Top quarterbacks on the Florida schedule

The returning quarterbacks are tough to find on the Florida schedule. Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Missouri and South Carolina are all replacing quarterbacks heading into the season, and while the Gators won't have an easy schedule, the lack of experienced quarterbacks should help Florida.

1. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston: There's no debate at the top. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner returns after last season's national championship for the Seminoles. He won't have the same weapons around him, but Florida State returns Rashad Greene at receiver and Nick O'Leary at tight end. After that, it will have to be new faces that step up.

That is made a lot easier with a talent like Winston at quarterback. He threw for 4,057 yards, 40 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season, completing 66.9 percent of his passes with an efficiency rating of 184.8. The only thing that could slow Winston from making another run at the Heisman Trophy would be if off the field problems continue to creep up.

2. Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason: This could very well end up being too high for Mason, but he has a solid group of playmakers around him. After Aaron Murray tore his ACL in a win over Kentucky, Mason took over and had success to end the year. Including his stats against the Wildcats, Mason went 56-94 (59.6 percent) while throwing for 808 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

It should take some of the heat off Mason this season that he'll have Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall lining up at running back. Having one of the best one-two punches at running back in the country will take the pressure off Mason from having to carry the Georgia offense. When he does throw, the Bulldogs return most of their receiving threats from last season and get Michael Bennett healthy.

3. Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk: The Gators know all about Mauk. James Franklin was out when Florida traveled to Columbia last season, and Mauk showcased his big arm to hit multiple plays downfield in the passing game. He completed just 50 percent of his passes that day but still threw for 295 yards, adding one touchdown pass.

Mauk can create problems with his legs, too. He ran for 28 yards against the Gators last season and will continue to run the same spread offense that Franklin had success with when he was healthy last season. Florida gets Mauk in The Swamp, which should help, but he'll present a big challenge for the Gators this year.

4. Alabama quarterback Jacob Coker: Serving as the backup to Winston last season at Florida State, Coker is using the post-grad transfer rule to his advantage. While it's not set in stone that he will start for the Crimson Tide, he is likely the best bet to take over for A.J. McCarron. The 6-5, 230-pounder has the NFL build and showcased a big arm in limited time on the field for the Seminoles.

Similar to Mason, the pressure on Coker will be limited because of his supporting cast. Receiver Amari Cooper is among the best in the country at his position, and the two-headed monster of a backfield with Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon will be easy to lean on. No one expects Coker to come in and throw for 300+ yards a game, but he can manage this offense to be successful.

No clear answer at No. 5: I usually try to find the top five in these positional stories, but there's no obvious option here. It could be the winner of the LSU quarterback battle between true freshman Brandon Harris and sophomore Anthony Jennings. However, neither will put up big numbers as the Tigers will lean on a strong running game behind an experienced offensive line.

South Carolina's Dylan Thompson could be the fifth best on the schedule, especially when factoring in Steve Spurrier's magical touch with quarterbacks. He hasn't shown much in his time with the Gamecocks and now has to help the program as a starter.

The winner of the Tennessee and Vanderbilt quarterback jobs shouldn't factor into the list, and the smaller out of conference opponents don't have a quarterback that should scare the Gators.

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