I think Tyler Wilson is the best quarterback in the SEC but here is what others think:
The Southeastern Conference possesses some of college football’s best quarterbacks, and plenty of youngsters ready to emerge. Here are my rankings of the signal callers headed into the season:
1. A.J. McCarron, Alabama, Jr.
McCarron tops the list, and looks to pick up where he left off in 2011 after he lead the Crimson Tide to an 11-1 regular-season record and a BCS title. McCarron commands an offense that will rely heavily on the run with running back Eddie Lacy. Lacy takes over for Heisman Trophy winner Trent Richardson.
If Lacy does his best Richardson impersonation and McCarron duplicates his 2,400 yard, 16 touchdowns, five interceptions and 66 percent completion percentage performance in 2011—while developing a young talented receiving corps—the Tide will be in the running for another crystal football in 2012.
2. Aaron Murray, Georgia, Jr.
Murray comes into 2012 at the top of many quarterback lists. Murray’s numbers jump out at you, with 3,149 yards and 35 touchdowns in 2011; make a strong case for the top spot, but his slightly less efficient 59 percent completion percentage and 14 interceptions last season have him in the number two spot here.
Nonetheless, Murray looks poised to lead Georgia to another SEC Championship appearance, and could easily be number one at season’s end.
3. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas, Sr.
Wilson had arguably a better 2011 statistically than both McCarron and Murray, with more yards than both, (3,638) fewer interceptions than Murray (6) and more touchdowns than McCarron (24).
The fact that Wilson loses his top two wide receivers from a year ago, senior Colbi Hamilton enters as the only returning upperclassman at that position with experience in the system, and Bobby Petrino’s firing in the middle of spring drills has Wilson’s standing in question. If Wilson overcomes these pitfalls he will challenge Murray for second on the list, if not McCarron for first by the end of 2012.
4. Tyler Bray, Tennessee, Jr.
Bray at No. 4 hinges on the return of Tennessee’s two-headed monster at wide receiver in the persons of juniors Justin Hunter and Da’Rick Rodgers in 2012. Hunter looked poised for a breakout season with Bray in 2011 connecting with Bray for 302 yards and two touchdowns through just two games, but an ACL injury against Florida derailed any chance of that. Rogers picked up the slack leading the SEC in the regular season with 67 receptions and 1,040 yards, and added nine touchdowns on the year.
Bray had injury problems of his own in 2011, a thumb injury sidelined him from October 8-November 19. Despite the injury, Bray threw for 1,983 yards, 17 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions in seven games. If Bray, Rodgers and Hunter stay healthy, look for big things from the Tennessee passing attack in 2012.
5. James Franklin, Missouri, Jr.
Missouri comes into the SEC with its starter on the shelf for the spring recovering from offseason shoulder surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. If healthy, Franklin looks to give SEC defenses fits with his dual threat ability.
In 2011, Franklin threw for 2,865 yards, 21 touchdowns. Franklin rushed for 981 yards and 15 touchdowns. If Franklin enters the season healthy, watch for the Tigers to challenge Georgia, and South Carolina in the SEC East.
6. Connor Shaw, South Carolina, Jr.
Shaw lands at No. 6 thanks to the departure of go-to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to the NFL and a lack of experience, just 9 starts. Shaw, however, boasts an 8-1 record as a starter, a bowl win and had 1,671 yards 15 touchdowns, eight interceptions in those starts.
Shaw could be the quarterback Head Coach Steve Spurrier has hoped for at South Carolina. It will be interesting to see if Spurrier pulls Shaw at any time if he struggles in 2012.