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2014 SEC Preseason Football Position Rankings: Quarterbacks

In a measure that helped us all avoid the doldrums that are summer life without football, we – those that make up the SEC blogosphere here at SB Nation – voted once a week, ranking the position groups for SEC football as we counted down to the first weekend of the season. And as we usher in the first week of the glorious reign of the 2014 college football season, we finish up our summer series with a vote on the best field generals (QBs) in the SEC.

Kelvin Kuo-Oncea-USA TODAY Sport

Close your eyes for me for just a second.  Now imagine a world where college football is not just a dream or a mirrage in the desert of summer, but a reality.  Now open your eyes and bathe in the reality that the dream is real, and football is back!  But before we fully release you to your team's first game of 2014, we need to round out our summer series ranking the SEC's position groups.  With every other position group looked at, debated and debunked we now turn our attention to the field generals in the final week.  Here are the quarterback rankings from SB Nation's SEC bloggers.

PS – A big, big thanks to all of the blogs that participated in our voting this summer.  Make sure those of you who read this post go check them out at the links provided below.

Ballot Posts: And the Valley Shook, A Sea of Blue, Red Cup Rebellion

1. Auburn (Five First Place Votes, 1.3 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Nick Marshall
Our Thoughts:

-- Nick Marshall originally started out at Georgia as a defensive back, but in two years transitioned into Auburn's starting quarterback. By this point we know how he helped to lead Auburn to the National Championship game. He was a certified threat running the ball, but reportedly has improved his passing game. (A Sea of Blue)

-- Yeah, Nick Marshall isn't exactly the most polished passer, but he runs Auburn's offense well. Plus, Gus Malzahn has an even rarer luxury in this league at the moment: an experienced backup. Jeremy Johnson saw action in five games last season as a true freshman, and managed to complete 70 percent of his throws too. (And the Valley Shook)

-- Nick Marshall isn't asked to pass as often as some of the other quarterbacks who will be on this list, but when he does, he's quite efficient. He's also wonderful at running the read-option, having averaged 6.2 yards per carry last season. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- If Nick Marshall has truly improved his passing, then he could be a Heisman candidate. We'll see, though. (College and Magnolia)

-- Nick Marshall is the reason Auburn steals the top spot on my ballot. Kid is money in the bank. Very high on him. (Dawg Sports)

2. Ole Miss (4.0 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Bo Wallace
Our Thoughts:

-- Bo Wallace returns for his redshirt senior season. He's had a solid career so far, and should be able to capitalize on the offensive weapons around him. I'm going to presume he cuts down on his interceptions this season. (A Sea of Blue)

-- Dr. Bo cares not for your ball security. Sure, he's one of the most reckless players in the conference, but he also puts up lots of yards. He's not for the risk averse, but Ole Miss isn't good enough to play it conservative. He fits the bill perfectly. (And the Valley Shook)

-- Bo Wallace is on pace to break several of Eli Manning's passing records. He has already broken some. Last season saw him become much more efficient as a passer, though his yards per attempt dropped. Ole Miss fans hope to see a combination of years one and two of Wallace. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- Dr. Bo's hair will grow more and more disheveled with each and every frustrating loss. (Good Bull Hunting)

3. Missouri (4.2 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Maty Mauk
Our Thoughts:

-- Last year's back-up quarterback Maty Mauk saw quite a bit of action last season when Mizzou's starting QB went down. The freshman had a QB PR of 143 while throwing for 11 TDs and 2 INTs. Impressive for a freshman coming off the bench. Mizzou lost quite a bit of firepower, but I suspect Mauk will improve on last season even if it's not necessarily reflected in his stats. Mauk is a good QB, and it's a razor thin margin between him and the three or four quarterbacks above him. (A Sea of Blue)

-- Maty Mauk did a fine job in relief of James Franklin last season. Hell, some Mizzou fans seemed to think he could take over the starting gig. Losing the No. 1 target hurts, but the other, other Tigers have, for the most part, kept their spread passing game going through these transitions. (And the Valley Shook)

-- Maty Mauck is fun to watch. He's quick and can do nifty things with the ball. There's a decent chance I'm underranking him, but I doubt he proves me wrong since all the receivers have left Missouri. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- Maty Mauk was excellent in relief last year and should be a steadying force for Mizzou early in the season. (College and Magnolia)

4. Georgia (4.8 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Hutson Mason
Our Thoughts:

-- Aaron Murray has graduated and will be replaced by senior Hutson Mason who has patiently waited his turn. Mason will have arguably the SEC's best receivers and running backs at his finger tips. He's probably going to know the playbook better than the coaches too. (A Sea of Blue)

-- Mason has bide his time behind stud Aaron Murray, but always looked stellar in relief. In a tough spot, he took UGA to a couple of wins, playing efficiently vs. Kentucky and Georgia Tech. Vs. Nebraska, he passed the 300-yard barrier, though tossed a pick and watched his completion percentage crawl back down near 50%. UGA has talented skill guys around him, a quality OC with a track record of maximizing QB play and a veteran OL. Mason should be just fine, even if he's not Aaron Murray. (And the Valley Shook)

-- There's a decent chance Hutson Mason is good. In limited action, he has performed pretty well. Obviously replacing Aaron Murray is tough, but he isn't a bad quarterback. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- Hutson Mason sounds like an accounting or law firm. He's a pretty good QB, at least. UGA will be fine with him at the helm. (College and Magnolia)

-- I'm not sure whether Hutson Mason is more Joe Cox or D.J. Shockley entering his one and only season as the starter in Athens. I'd rather he just hand the ball to one of five talented tailbacks and never have to find out. (Dawg Sports)

-- Mark Richt will retain control for the most part. (Good Bull Hunting)

Maty Mauk

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

5. South Carolina (5.0 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Dylan Thompson
Our Thoughts:

-- Dylan Thompson has won some big games for South Carolina while backing up Connor Shaw. It's the senior's turn to shine, and he will be effective for the Gamecocks. (A Sea of Blue)

-- People have been asking for Thompson to see more PT for ages now. Now that he's a senior, he will finally get his shot. He's got some big play ability to him, averaging 8.4 YPA over the course of his career, which should play well for him in Spurrier's vertical attack. His efficiency looked improved last season, though he did toss 3 picks to 4 TDs, so if he's not able to cut down on the turnovers, that could be his demise. (And the Valley Shook)

-- Dylan Thompson has looked pretty good when given the chance. In limited action last season, he led the team to wins over UCF and Missouri. I'm anxious to see how he does as the full-time guy. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- Spurrier avoids an egging, gets a second 75-foot banner. (Good Bull Hunting)

6. MSU (5.5 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Dak Prescott
Our Thoughts:

-- I admit this may be too low of a ranking for some in the media's Heisman dark horse Dak Prescott. He seems like a smart, tough, leader but he wasn't great statistically last season. I'm sure Prescott will be improved this season, but his junior season in 2015 is when people should be on the look out. (A Sea of Blue)

-- I'm a big Dak Prescott fan. The concerns are definitely valid -- there's no question that he struggled in some of State's biggest games. But he's the perfect talent for Dan Mullen's offense, he has his best receiver back and, injury aside a solid line in front of him. He should produce. (And the Valley Shook)

-- Dak Prescott enters his first season as a full-time starter with lots of hype. He's a very good quarterback, and it will be interesting to see how he responds when he's the guy going against the league's top defenses. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- Dak Prescott is good, but I'm not sure if I'm buying all of the hype around him, just yet. (College and Magnolia)

-- A 58% completion rate and a 2:6 TD/INT ratio against ranked teams in 2013? Dak for Heisman!!!! (Dawg Sports)

7. Alabama (One First Place Vote, 6.17 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Jacob Coker, Blake Sims
Our Thoughts:

-- I don't know anything about Jacob Coker, but he received high praise from Florida State insiders and coaches last season while backing up Jameis Winston. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher says Coker will be Nick Saban's best quarterback since he's been at 'Bama. Or it could be largely unknown Blake Sims. I'll guess Coker will get the nod, and place him this high based on blind faith in Fisher's opinion of QBs and his history developing them. Watery, I know. (A Sea of Blue)

-- Cokersiah's Heisman campaign is on hold, as he wasn't able to wrestle the starting gig away from Blake Sims, who excelled as a clipboard holder in Tuscaloosa the past three seasons. Bama's best QBs are both young, and if either of them wind up playing, Bama's season likely went off the rails at some point. (And the Valley Shook)

-- I debated where to put Alabama. I've never seen Jacob Coker play. People say he's good. I have no way of knowing that. I just decided to put him here because he won't be asked to do too much, and the teams I'm ranking below him either have a terrible talent situation or rely too heavily on unproven players at quarterback. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- I have no clue what to make of this situation right now, and no one knows who the starter is. What's more, no one really knows if it's because both have been stellar or both have been mediocre and neither has separated themselves. Who really knows? (College and Magnolia)

-- I think Jacob Coker will be a very good QB, but I have little evidence to back that up. Nick Saban and I have that in common. (Dawg Sports)

-- Remember the last time Nick Saban lost 2 games to finish the season? (Good Bull Hunting)

8. Florida (7.0 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Jeff Driskel
Our Thoughts:

-- Jeff Driskel will sport the most wins of any active SEC QB this fall. I'm betting that he stays healthy (not assured), and flourishes under a new OC. He's always had the wheels, and if he can take advantage of a Roper system that has had success elsewhere, he could put up big numbers this season. (A Sea of Blue)

-- Well...Jeff Driskel's there, isn't he? Look, I know he was a five-star prospect, and I know that moving back to a spread offense should help him out, but the fact is that Driskel's never really been all that impressive, even before last year's big injury. Going to have to see him meet the hype before I believe it. (And the Valley Shook)

-- Jeff Driskell was highly recruited, but last season saw too many interceptions before he was lost for the year. He really just needs help from some of the players around him, and I'm not sure he'll get it. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- 2013 unhinged Gator fan: "Driskel will never be an SEC QB! We're better off with Murphy!" 2014 unhinged Gator fan: "We're bringing back experienced starter Jeff Driskel, SEC East rivals!" (Dawg Sports)

9. Texas A&M (8.7 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Kenny Hill, Kyle Allen
Our Thoughts:

-- Kenny Hill will be the starter after beating out former five star freshman Kyle Allen. I don't know much if anything about Hill, but he played pretty well in mop-up time last season. He apparently has been groomed for this moment. The offense's style and skill players will do him favors. (A Sea of Blue)

-- Two outstanding recruits will battle for the job, and Sumlin has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to choosing a rookie signal caller. I'm a lot more confident in the Aggies at this position than their West rivals. (And the Valley Shook)

-- Kevin Sumlin recently named Kenny Hill the starting quarterback in College Station. That's a little surprising in that Kyle Allen was so highly sought after, but I obviously have no idea how the two have looked in practice. Either way, it's an obvious step down from Manziel. (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- Fourth in the West would be a moral victory this year and no one knows more about moral victories than us. (Good Bull Hunting)

10. LSU (9.7 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Ronald Martin, Tre'Davious White
Our Thoughts:

-- Still no starting quarterback named in Baton Rouge. Last season Anthony Jennings helped LSU beat Arkansas coming off the bench, but his stats in the bowl game when Iowa had time to prepare weren't good. LSU's QB's will be able to mask any deficiencies by handing the ball off to their stable of excellent RBs. (A Sea of Blue)

-- About the best thing that can be said about Brandon Harris is how many QB's have fled the program since he has arrived. He hasn't played a snap, but the sign of his talent is that the upperclassmen didn't feel like they could compete for the job with him. (And the Valley Shook)

-- Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings continue to fight for the starting gig in Baton Rouge. Harris is a true freshman, and Anthony Jennings looked pretty bad last season. I don't think this position is going to work for Les Miles, but maybe he'll pull a rabbit out of his hat for the 70th consecutive time. (Red Cup Rebellion)

11. Tennessee (11.3 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Justin Worley
Our Thoughts:

-- The selection of Justin Worley as UT's starting QB appears...controversial. He'll have a lot of weapons around him, and with another season of experience will probably be better than last season. I'm tempted to rank him higher than Hill, but can't quite pull the trigger. (A Sea of Blue)

-- Justin Worley returns from injury, and none of the other QB's on the roster could take his job. That doesn't really bode well for the Vols. (And the Valley Shook)

-- Justin Worley. Meh. (Red Cup Rebellion)

12. Arkansas (11.8 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Brandon Allen
Our Thoughts:

-- Brandon Allen was injured most of last season, and I'll freely admit this ranking probably isn't fair to him. If I were to "buy low" in these rankings Allen would definitely be it. Being able to hand off to Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams may prevent us from ever accurately judging his abilities. (A Sea of Blue)

-- There is simply no excuse for a team blessed with this much rushing talent to be so pitiful in the passing game. None. (And the Valley Shook)

-- Arkansas "quarterbacks." (Red Cup Rebellion)

-- Brandon Allen was a perfectly serviceable QB last year and I'm sure he'll be fine, this year. (College and Magnolia)

-- A healthy Brandon Allen is probably a not totally disastrous Brandon Allen. (Dawg Sports)

-- Congratulations, you're not last! (Good Bull Hunting)

13. Kentucky (12.7 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Patrick Towles
Our Thoughts:

-- Patrick Towles will be the starter after a QB competition that probably began the last week or two last season. Towles should be fine, but will probably be inconsistent at the beginning of the season. He has high upside though, and I suspect his play will improve as the season progresses. (A Sea of Blue)

-- I'll give them the benefit of the talent doubt, as I think Patrick Towles can be surprisingly competent in his first year starting. He was a talented recruit with a lot of raw skills and should be able to produce some results in air-raid minded Neal Brown's offensive attack. (And the Valley Shook)

14. Vanderbilt (12.8 Average)

Returning Starters/Contributors: Patton Robinette, Stephen Rivers
Our Thoughts:

-- There's yet to be a starting quarterback named in Nashville. Sounds like there are several solid candidates though, but only one has any experience. He also wasn't great last season. I would agree this ranking is too low for Vandy what with their potential in Johnny McCray, and former NFL coaches running the offense. Yet, there are too many unknowns to rank them higher at the moment. (A Sea of Blue)

-- They take the biggest step back going from a very okay Austyn Carta-Samuels, to Stephen Rivers, who never took anything more than a couple emergency snaps at LSU, and was passed up multiple times by younger players in his time in Baton Rouge. Could be a rough year in Nashville. (And the Valley Shook)

-- Derek Mason and Vanderbilt should go with Jonathan McCrary. He's young and could be molded over time to be what Mason wants. Vanderbilt's going to lose a lot of games anyway. might as well invest in the future. (Red Cup Rebellion)

Hutson Mason

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports