The SEC is the healthiest it’s been in years.
That is a terrifying thought considering the conference has won the last three national championships with three different schools and the last three Heisman Trophy winners have all been members of the SEC.
With elite recruiting, excellent coaching hires, and the transfer portal, the starting quarterbacks in the SEC have a chance to be the strongest collection of players at this position in over a decade.
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young returns to run Alabama’s offense. Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi State will all return starting quarterbacks, thus making the middle of this league stronger than it’s been in years.
Then, South Carolina and Ole Miss have elite transfers set to take over. Lastly, LSU and Texas A&M are getting talented starters back from injury. And, by the way, none of that includes the player who just won the national championship – Georgia’s Stetson Bennett.
Needless to say, the quality of SEC quarterbacks is one of the reasons why the conference continues to dominate college football.
1. Bryce Young – Alabama
Young’s 2021 season consisted of an SEC championship, 4,872 passing yards which would’ve been an SEC single-season record if not for Joe Burrow, and 47 touchdown passes that were No. 1 among all Power 5 quarterbacks.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner is the best returning offensive player in college football.
2. K.J. Jefferson – Arkansas
The next three players are basically the same and none of these schools would trade who they have.
K.J. Jefferson was third in the SEC last year averaging 7.6 yards per play, throwing for 2,676 yards, and rushing for 664 yards. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder has a lot of Cam Newton in his game and could develop into a star this fall.
3. Hendon Hooker – Tennessee
Josh Heupel’s offense is predicated on taking shots down the field and Hooker delivered once he became the starter last year in Week 3.
Hooker was one of the most efficient players in the nation, finishing third nationally in QB rating (181.41), fourth in yards per attempt (9.7), and posted an absurd 10.3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He also added 613 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.
4. Will Rogers – Mississippi State
Rogers is a perfect fit for Mike Leach’s air raid offense and if not for Young and Burrow, he’d be an SEC-record holder.
His 4,739 yards passing and 73.9% completion percentage in 2021 are both third all-time for a single season. Also, his 357.2 yards of total offense per game led the league in 2021.
5. Anthony Richardson – Florida
This spot in the rankings will raise eyebrows and is based entirely on his upside. On just 64 pass attempts and 51 rushing attempts, Richardson scored nine touchdowns and averaged 8.1 yards per play – as a backup. Injuries and a coaching change slowed down the 6-foot-4, 240-pound freshman phenom a year ago. Now healthy, expect big things from him in 2022.
6. Stetson Bennett – Georgia
He could be No. 2 on this list as the defending national champion, or he could be No. 10 based on a lack of pure talent.
The former JUCO transfer made critical plays and was super-efficient last year while leading Georgia to its first national championship in 41 years.
7. Jaxson Dart – Ole Miss
The former four-star recruit got his feet wet with USC last season and now gets the keys to one of America’s best offenses. He only started a few games a year ago but threw for almost 400 yards in a road game against Washington State and 325 yards against UCLA.
He has a ton of pure talent and will be a perfect fit in Lane Kiffin’s rapid-fire offense.
8. Spencer Rattler – South Carolina
Deep breaths, Gamecock fans. Rattler’s ranking is more a function of how deep this league is at the position than anything else.
That said, he lost his starting job at Oklahoma and in five starts against FBS competition threw just five touchdowns to go along with five interceptions. He never delivered on the hype surrounding him and now is playing in a worse offensive scheme with a worse supporting cast against tougher opponents.
9. Will Levis – Kentucky
The former Penn State transfer gave the Kentucky quarterback position some stability for the first time in years.
Will Levis averaged 216 yards passing per game and threw 13 interceptions, but he added nine rushing touchdowns and led the Wildcats to just their fourth 10-win season in school history. With offensive coordinator Liam Coen leaving Lexington for the same position in Los Angeles with the Rams, Levis will have to take more control of the offense.
10. Haynes King – Texas A&M
College football never really got to see King last year because he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2. His athletic ability and massive upside make him an intriguing player, but he is no lock to be the starter as there’s plenty of competition on the roster.
11. Myles Brennan – LSU
Brennan missed the entire 2021 season due to injury. After the season, he entered the transfer portal before eventually returning to LSU. His talent is more than adequate and his supporting cast features superstar wideout Kayshon Boutte.
12. T.J. Finley – Auburn
Auburn is a total mess and so is the QB situation.
Finley has tons of ability and some starting experience in Bryan Harsin’s offense, but he will have to hold off Texas A&M transfer Zach Calzada and incoming freshman star Holden Geriner.
13. Brady Cook – Missouri
Cook played well in Missouri’s bowl loss to Army, but he will now have to beat out Sam Horn and Tyler Macon for the starting job.
There was a reason two-year starter Conner Bazelak transferred to Indiana.
14. Mike Wright – Vanderbilt
Wright will have to beat out two-year starter Ken Seals for the job.
His athletic ability gives him a different dimension than Seals, but this is a competition that may not be settled until the season gets closer.