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

TampaGator

August 3rd, 2010
1:21 pm

West QBs overall better than the East QBs overall for sure. Overall…teams are better too. No one beats Bama this year I don’t think. They are too good. But you never know…that is why they play the game. How long to kickoff?

Wooo Pig!

August 3rd, 2010
1:21 pm

Coach Chet. You are a dumba**, I feel like everyone reading this will now lose valuable IQ…because of what you just said. Auburn sucks. The sooner you can accept that..the better.

CaseyMc2

August 3rd, 2010
1:22 pm

When Mallett shows to me he is worthy of being #1 in anything other than embarrising himself on national TV ,with Erin Andrews no less, then maybe I will acknowledge him as a QB top notch not so much. Masoli is in the SEC and with Ole Miss who is going to help him since they have not recruited so well over the last do not know how many years. McElroy could not do anything in and of himself last year if not for Ingram and Richardson they would not have been in the SEC CG let alone the BCS NCG. Cam Newton, who is that? have not seen or heard from him in the SEC! Relf same here who is he and where did he come from? just another name like all the rest on this list to keep from putting Jordon Jefferson at the top of the list.
By the time tis year is over there will be no mistake who belongs at the top of that list. Not only do you have to have the make-up of a QB you need a supporting cast in which there is no one else in the Conference that has the supporting cast LSU has. It will all come together this year and yall are going to say, I did not see that coming! WOW!
I Say! Go Tigers! Go Tigers!

Wooo Pig!

August 3rd, 2010
1:27 pm

Casey MC, Once again..when you have a QB that seems to think it’s acceptable to spike the ball with one second left. You don’t have a top notch QB. What YOU have is an LSU team that is spiraling down and down and your just in the denial stage. Trust me when I say, Mallett made mistakes last year as does everyone their first year of starting. But this year he is a year older, has experience under his belt and LSU isn’t even going to come close to beating Arkansas this year.

Gut Check

August 3rd, 2010
1:29 pm

Hate to tell you coach chet, but Cammie is going to get lit up by the league this year. If this were an article about which QB is more likely to commit a felony, he’d be right up there with Masoli. If he’d stayed at Florida he’d just now be the back up maybe. Good luck with chump coach who lost 5 of his last 7 against real SEC teams and a backup QB. And quit crying about ‘04. It shows just what people think of the other school in the state when they go undefeated and still can’t get a title!!!!
ROLL FREAKIN’ TIDE ROLL BABY!!!!!

Gut Check

August 3rd, 2010
1:33 pm

To CaseyMc2:

You have a retard for a head coach that CLEARLY won with talent he inherited. Ole Miss game shows his handicap and his last 2 years shows lack of talent or more importantly, what to do with it. 8-5 again and Miles is promoted to Michigan and LSU goes back to mediocrity for another 30 yrs.

TigaLova

August 3rd, 2010
1:35 pm

TigaLova if you don’t mind jackets….and I am assuming that is yellerjackets……what a putrid team that is. Even our ‘rookie’ 18 yr old qb in his first game destroyed the best yeller jacket team in years.
I don’t know what you are talking about with the nesbot comment…it is you that no one comprehends. Try again yeller

Dawg Trainer

August 3rd, 2010
1:47 pm

OK, the Mississippi schools haven’t checked in yet here. Get to cracking, Rebs and Bulldogs!

But one thing DOES puzzle the Dawg Trainer. Tennessee can’t beat Auburn, Auburn can’t beat Georgia, yet Tennessee has mauled Georgia 3 out of the last 4 years. Such is life in the SEC.

coach chet

August 3rd, 2010
1:49 pm

Dear “Gut”; synonomous for your mid section, you can’t be praising a team that never got a holding call last year.Saban is playin golf with the officials I bet. Cam a felon? Don’t think so . By the way , he was the most talked about qb at the sec media days. (not your guy) mcElroy should be selling geico insurance on tv with that lame broad. That’s how uneventful he is.

All the true sports writers know Cam will break out this year including yall ‘bama’ Boys! Keep the jokes coming . The state is under seige. The top offensive player in the sec in dec. will go to Cam! Eat your heart out crimson turds! ! WAR EAGLE! !

CaseyMc2

August 3rd, 2010
1:49 pm

I am not going to call out anyone on this board that has NOT won anything over the last 6 or 7 years. When you do then you can claim to be in the league with the best teams in our league. LSU and Fla the only 2 schools with 2 BCS NC’s and Bama with 1. Loosers have only one thing to cling to to have any hope and that is statistics, statistics are for loosers because they do not have any trophies to show that they played a season and won, the real winners do.

Now for all this talk about LSU only having talent just gives yall something else to talk about besides all the BS that is coming out of the schools that can not recruite top notch talent they sit back and waite for the bad to mess up enough so they can take them in and think they finaly have a player that they can win a game or two for them. In order to have great talent you have to have a Coach that can bring them in to the school in order to have them play for you. At least LSU is not or have not had to go and pick up another team’s castoff’s in order to have a team to compete with and I am not saying competing for a title of any sort but just be able to field a team to play with.

RazorRed

August 3rd, 2010
1:55 pm

You Ole’ Miss fans are in la la land. Your new QB has not faced an SEC Defense. Your coach will take alll the spunk out of him within the next 30 days. It will not be long before you wake up and smell the roses and see that Nutt is not a good coach. You guys are thinking big season – It should be with the weak schedule you have – Just give Nutt time – He will destroy your season – I don’t care what other Arkansas Fans tell you – He lost us some very important games with his coaching and I am glad he is gone and that you have him. Be happy with our left over.

Devin

August 3rd, 2010
1:57 pm

UGAg is so overated they wont win any NCs and haven’t in many years only 3 wins against UF since 1990 what a joke, and LSU has a Head coach who has no clue what he’s doing.

cullmanauburnfan

August 3rd, 2010
1:57 pm

Who is this Dawg bone? You show about as much class as most of these Alabama fans on here. First of all Cameron Newton did not steal anything. There was never enough evidence to even bring charges and he was cleared of any wrong doing so get your facts straight before you start running your mouth. Tell us, how many UGA players have been arrested this year. Oh we do not want to discuss that huh.

Atticus

August 3rd, 2010
2:16 pm

What did Mallett do against the good defenses?

CaseyMc2

August 3rd, 2010
2:16 pm

It is easy to read about individuals in the paper or on TV by the media, but you do not know Miles or even know what is happening at LSU. There is not a Coach that does not make mistakes they all do the problem is when they fail to recognize the mistake was made then do nothing to correct it. All your comments about Miles was about one thing that happenedin the game that was Nationally televized so yall are jumping on the media’s band wagon and not even looking at what took place the following week against Arky where that same situation came up again and it was taken care of then LSU won that game because he did what was neccessary to correct the problem. Now because of that one mistake you are knocking a complete team for what took place that was not the players fault all they did was follow what their Coach said do. That is what they are supposed to do, but because of that one mistake that 19 year old kid has to take crap from yall and that is not fair.

All I can say it is taken care of and the only thing that will matter is the final score and it will not even be close. JJ has a full stable of RB’s to carry the ball and a full stable of WR’s to catch the balls that are thrown to them and an OL that is bigger, stronger and quicker to protect him with and to open up holes. The Defense will be bigger, stronger, quicker and faster to do what it takes to give the ball back to the offense.

We Are LSU! I Say! Go LSU! Go Togers!

Surfer

August 3rd, 2010
2:25 pm

Tiga/ManLova, you must have missed the news, AU had a higher ranked recruiting class than lswho. Oh, and thanks for the #1 player in LA, Trovon Reed. Look forward to seeing G. Robinson commit as well…….

Atlanta Jackets

August 3rd, 2010
2:28 pm

I still don’t see where this is just an SEC West ranking list. Where is the UGA QB? Oh yeah, no ranked! LMAO!!!!!!

Ahilq!

August 3rd, 2010
2:34 pm

Looking at the list, I can see why Tony would have Mallett at 1. The guy can sling it and if he stays healthy, he’ll make some big noise to challenge for the SEC West crown. Gotta hope the Ark D shows up, though. McElroy at no. 2 is understandable too. He just led an undefeated team to the national title. Duh. Ole Miss must need help at QB to go after Masoli. That move just puts an exclamation point on the type of coach Nutt is. All these dawg fans ripping Auburn and Newton are doing so based upon what’s happened on the field the last 4 years. However, this kid can play and with the O line as good, if not better, than uga’s in the SEC as well as playmakers like Adams and Fannin, they could surprise.

Could care less about the rest.

gdawginkalamazoo

August 3rd, 2010
2:41 pm

Atl Jacket, LMAO! You just don’t get it. Look at Barnhardt’s column from yesterday.

DP

August 3rd, 2010
2:41 pm

Casey Mc2, the clock management problems of Les Miles didn’t start with the Ole MIss debacle last year. In 2007 he lost track of time when he only needed to kick a field goal to win but was bailed out when his QB completed a touchdown pass to beat Auburn with 1 second left on the clock. In 2008 against Alabama with under a minute to play, and Alabama in position to kick a game winning field goal, Miles managed to burn 2 timeouts to stop the clock once. First he called a timeout, then when play was about to resume he unsuccessfully challenged the previous play, costing him a second timeout.

I hope Les Miles stays at LSU for a long time even though he’s a good recruiter. I am reminded of a quote from Bobby Knight after his team came back from a large deficit to beat LSU in the 1987 NCAA tournament. “I was worried about losing until I looked down the floor and saw Dale Brown. Then I knew we had a chance.”

Anonymous

August 3rd, 2010
2:46 pm

Congratulations to UGA for being voted the #1 party school in the nation!
Keep up the good work Dawgs!
Fight the good fight!

CatFish

August 3rd, 2010
2:49 pm

auburn sucks…………..
always has………………….
always will!

GATA

Aubie

August 3rd, 2010
2:49 pm

BTW:
Can’t WAIT for the October 13th visit from UGA!

Weagle,weagle, War Damn Eagle!!!!

CatFish

August 3rd, 2010
2:52 pm

auburn fans cry about recruiting rankings until they have a higher ranked class than someone else, then they shove it your face………..my god what a bunch of pansies

and trooper taylor is paying players along with the infamous reverend and pat dye.

tick, tick, tick……..boom

The Wiz Kid

August 3rd, 2010
2:53 pm

auburn does suck, i agree.

weagle weagle?

August 3rd, 2010
2:54 pm

bwahahahahahaha, what the hell is that, another battle cry? you guys got more cheap crap down there than the dollar store.

chazzo

August 3rd, 2010
2:54 pm

Has anyone noticed the guys Auburn has been pulling in??? they have a D-minded HC and a sharp O-coordinator. UGA and Bama had best be on their toes late in the season. (By the way, I am not an auburn fan. I am just saying they have been neglected as of late.)

1957

August 3rd, 2010
2:55 pm

National Champions

Neglected as of late

August 3rd, 2010
2:57 pm

= always irrelevent.

have you seen the better guys UGA and Bama have been pulling in with proven coaches…….please

auburn is third rate garbage

chazzco

August 3rd, 2010
2:58 pm

maybe I am, sorry.

chazzo

August 3rd, 2010
2:59 pm

CatFish,
We Dawg fans are quick to point out the overall record with UF to defend the fact that they have been kicking our arses for the last twenty years. I suggest that you look at the overall record with Auburn before you talk about how they have always sucked. Historically, auburn was a spoiler for UGA and vice versa. The oldest rivalry has been a little lob sided lately. Nobody, though, has been mentioning any of the things going on down there that peak my curiosity once in a while. To say the least they are usually a big, physical team.

chazzo

August 3rd, 2010
3:08 pm

And, to whoever of my Bulldawg faithful brethren who mentioned Auburn’s tackling ability: We really shouldn’t be talking when it comes to that category. For the last two seasons our D has jogged across the field waving at the ball carrier. Pathetic.

Atlanta Jackets

August 3rd, 2010
3:10 pm

Chazzo, you said lob sided. You are a moron of the first degree. And a fine mutt. Remind me to count my change when I pay you for the pizza. Burn!! LMAO!! Too easy.

By the way, some mutt pretended to be me earlier. Wanna be.

chazzo

August 3rd, 2010
3:16 pm

I am not sure that Mallet is the man. I am not trying to take anything away from him. I just question the amount of hype (just like I question the ease at which UF will apparently sweep the East.) Sure he is great and has big numbers, but so did that big kid at Kentucky several years back. Big numbers don’t always equate to numerous victories. The kid’s no Payton Manning. McElroy plays on an incredible team, and he is a smart player. I would have to put him at the #1 slot and Mallet at #2. When Mallet has some championships under his belt, I will concede that.

chazzo

August 3rd, 2010
3:19 pm

Atlanta Jackets,
You busted on Murray for not being ranked in the SEC West poll. I would watch who you are calling moron. But then you guys really don’t know much about athletics over there. By the way, any dweeb that calls someone out for spelling or grammar on a blog should shampoo Vince Dooley’s crotch.

chazzo

August 3rd, 2010
3:34 pm

Atlanta jackets,

I am sorry. Judging by your use of phrases like “LMAO,” you are probably a fifteen year old girl. Not much of a challenge to match wits with you. Guess we can move on.

POAD

August 3rd, 2010
3:34 pm

can somebody tell the last few SEC QBs taken in the first round? Tebow we will see. Stafford on a crappy team and not doing too much. Russell to the Radiers and is a bust already out of the league and arrested. The SEC ain’t the QB makers you think you are. JP wilson kept his jb with the Falcons because he was cheap and UGA’s DJ Shockley sucked and got to expensive. Payton is the GREATEST SEC QB and he couldn’t win a MNC at UT. WHo does Auburn, Miss State, Ole Miss, Arkansas, LSU, Vandy, Bama, UGA, or USC have in the NFL lighting up the charts?

chazzo

August 3rd, 2010
3:54 pm

Poad,
You make valid points, yet they lack substance. However, we have had our share of great College QBs in the SEC. Who are the great NFL QBs and where did they go to school? There are so few of them that are actually cut out for that job. An NFL QB is just a different animal, and being a great college QB is not necessarily a pre-requisite. I don’t think it is valid at all to try to discredit Manning because he didn’t get an NC at UT. Second question for you: How many pro successful pro QBs played on an NC winning college team?

Beast from the East

August 3rd, 2010
3:56 pm

McElroy should be listed #1, followed closedly by Mallett.
Jefferson should be #3. Tony, do you have something against the kid? How can you rate Newton ahead of him? He may do great at Auburn, but he may stink it up.
As for Masoli, who cares! I’d be irate if I was an Ole Miss fan for them to even consider bringing a felon on board. Let him go to Canada and play in the CFL.

chazzo

August 3rd, 2010
4:00 pm

Poad,

By the way:

“Fran Tarkenton played in 246 NFL regular season games, completed 3,686 out of 6,467 pass attempts, threw for 47,003 yards, threw 342 touchdown passes and 266 interceptions. Tarkenton appeared in nine Pro Bowl games, and won the MVP award in 1975.” http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/35424/top_five_nfl_quarterbacks_of_alltime_pg2.html?cat=14

Now let’s see… where did he play his college years?

Wait a second… I remember an Alabama guy named Joe Namath got a super bowl ring, too.

Beast from the East

August 3rd, 2010
4:00 pm

chazzo,
I agree. College QB’s and pro QB’s are just totally different. David Greene, Danny Wuerfel and Charile Ward are three that quiskly come to mind that had GREAT college careers but did not make it in the pros. It’s just apples and oranges.

Atlanta Jackets

August 3rd, 2010
4:14 pm

Sorry chazzo mutt if I confused you with my internet phrases. Maybe I need to spell them out for you, huh? Laughing Overly Loud!

Sorry, you must be 50 years old not to understand net-talk. No need to argue with my Dad. LOL! (sorry, see above for explanation).

Burn!

Paul in RDU

August 3rd, 2010
4:15 pm

POAD – Jason Campbell is in the NFL – he went to the Raiders in the off season, replacing Jamarcus Russell, after spending several years with the Redskins.

Gen Neyland

August 3rd, 2010
4:15 pm

Chazzo : ” Second question for you: How many pro successful pro QBs played on an NC winning college team?”… A zinger response worthy of applause…

gdawginkalamazoo

August 3rd, 2010
4:18 pm

Just a heads up to you LSU fans. Michigan just had Lloyd Carr vacate his office at U of M. So called “retired”. So if Les “tanks” this season at LSU and Rich Rod can’t produce more that 8 victories then you can bet that Les is moving North. That is unless U of M can lure Jimmy Harbaugh from Standford. By “tanks” I mean making some of the air head calls he has in the past couple of years and not developing the QB position like he should at a school like LSU.

chazzo

August 3rd, 2010
4:20 pm

Atlanta Jackets,
I wasn’t confused by the phrases. I just thought an apparently great mind such as yours would not rely on such trite expressions. Now, run along and clean your calculator, and no Wii until after dinner.

Paul in RDU

August 3rd, 2010
4:21 pm

I agree with Beast and chazzo. QB in college is completely different than QB in the pros. Of course, when I read the AJC blogs, some people seem to think that getting ready for the pros is what you need in a QB. I’d take David Greene over Stafford in college any day of the week.

Paul in RDU

August 3rd, 2010
4:22 pm

Dang chazzo – You are obviously familiar with Wii. I always spelled it WII until my 13 year old corrected me :-)

jumbeauxtiger

August 3rd, 2010
4:25 pm

Well said Beast at 3:56

DP:

“Casey Mc2, the clock management problems of Les Miles didn’t start with the Ole MIss debacle last year. In 2007 he lost track of time when he only needed to kick a field goal to win but was bailed out when his QB completed a touchdown pass to beat Auburn with 1 second left on the clock.”

Actually DP I was there and that was Matt Flynn’s fault. The play was signaled in with plenty of time to throw that pass and have time left for a fg. I watched in horror as Flynn screwed around in the huddle and lackadaisically brought the team to the line. It seemed like it took forever for him to snap the ball. Miles has made some mistakes but this one was not his.

jumbeauxtiger

August 3rd, 2010
4:30 pm

gdawginkalamazoo

August 3rd, 2010
4:18 pm
Just a heads up to you LSU fans. Michigan just had Lloyd Carr vacate his office at U of M. So called “retired”. So if Les “tanks” this season at LSU and Rich Rod can’t produce more that 8 victories then you can bet that Les is moving North.

The big boosters at LSU are one step ahead of you. They are prepared and I know who they will likely go after first if things don’t pan out this fall.