Two from SEC on list of first-year QB’s who can win national title

Athlon Sports made a top-10 list earlier this week featuring first-year starting quarterbacks who can win a national title in 2016. Since 2009, at least one quarterback in the national championship game has been a first-year starter.

The winners include Jake Coker with Alabama last year, Cardale Jones with Ohio State in the College Football Playoff’s debut season, Florida State’s Jameis Winston in 2013, AJ McCarron with the Crimson Tide in 2011, Cam Newton and Auburn in 2010 and Greg McElroy with the now defending champion Tide back in 2009. Matt Flynn also won as a first-year starter with LSU over another first-year starter in Todd Boeckman in 2007.

On Athlon’s list for who can do the same in 2016, two from the SEC made the cut. Georgia’s Jacob Eason and one of Alabama’s trio of potential starting quarterbacks.

Here’s what Athlon Sports’ Steven Lassan said of Eason, who ranks at No. 8 on his list:

“It’s no secret Eason represents the future for new coach Kirby Smart. However, the future isn’t going to wait until 2017 or 2018 for the Bulldogs. Eason may not start the opener against North Carolina, but the guess here is the true freshman unseats Greyson Lambert for the starting nod early in the 2016 campaign. Eason was regarded as a five-star prospect and the No. 2 quarterback in the 247Sports Composite and enrolled in time to compete in spring practice.
“Eason’s right arm would provide a spark for a Georgia offense that ranked 10th in the SEC in passing last year. However, the question marks for the Bulldogs aren’t limited just to quarterback development. The offensive line needs to find the right mix, and there’s an overhauled front seven on defense. There’s a lot of pressure on Eason’s shoulders, but all of the tools are there to be one of the SEC’s top quarterbacks by the end of 2016.”
Topping all other players on Lassan’s list isn’t just one name, but three. Alabama’s Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett and David Cornwell appeared at No. 1:
“For the third year in a row, there’s a familiar theme surrounding Alabama’s offense entering fall practice. The Crimson Tide have uncertainty at quarterback once again, with four inexperienced options – Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett, David Cornwell and Jalen Hurts – battling for the starting nod. While Hurts enrolled early and competed in spring ball, Bateman, Barnett and Cornwell are considered the favorites to take the first snap.
“While this position has been a question mark at the start of the last two seasons, coordinator Lane Kiffin has pushed all of the right buttons. Blake Sims threw for 3,487 yards and 28 scores and led the Crimson Tide to the College Football Playoff in 2014. Jake Coker threw for 3,110 yards and 21 touchdowns last season and guided Alabama to a national championship over Clemson. Bateman has the most overall experience out of this trio (one start) and completed 37 of 52 passes for 291 yards last year. The guess here is Bateman starts the season, but the upside of Cornwell or Barnett may eventually unseat the junior.”
Eason is surely the most talented of any of the four SEC quarterbacks listed by Lassan, but first-year head coach Kirby Smart has said in the past that his team isn’t where it needs to be just yet. As far as the Crimson Tide are concerned, no matter who their starting signal caller ends up being, they will have a great shot at winning a title.
That just speaks to how talented Alabama is outside of the quarterback position.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *