Breaking down the quarterbacks: SEC West

 Yesterday we rated the quarterbacks in the SEC East. Today let’s look at the SEC West, where the landscape has changed a little in the past 72 hours.

Remember that these rankings do not have anything to do with a player’s NFL potential. This is strictly about the players’ ability—or potential—at the college level.

If you disagree, and I’m sure many of you will, please give me your rankings and why. Here we go:

 

1. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas:  Look at Mallett’s numbers from last season, when he completed “only” 55.83 percent of his passes, and try to project them should he get into the 60 percent area, which I think he will this season. He threw for 3,640 yards. Tim Tebow was a distant second in the SEC at 2,895.  His touchdown (30) to interception (7) ratio was 4.28. Only Tebow (4.2) and Alabama’s Greg McElroy (4.25) were even close to that. He was seventh nationally in passing efficiency. Only one other SEC quarterback, Tebow at No. 1, was in the Top 10. The point is that last year was Mallett’s first in Bobby Petrino’s offense and he was able to put up those numbers. He is only going to get better. The only question I have is whether or not there will be any lingering effects from offseason foot surgery. I think Mallett can get into the Heisman Trophy race if he plays well in back-to-back games at Georgia (Sept. 18) and at home against Alabama (Sept. 25).

2. Greg McElroy, Alabama: I’m a big believer that great quarterbacks are not defined by what they do, but rather what they DON’T do. For Alabama’s national championship team of 2009, the senior from Texas was the perfect quarterback. While the offense was leaning on running back Mark Ingram, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy, McElroy was the model of efficiency. He completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 2,508 yards, 17 touchdowns and only four interceptions. His interception percentage of 1.23 (4 interceptions in 325 pass attempts) was the lowest in school history and the second lowest in SEC history (in 1995 Peyton Manning had only four interceptions in 380 passing attempts, 1.05 percent).

But what impressed me the most about McElroy is when he hit a lull in the middle of the season he just kept playing through the tough times and then finished strong. There is a reason that, dating back to his senior year in high school, he is 30-0 as a starting quarterback.

3. Jeremiah Masoli, Nathan Stanley, Ole Miss: Before Masoli becomes the starting quarterback at Ole Miss he has to first win the job from Nathan Stanley, who had it coming out of spring practice. But based on the numbers he put up last season at Oregon, you’d have to give Masoli a real shot at being the starter by the time the Rebels play their SEC opener against Vanderbilt on Sept. 18.

Masoli had 386 yards of total offense (222 passing, 164 rushing) in a 44-10 destruction of USC. He had 389 yards of total offense against Stanford and 345 yards against Arizona. Yeah, he was doing it against Pac-10 defenses but still, the guy can make plays. Let’s just say that Ole Miss thought it might have to put the “Wild Rebel” formation in mothballs because Dexter McCluster was gone. Nope. I think we’ll see a lot of that shotgun formation with Masoli.

4. Cameron Newton, Auburn:  The former Florida quarterback returns to the SEC after a stint at Blinn Junior College where he won a national championship and posted  3,488 yards of total offense and 38 touchdowns (22 pass, 16 run) in 2009. Newton is just a splendid athlete and has all of the physical tools to add yet another dimension to Gus Malzahn’s offense. Newton is surrounded by playmakers at running back, wide receiver and has a veteran offensive line in front of him. Now opposing defenses, which could ignore a running threat of 2009 quarterback Chris Todd, will have to watch Newton every time he carries the ball with his 6-6, 247-pound frame. The only question I have is whether or not Newton can quickly adjust to the speed of SEC defenses. I’m betting he will.

 5. Chris Relf, Tyler Russell, Mississippi State: Relf deserved the job coming out of spring practice because of the way he played at the end of last season, when he had 131 yards rushing in a big 41-24 win over Ole Miss. Relf was the better quarterback in the spring.

But at the end of last season I starting hearing that the best quarterback in camp was the guy they were redshirting, freshman Tyler Russell (6-5, 225). Both quarterbacks are going to play and when Russell comes off the bench the defensive coordinators are going to squirm in their seats a little. Dan Mullen was 5-7 in his first season in Starkville and there is no doubt that he is going to miss RB Anthony Dixon, who led the SEC in rushing per game (126.5)in 2009.  He will need both quarterbacks because after the opener with Memphis, the Bulldogs play Auburn, LSU, and Georgia in consecutive weeks. Then there is a non-conference game with Houston followed by a trip to Florida.

6. Jordan Jefferson, Jarrett Lee, LSU: I had a chance to meet Jefferson during SEC Media Days and was impressed by his poise. There is a lot of pressure on this kid to play well in 2010. If not, the heat could get turned up on a lot of people in Baton Rouge. We forget that Jefferson was just a sophomore in 2009 and, at 19 years, 12 days, was the second youngest quarterback to ever start a season opener at LSU (Y.A. Tittle was 25 days short of his 19th birthday when he started for LSU in 1944). Jefferson’s numbers really weren’t that bad. He completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 2,166 yards and had 17 touchdown passes against seven interceptions. But LSU simply had no running game to take the pressure off Jefferson. Lee will always be remembered for a brutal 2008 season when he threw 16 interceptions including six that were returned for touchdowns. I just get the feeling that Lee is not done playing yet. At some point this season he is going to get another chance.

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187 comments Add your comment

UGAY in the Papa Johns Bowl

August 3rd, 2010
10:15 am

I dont give a sh*t what any of you dawg fans say, but the ACC coastal is way harder then the SEC east! GT, VT, Mia, and UNC are way better then a top heavy fla. conference and a washed up uga and usc team. THWG F@GS!!!

dagnabit

August 3rd, 2010
10:17 am

I agree with the first comment, and Newton is going to be a headliner.

Gtax

August 3rd, 2010
10:19 am

(((( Nesbitt for Heismen ))))

((( 45 -42 )))

JB

August 3rd, 2010
10:20 am

Auburn folks, let me tell you something……As a Georgia fan all we have is coulda, shoulda, woulda, and we get hammered on here daily by Gators and Tide folks….You gotta do it on the field……Lip service doesn’t mean much in the SEC……I believe we are on the road to improving and I think you are……………..I would love to see us in the SEC Champ game…..Till we do, keep typing and clucking, it’s all we have…….

UGAY in the Papa Johns Bowl

August 3rd, 2010
10:26 am

Dawg bone- As if your bowl win was much better? Texas a@m in the famous “INDEPENDENCE BOWL”. I DONT THINK YOU HAVE ANY ROOM TO TALK ABOUT WHO’S BOWL GAME WAS BETTER.

Willie Wonka Dawg

August 3rd, 2010
10:26 am

I see that none of these QBs are in the Oompa Loompa club. UGA seems to have a good backup to their midget in Hutson Mason though.

Mike

August 3rd, 2010
10:27 am

In the SEC it’s Ryan Mallet, then a big dropoff to everyone else. He’s in a league by himself.

Jeff Sanchez

August 3rd, 2010
10:31 am

The War Chickens are talking lots of junk on this blog for a team that’s been beaten four in a row by the Dawgs (and were a miracle 4th down pass away from five in a row)

Stewie

August 3rd, 2010
10:32 am

HA! A Georgia fan calling another school’s fan base delusional? Now THAT’S hilarious! Puppy fans wrote the book on delusional, unless I missed something and they really did win those last 10 national championships. Bark on, puppies, bark on!

YELLOW HAMMER

August 3rd, 2010
10:33 am

listen georgia fans,dont talk bad about auburn they cant take it. you know that little brother syndrome ,

NCHawker

August 3rd, 2010
10:46 am

MR COLLEGE FOOTBALL ?? Why no coverage of the BigTen’s media days? Or are you really MR SEC

NCHawker

August 3rd, 2010
10:46 am

Enter your comments here

Golferdawg17

August 3rd, 2010
11:06 am

UGAY in the Papa John’s bowl, not only is your plug for the ACC out of place, it’s way off base. if I’m not mistaken, Georgia had its worst team in 10 years last year, and Tech had its best team in 10 years last year…no need to recount what happened when they met…in terms of football, the ACC doesn’t hold a candle to the SEC.

Jerry West

August 3rd, 2010
11:09 am

Tony,

I find it somewhat amazing that you have Jefferson dead last in the West, despite your acknowledging his age, lack of a running game, and that his numbers weren’t that bad. I figured with a full year of starting under his belt and a beefed up OL, he might trend upward. Hell I might even “conclude that he is not that far away from being a decent and productive SEC quarterback.”

But I guess that’s reserved for Stephen Garcia?

Justin

August 3rd, 2010
11:09 am

UGA will lead the nation in scoring this year.

H Back

August 3rd, 2010
11:13 am

Alabama will get torched this year. Defenses will stack 9 in the box to stop the run, and force the anemically poor skilled McElroy to pass to beat em’, which he can’t do. 5 losses for Alabama.

toole

August 3rd, 2010
11:17 am

I don’t have a criminal record, but I have not had steady employment for over a year. Guess if your a great athlete, then your criminal background does not matter. Two QB’s in the SEC West were arrested for stealing at their previous school. Did Masoli pay his way onto the Ole Miss campus with the money from the items he stole. How do we support giving a scholarship to Newton after he lost his at UF.
The NCAA should say you get one scholarship. If you want to transfer or get released due to academic or criminal reasons, then you have to pay your own way.

KR

August 3rd, 2010
11:17 am

My list:

1. McElroy – if you want to be the king, you have to beat the king. He’s the reigning BCS winning quarterback this year, so he’s at the top until someone knocks him off.

2. Jefferson – much more relevant playing time than the others in the field

3. Mallett – the press keeps telling me he’s good, so he must be. Maybe some day I’ll actually see all of this goodness.

4. Newton – a lot of success at the JUCO level, which may or may not translate in the SEC

5. Masoli – A lot of experience at this level in a different system and a different conference. It will be difficult for his teammates to think of him as anything other than a mercenary who is just out for himself

6. Reif – experience is good; experience in losing not so much.

Is it kickoff time yet? WAR EAGLE!

Aubie

August 3rd, 2010
11:20 am

Yo, chazzo, AU’s mascot is a Tiger.
Their rallying cry is “War Eagle.”
They are not the War Eagles.
Please govern yourself accordingly.

Dawg Bone

August 3rd, 2010
11:31 am

also the plainsmen, booger eaters, wannabees, little brothers, losers. The list of names goes on and on for the Barn lovers

The best is Losers!

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

August 3rd, 2010
11:35 am

i see McElroy as the top. Jury is still out on Masoli- i say no because he found some loophole in NCAA regulations and has a disturbing criminal past.

Auburn DVM

August 3rd, 2010
11:37 am

Aubie that was priceless!!!!

How2fish

August 3rd, 2010
11:38 am

Stewie ok war chicken lets deal in facts UGA 4-0 vs Auburn in a row..that’s a fact feather head.

WDE

August 3rd, 2010
11:41 am

DawgBone,

I say seems because I am NOT delusional. I said that the few signs that mean anything are that Auburn has reason to be excited. UGA on the other while, has been in a steady decline since 2005 (with the exception of the second half of 2007). Never has a team squandered so much recruiting advantages, talent, and matchups than Georgia in recent years. If you can honestly tell me that your coaching staff and program have any promise in the near future, then you are the only person here who is being unreasonable.

Gen Neyland

August 3rd, 2010
11:57 am

WDE : You’re trying to enact a civil debate with the dayshift version of the Unmedicated One, aka BuLLdawg…Ain’t no good, man.

Surfer

August 3rd, 2010
12:01 pm

Cam was not convicted of a crime nor was he kicked off the UF team. Night and day difference with his situation and the QB at Oregon/Ole miss. Those are the facts. UGA fans are the last ones that should comment on player arrests! How many times has UGA gone undefeated in the past 20 years? Auburn? AU is headed in the right direction with a solid staff and excellent recruiting. War Eagle!!

Christopher

August 3rd, 2010
12:03 pm

Your rankings are fair enough to start the season, but this is how they’ll end up:

1. Masoli
2. Mallett
3. McElroy
4. Lee
5. Newton
6. Relf

Police Observer

August 3rd, 2010
12:07 pm

UGA has the most arrest in the Richt era, but they are (or were) followed closely by FSU and Miami. Everywhere the saint goes……..
Florida 6th, Tennessee 8th.

Calibre Lake Dawg

August 3rd, 2010
12:19 pm

Atlanta Jackets

August 3rd, 2010
9:04 am
LOL! Now Mutts you’re QB isn’t even ranked! This is getting better and better! ROTFLMAO!! OMG!! LOL!!

Here’s the pizza money, now get off my porch! Burn.

How can you claim tech and be a complete moron
this is an article about the SEC west….the east was yesterday so you can read that you jackace!

Bama Bob

August 3rd, 2010
12:25 pm

Mallet is the best QB in the division and it isn’t close although I’m very happy with McElroy as he is a perfect fit for our offense and what we do. This is about an individual player and not how great their team is. 30 TDs and 7 Ints in his first season in the SEC playing for a mid level rebuilding program is impressive.

Masoli may be a fit to run the wild whatever but he will be playing for one of the worst qb coaches, Nutt not the puppet Rader, in all of college football. I think you will see Rose Bowl Masoli stats more often than his SC stats from last season.

root4au

August 3rd, 2010
12:37 pm

DawgBone…when was the last time UGA has gone undefeated in the SEC…Bet you are thankful for Hershey or you guys would have never won anything..

Dawgfan0711

August 3rd, 2010
12:42 pm

UGAY in the Papa Johns Bowl –Thats why Georgia has beaten GT eight out of 9, right?? I believe your so called ” tough ACC” gets mopped up by the SEC big boys every year. I believe on the same weekend last year UGA whipped GT, South Carolina whipped Clemson. UGA and USC were far from the best we had in the SEC but they were still able to whip the best the ACC had to offer. You can’t pull facts from anywhere to back up your dumba** statements.

Bryant

August 3rd, 2010
12:43 pm

Frank and H Back what have you been smoking fellas? Bama not in top 20, Bama will lose five games? It bothers me to think you guys can walk the streets with the rest of us. We have lost only two of our last twenty nine games! Our offense is going to be much better. Consider this, the defending Heisman trophy winner is the second best running back on our team. The QB that is 30 and 0 is the second best QB on our team. As I have told you folks many times in the past dont hate the player hate the game!! RTR

Wooo Pig!

August 3rd, 2010
12:51 pm

Bottom line, Mallett is #1 in the west. McElroy won the national championship..but he did that behind Mark Ingram and a great GREAT defense. Jefferson….well..don’t you think a great QB would know that with one second left..you CAN’T spike the ball to stop the clock. (Still laughing about that one). Masoli is new to the SEC..he may be able to run Wildcat or Wild Rebel or whatever they call it..but he is going to get stroked in the SEC. Anyone past those aren’t even worth noting.

TigaLova

August 3rd, 2010
12:53 pm

hey Aubies….are you a bird or a cat….make up your friggin mind.

and please tell me how the weak LSU team with the last ranked QB in the division simply annihilated the powerful aubie, whatever you are…31-10, and oh btw, allbarn scored on the last play of the game on 4th down to get to 10 points…..and you think a new qb and some new freshman (you fail to notice that LSU even recruited a higher ranked class than Allbarn again) are going to make up basically a 28 point difference.
your team is so weak up front that our weak team last year murdered you…..and believe me LSU is a much bigger, stronger, and better football team than last year…….but yet you idiots think you are the only team that improves. Even your home team and cheating refs will save you this year….LSU will crush you for the 4th time in a row.

Dunwoody Tide

August 3rd, 2010
12:54 pm

At QB there is individual statistics and then there is leadership. When you rank QBs winning is the real measurement. I’ll take McElroy over the rest. Bama also has the best backup in AJ. He’s probably better that most other starting QBs in the SEC. RTR

Wooo Pig!

August 3rd, 2010
12:59 pm

Dunwoody, Obviously you have never seen Tyler Wilson at Arkansas play. He is just as good as Mallett and almost won the starting job from him before the season last year. As for McElroy…tossing it up and Julio Jones coming down with it does not make a good QB. It makes for a good wide reciever.

LSU Fan

August 3rd, 2010
12:59 pm

Well said TigaLova

4 in a row over ALL BARN COMIN UP!!!

Double A

August 3rd, 2010
1:00 pm

Auburn was terrible once they started playing a real schedule last year. Lost 5 of their last 7. Gene Cheezit is a joke and will be fired by 2013.

Dunwoody Tide

August 3rd, 2010
1:03 pm

Wooo Pig. How did Mallett do against Georgia and Bama last year? Lost both games . . right?

Wooo Pig!

August 3rd, 2010
1:05 pm

It wasn’t Mallett that lost the games, it was our defense you boob.

gcs

August 3rd, 2010
1:08 pm

I wonder with Jeremiah Masoli and Cameron Newton around during SEC Media Days if any laptops went missing?

.

Dawg Bone

August 3rd, 2010
1:11 pm

Double A, thats what the barners call momentum!!!!! bwahahaha weagie weagie war dang eaglelsss

Atlanta Jackets

August 3rd, 2010
1:12 pm

Cally Lake Mutt, you can stuff it. I read the the article yesterday and I mistakenly thought this was an update based on our responses yesterday. That’s my mistake. Your mistake? Going to UGAg! LOL! Burn.

You just got owned.

Crimson

August 3rd, 2010
1:13 pm

It’s a three team race in the west. LSU, Arkansas and Bama. Two team race in the East with UGA and the Gators. Anything can happen and usually does.

coach chet

August 3rd, 2010
1:14 pm

Bulldogs shut up ! The party school of the US. The A D proved that. The rest of “YALL”, there is only 2 qb’s in the west that are impact players. If Mallet can stay sober he might finish with similar #’s from last year, otherwise they’ll drop like a rock. In key games he chocked up under pressure.(feet to big). Mr undefeated mcElroy (non factor) can’t take over a game. (with-out julio&ingram) he’s a big non-factor.

Gator fans lil johnnie will probably melt down 2-3 games this season. Get your cryin towels out. The tigers of A U ; led by Cammie Cam will be handing out unstoppable offensive #’s by the top O C in the country. Cam will be the best in the west (Mark My Word) WAR EAGLE! !

Atlanta Jackets

August 3rd, 2010
1:16 pm

Golfermutt… fail.

TigaLove… Are you talking about Nesbot? I don’t know that any of us understand what you are talking about. Fail.

Toilet Paper

August 3rd, 2010
1:16 pm

Over/under on brain toomers corner being rolled with that beautiful toilet paper decorations the rednecks in west georgia use?

I mean seriously, that is your tradition?

lol

Atlanta Jackets

August 3rd, 2010
1:17 pm

You get them chet! LOL! Mutts got burnt like bacon. ROTFLMGDAO!

CatFish

August 3rd, 2010
1:19 pm

I’m going to auBurn and I eat boogers. Im gonna get my sociologies degree likes the fooballers hollah at me.