The SEC finally has its fair share of competent and rising quarterbacks. Guys like Alabama’s Jalen Hurts, Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham, South Carolina’s Jake Bentley and a handful others lead the way to a new era of signal-callers in the SEC.
While the conference has a talented group of quarterbacks, the SEC will also play a couple gifted signal callers as well. So here are the top-5 non-conference gun slingers the conference will face in 2017.
No. 5 Eric Dungey, Syracuse
SEC opponent: Sept. 23 at LSU
2016 statistics: 230/355 (64.8%) 2,679 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions
Dungey is considered one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC. However, health is a big issue for the junior, who is a perfect fit for head coach Dino Babers’ offensive scheme. He has battled concussion issues throughout his time with the Orange, but if he comes into Death Valley, the Tigers should be concerned.
The third-year starter is capable of making every throw in Syracuse’s HUNH offense. Not only is he a good passer, but Dungey is also able to hurt teams on the ground as well. He is quick footed and ran for 293 yards and six touchdowns in nine games last season.
No. 4 Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee State
SEC opponent: Sept. 2 vs. Vanderbilt
2016 statistics: 262/414 (63.3%) 3,233 yards, 31 touchdowns and seven interceptions
Stockstill’s 2016 season was cut short and he still put up ridiculous passing numbers.
Now, some may argue that Stockstill has been able to put up crazy statistics during his two years as starter because he is playing lesser competition. But Stockstill has proved that he can produced against the SEC before.
Last year, Middle Tennessee State took on two SEC opponents: Vanderbilt and Missouri. In those two games, Stockstill threw for 679 yards, seven touchdown and one interceptions combined. He also went 1-1 in those contests, defeated Missouri and lost to Vanderbilt.
No. 3 Josh Rosen, UCLA
SEC opponent: Sept. 3 vs. Texas A&M
2016 statistics: 137/231 (59.3%) 1,915 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions
Many scouts and experts believe that Rosen is one of the top prospects in next year’s NFL Draft. He has the prototypical size and arm strength to back up that claim.
Rosen is coming off surgery on his throwing shoulder. That injury cost him six games in 2016. Before that, Rosen has started all 19 games in Bruins career.
As a true freshman in 2015, Rosen threw for over 3,500 yards and 23 touchdowns. If he returns to his normal self in 2017, his and UCLA’s match-up against Texas A&M during Week 1 should be one of the better games of the opening weekend.
No. 2 Deondre Francois, Florida State
SEC opponent: Sept. 2 vs. Alabama, Nov. 25 at Florida
2016 statistics: 235/400 (58.8%) 3,350 yards, 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions
Francois played so well during his redshirt freshman season that he looks poised to become one of the next elite signal callers in college football.
At points last year, some Florida State fans thought maybe Francois wasn’t the future of the Seminoles’ football team. But as the season progressed, so did he.
Francois had exceptional outings against Miami, Florida and Michigan, all of whom possess top-tier defenses. He finished the 2017 as the nation’s top freshman passer. Francois also showed he could be deadly on the ground.
The 6-foot-2 signal caller could essentially be considered the ACC’s version of Alabama’s Jalen Hurts. Francois is expected to take the next step in 2017, and looks to begin that journey Week 1 against Hurts and the Crimson Tide.
No. 1 Lamar Jackson, Louisville
SEC opponent: Nov. 25 at Kentucky
2016 statistics: 230/409 (56.2%) 3,543 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions
What a shocker, right?
Jackson, the returning Heisman trophy winner, is a rare dual-threat quarterback. He is hands down the most dangerous player in all of college football in 2017. Jackson progressed so well from year one to year two at Louisville that he may continue to get better this upcoming season.
Kentucky shocked Jackson and the Cardinals last year. However, that would be hard to repeat in 2017.
Wilton Speight, Michigan
Jesse Ertz, Kansas State
Mike White, Western Kentucky