SEC QB PLAY SET TO IMPROVE IN 2017

Quarterback play in the Southeastern Conference last season was not very impressive. Joshua Dobbs and Chad Kelly were the top guys, but the rest of the SEC QB’s were dragging way behind nationally.

Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

Dobbs was the only quarterback in the SEC to rate Top 20 nationally in Passing Efficiency. Kelly and Dobbs were the only ones rating Top 15 in QBR. Jalen Hurts –you’re probably wondering– rated out at #44 in PE and #33 in QBR. Hurts enjoyed an outstanding season (2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year), but has some polishing up to do.

Good news to report. The quarterback performance level should be trending up this coming season. There are a lot of guys who are capable to taking that next step up.

In Tuscaloosa, Jalen Hurts spent this spring focused on becoming a more effective pocket passer. Sounds like he improved that skill set, which is bad news for opposing defenses. I’m anxious to see the improved product. If he can throw it effectively from the pocket, the Tide offense becomes dangerous.

Down in Gainesville, the Gators got to see Felipe Franks take a big step forward this spring. He was also developing his pocket skills and was impressive in their spring game. This young man is a physical freak, at 6’6”, 240 pounds. He has that dual-threat skill set, which should translate into a more dangerous Florida offense this season. Keep an eye on this guy.

At Auburn, the Tigers turned loose new transfer Jarrett Stidham this spring. This should be a huge boost to the Tigers offense. Stidham can spin it, move around and make

Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham. (AP Photo/Todd J. Van Emst)

plays. That’s exactly what Auburn needed to get back in the SEC West mix.

In Athens, Jacob Eason should be feeling threatened by freshman Jake Fromm, who should up this spring ready to compete. Eason has improved his overall play and has been pushed to be more of a vocal leader. Will it be enough to hold off Fromm? Stay tuned. Jacob did appear to clean up some footwork issues that held his completion percentage down. He seems to be much more comfortable running the ‘Dogs offense in Year #2. The time is now for Eason.

In Oxford, Shea Patterson takes over and the Rebels offense shouldn’t miss Kelly that much, right? Patterson flashed some skills late last season. I really like his dual threat talent. Dude can play!

Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald can play ball. South Carolina’s Jake Bentley is another young QB to keep an eye on this season. Austin Allen at Arkansas is back and already regarded as one of the SEC’s top guys. Stephen Johnson (Kentucky) and Drew Lock (Mizzou) are trending up too.

Obviously, it’s tough to shine against all these quality defenses in the SEC. You’ve got to earn it. Step up. Deliver.

Expect to see this happen in the SEC this season: Better quarterback play.

 

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