College Quarterbacks: SEC

The college football season officially starts on Aug. 24 with the Miami facing Florida to open the season. Texas A&M will play on Aug. 29, and the remaining SEC teams kick off on Aug. 31.  One of the most popular questions surrounding the start of football season is who will receive the starting quarterback honors. Starters and backups for each SEC team are going to be tackled in this edition of College Quarterbacks.

The No. 8 Florida Gators open the 2019-2020 football season Aug. 24, a full week before most of the teams will kick off their seasons. Sophomore Feleipe Franks will hold the starting quarterback spot, while redshirt junior Kyle Trask will fill the number two spot. Freshman Emory Jones is the third-string option.

The No. 12-ranked Texas A&M Aggies will face off against Texas State at home. The starting quarterback position will be held by Kellan Mond, who was named ESPN’s most important player in the CFP playoff chase. Mond’s backup quarterbacks will be Connor Blumrick, and then James Foster.

Next Saturday, the rest of the SEC teams will kick off their season play.  Alabama, coming in at No. 2 overall in the preseason polls, will have Tua Tagovalia in the starting quarterback position. Redshirt junior Mac Jones is in the second slot, and Tua’s younger brother Taulia Tagovalia and Paul Tyson the third-string signal-callers.

Number three ranked Georgia will play Vanderbilt for their season opener, and as expected, junior Jake Fromm will start. Stetson Bennett, the walk-on transfer returning to UGA and freshman D’wan Mathis are in the backup slots. Mathis had emergency brain surgery in May but is making a remarkable recovery. Vanderbilt has graduate transfer Riley Neal and junior Deuce Wallace on their roster, but no decision has been made as of yet.

The South Carolina Gamecocks will start senior Jake Bentley for their season opener Ryan Hilinski is penciled in as Bentley’s backup man.  Many rumors surrounded whether or not freshman Dakereon Joyner would leave South Carolina, but coaches and Bentley have stated Joyner is willing to do what it takes to help the Gamecocks this season.

The Tennessee Volunteers play Georgia State opening day, and as expected Jarrett Guarantano is the starting quarterback, with freshmen JT Shrout and Brian Maurer lined up behind him. Kasim Hill, a transfer from Maryland will sit out this season for eligibility but will be ready to play with the Vols next season.

As of Tuesday, Arkansas junior Ben Hicks beat out junior Nick Starkel for the coveted starting position. Hicks is a transfer student from SMU, and Starkel came to the team as a transfer from Texas A&M. The Missouri Tigers have former Clemson Tiger Kelly Bryant as their starting quarterback, and it’s a close call between Taylor Powers and Lindsey Scott Jr. for the backup spot.

Meanwhile, Auburn announced that true freshman Bo Nix will start over redshirt freshman, Joey Gatewood. It was stressed, however, Gatewood would be a contributing factor to a winning team, Nix just proved himself to be the stronger of the two for the starting spot in the season opener. Kentucky facing off against Toledo and is starting Terry Wilson Jr., with Sawyer Smith is his backup quarterback.

Rounding out the SEC are the remaining teams from the deep South. LSU will start with junior Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow, and sophomore Myles Brennan is in the second spot, with redshirt sophomore Andre Sale and freshman Jordan Loving as strong contenders to back up Burrow. The Mississippi State Bulldogs will use graduate transfer Tommy Stevens as their starting quarterback and Keytaon Thompson will be Stevens’ backup. Finally, closing out the conference, Ole Miss has Matt Corral in the first spot, and freshmen Grant Tisdale and John Rhys Plumlee are slated behind him.

The competition for these top spots started during spring training and continued into fall training in preparation for the upcoming season.  Many of the slated starters were expected to start, but depth charts have to be fluid to accommodate for future unforeseen circumstances, such as injury and entries into the “transfer portal.”


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