5. Jarrett Stidham – Sophomore – Auburn — The transfer from Baylor hasn’t seen the field in two years but that is not stopping high expectations for this dual threat quarterback. Stidham started three games for the Bears in 2015 with his last coming in November of that year. In those 3 games and 10 appearances overall, Stidham accumulated 1,265 yards passing on a 68.8 completion percentage while racking up 10 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Stidham tore up his own defense in the 2017 Auburn spring game by completing 16 of 20 passes for 267 yards.
4. Shea Patterson – Sophomore – Ole Miss — Despite the recent controversy involving ex-head coach Hugh Freeze, Patterson will have to deal with high expectations while learning a new offense under new offensive coordinator Phil Longo. Longo utilizes the Air Raid offense which will surely boost Patterson’s offensive numbers. Patterson will also have to deal with the upcoming sanctions related to ex-head coach Hugh Freeze but the NCAA will take some time to sort through this ordeal. Patterson started three games for the Rebels in 2016 and showed amazing promise. In those three games at Texas A&M, at Vanderbilt and at home against Mississippi State, Patterson completed 25 of 42 passes, 20 of 42 passes and 27 of 48 passes respectively for 338 yards, 222 yards and 320 yards. Patterson also added two touchdown passes in each game with three total interceptions. Add in the Air Raid system and another year of college football under his belt and Patterson is poised for a breakout year at Ole Miss.
3. Jacob Eason – Sophomore – Georgia — The sophomore signal caller will be entering his second season behind center for the Bulldogs and head coach Kirby Smart. In his first year, Eason went 8-5 in the second best conference in college football while throwing for 16 touchdowns, 8 interceptions and 2,430 yards. His completion percentage, sitting at 55.1%, is concerning because if it does not increase, his interceptions will or the Bulldogs offense will become stagnant as it was during times in the 2016 football season. Eason is also facing competition from fellow quarterback Jake Fromm. His first year was inconsistent with 211 yards in a loss to Tennessee followed by a dreadful 5-17, 29 yard performance against South Carolina and a 346 yard passing performance in a loss to Vanderbilt. Eason will have to balance higher expectations for his own performance and expectations for the Bulldog team which could prove tough for the 19 year old.
2. Jalen Hurts – Sophomore – Alabama — The sophomore Crimson Tide quarterback had a few monster games for Alabama and led the Tide to the national championship before falling to the Clemson Tigers. Hurts put on a show during the regular season by throwing for 2,780 yards, 23 touchdowns and 9 interceptions on a 62.8 completion percentage. The only loss of his freshman campaign came against the Tigers in the national championship game but he also showed holes in his armor against University of Washington in the semifinal. In his two playoff games, Hurts completed less than 50% of his passes (20-45) for only 188 yards, 1 touchdown and no interceptions. One of the best things for Hurts was that he was able to get the job done with his feet if he wasn’t able to get it done with his arm. He had over four 100+ rushing yard games with games of 146 rushing yards, 132 rushing yards, 114 rushing yards and 100 rushing yards coming against Ole Miss, Tennessee (3 rushing touchdowns), LSU and Mississippi State respectively. Overall, Hurts ran for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns. He will be a scary, scary weapon for Alabama during the 2017 season.
1. Austin Allen – Senior – Arkansas — The senior is ranked as the top SEC quarterback for his throwing prowess although a very strong case could be made for Hurts from Alabama. Allen enters the 2017 season with a lot proven and a lot to prove for the Razorbacks. Allen started 13 games in 2016 and threw for a conference leading 3,430 yards along with 25 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while completing 61.1 % of his passes. In 6 losses last year, Allen only threw for 7 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. If Allen, with another year of experience under his belt, is able to cut down on his interceptions against SEC defenses, he could lead Arkansas on an improbable run through SEC opponents. Allen ended the 2016 football season with two straight losses to Missouri and Virginia Tech while only throwing for three touchdowns and five interceptions. Allen has worked on limiting his turnovers in the off season and will come out firing darts for the Razorbacks in 2017.
6. Nick Fitzgerald — Mississippi State
7. Jake Bentley — South Carolina
8. Drew Lock — Missouri
9. Stephen Johnson — Kentucky
10. Danny Etling — LSU