Which SEC QBs should be on transfer watch?
College coaches walk a fine line when it comes to keeping everyone happy with their respective playing time. Quarterbacks are certainly no exception. Just ask Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin how tough it is to please a quarterback. He had not one, but two five-star athletes bolt after last season, disgruntled over playing time and the overall direction they were going within the program.
It happens. Quarterbacks transfer all the time. Sumlin, himself, picked up Trevor Knight, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma. In fact, more than a handful of quarterbacks have left the SEC since the end of last season.
So, who could be next? That’s a hard question to answer. There are certainly a number of candidates.
Will Grier’s decision to transfer from Florida helped to thin out the ranks, but there’s still a logjam at that position. A couple of transfers hope to take the starting job. Luke Del Rio (Oregon State) and Austin Appleby (Purdue) will vie for the position, but freshman Feleipe Franks is the wild card. And that’s not even counting Kyle Trask.
Good luck to Gators coach Jim McElwain in keeping those guys happy. Del Rio looks like the guy in 2016, and Franks is the supposed future. If that is indeed the case, then where does that leave Appleby and Trask?
Alabama is having what’s becoming its annual battle for the quarterback position. Cooper Bateman is the most experienced, although he threw for just 291 yards (2 interceptions) and a touchdown last season as a sophomore. Can he step in and be the next in line for Alabama? We’ve come to learn that that door is wide open.
There is certainly no shortage for quality options if Bateman doesn’t emerge as the starter. Redshirt sophomore David Cornwell, redshirt freshman Blake Barnett and freshman Jalen Hurts all can play, but there’s just one football. Cornwell could be the odd man out if he doesn’t win the starting job this season.
It’s still to be decided who will be Auburn’s starting quarterback. Junior college transfer John Franklin III guaranteed he’d be the one, but he didn’t do enough in the spring to separate himself from last season’s starters Sean White (1,166 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs) or Jeremy Johnson (1,054 yards, 10 TDs, 7 INTs).
If Franklin III makes good on his guarantee and incoming freshman Woody Barrett is the future, could White be the one looking elsewhere at the end of this season?
And finally, will the mess at quarterback in South Carolina ever be cleaned up? Connor Mitch is out of the picture, so it will be interesting to see how Will Muschamp handles the situation among those remaining.
Perry Orth (1,929 yards, 12 TDs, 9 INTs) will be a senior and would be the safe choice for Muschamp, but many believe that freshman Brandon McIlwain is the most talented of the group. Does Muschamp roll the dice and build for the future with McIlwain? There’s something to be said for going down that path.
However, that doesn’t leave room for sophomore Lorenzo Nuñez (376 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs), who could be looking for a new home if things don’t shake out right for him in 2016.