On paper, it may appear that the SEC is a bit lacking at the quarterback position as we get set to head in to the 2015 season. Traditional powers like Auburn, Alabama and Georgia will all be replacing starters this year and it’s possible that the race to Atlanta could depend on experience at quarterback. Let’s take a look at the top five returning SEC quarterbacks that will likely make the biggest impacts for their teams this season.
1. Dak Prescott (Mississippi State)
Prescott returns to Starkville after setting 12 school records last season and is a legitimate Heisman candidate in 2015. He was able to rack up an astronomical 4,470 yards in total offense a year ago and it is clear that the Bulldogs will go as far as #15 will take them this season. Prescott will have less talent surrounding him but he is an extremely confident player that has already taken Mississippi State to a #1 national ranking, so it will be interesting to see what he has up his sleeve for a sequel.
2. Joshua Dobbs (Tennessee)
Dobbs enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame in 2014 after taking over the reigns for injured quarterback Justin Worley mid-season. Dobbs is an extremely versatile and smart player that produced 17 total touchdowns in limited starts last year. Hopes are certainly high in Knoxville and if the Volunteers are going to compete for an SEC East title, Dobbs and the Tennessee offense will have to continue to light up the scoreboard in 2015. Don’t be surprised if you see Dobbs’ name mentioned as a Heisman candidate as the season progresses.
3. Kyle Allen (Texas A&M)
Allen was thrust in to action last year as a true freshman after previous starter Kenny Hill was suspended. Allen’s confidence certainly grew with each start and he finished the season with a 294 yard passing performance in the Liberty Bowl against West Virginia which earned him MVP honors. Allen will have a plethora of receivers to throw to in 2015 including the ultra-talented Speedy Noil and veteran Josh Reynolds. Texas A&M has struggled the past two seasons on the defensive side of the ball, and any improvement in that regard is going to put A&M in a position to win double-digit games this year.
4. Patrick Towles (Kentucky)
Wildcat fans believe that this could be the year that the team returns to its first bowl game since 2011, and with a big, prototypical quarterback in Patrick Towles at the helm, this is certainly a possibility. Kentucky started 5-1 a season ago but dropped its final six games to finish yet another disappointing season. Towles threw for 2,718 yards last season and added 14 touchdown passes to his resume. 4-star backup Drew Barker will likely be breathing down Towles’ neck all year for playing time so it’s certainly going to be a “make or break” type campaign for the 6’5, 241 pound quarterback from Fort Thomas.
5. Maty Mauk (Missouri)
Despite struggling at times during the 2014 season, Maty Mauk remains a pivotal part of Missouri’s success. His completion percentage will need to improve on the 52% that he produced a year ago, but there is no denying Mauk’s 14-4 record as a starting quarterback. He has played a very important role in Mizzou’s back-to-back SEC East titles and has slimmed down a little bit in the off-season which should make him an even more dangerous runner. Maty is an extremely resilient player and has earned the respect of the Missouri coaching staff and his teammates alike. He did throw for over 2,600 yards and 25 touchdowns last season, and he will need to build off of that if Missouri is going to three-peat in the east.