Top 25 SEC QBs of all-time: No. 25-21
Who are the top quarterbacks in SEC history?
We’ve spent the last several weeks flipping through team-specific media guides, glancing over highlight film and nearly coming to blows at our home office determining this 25-member comprehensive list of the league’s best defensive linemen.
Editor’s note: The SDS staff weighed multiple factors during our SEC’s all-time quarterback rankings process including career statistics, individual awards, importance to their respective team and the era in which they played.
25.) CONNOR SHAW, SOUTH CAROLINA (2010-13)
Not nearly as decorated from an individual or national award perspective as most of the quarterbacks on this list (and some that aren’t), Shaw left a lasting legacy that won’t soon be achieved at South Carolina, a once mediocre program where he is now the school’s all-time winningest quarterback.
Shaw’s most noteworthy accomplishment was when he joined elite company as one of the few quarterbacks in SEC history to win every home start of his college career, going 17-0. South Carolina’s 18-game home winning streak during his tenure is a school record.
Shaw’s led the Gamecocks to a program-record three consecutive 11-win seasons, putting his career winning percentage of .843 inside the top 10 winningest SEC quarterbacks category, just behind Peyton Manning (86.7) and Tim Tebow (86.6) among others. He holds South Carolina records for touchdowns responsibility (74), rushing yards by a quarterback (1,683) and career completion percentage (65.5).
On the heels of his third consecutive bowl victory following a TD to INT ratio of 24:1 his senior season, Shaw was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns in 2014 and eventually started the season finale against the Baltimore Ravens.
480-733, 6,074 yards, 56 TD, 16 INT; 1,683 yards rushing, 17 TD
Capital One Bowl MVP (2014)
Undrafted free agent signee in 2014
24.) KENNY STABLER, ALABAMA (1965-67)
The quarterback that eventually followed Joe Namath as Steve Sloan’s primary backup during the Crimson Tide’s 1965 natioanl chapmionshp season, Stabler earned the full-time starting job as a junior and didn’t disappoint. Stabler led Alabama to an 11-0 record with a bowl win, but it wasn’t enough for poll voters who kept Bear Bryant’s team third behind Notre Dame and Michigan State.
Stabler, who finished his career at Alabama with a 19-2-1 record as a starter, was booted from the team for the off-the-field issues before his senior season but allowed back on to finish out his career. The Crimson Tide went 8-2-1 in 1967, but posted a memorable win against Auburn during which Stabler had the game-winning 53-yard touchdown run.
He would go on to enjoy a superb 15-year NFL career, amassing nearly 28,000 yards through the air. Stabler’s 194 career touchdown passes ranks 45th all-time. The four-time Pro Bowl selection won the NFL’s MVP award in 1974 and led the Oakland Raiders to a win in Super Bowl XI on Jan. 9, 1977.
180-303, 2,196 yards, 18 TD, 18 INT; 838 yards rushing, 9 TD
No. 52 overall (second round) in 1968
23.) HEATH SHULER, TENNESSEE (1991-93)
Many feel Shuler, Tennessee’s first legitimate candidate since Johnny Majors in the late 1950s, was robbed of the 1993 Heisman Trophy when he finished second to Florida State’s Charlie Ward. The Vols went 10-2 that season with one of the nation’s top offenses averaging 40.3 points per game behind the SEC Player of the Year’s 25 touchdown passes.
During one one stretch of his career, Shuler tossed a touchdown pass in 17 consecutive games and left the program with several individual records that were later eclipsed by Peyton Manning. He skipped his senior season for the NFL Draft and was selected third overall by the Washington Redskins, where he played three season before brief stints with the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders.
Shuler was elected to represent 11th District in North Carolina as a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.
316-513, 4,089 yards, 36 TD, 12 INT; 383 yards, 14 TD
SEC Player of the Year (1993); Heisman runner-up (1993)
No. 3 overall in 1994
22.) SHANE MATTHEWS, FLORIDA (1990-92)
Steve Spurrier’s first major weapon in the Gators’ Fun-N-Gun pass-happy offense in 1990, Matthews shattered several program passing records pre-Danny Wuerffel with 74 career touchdown passes and more than 9,000 yards, compiling a 28-8 record as a starter.
Twice named the SEC’s Player of the Year (including Florida’s 1991 SEC title squad), Matthews was a gunslinger who was the league’s passing leader every season and earned first team All-SEC status the duration of his time as Florida’s starting quarterback. A member of the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame and the Gators Hall of Fame, Matthews was a career backup in the NFL from 1993-06.
722-1,202, 9,287 yards, 74 TD, 46 INT
All-SEC (1990-92); SEC Player of the Year (1990-91); All-American (1992); Florida Hall of Fame
Undrafted free agenet signee in 1993
21.) BILL WADE, VANDERBILT (1949-51)
A member of Vanderbilt’s inaugural Hall of Fame class, one of college football earliest “game managers” at quarterback never had a losing season at Vanderbilt, which was quite an accomplishment at a program mired in mediocrity.
Wade played sparingly as a sophomore in 1949, but his career kicked off during the preseason after he was featured on the cover of Look magazine highlighted in the “Football Forecast” segment, a portion written by legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice. He became known as ‘Glamour Boy’ after posing with two co-eds in the photo, but didn’t earn the starting job until the following season.
As a senior, Wade earned SEC Player of the Year honors and was named a second-team All-American. He was named MVP of the 1951 North-South Shrine Bowl in Miami where scouts noticed his talent. Signed as the L.A. Rams’ ‘bonus pick’ before the 1952 Draft, Wade played 13 professional seasons and finished with 18,530 yards passing career.
All-American (1951), SEC MVP (1951); Vanderbilt Hall of Fame
Bonus choice in 1952