What happened to the SEC’s quarterback class of 2015? A lot, actually
With Early Signing Period over, and the SEC’s bowl games about to kick off, it’s a good time to look back and see just how the big recruits of four years ago did.
Eleven 4-star or 5-star quarterbacks from the recruiting class of 2015 were part of SEC programs (although only eight were originally signed by SEC teams), and logic would suggest that those quarterbacks should be preparing for the NFL Draft as they lead their teams to bowl games.
The reality … well, it shows what a crapshoot recruiting can be. Here’s a rundown of those 11 big-name QB recruits from 2015 who saw time in the SEC … and where they are now.
1. Blake Barnett, Alabama
Ranking: 5-star, No. 22 overall prospect
Blake Barnett was going to be the heir apparent at Alabama, and as a fourth-year recruit, he’d be a likely suspect to be preparing the Tide to take on Oklahoma shortly. Holy Jalen and Tua, that didn’t quite work out. Barnett was second behind only Josh Rosen in 247sports’s QB rankings, but he’s now on his third school. Barnett redshirted at Alabama in 2015, and in 2016, after throwing 19 passes, he lost the QB job to Jalen Hurts. Barnett spent a year at Arizona State (5 pass attempts), and in 2018, as a junior, he threw for 2,477 yards, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions at South Florida. He’s not preparing for the CFP semifinal; he played Thursday in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
2. Kyler Murray, Texas A&M
Ranking: 5-star, No. 34 overall
On the other hand, Murray worked out fine … although he didn’t do it in College Station. Murray spent 2015 in a wheel of revolving QBs at A&M, passing for 686 yards, 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, eventually giving way to Kyle Allen and transferring to Oklahoma. After serving as a backup at Oklahoma in 2017, Murray won the Heisman Trophy this year, passing for 4,053 yards and 40 scores in leading Oklahoma to the CFP. Murray is probably not going to end up in the NFL, though, as he was drafted ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB Draft and inked a $4.66 million deal that allowed him to have one final season of football.
3. Jarrett Stidham, Baylor
Ranking: 4-star, No. 38 overall
Stidham, on the other hand, started out at Baylor but left that school amidst trouble for the program, and he ended up at Auburn, where he has started the last two seasons. Stidham has been good but not great at AU, passing for 5,579 yards and 31 scores, but frankly, he looked better at Baylor as a freshman. Stidham is entering the NFL Draft, although where (or if) he’ll be picked is anybody’s guess.
4. Ricky Town, Southern Cal
Ranking: 4-star, No. 79 overall
Ricky Town has had more colleges (four) than FBS pass attempts (one). He was an Alabama commit who signed with Southern Cal, transferred to Arkansas, where he spent two years without throwing a pass in a game, went to a junior college and is now a backup at Pittsburgh, where he threw his only collegiate pass as the Panthers’ third-string signal caller.
5. Drew Lock, Missouri
Ranking: 4-star, No. 98 overall
On the other hand, he is who they thought he was. After a tough freshman season in which he split playing time, Lock has put up 3,000-plus passing yards in each of his last three years at Mizzou, where he finishes (bowl game pending) with 11,820 yards and 96 touchdowns via the air. He’s a legitimate top-flight NFL prospect as well.
6. Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
Ranking: 4-star, No. 164 overall
Jennings has thrown only 4 passes in college, but in part it’s because he has been busier trying to catch them. After three full seasons and an interrupted redshirt year, Jennings, who became a wide receiver, has caught 87 passes for 1,184 yards and 10 touchdowns at UT. His biggest highlight was catching a Hail Mary to beat Georgia in 2016. That said, Jennings has struggled with consistency and found himself kicked off the team for a time before Jeremy Pruitt brought him back into the fold. He still has a way to go to make the NFL.
7. Ty Storey, Arkansas
Ranking: 4-star, No. 237 overall
Ty Storey has put in his time at Arkansas and had thrown only 4 passes in his first three years. But as a redshirt junior, he finally got a shot in 2018, and the results were … spotty. Storey passed for 1,584 yards and 11 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He was semi-adequate for the worst team in the SEC, which probably isn’t the ceiling the Hogs imagined.
8. Sheriron Jones, Tennessee
Ranking: 4-star, No. 247 overall
Sheriron Jones threw 1 pass for UT and now finds himself playing for New Mexico. As a junior, he passed for 1,402 yards in 2018, with 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. It has been quite the path for Jones, who tried to leave UT for Colorado as a freshman but backtracked, which the NCAA allowed because he was at CU for less than two weeks. From there, it was a pair of JUCOs before he became a Lobo.
9. Quinten Dormady, Tennessee
Ranking: 4-star, No. 271 overall
Quinten Dormady played a few snaps for Tennessee in 2015 and 2016 before being handed the reins to the disastrous 2017 UT team. Dormady passed for 1,282 yards, 7 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in Knoxville. He transferred when Jarrett Guarantano beat him out and threw 5 passes as a backup at Houston in 2018. Since he didn’t play in four games, he’ll be a graduate transfer for yet another school in 2019: Central Michigan, where he’ll play for former Florida coach Jim McElwain.
10. Joe Burrow, Ohio State
Ranking: 4-star, No. 280 overall
After three years in Columbus in which he threw just 39 passes, Burrow transferred to LSU, where he was a pleasant surprise, passing for 2,500 yards and 12 touchdowns against only 4 interceptions. He figures to start for the Tigers in 2019 and has ended up as one of the better players of this group.
11. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
Ranking: 4-star, No. 293 overall
Shurmur joins Lock and Storey as the only players on this list to stick it out at quarterback for their original teams. He completed just 43 percent of his passes as a freshman but gradually improved over his career, passing for 8,579 yards and 63 scores and leading Vandy to a pair of bowl appearances. He’s definitely in the upper echelon of this group.