Top 5 current SEC quarterback commits
A big chunk of the football teams in the Southeastern Conference this past season had major issues at quarterback.
Struggles at the most important position on the field led directly to the struggles that the league had overall and perhaps to the perception that the SEC went through a “down” year in 2015 as a league.
Well, there’s one way to work these types of things out and that’s recruit. With three of the top four pro-style quarterback prospects in the 2016 cycle heading to SEC programs (per 247Sports Composite rankings) and other impact players at the position, brighter days are indeed ahead.
In fact, it would not be shocking to see multiple true freshman starters next season in the SEC given the talent heading in and the talent currently in place (and in some cases, heading out).
Here are the top five quarterback prospects currently committed to SEC schools.
1. Jacob Eason, Georgia
The 6-foot-5 Eason stuck with his commitment to the Bulldogs (over a big push from Florida) through three different offensive coordinators and two different head coaches. He will enroll early and compete for the starting job at UGA right away. Eason, from Lake Stevens, Wash., has a big arm and good enough feet in the pocket to elude pass rushers and make plays on the move. The U.S. Army All-American is the No. 1 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2016 cycle per 247Sports Composite rankings.
2. Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
Patterson, a Louisiana native who played this season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., has excellent arm talent and can also make things happen with his feet when needed. In terms of scheme fit, he’s an outstanding recruit for Ole Miss as his skill set matches what the Rebels do on offense exactly. Patterson is the type of difference-making recruit that can potentially get the Rebels to the College Football Playoff. He’s got that type of upside at the most important position on the field.
3. Feleipe Franks, Florida
Franks, from Wakulla High in Crawfordville, Fla, is 6-foot-5 and has a big arm. He’s not as polished as say Eason or Patterson, but because he is enrolling early and because of the way Gators head coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier have a proven track record of coaching up quarterbacks, it would not be a surprise to see Franks on the field in 2016, particularly after Will Grier announced he was transferring. Franks has a big future in Gainesville and when all is said and done it would not surprise here if he ended up being an NFL draft pick given his baseline skill set.
4. Woody Barrett, Auburn
When you talk about outstanding scheme fits, look no further than Barrett for the Tigers. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Under Armour All-American from West Orange, Fla., is a true dual threat with the skill set to dice up defenses running and throwing in Gus Malzahn’s offensive scheme. Barrett’s impact may not be felt this coming season because he will need some development time, but it’s not out of the question if he is a quick learner and the game slows down for him.
5. Brandon McIlwain, South Carolina
McIlwain will enroll at South Carolina next month and immediately will contend for the Gamecocks starting job. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound dual-threat/dual-sport (he also plays baseball) star from a raw talent standpoint will be one of the top two signal callers on campus right away. The question is how ready can he be by the time South Carolina opens the Will Muschamp era next September?