Not too long ago, the SEC was loaded with quarterbacks.
You know their names, most of which began with a “M.” There was AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, Johnny Manziel, Nick Marshall and Zach Mettenberger. Then there was Connor Shaw, James Franklin, Bo Wallace and Dak Prescott.
That was a strong group. That was 2013.
There was more excellent QB play this past fall, though not as much as the previous year, but 2015 looks to be a season for unproven quarterbacks around the SEC.
The return of Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott helps, but several schools — including Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama — likely will turn to players will little starting experience.
Here’s a look at the top QBs in the SEC next season.
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State — Likely will be in the Heisman Trophy race, but will miss RB Josh Robinson, who is turning pro.
Josh Dobbs, Tennessee — Showed what he can do with his arm and legs once he became a starter. He’ll have plenty of weapons returning with him.
Maty Mauk, Missouri — Inconsistent and erratic, but knows how to win in the clutch and has gained incredible experience for the two-time defending East champs.
Brandon Allen, Arkansas — Isn’t asked to do much, but Allen is consistent. Even with RBs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams back, he threw 20 TD passes.
Jeremy Johnson, Auburn — He’ll stay in the pocket more than Nick Marshall and probably is a more consistent passer. He’s looked strong in limited action.
Patrick Towles, Kentucky — Looked good at times, but inconsistency (57.3 completion percentage) and nine interceptions plagued him.
Treon Harris, Florida — Only one offensive lineman is coming back, but Harris will be in new coach Jim McElwain’s system.
Jacob Coker, Alabama — As Blake Sims’ backup this season, he’ll be the frontrunner to win the QB job in 2015, but Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell will be in the mix.
Kyle Allen, Texas A&M — The future was now in the second half of the season as Allen took over for former starter Kenny Hill, who’ll likely transfer.
Brandon Harris, Anthony Jennings, LSU — Neither one was particularly effective, leading to rumors that former Ohio State starter Braxton Miller might end up at LSU.
Johnny McCrary, Patton Robinette, Wade Freebeck, Vanderbilt — Each one played in at least five games in 2014, with McCrary perhaps as the most effective.
Georgia, South Carolina and Ole Miss will have competition between several players for starting jobs next season.