quarterback signee ever, and he is slated to arrive this summer. Nevertheless, whoever the Commodores choose won’t make huge waves through the SEC, as the ‘Dores trail the rest of the league in terms of talent by a significant margin.


Competitors: Connor Mitch, Michael Scarnecchia, Perry Orth

Outlook: All three signal callers listed above saw significant time during South Carolina’s spring game earlier this month, and all three posted similar numbers throughout that game. Mitch is seen as the frontrunner, but even if that is the case no coach in the SEC has had a shorter leash for his starters throughout his tenure than Steve Spurrier, meaning no lead in this race is safe when the season is still this far away. That’s why this competition ranks so low despite impacting a team that only two years ago was one of the East’s biggest powers.


Competitors: Patrick Towles, Drew Barker

Outlook: Kentucky only has two healthy scholarship quarterbacks on its roster, and it is giving both a good look between now and the start of the season. Towles started all 12 games last season, but lost six in a row to close the year one win shy of bowl eligibility. Barker redshirted, and he’s never taken a snap at the college level. Still, both are strong, savvy pocket passers with similar skill sets. Mark Stoops and Kentucky need to get over the six-win hump in a big way this fall, making the decision regarding the starting quarterback a major one despite Kentucky’s lack of history threatening in the SEC East.


Competitors: Treon Harris, Will Grier

Outlook: Harris started the back-half of last season after recent transfer Jeff Driskel was benched, but he looked overwhelmed then and hasn’t looked much better this spring. Redshirt freshman Will Grier hasn’t looked much better, but he can at least claim a lack of experience as a reason. Either way, it’s unclear if Jim McElwain’s quarterback of the future is on Florida’s current roster, which one would think would diminish the importance of this position battle. Instead, it intensifies it, as whoever McElwain chooses will be granted a chance to impress in addition to being tasked with laying the foundation for the program McElwain hopes to build in the Swamp.


Competitors: Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta, Jacob Park

Outlook: Ramsey filled in for Hutson Mason in the second half of last year’s Belk Bowl, leading Georgia to victory over the ranked Louisville Cardinals to close the season. He would appear to be the leader in the clubhouse to assume the starting job again this fall, but Faton Bauta received plenty of work this spring, especially in the spring game earlier this month. Georgia has supreme talent at virtually every other position, and many consider the Dawgs the East’s best chance at a conference title in 2015, but if it cannot find a serviceable quarterback those dreams may go flying out the window.


Competitors: Jacob Coker, Alex Morris, David Cornwell, Blake Barnett

Outlook: Coker transferred to Alabama last season in an effort to get out from behind Jameis Winston on the Florida State depth chart and into a starting role on another contender. Unfortunately, he couldn’t learn Lane Kiffin’s playbook fast enough, and he sat behind Blake Sims, a converted defensive back who had a marvelous 2014 season under center. Now Coker is again expected to assume the starting job as a fifth-year senior competing with a handful of relative kids. However, he has only a slight edge over the field in terms of experience, and the fact that he hasn’t seized the job through the end of spring is cause for at least some concern. Morris saw time with the first-team offense during the spring game, and Barnett, a freshman and high school All-American, has made some noise this spring as well as an early enrollee. The competition remains wide open, and like last season it could make or break the Tide this fall.


Competitors: Chad Kelly, Ryan Buchanan, Devante Kincade

Outlook: Ole Miss is the Georgia of the SEC West in this regard: It has talent at every other position to truly contend for an SEC title, but it must find a quarterback to bring it all together. The Rebels have no time to waste, as most of this year’s core hails from their historic 2013 recruiting class, and many of those talents will depart for the NFL after this season. Chad Kelly would appear to be the most game-ready after starring in junior college a year ago. Ryan Buchanan and Devante Kincade are both redshirt sophomores who have not impressed in limited playing time during their careers. Buchanan was seen as the leader of the pack entering the spring game, but he was only 5-of-16 in that game with a pick. Kincade was the most accurate that day, and with his ability to run as well as he throws he may be a player receiving more consideration leading into training camp.

1. LSU

Competitors: Anthony Jennings, Brandon Harris

Outlook: LSU has been having the same quarterback competition for two seasons now, and still Les Miles and Cam Cameron have not seen enough to make a determination. That’s not the fault of the coaches, it’s the fault of the players for failing to rise to the occasion and seize a golden opportunity in Baton Rouge. LSU doesn’t have much longer to fiddle around with its quarterbacks before finally settling on one, and considering Anthony Jennings is a junior and Brandon Harris is a sophomore, that choice will have long-term ramifications spanning well beyond this season. The Tigers have a national championship-caliber roster and they’ll be in the running for an SEC crown for at least the next two years if they choose the right quarterback. If they don’t it could mean disaster for Miles and company, which is why this battle between Jennings and Harris ranks first on our list.