SEC Football May Dominate, But Not at Producing NFL Quarterbacks

By Michael Collins
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

You hear the chants at stadiums across the southeast and even into other parts of the country; S-E-C…S-E-C…S-E-C!! The league that leaves them all behind boasts just about everything imaginable when it comes to college football. The most championships, the most NFL draft picks, the most annoying…I mean…raucous fans–the SEC has it all.

Except for one minor category.

The SEC has been pretty woeful at producing successful NFL quarterbacks, which is odd when you think about the number of national championships, bowl games, and recruiting wars their quarterbacks have won.

There are, of course, exceptions to a point. Georgia‘s Matthew Stafford and Vanderbilt‘s Jay Cutler are still both starting and both have had relatively successful careers, although no championships to their credit yet. And there are others as well, but by and large, the quarterbacks coming out of this monster conference seem to monumentally flop once they switch their play date from Saturday to Sunday.

Cam Newton you say? Well, the jury is still out on Cam. He could go either way.

And there’s those two Manning kids. Kinda good, I guess.

But beyond those few NFL standouts, just think about some of the truly great modern era SEC quarterbacks who were highly recruited and drafted, that have briefly graced the league with their presence.

Georgia has offered up such gems as David Greene, D.J. Shockley, Quincy Carter and Eric Zeier; all of whom led the Dawgs to either SEC titles or championship runs, and were supposed to be NFL caliber.

Not so much.

Alabama, who recently has cornered the market on BCS Championships, has produced such NFL busts as John Parker Wilson, Brodie Croyle and Greg McElroy; not exactly a list of future Hall of Famers there.

Florida, known for it’s tremendous quarterback play during both the Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer eras, has probably given the NFL some of it’s most laughable starting QBs, such as Tim Tebow, Danny Wuerffel, Rex Grossman, Jesse Palmer, Chris Leak, and Shane Matthews; all of whom set multiple records with the Gators and went on to nondescript NFL careers.

The rest of the SEC is just as guilty, when you look at the likes of Tim Couch, Heath Shuler, JaMarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, Tee Martin, Ryan Mallet and on and on and on. I feel like I could continue this list all day.

It’s perplexing how a league that is so dominant and successful, that relies (to a point) on quality quarterback play to win all those championships and keep the chant echoing from year to year, could produce some of the worst NFL quarterbacks ever.

The SEC may be focused on defense more than offense, but look up some of the career college numbers for some of those QBs above. They set college football on fire in many cases, and were sure things when it came to being ready to do the same as a pro. Not to mention, these QBs all faced some of the toughest defenses in the nation week in and week out, and usually came out on top.

None of it makes any logical sense. David Greene should have been even better than Matthew Stafford, and Danny Wuerffel was expected to be another Dan Marino.

It has to have NFL war rooms second-guessing themselves when looking at tape of an SEC quarterback. I mean, the guy wins 95% of his games, and breaks school and conference records–yet you still want to push him down on your big board just based on the past success of his predecessors in the NFL.

One thing is for sure, the SEC schools could probably care less. They’ll keep erecting statues of guys like Tim Tebow until the Chick-Fil-A cows come home, as long as that crystal football still sits in one of the SEC trophy cases.


Michael Collins is a Rant Sports Senior Writer, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook


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