Week 7 SEC Quarterback Rankings: Top half starting to solidify
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Through six weeks, we should have a clue.
Now, moving a guy up five spots in these SEC Quarterback Rankings after one game is unlikely. Having said that, guys like Jarrett Stidham and Kellen Mond are threatening to make me double back on that.
Again, this isn’t a “who’s hot, who’s not” list. It’s about which quarterbacks I would want leading my team to win a game played tomorrow. The top six guys on this list, in my opinion, are playing at that kind of level.
As for everyone else, step your game up:
14. Quinten Dormady, Tennessee
A bye week came at a nice time for the Vols’ offense, which has been disastrous this season. Will Dormady be the guy moving forward? Or will Jarrett Guarantano supplant him? Butch Jones has a decision to make. Sticking with the guy who has struggled as much as Dormady might be just as risky as starting an unproven guy like Guarantano.
13. Feleipe Franks, Florida
Man, it just hasn’t happened yet. Just when you think Franks is ready to run away with the starting job and have that big-time performance, he takes a step back. Franks couldn’t get anything rolling in the passing game against an LSU defense that came to play. Part of it is the play-calling, part of it is the suspensions and injuries to top receivers and part of it is just Franks not looking that confident yet. Considering the way Jim McElwain has handled his quarterback situation so far, can you blame him?
12. Danny Etling, LSU
See, I told you that LSU’s problems weren’t all on Etling. When the offensive line plays like that, LSU is a much better team than the one that showed up the past three weeks. Etling didn’t have to make 30 throws to grind out a huge road win.
But he did make some key throws late, and most important, he didn’t turn the ball over. Again. That Florida defense was begging for a turnover to give it some offensive life. Etling managed the game and played a big part in a huge victory.
11. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
In a way, I feel bad for Shurmur. He’s actually played significantly better than he did last year. The 12-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio is proof of that. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had much help. And against elite defenses like Alabama and Georgia, Shurmur has struggled in obvious passing situations. The past three weeks, he completed just 45 percent of his passes. That number won’t erase a double-digit deficit. Shurmur has made strides, but he’s still limited as a passer.
10. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
I’ll admit it. I thought Mond would be hovering around No. 13 or No. 14 all season. I was dead wrong. I find myself wanting to put him even higher after he hung tough against that vaunted Alabama defense. Considering what Alabama did to guys like Deondre Francois and Shea Patterson, one couldn’t help but be impressed with Mond.
That touchdown pass to Christian Kirk was Johnny Manziel-esque. Mond still has to improve his decision-making in terms of when to run and get rid of the ball, but he’s rising quicker than expected.
9. Drew Lock, Missouri
Hey! Lock actually threw a few touchdown passes against a Power 5 team! Even better, it came against an improved Kentucky defense on the road. Lock’s three touchdown passes helped the Tigers nearly pull off the upset. When was the last time Lock threw three touchdown passes and no interceptions against a Power 5 team, you ask? Um, never. Maybe the bye week served its purpose and got the Tigers back to looking like the all-offense, no-defense team we expected them to be.
8. Stephen Johnson, Kentucky
I think wins are a somewhat lazy stat to measure a quarterback. They don’t always tell the full story. Teams frequently win in spite of quarterbacks. But sometimes, the individual numbers don’t show that the offense just looks better with a certain quarterback. That’s the case with Johnson.
He typically makes enough plays down the stretch to push Kentucky over the top. We’re a covered receiver from talking about a 6-0 Kentucky team that’s in position for a historic season. Johnson is a big reason.
7. Austin Allen, Arkansas
We all saw it coming. It was only a matter of time before Allen was banged up. A shoulder injury ended his day in Columbia early, but it wasn’t as if Allen and the Hogs set the world on fire. That Allen only led one touchdown drive in three quarters is concerning enough, especially against a South Carolina defense that had its issues entering Saturday. Whether he plays next Saturday or not, it doesn’t look like Allen will ever get back to his preseason ranking on this list.
6. Jake Fromm, Georgia
Same story, new chapter. Once again, Fromm was efficient and effective in a blowout Georgia win. Skeptics might point out that Fromm has only thrown for 170 yards once, or that he has only attempted 16-plus passes once in six games.
You know what stats I’m a bigger fan of? Fromm completed exactly 60 percent of his passes. He’s averaging 8.9 yards per attempt. He’s only been sacked five times. He has a 5-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (10 and 2 overall). The ground game and defense have been on another level, but the Bulldogs are a different team with Fromm under center. Plain and simple.
5. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
It’s all starting to come together for Stidham and that hyped Auburn offense. He looks much more comfortable in Gus Malzahn’s system now than he did a month ago. Who woulda thunk? In his past four games, Stidham completed 79 percent of his passes and averaged 11.9 yards per attempt. That’s, um, really good.
More important, the Tigers averaged 48 points in three blowout victories to start conference play. With Kerryon Johnson attracting all the attention, all signs point to things opening up even more for Stidham and the Auburn passing game.
4. Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
Give Patterson credit. Blowout loss or not, there aren’t many quarterbacks in all of college football who could’ve racked up 346 passing yards, two touchdowns, zero turnovers and just one sack allowed against that Auburn defense. Patterson looked more confident than he did a week earlier against Alabama, but the scoreboard didn’t really indicate a drastic turnaround. Ole Miss can’t run the ball, nor can it stop the run. Period. As long as that continues, Patterson’s numbers are going to continue to soar as he stays on pace to break Tim Couch’s single-season SEC record.
3. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
Now is the time to buy stock in Fitzgerald. In the next month, he’ll take on BYU, Kentucky, Texas A&M and UMass. The only two SEC defenses he’ll see, Kentucky and A&M, are ranked 117th and 107th, respectively, against the pass. Call me crazy, but I like Dan Mullen’s odds of righting the ship after a bye week and that kind of schedule ahead.
2. Jake Bentley, South Carolina
Bentley got a lot of help from the Gamecocks defense, but once again, he showed why he’s one of the nation’s top young signal-callers. That throw he made to Hayden Hurst was tougher than it looked, and the jump ball to Bryan Edwards was a good example of Bentley starting to trust his receivers more.
The offense looked like it was in some trouble without Deebo Samuel. It still could have its fair share of issues against better defenses, but containing Bentley will be no easy task.
1. Jalen Hurts, Alabama
A turnover? A one-possession win? For Alabama?! Yes, the unthinkable happened. Hurts and the Tide offense did not roll in College Station. Not having a healthy Calvin Ridley down the stretch played a part in that.
Hurts didn’t have his best statistical game (123 passing yards, 56 rushing yards, 2 total TDs), but he still produced his ninth consecutive game without an interception dating all the way back to the SEC Championship. Seven of those games were against Power 5 teams and five were away from Bryant-Denny Stadium. Even in a down game, Hurts reminded everyone why he deserves to be in the Heisman Trophy discussion.