10 best SEC QBs after spring practice
Consider this a stock watch. And we all know how temperamental stocks can be.
The 10 best SEC quarterbacks coming out of spring practice is not a predictor of future success. It’s merely a snapshot of a specific moment in time — in this case spring practice — which is why the injured Chad Kelly isn’t on it despite being the obvious choice as the SEC’s best quarterback.
Several of the spring’s top 10 performers haven’t even won their respective starting job, and some might not. But they stood out this spring.
10. Shea Patterson, Ole Miss: Does any SEC team have a better transition plan in place than Ole Miss? It will go from two years of Kelly to two more years with Patterson, who finished the recruiting cycle ranked ahead of Jacob Eason as the nation’s best pro-style quarterback. Patterson took advantage of Kelly’s spring absence to learn and run the offense, impressing teammates and coaches along the way. There’s no sense in redshirting Patterson this year — he might not even be on campus four years, much less five — so Rebels fans likely will get to seem him in the second half of expected blowouts this season.
— Eric Taylor (@ericvtaylor) April 10, 2016
9. Jalen Hurts, Alabama: Auburn’s John Franklin III is the SEC’s fastest quarterback, but Hurts might eventually become the most dangerous dual-threat. Nobody on offense looked great in the A-Day Game, but Hurts was the most fun to watch. There’s probably a greater chance of the Coke bottle actually speaking than of Nick Saban starting a true freshman at quarterback, but on a day the Tide’s defense dominated, Hurts’ athleticism still stood out.
— Stephen M. Smith (@ESPN_Future) April 25, 2016
8. Drew Barker, Kentucky: Barker quickly took to Eddie Gran’s new offense and won the Wildcats’ starting job. He showed some bounce back, too, erasing a bad throw that was intercepted with a touchdown strike on his next series in the spring game. Kentucky needed Barker to take control of the offense — and the team — and he did this spring.
7. Brandon Harris, LSU: The Tigers emphasized the pass all spring but still won’t be mistaken for Ole Miss this fall. Harris drew praise from coaches for his command of the offense, an element he lacked as a young quarterback.
“We’re looking for a leader, a guy who can make good decisions, check it down to Leonard (Fournette), throw the ball to the tight end,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron told NOLA.com. “(Harris) completed seven or eight balls to the tight ends in a scrimmage a couple of weeks ago. It’s something we haven’t done well recently.”
6. Brandon McIlwain, South Carolina: McIlwain scored points for his poise, which shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with his background. He’s not the passer that Jacob Eason is — nobody outside of Shea Patterson might be — but he looked in total control of the offense. It’s difficult to “see” intangibles, but it was readily apparent how well the first-team offense reacted under McIlwain’s leadership. He hasn’t won the job, but he certainly looked the part.
— Ryan Bethea (@RyanUSC) April 10, 2016
5. Luke Del Rio, Florida: Florida completed passes and kicked field goals during its spring game. Del Rio hasn’t been named the starter, but it’s only a matter of time. He looked comfortable and smooth running the first-team offense.
4. Austin Allen, Arkansas: It’s never easy being the little brother, always trying to reach a bar set by the overachieving big brother. But before Austin Allen even had a chance to start matching what Brandon did, he had to win Arkansas’ job. He did, and Bret Bielema said it wasn’t close.
3. Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee: Dobbs got through the spring in one piece, which was the objective. He also got to work with new weapon Preston Williams, which should make the Vols’ deep game stronger.
2. Trevor Knight, Texas A&M: Knight needed a strong spring to win the starting job and he delivered. He’s an ideal fit for Noel Mazzone’s system — a combination of quick feet, quick delivery and experience to make the correct pre-snap read. A&M’s offense is predicated on multiple receivers running multiple routes. The goal is the QB choosing the simplest throw, and then letting the playmakers do the rest.
1. Jacob Eason, Georgia: Nobody had a better spring. Nobody had a better spring game. He’s a future star, if not necessarily an immediate one this fall.