Can true freshman Jacob Eason lead Georgia to an SEC championship in 2016?

History says no.

The past 13 SEC champions have been led by junior or senior quarterbacks.

The SEC started divisional play in 1992, and since then, seniors won 10 of the 24 championships. Junior quarterbacks captured nine titles and sophomores celebrated in the confetti four times — none since Georgia’s David Greene in 2002.

Just one freshman — redshirt freshman Rex Grossman in 2000 — won the trophy.

That doesn’t bode well for Eason … or Alabama’s Jalen Hurts … or South Carolina’s Brandon McIlwain … or any other true freshman hoping to win the starting job and then a conference title.

Not all upper classmen are created equal, of course. Some are new arrivals, like Cam Newton and Nick Marshall. Others are new starters, like Jacob Coker.

But their age, experience and maturity give them a natural head start on the 18-year-old hopefuls.

Here’s a year-by-year look:

YearSEC champQBClass
2015AlabamaJacob CokerSenior
2014AlabamaBlake SimsSenior
2013AuburnNick MarshallJunior
2012AlabamaA.J. McCarronJunior
2011LSUJordan JeffersonSenior
2010AuburnCam NewtonJunior
2009AlabamaGreg McElroyJunior
2008FloridaTim TebowJunior
2007LSUMatt FlynnSenior
2006FloridaChris LeakSenior
2005GeorgiaD.J. ShockleySenior
2004AuburnJason CampbellSenior
2003LSUMatt MauckJunior
2002GeorgiaDavid GreeneSophomore
2001LSURohan DaveySenior
2000FloridaRex GrossmanRS Freshman
1999AlabamaAndrew ZowSophomore
1998TennesseeTee MartinJunior
1997TennesseePeyton ManningSenior
1996FloridaDanny WuerffelSenior
1995FloridaDanny WuerffelJunior
1994FloridaDanny WuerffelSophomore
1993FloridaTerry DeanJunior
1992AlabamaJay BarkerSophomore

How recent 5-star QBs fared as true freshmen

Another factor, of course, is most true freshmen don’t win the starting job, and that includes five-star quarterbacks.

Here’s a look at how the SEC’s most recent five-star quarterbacks fared in their true freshman season, dating to the loaded 2006 class that included Matthew Stafford and Tim Tebow:


Kyler Murray, Texas A&M: Didn’t win the job entering the season, but eventually shared the job with 2014 five-star quarterback Kyle Allen. Both transferred.

Blake Barnett, Alabama: Redshirted last season. Competing for the starting job this season. Barnett was the No. 2-rated pro-style passer in the 2015 class.


Kyle Allen, Texas A&M: Allen, a pro-style passer, was the only five-star prospect in the class. He didn’t win the job entering the season but took over midway through his true freshman season. He finished with 16 touchdown passes and seven interceptions.


No five-star quarterbacks signed with SEC teams.


No five-star quarterbacks signed with SEC teams. Jameis Winston, a five-star prospect and top-rated quarterback, signed with Florida State but redshirted.


Jeff Driskel, Florida: Driskel, the top-rated dual-threat quarterback in the class, didn’t win the starting job but played in five games. He completed just 16 passes.


There were no five-star quarterbacks in the class.


Russell Shepard, LSU: Shepherd played in 12 games, primarily as a running back and receiver but didn’t start any.

Aaron Murray, Georgia: Murray, a dual-threat prospect, redshirted before throwing for an SEC record 13,166 career yards. He guided Georgia to the SEC Championship Game as a redshirt sophomore and junior, but lost both.


No five-star quarterbacks signed with SEC teams.


John Brantley, Florida: Brantley redshirted his freshman season and didn’t play much the next two seasons behind Tim Tebow.


Matthew Stafford, Georgia: Stafford was the No. 1-rated pro-style passer in the class. Like Eason, Stafford enrolled early. He didn’t win the job out of camp, but he took over in midseason. The numbers were less than impressive — 7 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions — but they jumpstarted a college career that ended with him becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft.

Mitch Mustain, Arkansas: Mustain shared snaps with Casey Dick, finishing with 10 touchdown passes and 9 interceptions before transferring.

Tim Tebow, Florida: Tebow, the top-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the class, didn’t start as a true freshman, but he contributed to the Gators’ SEC and national championship season.