Ranking the top 10 SEC quarterbacks
September, 24, 2013
By Edward Aschoff | ESPN.com
AP ImagesThe SEC is loaded with top QBs, but which signal-caller means the most to his team?Since we've made it to through the first quarter of the season, we've taken a quick look at the first four weeks of the season across the blogosphere. We even saw ESPN's Brock Huard take a look at who he believes are the top 10 quarterbacks in college football.
On Huard's list, he had four players from the SEC. Alabama's AJ McCarron checks in at No. 4, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel is fifth, Georgia's Aaron Murray ranks seventh and LSU's Zach Mettenberger is 10th. Huard bases his rankings on two factors:
1. Productivity at the collegiate level.
2. Pro skills.
Well, if Huard can look at the 10 best quarterbacks, why not cause a stir and rank the SEC's top 10 quarterbacks through the first four weeks? I'm looking at production and importance to his team.
Here's my top 10:
1. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: Well, Johnny Football looks focused as ever and leads the SEC with 1,228 passing yards and 12 touchdowns. He passed for a school-record 464 yards with five touchdowns in the loss to Alabama and has 255 rushing yards with five more scores on the season.
2. Aaron Murray, Georgia: He might have that loss to Clemson standing out on his 2013 resume, but Murray has been on fire with his right arm this season. He's averaging 346.7 yards per game and has seven touchdowns to two interceptions. Against South Carolina, he threw for 309 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
3. Zach Mettenberger, LSU: After a very up-and-down 2012, Mettenberger has found quite the rhythm. He's second in the SEC with 10 touchdowns and threw his first interception last week against Auburn. After barely averaging 200 yards per game last year, Mettenberger is throwing for 256.5 yards per game and has a QBR of 88.3 in 2013.
4. AJ McCarron, Alabama: While McCarron could still be a Heisman candidate because of the Tide's current national championship quest, his numbers don't exactly jump out at you. But in the biggest game of the year -- the 49-42 win at Texas A&M -- McCarron threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns. On the season, McCarron has 702 passing yards with six touchdowns to two interceptions.
5. James Franklin, Missouri: After a year filled with nagging injuries, Franklin is healthy and is directing Mizzou's offense like he did back in the Big 12. The competition hasn't been great, but Franklin has, as he's averaging 291 passing yards and 60.7 rushing yards per game. Franklin has thrown six touchdown passes and has nearly 200 yards rushing yards with another score.
6. Bo Wallace, Ole Miss: The read option has been Wallace's best friend this season. He has run it to near perfection so far and it has really upset opposing defenses. Wallace has thrown for 648 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, and he has rushed for another 120 yards and three scores.
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesSouth Carolina's Connor Shaw has made plays in the passing game and with his legs.
7. Connor Shaw, South Carolina: You could flip-flop Shaw and Wallace here, but Wallace gets the slight edge because of his importance to the team. Shaw's backup, Dylan Thompson, fills in nicely when Shaw is out. Still, Shaw has had a heck of a season, throwing for 661 yards and six touchdowns and rushing for 202 yards.
8. Austyn Carta-Samuels, Vanderbilt: Quietly, Carta-Samuels is fourth in the SEC in passing (889 yards). He has rushed for 63 yards and three touchdowns. But what kept him from being higher on the list are his turnovers. Vandy's new quarterback has thrown four interceptions, including two in the heartbreaking loss to Ole Miss.
9. Nick Marshall, Auburn: The former athlete/defensive back is starting to grow with every new snap he takes. He orchestrated a beautiful last-minute, game-winning drive two weeks ago against Mississippi State and has 809 passing yards. However, he has to cut down on his carelessness with the football. He has as many interceptions as touchdowns (four).
10. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State: He might have started the year as Tyler Russell's backup, but Prescott has been impressive since Russell was sidelined with a concussion in Week 1. It might be hard to take him out with the numbers he has put up so far. Prescott has thrown for 709 yards with three touchdowns and one interception and has a team-high 215 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
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