It is no secret that the SEC has been rich at quarterback since the inception of college football. However, 2018 may just be the conference’s richest year. The talent is through the roof and full of superstars sure to make headlines week after week. So where does Mississippi State’s star signal caller Nick Fitzgerald amongst the top three at the position?
Whether it be Peyton Manning at Tennessee, Tim Tebow at Florida, Cam Newton at Auburn, and many more, this class is right up there. Like Tebow and Newton, Fitzgerald is a dual threat and a half, with unrivaled moxie and toughness. But how much of that will there be after such a catastrophic injury?
No. 1: Drew Lock, Mizzou
Lock is a show worth watching each and every time he takes the field. As a matter of fact, his 44 passing touchdowns to 13 interceptions led the nation. In addition, 242 completions on 419 attempts for 3,964 yards is no joke either. Like Fitzgerald, his experience will elevate the Tigers’ SEC stature.
Mizzou is an average team, but will be on the map in no time with a Lock led offense. Look for Lock to be atop the Heisman conversation early, as he will make the most of every on-field opportunity. Some quarterbacks just have a knack for the game. It cannot be explained, just admired, and Lock’s gift will be on full display.
The senior to be a headliner and fill the stat line with ease. While he may not be the modern day dual threat, his is Peyton Manning like, as his ability to stand in the pocket with toughness is second to none. He can read defenses and has is not afraid to change the play. In full, Lock is the real deal with all the tools to be the best in the business.
No. 2: Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
While the jury is still out on whether or not he will completely bounce back from injury, Fitzgerald’s work ethic and dedication is there. Mississippi State is preparing to boast its most loaded offense since the Dak Prescott era with Joe Moorhead at the helm, as Fitzgerald’s game is sure to skyrocket. Fitzgerald’s recovery process has been steady and he has shown a strong desire to return to form.
Given that he is a dual threat and/or modern day quarterback, Moorhead is the perfect coach, having worked with Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley. The two have a similar approach to the game and are willing leaders. Moorhead is a player’s coach and Fitzgerald will flourish off that alone.
When healthy, Fitzgerald is a one of a kind talent. Make no mistake that experience is also a plus. The senior will have his way and the Bulldogs will make an SEC statement per his expertise.
No. 3: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Almost every year, Alabama boasts a quarterback that injects flat out fear into the opposition. And this year, the national champs have a superstar in the making. Tua Tagovailoa, who replaced Jalen Hurts in one of the greatest championship games in history, threw for 166 crucial yards, having completed 14 of his 24 attempts, along with three touchdowns to one interception. He has proven to be no joke and has also made his name as a formidable dual threat, ultimately set to excel under the stewardship of Nick Saban, arguably college football’s greatest coach.
Given the circumstances, Tagovailoa lived up to the biggest challenge. He is in the perfect situation with the Tide and in prime position to lead Alabama to a second consecutive title. Expect big things from Tagovailoa, as he has elevated his ceiling that much higher.
Overall, each of the three mentioned above are due for a huge year. But as it pertains to Fitzgerald in particular, he is in the top three for a reason. Though the injury was as bad as it gets, Fitzgerald will be back. This year’s squad is on another level and he will be counted on.
Mississippi State is on their way and then some. That said, the Bulldogs will be a subject of intrigue, mainly due to one of the best in the game. Fitzgerald’s name is already known, but it will be mentioned that much more when the Mississippi State superstar gets back on the field.