After yesterday’s look in to the quarterback situations at ACC and Big Ten schools, we continue by checking in with the Big East and SEC. The Big East will be especially relevant to the many Mountaineer fans that have made their way to Baltimore and the SEC is just the best conference in America. For those local fanatics I’ve included the QB depth chart for Morgan and Towson.
Starter 2nd String
West Virginia- Jarrett Brown Sr. Coley White Fr.
It’s nice to see the 5th year senior Brown, who has contributed in some big games, finally get his shot. If he can take the reins and even remotely replace Pat White, then WVU will once again be one of the favorites to take the conference title. If the name of the backup sounds familiar, it should. He is Pat White’s brother.
Rutgers- Domenic Natale Sr. Jabu Lovelace Sr.
Rutgers has a big time recruit , Tom Savage, coming in this year, and he WILL be the future for them. This year though, coach Greg Shiano is going to go with experience and let seniors Natale and Lovelave compete for the job through the early fall. If they falter though, expect to see Savage.
Pittsburgh- Bill Stull Sr. Pat Bostick Jr.
Pitt fans are not particularly pleased with the quarterback play of Bill Stull. He only threw 9 TD passes last season with10 INT’s. It didn’t help that he finished the season with a 7 for 24 outing in the Sun Bowl as the Panthers lost to Oregon St. 3 to nothing. Yes 3-0 and it wasn’t a baseball game. The only problem for the Panther faithful is that they don’t like Bostick either. He played some last season and had a 1-4 TD to INT ratio. There will probably be a lot of grumbling at Heinz Field on Saturdays, as far as QB play is concerned.
Syracuse- Ryan Nassib Fr. Greg Paulus Sr.
Nassib was named the starter after spring practice, but if I were him I wouldn’t get too comfortable. I don’t think Syracuse brought Paulus in a few weeks later just to sit behind a freshman in his only year of eligibility. It will be an interesting experiment at Syracuse, but guys like Chris Weinke have excelled after taking years off, so why not Paulus.
Connecticut- Zach Frazer Jr. Cody Endres So.
Notre Dame transfer Frazer won the job in spring drills. The UConn staff is very comfortable with him since he started a few games last season. He will need to improve on his decision making that led to six interceptions in his limited time. The UConn offense will probably open up a little no matter who is under center, now that first round draftpick RB Donald Brown is gone.
South Florida- Matt Grothe Sr. BJ Daniels Fr.
Senior Grothe has been an important figure in the ascension of the Bulls into the top echelon of the Big East. You know he would like to go out in style with a Big East championship and a BCS bowl bid. He passed for 3,000 yards and ran for 600, so there isn’t much negative to say. The one place improvement is possible is he needs to throw less interceptions on the road. That has been his Achilles heel over the years.
Cincinnati- Tony Pike Sr. Zach Collaros So.
The Bearcats went through a few QB’s last season and finally settled on Pike. He rewarded them with a trip to the Orange Bowl. The gutsy Pike would like to book a repeat trip in his senior season.
Louisville- Justin Burke Jr. Adam Froman Jr.
For full disclosure I will admit that I am a UofL alum. We have had a great history of college QB’s. They may not have been great pros but Jay Gruden, Browning Nagle, Jeff Brohm, Chris Redman, Dave Ragone, Stefan LeFors, and Brian Brohm were all excellent signal callers at the collegiate level. We hope that NC State transfer Justin Burke is the next to join that list. If we are to come back after a couple of down seasons, he will have to. Burke is the 9th leading passer in KY high school history and left NC State after a coaching change brought a different offense. Not only do I hope Burke excels; I’m sure that Coach Kragthorpe, who is on a very hot seat, feels the same way. If Burke falters, JC All-American Adam Froman, has the next shot.
1-AA (or FCS)
Starter 2nd String
Morgan St.- Carlton Jackson Sr. Johnathan Davis So.
Jackson’s stats (2008)- 58/112 for 742 yards 5 TD’s 6 INT’s
104 yards rushing
Towson- Blair Peterson So. Brian Potts Fr.
This competition has yet to be decided. Based on a slightly more impressive spring game; sophomore Peterson has the edge to replace Sean Schaefer, but it is far from over.
Starter 2nd String
LSU- Jordan Jefferson So. Russell Shepard Fr.
As bad as Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch played last year, the Tigers would probably have turned to true freshman Russell Shepard immediately. Instead Jordan Jefferson came on for the last two games of the season last year and threw for over 400 yards and 4 TD’s and impressed the coaching staff. Therefore top 10 recruit Shepard will watch from the sidelines, at least at first.
Arkansas- Ryan Mallett So. Tyler Wilson Fr.
The Michigan transfer Mallett will be inserted into Coach Petrino’s high octane offense. Just like Brian Brohm at Louisville, Mallett is the prototypical QB for the Razorbacks pro style offense. Mallett threw for almost a thousand yards and 7 TD’s as a freshman at Michigan and will be expected to put up big numbers in Fayetteville.
Alabama- Greg McElroy Jr. Star Jackson Fr.
Star Jackson is expected to be a star for the Crimson Tide eventually, but for now McElroy will take the reins for Nick Saban’s nationally ranked team. McElroy has the experience from being the back-up the last two seasons , but he has only thrown 20 passes in that time. Some feel he could be better than John P. Wilson, if so Alabama could be even better this year.
Auburn- Neil Caudle Jr. Kodi Burns Jr.
This is essentially a three man race when you include Chris Todd in the mix. With offensive guru Gus Malzahn taking over as OC, all will be given a fair shot to win the job. Burns and Todd got the most playing time last season, but both threw for more INT’s than TD’s. Caudle has the better arm for Malzahn’s pass happy offense, which is why he has a slight lead coming out of spring ball.
Mississippi St.- Tyson Lee Sr. Chris Relf So.
Tyson Lee is an exciting QB that threw for over 1500 yards and 7 TD’s after finally getting his chance midway through last year. His main competition Wesley Carroll has transferred leaving Relf as the backup. Who really excites the Bulldogs fans is new coach Dan Mullen’s first big recruit. That would be Mississippi Mr.Football Tyler Russell.
Mississippi- Jevan Snead Jr. Nathan Stanley Fr.
After transferring from Texas, Snead made the most of his new opportunity. He threw for 2800 yards and 26 TD’s; and he led Mississippi to a 9-4 record, a Cotton Bowl win, and a victory over Florida. Many believe he will be drafted higher than Tim Tebow. If something unfortunate happened freshman Stanley and senior Billy Tapp are vying to be the backup.
Tennessee- Johnathan Crompton Sr. Nick Stephens Jr.
This race has not been fully decided. It got a lot clearer when BJ Coleman transferred after spring practice. Crompton and Stephens played about equal minutes last season and played equally mediocre football. Lane Kiffin expects much more than 8 TD’s, 9 INT’s, and a 49% completion percentage from the QB position this year. Crompton looks to get the first crack, but the leash will not be long.
Georgia- Joe Cox Sr. Logan Gray So.
Joe Cox has patiently waited in the wings for Matthew Stafford to go pro. This is his year and he still has a great supporting cast, capable of winning the SEC. It will be his only one so expect him to make the most of it. He has already thrown for 5 TD’s in his Georgia career and Mark Richt expects it to be many more this season. Watch out for super recruit Aaron Murray to take over next year.
Florida- Tim Tebow Sr. John Brantley So.
What more can you say about Tim Tebow. He will be looking to contribute to his third national championship and get his second Heisman trophy. Last year he only threw for 30 touchdowns while committing just 4 interceptions. He threw for 2746 yards and ran for another 673 with 12 TD’s. He is a college football machine. By the way, the coaches love Brantley’s arm. So even with an injury to Tebow, Florida will still be tough.
S. Carolina- Stephen Garcia So. Reid McCollum Fr.
Garcia has been talked about at South Carolina for what seems decades. Now he finally will get to show his wares on the field as the main man. Playing QB for Steve Spurrier is never easy and Garcia’s off the field problems have made his time in Columbia even more difficult. No one though expects Garcia not to blossom this year. He threw for 800 yards and 6 TD’s last year. If he is to finally push the Gamecocks to the next level. much more will be required.
Vanderbilt- Larry Smith So. Mackenzi Adams Sr.
Sophomore Smith finally got his chance to play in the bowl game last year and he did not disappoint. His victory over Boston College impressed the staff enough to make him the nominal starter going into this season, but it is far from over. Scrappy senior Adams could still win the job in the fall or take over if Smith falters in his first shot at the full-time gig. After finally making it back to a bowl game, the Commodore fans need solid play from this duo to not be one and done.
Kentucky- Mike Hartline Jr. Will Fidler Jr.
Lets see. Only 1666 yards and a 9-8 TD/INT ratio is not what is expected from the QB at Kentucky. That explains why Mike Hartline was benched for option style QB Randall Cobb late last season. Cobb has been moved to wide receiver and Hartline has a second chance. At 6’6″ Hartline has looked like a quarterback from the sidelines, but has not impressed on the field. To get UK to a fourth consecutive bowl game Hartline will need to mature or the Wildcat staff will look to Will Fidler, who was much improved this spring.