SEC QB Power Rankings entering Week 1
Everybody had a favorite thing about Week 0, but don’t sleep on it giving us a good excuse to open the QB Power Rankings season. Sure, 13 of the 14 SEC QBs haven’t taken a snap yet … but why let that stand in the way of a good thing? Time to see who’s up, who’s down, and who’s frankly still undecided. Your Week 0/End of Preseason edition of SEC QB Power Rankings.
14. Ben Hicks, Arkansas
Arkansas named Ben Hicks its starting QB Monday. Last year, Arkansas passed for 192 yards per game, and fired a bunch of interceptions. There’s not a ton of reason to think that either Ben Hicks or Nick Starkel can suddenly become a star on this team.
13. Tommy Stevens, Mississippi State
The past 2 seasons, Mississippi State passed for 167 and 174 yards per game. They return no players with more than 26 catches or 440 receiving yards. Yes, Stevens has talent and Joe Moorhead has doubtlessly spent months scripting plays … but there’s more reasons to be skeptical than evidence that suggests a big turnaround is near.
12. “Deuce Neal,” Vanderbilt
Vandy isn’t tipping its hand on whether this is Riley Neal (7,393 yards and 46 TDs at Ball State) or Deuce Wallace, who is an athletic passer. Either way, it’s a system in which Vandy has weapons (Vaughn, Lipscomb, Pinkney), and some fairly solid recent QB play (Kyle Shurmur passed for 3,130 yards and 24 touchdowns last season). But it’s a rebuilt offensive line and a new QB, so we’re not entirely bullish on this one.
11. Bo Nix, Auburn
Since he’s a true freshman, it’s hard to say exactly what Nix will deliver, but Jarrett Stidham had all the skills needed to thrive, but never really did in this offense. Was it on Stidham, or the lack of quality receivers, or has the Gus Bus started to stall? Until Nix can prove that he’s head-and-shoulders better, it’s probably wise to tamp down expectations to start.
10. Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee
The numbers are kind of underwhelming (1,907 yards, 12 TDs, without much on the ground either), but the kid looked pretty sharp when UT upset Auburn and Kentucky last season. The test for Guarantano will be in his consistency — can he avoid slump games that could make the Vols look bad?
9. Terry Wilson, Kentucky
Not unlike Guarantano, Wilson’s numbers were hit and miss (1,889 yards and 11 TDs, 547 rushing yards and 4 TDs on the ground). To his credit, he developed as the year went and was capable of delivering some big plays, including the untimed touchdown to beat Mizzou or the downfield dart he threw that helped overtake Florida. He has to be sharper in the mid-range passing game, but he could well be. If so, he’s a guy who could sneak up to the top half dozen pretty easily.
8. Feleipe Franks, Florida
Week 0: 17-of-27, 254 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT/7 carries, 8 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble lost.
The lone SEC Week 0 active QB, Franks dropped several spots in this ranking due to 3 turnovers, the last as mind-blowing of an interception as you’ll see all year. How bad was it? Steve Spurrier winced. (Now, whether the Head Ball Coach winced at the throw or the play-call is open and fair for debate.) Yes, there were good moments — a nice 65-yard bomb to Josh Hammond and a keeper TD run that could become key for a Florida team that averaged 1.9 yards per carry. But Franks has to move beyond the point where he does something great, and then something awful. If not, it’ll be a long season.
7. Jake Bentley, South Carolina
Are we ranking good Jake, the guy who took over at Carolina as a true freshman and could well end up as the school’s all-time leading passer? Or are we rating bad Jake, who gets beat by Kentucky and shut out by Virginia in the bowl game? At his best, Bentley is the No. 3 or 4 QB in the league. At his worst, well, he gets benched for Michael Scarnecchia. We could be pumping him up for All-SEC honors or ranking Ryan Hilinski in a month. Neither would be surprising.
6. Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Corral passed for 239 yards in occasional action last season … but the Rebels have passed for 315+ yards per game over each of the past 4 seasons (346 last year). If we’re ranking guys on how many wins they’ll deliver, Corral is not this high. But given this offense, even with a crew of new receivers, he’s going to get plenty of chances to pile up yards.
5. Kelly Bryant, Missouri
How to rank Kelly Bryant? He’s a capable but not overwhelming passer, but also a decent run threat. He’s going to a team and offense that had its share of big passing games and big stats. But Bryant might not fit as well at Mizzou as Drew Lock did. At the end of the season, he’s probably up a step or two from here, but one-and-done QBs in the SEC don’t always work out well. Until he proves it in the SEC, we’ll keep him here.
4. Joe Burrow, LSU
All he did was pass for 2,894 yards and 16 scores, rush for another 399 yards and 7 scores, watch his team add an NFL passing guru, and have one of the most surprisingly strong seasons in the league. Last year wasn’t flashy … but this year might be.
3. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
From an incredibly uneven 2017, Mond showed the full skill set last season. He ended up with 3,107 passing yards and 24 touchdowns, as well as 474 rushing yards and 7 scores on the ground. Jimbo Fisher’s Year 1 offense put up as good of numbers as Kevin Sumlin’s did, and Year 2 likely will be even better.
2. Jake Fromm, Georgia
Mond might have a higher upside, Matt Corral (among others) will put up gaudier stats, but Fromm is an All-SEC type player. Even though he doesn’t run (41 “carries” for -27 yards last year, most of which were sacks) and he can tend more toward game manager than big-number passing threat, Fromm can make every throw and has the talent around him to be as good as anybody not named Tua.
1.Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
What, you had a different pick?