The Southeastern Conference is always one of the nation’s toughest leagues, and it’s not a place where many coaches would want to start a freshman at quarterback. Especially a true freshman. But that could be the case for at least three SEC teams this fall.
The Texas A&M Aggies will replace Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel this fall with either sophomore Kenny Hill or true freshman Kyle Allen. Hill has run into some issues off the field, which gives Allen a legitimate shot at being the starter this fall.
Allen was rated as one of the best quarterbacks in the country in the class of 2014, and he enrolled early at A&M so that he could participate in spring practice. Head coach Kevin Sumlin has said that the battle is not over, and will continue in fall practice.
The LSU Tigers also have a quarterback competition on their hands. Head coach Les Miles must decide between sophomore Anthony Jennings and true freshman (and early enrollee) Brandon Harris. Jennings struggled last season after replacing Zach Mettenberger, and the LSU coaches were very impressed with Harris during spring practice. This battle will also continue in the fall.
In another quarterback competition, the Kentucky Wildcats are trying to decide who the starter will be this fall. There are three candidates for the position – redshirt sophomore Patrick Towles, redshirt freshman Reese Phillips and true freshman Drew Barker.
After Kentucky’s spring game on Saturday, it appears that Towles is in front, but don’t count Barker out just yet. The four-star recruit will still have a chance to win the job in the fall, as head coach Mark Stoops has yet to name a starter.
If any of these true freshmen do start, they will likely face a tough year of transition. Playing against some of the nation’s best defenses each week will be a challenge for each of them. But the talent that Allen, Harris and Barker have displayed make them worthy of the opportunity.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.