If you ask anyone with knowledge of the game of football they will all likely say the most important position on the field is the quarterback. This is the one position, along with the center, that you are guaranteed to touch the football every possession on offense. That makes the quarterbacks’ job very important and holds all the keys to success for the rest of the ten guys on offense.
The question of what makes a perfect quarterback is always bounced around and debated. The words “perfect quarterback” I guess is unrealistic, but there are some key attributes that help make a quarterback “perfect” to some. It is an imperfect science to say who is better than who at times, but using the all famous “eye test” goes a long ways in determining who are the best quarterbacks.
I bring this topic up because I decided to rank the seven quarterbacks in the SEC West. The SEC West lost a lot of great college quarterbacks at the end of the 2013 season. The SEC West is loaded with new faces and I wanted to help introduce them to everyone and rank them as we enter the 2014 season.
I will rank the seven quarterbacks in the SEC West going from seven to one. Here is how I see the 2014 season playing out in terms of what quarterbacks will be the best of the best.
7. Brandon Allen (Arkansas Razorbacks)
I feel Allen needs to make some major improvements from a 2013 season where he led his team to a 3-9 record. He passed for 1,552 yards and had a completion percentage under 50%. This will not get the job done and must be better if the Razorbacks hope to return to top level contention.
6. Kyle Allen (Texas A&M Aggies)
The quarterback that has the tough task of replacing and following Johnny Manziel is Kyle Allen. Allen is a freshman that is highly thought of from his high school days. He was the number one ranked quarterback in the eyes of most evaluators coming out of high school. He is perfect for the spread offense that Head Coach Kevin Sumlin runs. Allen had over 8,000 passing yards and 86 touchdowns in high school. He can be a great one, but may need a few months to catch up to the game speed of college football.
5. Brandon Harris (LSU Tigers)
Brandon Harris will be replacing Zach Mettenberger in 2014. Harris will be competing with Anthony Jennings for the starting job, but is the likely favorite to be LSU’s 2014 opening day starter. He has mobility, unlike Mettenberger had, and could return LSU back to their more tradition run first offense. He needs to work on his accuracy and pocket presence, but he could be a special quarterback if he matures in 2014. He lands at number five on our list, but could easily rise if he lives up to his promise this coming year.
4. Dak Prescott (Mississippi State Bulldogs)
Dak Prescott of the Mississippi State Bulldogs came on the scene last year after he took the starting job from Tyler Russell. Russell will no longer be looking over the shoulder of Prescott and this should help build the confidence of Prescott going into the 2014 season. Prescott has a nice mix of the run and pass game that fits Head Coach Dan Mullen’s offense perfectly. He is still learning because his lack of starting ability, but he has all the physical tools to be a top five quarterback in not just the SEC West, but the entire SEC.
3. Bo Wallace (Mississippi Rebels)
Bo Wallace arrived to Ole Miss as one of the best junior college quarterbacks. He has had some struggles early in his career, but as he enters his senior season in 2014 the time to shine is now. The offense that Ole Miss runs helps Wallace in his production, but he just hasn’t been able to put them over the top just yet. He has that chance this year as he is one of the most experienced quarterbacks returning in the SEC. He can beat defenses with his arm and legs, which is the biggest threat to opposing defenses. Wallace has his high moments and low moments, but he comes in at number three on our list based on experience more than anything.
2. Jacob Coker (Alabama Crimson Tide)
Jacob Coker will be a starting quarterback in college for the first time in his career when the 2014 season starts. This, however, would be hard to tell based on the hype and talk he has had thrown upon him. He was beat out last year by eventual Heisman Trophy winner and national champion quarterback Jameis Winston of Florida State. Coker decided to transfer to Alabama after realizing Winston was an all-time special talent. Coker will be replacing one of the best quarterbacks in Alabama history A.J. McCarron. In the preseason Head Coach Jimbo Fisher of Florida State told reporters that Coker is already the best quarterback Nick Saban has ever had at Alabama without him even taking a snap. This is high praise, but the physical attributes that Coker has are impressive and could keep Alabama at the top of the SEC West along with Auburn. He has to prove it on the field first, but if he lives up to the hype he could easily be number one on this list.
1. Nick Marshall (Auburn Tigers)
Coming in at number one on our list of the best quarterbacks in the SEC West is Nick Marshall quarterback of the 2013 SEC champions the Auburn Tigers. Marshall has the perfect mix of speed, decision making and just enough accuracy to make this offense run to perfection. Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn is well known for his hurry up spread attack offense and the engine that keeps it going is Marshall. Marshall is expected to be even better in 2014 after having an entire offseason to learn the offense. I know, this sounds scary that Marshall could be even more explosive, but that could easily be the case in 2014. This will be the first time Malzahn in his college coaching career will have his quarterback returning for his second season. I expect Marshall and Auburn to be just as good, if not even better, in 2014. Marshall was 13 seconds away from leading Auburn to a national title and that helps lands him number one on our list of best quarterbacks in the SEC West.