October 4, 2012

Based on performance, not potential or NFL draftability, these five QBs are leading the way through the first five weeks of the season:

  1. JOHNNY MANZIEL/Texas A&M – Sure, he’s just a redshirt freshman, taking over a new system for a first-year coach. But Manziel is hitting on 70 percent of his passes, he leads the SEC in total offense (365 yards a game) and he’s carrying the Aggies offense. Manziel has rushed for six TDs, passed for 10 and hasn’t thrown a pick.
  2. AJ McCARRON/Alabama – Week after week, defenses stack to stop the run and make McCarron beat them. Alabama’s 5-0 and ranked No. 1, so the gambit has yet to work. He has gone nearly a calendar year – and 206 passes – without throwing an interception. Not impressed by McCarron’s passing numbers (a rather pedestrian 199.8 yards a game)? Nick Saban doesn’t care. He has only let McCarron finish one game due to the Tide’s huge leads.
  3. CONNOR SHAW/South Carolina – Shaw has evolved this season, becoming the type of dual-threat quarterback Steve Spurrier only dreamed of before. He’s making plays with his legs and his arm, despite a shoulder injury. You’ve got to be mentally tough to play for Spurrier, but Shaw is showing grit every time he takes the field.
  4. TYLER BRAY/Tennessee – He is the gunslinger for one of the SEC’s most explosive offenses and trails only Manziel in total offense. Bray leads the SEC with 14 TD passes, but he has also thrown six picks, proving he sometimes forces the issue. Like Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson, he can deliver big, but his team isn’t keeping up.
  5. JEFF DRISKEL/Florida – Another run-pass threat who has shown marked improvement this season.  Among SEC quarterbacks, only Manziel, Shaw and Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace have run for more yards.  But where he’s really emerged is as an efficient passer who can throw underneath a zone and doesn’t get rattled. No longer playing while looking over his shoulder, he is now playing with obvious confidence.
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