SEC QB rankings: Who holds the edge under center heading into 2015?
A handful of SEC teams enter the offseason with uncertainty at quarterback, but there's no doubt about which player belongs at the top of the rankings for 2015. Mississippi State's Dak Prescott is the reigning first-team All-SEC quarterback and one of the top signal-callers in college football for 2015. After Prescott is where the intrigue begins. Auburn's Jeremy Johnson is poised for a breakout year in his first season as the starter, while Texas A&M's Kyle Allen and Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs are two other rising stars to watch in 2015. Note: This is not a ranking based on accomplishments or pro potential. All factors -- pure talent, supporting cast, 2015 projection and scheme changes (to name a few) -- were considered.
Getty ImagesAndy Lyons
1. Dak Prescott, Sr., Mississippi State
En route to a top 10 finish in the Heisman voting, Prescott led Mississippi State to only its third double-digit win total in school history and earned first-team All-SEC honors. In 13 games last year, Prescott passed for 3,449 yards and 27 scores and added 986 yards and 14 rushing scores.
Getty ImagesStreeter Lecka
2. Jeremy Johnson, Jr., Auburn
Johnson might have the most upside of any quarterback in college football for 2015. The Montgomery native is at the controls of a high-powered offense and has impressed in limited action over the last two seasons. Johnson is 57 of 78 for 858 yards and nine scores since 2013 and has rushed for 40 yards and one score on 11 attempts. He may not have the mobility of Nick Marshall, but head coach Gus Malzahn will adapt the offense to fit Johnson's strengths in 2015.
Getty ImagesStacy Revere
3. Joshua Dobbs, Jr., Tennessee
Dobbs provided a late-season spark for Tennessee's offense in 2014. After not playing in the first seven games, Dobbs replaced Nathan Peterman against Alabama and threw for 192 yards and two scores in a 34-20 loss to the Tide. The Georgia native started the final five games for the Volunteers and guided the team to a 4-1 mark in that stretch. In his limited 2014 action, Dobbs threw for 1,206 yards and nine scores and added 469 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
4. Kyle Allen, So.,Texas A&M
Similar to Auburn's Jeremy Johnson, Allen is a quarterback with plenty of promise and upside in 2015. Allen replaced Kenny Hill as Texas A&M's starter for the final five games of 2014 and finished the year with 1,322 passing yards and 16 scores. The Arizona native was the No. 10 prospect in the 2014 247Sports Composite and is only beginning to scratch the surface of his potential entering his sophomore year.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY SportsTroy Taormina
5. Maty Mauk, Jr., Missouri
Mauk has experienced his share of ups and downs as Missouri's No. 1 quarterback. But in his first full season as the starter, Mauk guided the Tigers to a SEC East title and threw for 2,648 yards and 25 scores. Improving his play in conference games is a must if the Tigers want to challenge in the East Division once again. Mauk completed only 48.9 percent of his passes in SEC games last year.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY SportsJim Dedmon
6. Brandon Allen, Sr., Arkansas
New coordinator Dan Enos is tasked with helping Allen and the Arkansas' passing offense take the next step in 2015. After dealing with a shoulder injury in 2013, Allen rebounded with a solid 2014 campaign and threw for 2,285 yards and 20 scores. Additionally, he only tossed five picks on 339 attempts. Expect more steady production from Allen in 2015.
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY SportsNelson Chenault
7. Patrick Towles, Jr., Kentucky
Touted redshirt freshman Drew Barker will push for snaps this fall, but Towles is expected to claim the No. 1 spot for the opener. The Kentucky native quietly had a solid debut in his first full year as the starter, throwing for 2,718 yards and 14 scores. Towles also rushed for 303 yards and six touchdowns and ranked sixth in the SEC by averaging 251.8 total yards per game.
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY SportsJamie Rhodes
8. Jacob Coker, Sr., Alabama
Coker was expected by most to win the starting quarterback job last season, but Blake Sims edged the Florida State transfer and started all 14 games for Alabama. Coker enters 2015 as the frontrunner and holds a slight edge over David Cornwell for the No. 1 spot. In six appearances with the Crimson Tide last season, Coker threw for 403 yards and four touchdowns after completing 38 of 59 passes. Can Coker put it all together for a big senior year in Tuscaloosa?
Getty ImagesChris Graythen
9. Brice Ramsey, So., Georgia
Ramsey gets the nod here, but Faton Bauta made a strong case for the No. 1 job this spring. And needless to say, it's safe to assume this battle will continue into the fall. Ramsey completed 24 of 39 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns as Hutson Mason's backup last year. Bauta has attempted only five passes in his Georgia career but brings more mobility to the position than Ramsey. The Bulldogs usually reload without much trouble at quarterback. The guess here is that continues, but Ramsey and Bauta will both see time early in 2015.
Jason Getz-USA TODAY SportsJason Getz
10. Chad Kelly, Jr., Ole Miss
Kelly continues the run of quarterbacks on this list who are not completely secure as starters. The New York native started his career at Clemson and spent two years with the Tigers before transferring to East Mississippi Community College. In 12 games on the junior college level, Kelly threw for 3,906 yards and 47 touchdowns. Talent certainly isn't an issue for the junior. Can he realize that potential under Hugh Freeze?
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY SportsGeoff Burke
11. Will Grier, RS Fr., Florida
Treon Harris started the final six games of last season and guided Florida to a 4-2 mark. However, Harris could be unseated by Grier -- the No. 48 prospect in the 2014 247Sports Composite -- by this fall. Grier is a better fit for new coach Jim McElwain's offense and finished spring by completing 8 of 11 passes for 136 yards in the spring game. While Grier's arm should infuse some life into the passing attack, a bigger problem for McElwain and the Florida offense is a line that's thin on overall depth and proven options.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsKim Klement
12. Brandon Harris, So., LSU
Flip a coin on LSU's starter right now. Anthony Jennings and Harris closed spring with little separation for the No. 1 job, which means the battle will continue into the fall. Jennings started 12 of LSU's 13 games last year and threw for 1,611 yards and 11 scores. Harris made one start and completed 25 of 45 passes for 452 yards and six touchdowns. The upside is clearly in favor of Harris. But regardless of which quarterback starts, significant improvement is needed from the passing offense after averaging only 140.6 passing yards in SEC games last year.
John Reed-USA TODAY SportsJohn Reed
13. Connor Mitch, So., South Carolina
Mitch didn't play much as a freshman last year, completing 2 of 6 passes for 19 yards in two appearances. The sophomore spent the spring as the favorite to win the job and completed 10 of 16 passes for 183 yards and one touchdown in South Carolina's final scrimmage. The North Carolina native was the No. 345 overall recruit in the 2013 247Sports Composite, and barring a big performance in the fall by true freshman Lorenzo Nunez, he should take the first snap of the season against North Carolina.
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY SportsJeff Blake
14. Johnny McCrary, So., Vanderbilt
McCrary was one of four quarterbacks to make a start for Vanderbilt last season. No Commodore quarterback eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in passing yardage, with McCrary leading the way at 985. He also threw nine touchdowns and completed 51.3 percent of his passes. With Patton Robinette retiring from football this offseason, McCrary is the frontrunner, with Wade Freebeck and Shawn Stankavage the next in line.