SEC quarterbacks: Who's rising, falling, holding steady

jkendall@thestate.comApril 16, 2013 

South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (14)

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

Spring football practice is over for most SEC schools, so here’s a look at how the quarterback position shapes up for each team.

RISING

LSU: Zach Mettenberger

He has a new coordinator in former NFL coach Cam Cameron, and the Tigers threw it a lot this spring. Adding a passing game to that run game would be scary.

FLORIDA: Jeff Driskel

The Gators coaches praised his development after spring practice. He should be better in his second year under offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

OLE MISS: Bo Wallace

The Rebels are looking for a backup quarterback as Wallace sits out following shoulder surgery. He passed for 2,994 yards last year.

SET IN STONE

ALABAMA: A.J. McCarron

With apologies to Jadeveon Clowney (and Johnny Manziel), the SEC’s reigning leader in passing efficiency (30 TDs, 3 INTs last year) is the Heisman frontrunner.

GEORGIA: Aaron Murray

If McCarron is not the QB to watch in the SEC, then it’s Murray, who has 10,091 career passing yards and will become the conference’s all-time leader barring injury.

USC: Connor Shaw or Dylan Thompson

All signs are that Shaw will return from missing spring practice and take the first snaps of the 2013 season. How many Thompson gets is the bigger question.

TEXAS A&M: Johnny Manziel

What does the sophomore do for an encore after winning the Heisman ? He led the SEC in rushing (108.5 ypg) and was third in passing (285.1 ypg).

WHO KNOWS?

KENTUCKY: Jalen Whitlow or Maxwell Smith or Patrick Towles

With a new coach (Mark Stoops) in town, everybody gets a shot at the job. Whitlow did his best to win the job in spring practice and is the frontrunner.

AUBURN: Kiehl Frazier or Jonathan Wallace

It’s now or never for Frazier. He’s trying to hold off Wallace, and no frontrunner has been named.

ARKANSAS: Brandon Allen or Brandon Mitchell

Sophomore Allen is ahead of senior Mitchell with the spring game ahead. Mitchell, who has played WR, probably will change positions if he doesn’t win the job.

TENNESSEE: Justin Worley or Nathan Peterman

Worley is a Rock Hill native and former Gatorade national player of the year, but he will have to hold off redshirt freshman Peterman.

VANDERBILT: Austyn Carta-Samuels or Patton Robinette

Carta-Samuels, who worked with the starters in the spring game, has the edge, but Robinette will have another shot in the fall.

FALLING

MISSISSIPPI STATE: Tyler Russell

Which Russell shows up is the question for the Bulldogs. He threw 15 TDs during a 7-0 start last year but had nine TDs and seven INTs down the stretch.

MISSOURI: James Franklin

There were few bigger surprises in the SEC last year than the wilting of Franklin, who was injured early and never seemed to adapt to his new league. He seems to have held on to his job this spring, though.

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