Ranking SEC quarterbacks


Florida's John Brantley, Ryan Mallett of Arkansas and Alabama's Greg McElroy are the cream of the crop among SEC quarterbacks.

The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.

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We all know that you win championships with defense but you can't win without a competent quarterback. Look at the teams who won the last four NCs — Chris Leak, Matt Flynn, Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy were the quarterbacks. All of those teams had great defenses and only Tebow would be considered an elite quarterback (unless you are Todd McShay).

As we head into the summer of offseason workouts, the league is not exactly thick with outstanding quarterbacks. It's one reason the league could actually be down this season. That obviously could change and all of these starters may not last until their openers, but as we sit here today it appears that these will be the guys behind center with big games on the line.

Someone has to rank them.

1. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas — With Bobby Petrino coaching him, Mallett could have been a high draft pick had he left after last season. He's going to be a top five pick unless he turns into Jevan Snead.

2. John Brantley, Florida — I said last year that if I was ranking all the quarterbacks in the league, I'd probably put Brantley fifth. Still, we haven't see him on the road in Tuscaloosa or Knoxville yet.

3. Greg McElroy, Alabama — He's not asked to do a lot but when he has been asked he has responded. His next loss (assuming there is one) will be his first as the Tide starter.

4. Stephen Garcia, South Carolina — This ranking is based on skill and experience and the belief that the light has to go on for Garcia. If it doesn't, Steve Spurrier will unplug it.

5. Cam Newton, Auburn — This is what I'm talking about. We'll see if his accuracy issues are solved in time for big games.

6. Jordan Jefferson, LSU — Maybe. If he starts. And plays within himself. We'll see.

7. Mike Hartline, Kentucky — He's had some awful games in this league and may lose the job to Morgan Newton.

8. Aaron Murray, Georgia — Talented kid with no SEC experience.

9. Chris Relf, Mississippi State — Dan Mullen knows what it takes to be a great quarterback. One day again he'll get the right player.

10. Matt Simms, Tennessee — Threw three picks in spring game. Tyler Bray may take this job.

11. Nathan Stanley, Mississippi — Rebels lose a ton on offense, which won't help.

12. Larry Smith, Vanderbilt — Commodores seem to be regressing.

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