Buck Belue’s Top 10 QBs In the Deep South – BY BUCK BELUE

FILE – Georgia quarterback JT Daniels (18) and Stetson Bennett prepare to play Cincinnati in the NCAA college football Peach Bowl game on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / AP FILE)

June 11, 2021
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – The countdown is officially on for the College Football season and I’m ready to reveal my list of Top 10 Qb’s in the Deep South. First up, the Honorable Mention list.

Jeff Sims and Emory Jones are both looking to break out and legitimize their talents and I believe both are likely to do so. Sims took a big step forward during Georgia Tech’s spring practice and his skills are impressive. Jones will most certainly take advantage of Dan Mullen’s QB Whisperer reputation to be effective in a more run-oriented scheme. Max Johnson and Conor Bazelak also made my list.

Here is my Top 10 list heading into the 2021 season.

10- Cornelius “Quad” Brown, IV. Georgia State Panthers.

The Sun Belt is loaded with quality quarterbacks and “Quad” is one of them. Stands tall in the pocket, at 6’5”, 210 and can spin it. As a freshman, Brown threw it 300 times at a 59% clip, with 17 touchdowns. He ran it for 300 yards and 7 TD’s. I expect to see a better version in year #2. He’s got all of his receivers returning. Keep an eye on “Quad.”

9- Bo Nix. Auburn Tigers.

New leadership will impact Bo. Mike Bobo and Bryan Harsin both played QB, so the new scheme is going to be more QB friendly. He will get coached up hard and pushed to improve, especially in the pocket. Expectations are high with him and he’s not exactly lived up to the hype so far, but I expect to see him playing at a higher level. Last season, Bo was 5th in the SEC in Total QBR. I expect him to be #3 this season.

8- Grayson McCall. Coastal Carolina.

He had a breakout season as a freshman last year, with 26 TD passes and only 3 picks. His 69% completion rate is certainly impressive, as a first-year starter. He also ran for 600 yards and 7 touchdowns. Grayson thrived in the Chanticleers “Triple Option Spread” scheme. Expect another big season, with 9 of 11 starters returning on offense, including his Go-To WR.

7- Dillion Gabriel. UCF Knights.

His first two seasons have been amazing. Last season, he threw it 400 times and finished with 30 TD passes and only 5 interceptions. Dillon manipulates the pocket effectively and has a special feel for the game. I do wonder if Malzahn’s scheme will get less out of him (Heupel’s scheme fit Dillon perfectively). Gabriel finished #20 in Total QBR last season and I expect to see him knocking on the Top 10 this season.

6- D’Eric King. Miami Hurricanes.

I enjoy watching him play the game. Dual threat talent. Impressive competitor and leader! Threw it over 300 times last season (23 TD, 5 INTC, 64%) and did some damage with his feet (Ran for 500 yards and 4 TD’s). Dude can play (Sure hope he survives the season opener against Alabama).

5- Bryce Young. Alabama Crimson Tide.

Obviously, a lot of this is based on projection. Young only threw 22 passes last season, but he looked outstanding in the spring A-Day scrimmage (25-44-330 & TD). He’s got a special presence about him on the field. Cool. Confident. And he’s got some outstanding players surrounding him. Metchie & Bolden are playmakers. Solid O-Line. My educated guess: 3,000+ yards passing and 25 touchdowns.

4- DJ Uiagalelei. Clemson Tigers.

Biggest arm in College Football. Big body and tough to sack. Great scheme fit: Tigers will spread the field with 4-5 WR’s and throw a lot of wide, short routes. Throws a catchable ball and is highly accurate. Clemson will throw it 40 times a game with Big Cinco, so he’ll put up some huge numbers, in his first year as a starter. Looks like a future #1 pick.

3- JT Daniels. Georgia Bulldogs.

Healthy and comfortable in the Monken system. Makes a lot of good, quick decisions. Accurate short to intermediate. Nice touch on the deep ball. Tough. Doesn’t mind stepping into the throw and taking a hit. Manipulates the pocket well. Good leader. Plays with swag. JT will have a lot of weapons to target this season: Gilbert, Jackson, Burton, Washington, Cook, Smith, Rosemy, Blaylock, Mitchell, Justin Robinson, McIntosh & Milton. Daniels will be running an explosive offense. Expect to see JT join Murray, Zeier, Greene & Stafford in the exclusive 3,000 Yard Season Club and also, watch him join the 30 Touchdown Season Club, joining Fromm and Murray.

2. Sam Howell. North Carolina Tar Heels.

Sam’s going to spin it over 40 times a game this season, with the offense built around his skill set. The Rep: Sam is the best “Deep Ball” thrower in College Football. He also plays consistently at a high level. You don’t see him have any of those 5-interception games. He was #14 last season in Total QBR. He needs to cut down on the sacks, but the NFL scouts seem to love him. And I respect his play enough to put him at #2.

1.Matt Corral. Ole Miss Rebels.

The most accomplished QB in the Deep South. Led the nation in Total Offense last season (384 yds gm) and finished the year #3 in Total QBR. Gunslinger style of play. Fearless. Avoids a lot of sacks and makes plays on the move. Dynamic skill set. Ran for 500 yards and 4 TD’s. He did have a couple of nightmare games (6 picks against Arkansas and 5 against LSU) but over all he was outstanding. Fits the Kiffin scheme perfectly. Expect more big numbers this season.


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