Week 6 SEC Quarterback Rankings: More movement in top 3
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As we get into the nitty gritty of the season, it’s important to identify what these rankings are all about.
Quarterback rankings, in my book, are about the guy that I’d want leading my team if I had to win a game to save my job tomorrow. They aren’t always about who has the best numbers, and even head-to-head battles aren’t deal-breakers.
Every quarterback has different pieces around him, and therefore has to be judged based on those circumstances.
Keep that in mind this week and moving forward.
14. Quinten Dormady, Tennessee
There’s a very good chance that this is the last time that Dormady earns a spot on this list. His job should be in jeopardy after throwing up a donut against Georgia. The Vols are an offensive train wreck and it doesn’t appear that Dormady is the conductor who is going to get things on track.
13. Danny Etling, LSU
There are a lot of problems in Baton Rouge, to say the least. To pin them all on Etling would be unfair. Whether he or Myles Brennan is the guy moving forward, LSU’s starting quarterback doesn’t stand much of a chance to rise on this list. The offensive line is a disaster, the Tigers don’t have many receivers who can create separation and the play-calling hasn’t been what many thought it would be when Matt Canada took over. Even if Etling is healthy and retains his job, you wonder when that offensive lightbulb is going to turn on at LSU.
12. Feleipe Franks, Florida
Awful, awful news for Luke Del Rio once again opened the door for Franks to finally take hold of the starting quarterback job. He looked solid in relief against Vanderbilt completing 10 of 14 passes for 185 yards.
I know Florida doesn’t want to risk losing another starting quarterback, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Franks show off his legs a bit more. On the season, he’s only thrown one interception and he’s averaging nearly 9 yards per attempt. Life could be much worse than that.
11. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
I was skeptical to move Mond up on this list after the Aggies pulled out victories against Nicholls and Louisiana. But after beating Arkansas and South Carolina, Mond deserved to rise. After all, he had another solid dual-threat performance with 159 yards through the air and a team-high 95 yards on the ground. More important, he didn’t turn the ball over. In his first two SEC games, the true freshman had a combined 375 passing yards and 204 rushing yards. It doesn’t look like the Aggies have a mess at quarterback after all.
10. Drew Lock, Missouri
Lock’s bye week came at a nice time. The offense needs to hit the reset button. Badly. In three games against Power 5 opponents, Lock completed 49 percent of his passes for three touchdown passes and five interceptions. He has an opportunity to break out on the road against a Kentucky defense that won’t have the speed that Auburn had.
9. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
Give Shurmur credit. Against a solid Florida defense, he bounced back after an awful start and at least gave the Commodores a chance. Vanderbilt just couldn’t get anything going with Ralph Webb in the ground game again, which meant that Shurmur had to throw the ball 40 times against the Gators. That’s not what Vanderbilt wants. Still, Shurmur has an impressive 11-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. That’s light years better than last year’s 9-to-10 mark.
8. Stephen Johnson, Kentucky
Johnson and the Wildcats offense just couldn’t quite get that back-breaking play against Eastern Michigan. As a result, the Wildcats looked very beatable against a weaker Group of 5 foe.
Johnson seems like one of those guys who gets going when he gets involved as a runner. Against Eastern Michigan, Mark Stoops didn’t want to expose his veteran signal-caller. But on the season, Johnson is still at 64-percent accuracy with just one interception. Those are winning numbers.
7. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
I’ll be honest. I did not think Stidham and the Tigers would hold up against that Mississippi State defensive line. Boy, did they ever. Stidham looked good throwing the deep ball in what was easily his most impressive performance to date. He was effective when he needed to be, and the Tigers put it on cruise control up big late. That’s exactly the type of effort Auburn needs out of Stidham week in, week out.
6. Jake Fromm, Georgia
Another week, another big-time performance from the true freshman. While the Georgia defense might’ve stolen the show — and Tennessee’s soul — don’t forget that Fromm was exceptional in some crucial spots. He had not one, but two touchdown runs. His scramble into the end zone was the tipping point in the game. Statistically speaking, Fromm’s numbers aren’t gaudy this season (147 passing yards per game, 8 passing TDs), but the more you watch this kid, the more you realize he’s a winner.
5. Austin Allen, Arkansas
Arkansas fans had to breathe a sigh of relief Saturday. After throwing an interception in the first quarter, Allen diced up an inferior New Mexico State defense for 264 passing yards and three touchdowns. It was easily Allen’s best performance after his slow start. Let’s see if Allen and the Arkansas passing game replicate that output against South Carolina before assuming it’s over those early-season woes.
4. Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
This was exactly why I was hesitant to put Patterson in one of the top spots on this list. Alabama is Alabama, but in two games against Power 5 competition this year, Patterson threw five interceptions. If Ole Miss is even going to put up a fight against better defenses, that has to change.
Patterson, in my opinion, is still the SEC’s most exciting quarterback. But he could be looking at three consecutive duds with Auburn up next.
3. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
Well, maybe I got a bit too excited about Fitzgerald. After putting him at No. 1 in these rankings two weeks ago, Fitzgerald and the Bulldogs were stymied by Georgia and Auburn. Tough challenges they were, but they showed why Fitzgerald isn’t quite at that national superstar level just yet. He completed just 44 percent of his passes, he threw four interceptions and MSU scored just one touchdown in those two games. Preseason fears about Fitzgerald having to do it all himself are looking more and more legitimate.
2. Jake Bentley, South Carolina
You’re right. South Carolina lost another winnable SEC game and all but ended its chances of making serious noise in the East. But that wasn’t because of Bentley. Without his top weapon, Bentley again dazzled with several big-time plays. How many quarterbacks in the SEC can make a play like this?
Check out this play from Jake Bentley, somehow evades pressure gets off a bomb right on the money pic.twitter.com/a8eZP93OsH
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) October 1, 2017
The victories might not be there yet, but Bentley is the real deal.
1. Jalen Hurts, Alabama
While Hurts’ Vanderbilt performance might not have been statistically impressive, his Ole Miss performance was. The sophomore racked up nearly 200 yards through the air and two passing touchdowns while leading Alabama with 101 rushing yards and a score. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s still zero turnovers for the Tide in 2017. That comes back to Hurts and his vastly underrated decision-making. When the game is on the line, I want the ball in No. 2’s hands.