Record-breakers: Which QBs threw for the most yards at each SEC program?
The SEC is in a golden age for quarterback play.
Throwing for 3,000 yards no longer is impressive. The league’s best QBs now regularly chase 4,000.
In the past 6 seasons, 4 SEC QBs topped 4,000 yards and 3 others topped 3,900. Last year, against almost entirely SEC defenses, Kyle Trask and Mac Jones both exceeded 4,000 yards. That’s remarkable on any level, but especially in this context: After Tim Couch became the first SEC QB to top 4,000 yards in 1998, we had to wait until 2013 (Johnny Manziel) for it to happen again.
SEC records are being rewritten almost annually. As such, here’s a refresher on each SEC team’s record-holder for most passing yards in a season:
Alabama: Mac Jones
Tua Tagovailoa flirted with 4,000 yards in 2018, but Mac Jones became the first Tide QB to reach the mark. Jones passed for 4,500 yards in 2020 — not only a Bama record but also the 2nd-highest total in SEC history.
Arkansas: Ryan Mallett
Mallett set the school mark in 2009 and then exceeded that total in 2010, when he threw for 3,869 yards. At the time, that was the 4th-most passing yards in league history. Mallett has since dropped into the teens on that list.
Auburn: Dameyune Craig
Craig set the program record by throwing for 3,277 yards in 1997. Only 1 SEC team’s active passing yards record has lasted longer.
Florida: Kyle Trask
The Gators have had 3 QBs win a Heisman but nobody had thrown for 4,000 yards.
That changed in 2020, when Kyle Trask threw for 4,283, the 3rd-highest total in SEC history.
Georgia: Aaron Murray
Murray, who set the SEC’s career passing mark with 13,166 yards, broke Eric Zeier’s single-season school mark when he threw for 3,893 in 2012.
That number is in jeopardy this season as JT Daniels assumes control of what should be one of the top offenses in America. Daniels averaged almost 307.8 yards per game in 4 starts last season. Projected over 13 games, that’s 4,000 yards. If Georgia has a dream season and gets to play 15, odds are great that Daniels had a Heisman-type season.
Kentucky: Tim Couch
In 1998, Couch became the first SEC QB to reach 4,000. His total — 4,275 — became a magic number that stood for 21 years until Joe Burrow broke it in 2019.
LSU: Joe Burrow
Entering 2019, no LSU QB had thrown for more than 3,347 yards.
Joe Burrow passed Rohan Davey’s mark midway through the 10th game that season.
Burrow broke Couch’s SEC record in the 12th game and finished the perfect season with 5,671 yards. That’s a magic number that might never be broken.
Mississippi State: Dak Prescott
In 2014, Prescott became the first MSU QB to reach 3,000 yards.
In 2015, he broke that record by throwing for 3,793 yards.
His legacy is forever secure, but that record soon may fall. Most years, Mike Leach’s QBs throw for 4,000+ yards.
Missouri: Chase Daniel
Drew Lock threw for 3,964 yards in 2017, a program-high since the Tigers joined the SEC. But Lock ranks No. 3 on the Tigers’ all-time single-season list.
Daniel is the only Tiger to top 4,000 yards — and he did so twice, in back-to-back years. After throwing for 4,306 yards in 2007, he broke that record with 4,335 yards in 2008.
Ole Miss: Chad Kelly
Oh, man, what fun Lane Kiffin would have had drawing up plays for Kelly.
Kelly broke Eli Manning’s single-season Rebels record when he threw for 4,042 yards in 2015. In doing so, Kelly became the 3rd SEC QB to reach 4,000 yards.
South Carolina: Dylan Thompson
Thompson led the SEC in passing yards in 2014, throwing for a program-best 3,574.
Tennessee: Peyton Manning
Manning never reached the 4,000-yard mark, but he still holds the Vols’ record with 3,819 yards in 1997. That broke the record he set as a junior, when he became the first Vols QB to reach 3,000. Only 2 Vols have reached 3,000 since Manning left: Erik Ainge (3,522) in 2007 and Tyler Bray (3,612) in 2012.
Texas A&M: Johnny Manziel
A year after leaning on his legs to win the 2012 Heisman Trophy, Manziel became the first Aggies QB to top 4,000 yards passing. He finished the 2013 season with 4,114 yards. At the time, he was just the 2nd SEC QB to reach 4,000 yards.
Vanderbilt: Kurt Page
Who? It wasn’t Jay Cutler?
Nope, though Cutler came close when he threw for 3,073 yards as a senior in 2005.
Page threw for 3,178 yards in 1983, but that’s not even his most notable number from that season. He also threw 29 interceptions — sharing an SEC single-season record.