Most 2013 SEC Quarterback Stars Have Departed

Where is Johnny Manziel when you need him? Or AJ McCarron or Zach Mettenberger or Aaron Murray or Connor Shaw? How about Davey O’Brien?

Well, okay. Not Davey O’Brien, even though he was the first player to win the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, and Walter Camp Award in the same year. And he led TCU to the national championship. That was in 1938. The Davey O’Brien Award is given to the nation’s best quarterback.

A year ago, all those Southeastern Conference quarterbacks – Manziel of Texas A&M, McCarron of Alabama, Mettenberger of LSU, Murray of Georgia, and Shaw of South Carolina – were on the Davey O’Brien Watch List. This year those high-profile quarterbacks have moved on, and the SEC seems to have a dearth of star quarterbacks.

Does that mean there won’t be good quarterbacks in the SEC this year? Hardly. And it could be a first year quarterback who steps to the top. Cam Newton was a one-year wonder at Auburn after being tossed out of Florida for stealing. He is one of four first-year quarterbacks who have led their team to the national championship game in the past five years and one of three who led his team to the crown.

The other winners were both Alabama quarterbacks, Greg McElroy in 2009 and A.J. McCarron in 2011. McCarron also quarterbacked a national championship Tide team in 2012.

Nick Marshall of Auburn was a first-year quarterback who got his team to the BCS Championship Game last year, but Marshall and the Tigers fell to another first-year quarterback, FSU’s Jameis Winston. Winston won the Davey O’Brien Award last year.

Although Nick Saban hasn’t handed him the reins yet, most expect transfer (from FSU) junior Jake Coker to be Alabama’s quarterback this year, and most pre-season polls have the Tide making the top four for this year’s College Football Playoff.

The Davey O’Brien watch list is out and five SEC quarterbacks are listed among the 39 on the list. One of them, Marshall, might be among the favorites, although he’ll have to overcome his recent run in with the law over possession of marijuana. The others are Jeff Driskel of Florida, Hutson Mason of Georgia, Dak Prescott of Mississippi State, and Bo Wallace of Ole Miss.

Wallace is the only returning SEC quarterback who ranked among the top seven in SEC passing yardage last year.

It will be interesting to see who is the Pre-Season All-SEC quarterback as selected by the media when the team is announced Thursday. More interesting, of course, will be which SEC quarterback is deemed best at the end of the 2014 season.

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