Breaking down and ranking every SEC team’s quarterback depth chart before spring football.
SEC Prespring Quarterback Depth Chart Rankings
It’s all about the quarterback battles. Alabama, Florida and Georgia will be front-and-center, but there are enough established stars and situations – Auburn, Missouri and South Carolina are set – to have some stability.
Seven teams, though, go into the spring with fights for jobs, and that doesn’t include Mississippi State, who’s waiting to see if Nick Fitzgerald might be ready for the season.
So which teams have the best quarterback situations going into the spring? Here’s the early look at the position for every team, loosely ranking them all based on how good the starter is along with how talented and deep the backup situations are.
14. Kentucky Wildcats
Inside Track Starter: Terry Wilson, Jr.
Contender: Gunnar Hoak, Soph.
Wild Card: Walker Wood, RFr.
With Drew Barker transferring and Stephen Johnson done, the cupboard isn’t bare, but it needs restocking. Haok is a nice, 6-4 pro-style passer which the talent to grow into the job if he can win it, but Oregon transfer Wilson is supposed to step right in and take over right away. There are other options to play around with – like former three-star recruit Wood – but Wilson has to look the part.
– Kentucky Schedule Analysis
13. Tennessee Volunteers
Returning Starter: Jarrett Guarantano, Soph.
Contender: Will McBride, Soph.
Wild Card: Alex Thomson, Sr.
It’s not a plus that Quinten Dormady left the program, and new head man Jeremy Pruitt has to find new options. Guarantano is the almost-certain starter – at least for now – but McBride is a good runner who’s been around long enough to be fine. The interesting curveball could be Thomson, a transfer from Wagner with next-level size and upside – the grad transfer will get every chance to shock the SEC and take the job.
– Tennessee Schedule Analysis
12. Arkansas Razorbacks
Inside Track Starter: Cole Kelley, Soph.
Contender: Ty Storey, Jr.
Wild Card: Connor Noland, Fr.
It’s going to be one of the plum positions in the SEC. Who wants to put up huge numbers in the Chad Morris offense? Kelley is a very big, very strong runner with a great deep arm, but Storey will be right there in the mix for the starting job. Redshirt freshman Dalton Hyatt is a good-looking passer, but Noland is the new recruit with a bigger upside. However, the new guy won’t be there this spring – Noland will almost certainly be redshirted.
– Arkansas Schedule Analysis
11. Vanderbilt Commodores
Returning Starter: Kyle Shurmur, Sr.
Contender: Deuce Wallace, Soph.
Wild Card: Allan Walters, Fr.
There’s a relatively clean and easy pecking order. Shurmur has been around for forever and knows what he’s doing in the system. Wallace is more of a runner who has been in the system long enough to be fine if he has to step in. There are other options, but Walters is a three-star recruit wanted by Clemson and a slew of SEC schools. He’s not big, but he can throw.
– Vanderbilt Schedule Analysis
10. LSU Tigers
Inside Track Starter: Myles Brennan, Soph.
Contender: Lowell Narcisse, RFr.
Wild Card: Justin McMillan, Jr.
Its as wide open as any major quarterback battle in college football. Really, there is absolutely no leader of this pack. Brennan is the passer who could step in and keep the offense looking like it did last year under Danny Etling, but Narcisse is a dangerous runner and McMillan is the do-it-all option with the speed to go along with a live arm.
– LSU Schedule Analysis
9. Ole Miss Rebels
Returning Starter: Jordan Ta’amu, Sr.
Contender: Jason Pellerin, Jr.
Wild Card: Matt Corral, Fr.
With Shea Patterson off to Michigan, it’s Ta’amu’s offense to run. He showed he could bomb away to keep the offense moving over the second half of last year. Pellerin will move around where needed, seeing time at tight end when not used at quarterback. Corral is a talented passer out of California who was wanted by Alabama, Florida, USC, UCLA and Georgia.
– Ole Miss Schedule Analysis
8. Florida Gators
Returning Starter: Feleipe Franks, Soph.
Contender: Kyle Trask, Soph.
Wild Card: Emory Jones, Fr.
The talent is there, and now it’s up to the new coaching staff to figure out how find the right guy to run the show. Franks has all the tools, but he looked and played lost at times throughout last season. To be fair, he didn’t have a whole lot to work with, but he’ll have to prove himself. Trask and Jake Allen will get their chances to show what they can do in the wide open race, but Jones – famous for bailing on Ohio State for Florida – is the one who might just be good enough to step in from Day One in the new era.
– Florida Schedule Analysis
7. Texas A&M Aggies
Returning Starter: Nick Starkel, Soph.
Contender: Kellen Mond, Soph.
Wild Card: Connor Blumrick, RFr.
Jimbo Fisher will earn his pay trying to juggle his quarterback situation. Mond was a superstar recruit who was supposed to change around the program, but Starkel was stronger right away, finishing up by throwing for close to 500 yards in the bowl against Wake Forest. The Aggies don’t currently have a quarterback signed on, and Blumrick is the only other option with a scholarship.
– Texas A&M Schedule Analysis
6. South Carolina Gamecocks
Returning Starter: Jake Bentley, Jr.
Contender: Michael Scarnecchia, Sr.
Wild Card: Dakereon Joyner, Fr.
The pecking order should be easy. Bentley is the unquestioned No. 1 guy who’s growing into the job after two years at the helm – he’s still a young 20-years-old – with Scarnecchia settled in a bit as the No. 2 man. However, Jay Urich will get every shot at the backup job, but Joyner is the fun prospect to get everyone excited about for the future. The four-star talent was wanted by Clemson, Georgia, and all the other top schools in the area – he’s the future.
– South Carolina Schedule Analysis
5. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Returning Starter: Nick Fitzgerald, Sr.
Contender: Keytaon Thompson, Soph.
Wild Card: Jalen Mayden, Fr.
It’s a great situation for new head coach Joe Moorhead – and it’ll be higher on this list if and when the main man is ready. Fitzgerald will still need a while to recover from his broken leg, but from all indications, he should be okey by the start of the season, but no one’s rushing him back. Thompson proved in the TaxSlayer Bowl that he can handle the work, and Mayden is a great-looking four-star recruit who might just be too good not to get a long look.
– Mississippi State Schedule Analysis
4. Auburn Tigers
Returning Starter: Jarrett Stidham, Jr.
Contender: Malik Willis, RFr.
Wild Card: Joey Gatewood, Fr.
It was a huge, huge break for the Tigers when Stidham decided to return for his senior season. It’s not crazy to think that he’s pushing to be the top quarterback taken in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he’ll get his chances to turn it loose even more this year. Willis is a decent home run hitting option on the ground – he can be a change of pace – but it’s Gatewood who’ll have everyone buzzing as the superstar of the future.
– Auburn Schedule Analysis
3. Missouri Tigers
Returning Starter: Drew Lock, Sr.
Contender: Micah Wilson, Soph.
Wild Card: Lindsey Scott, Jr.
Throw in former LSU Tiger Scott Jr. coming in as a JUCO transfer – and there are plenty of nice options to play around with behind the franchise passer. Lock could’ve turned pro early, but he’s back and should be in for a 4,000-yard season. Wilson was the little-used backup last year, and now he’ll have to hold off Scott, junior Jack Lowary and redshirt freshman Taylor Powell – all can throw.
– Missouri Schedule Analysis
2. Georgia Bulldogs
Returning Starter: Jake Fromm, Soph.
Contender: Justin Fields, Fr.
Wild Card: John Seter, Soph.
Okay, there is no Wild Card. Jeter and Sam Vaughn are scout teamers who likely won’t see anything more than the sideline. With Jacob Eason off to Washington, the depth is lacking – all the eggs are in the Fields basket. Expected to be special right away, Fields is being called another Deshaun, but can he really knock out Fromm? It’ll be a good battle and great situation with two superior young quarterbacks fighting it out to see who gets to run a national championship-caliber team.
– Georgia Schedule Analysis
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Returning Starter: Jalen Hurts, Jr.
Contender: Tua Tagovailoa. Soph.
Wild Card: Mac Jones, Soph.
It’s going to be the most hyped quarterback derby of the offseason, and the answer is simple: expect both to see time. Nick Saban has never had a problem to name is starter late in the process, and that will almost certainly be the case this time around, too. Don’t be stunned if Hurts is still the starter – one interception last year; that’s what matters for Bama – but Tagovailoa is too good not to at least be 1A on the depth chart. Don’t forget, Jones was a superstar recruit, too – he might be the best pure passer among the three.
– Alabama Schedule Analysis