Last season was a tremendous year for quarterbacks in the SEC. The names in the top five were some of the best in the country, including Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, Heisman finalist A.J. McCarron, SEC career passing leader Aaron Murray and the cannon-armed Zach Mettenberger. Every one of those guys are on NFL rosters now.
Entering 2014, the SEC has a new crop of QBs contending to be the best in the league. There are multiple candidates and ample opportunity to prove who is the best. Who will the top five be, and who will lead the conference?
As I see it, the top five will most likely consist of some combination of Bo Wallace (Ole Miss Rebels), Hutson Mason (Georgia Bulldogs), Jacob Coker (Alabama Crimson Tide), Maty Mauk (Missouri Tigers) and Dylan Thompson (South Carolina Gamecocks). These guys have the best chance, given talent and situation, to be at the top of the heap when December rolls around.
Guys like Auburn Tigers QB Nick Marshall and Florida Gators QB Jeff Driskel will probably have good seasons, but their offenses probably won’t allow them the chance to get close to the 3,000-yard passing mark that has been the target in recent season.
Of the most likely top five, Wallace and Mason stand the best chance at being the guys vying for the title of SEC’s best.
Wallace was the second-leading passer a year ago behind Manziel. He has the ability to repeat that again in 2014 and should provide Mason with stiff competition. He has the tougher schedule of the two, however, and that could hurt his numbers by season’s end.
Mason has an easier path and a wealth of talent around him. The Bulldogs boast a stacked backfield, experienced offensive line and one of the deepest receiver units in the nation. Not to mention that Mason has spent the past four years learning behind the SEC’s best passer and got valuable experience at the end of last season.
My money is on Hutson Mason to burst onto the scene in a big way by leading the SEC in passing in his one and only year as the starter. His patience and perseverance will be rewarded in a big way.
While there probably won’t by a 4,000-yard passer or four 3,000-yard passers this season, there will still be solid quarterback play and at the end of the year, Mason will stand as the cream of the crop.