Five SEC teams are having quarterback battles of varying degrees this spring.
Let’s take a look as spring practice is beginning to wind down across the league.
As soon as Jarrett Stidham arrived from junior college in January — actually, as soon as he committed last year — conventional wisdom was the job was his. Returning starter Sean White has been limited throughout spring drills because of an arm injury and won’t play in Saturday’s spring game.
“Jarrett looks like an SEC starter,” running back Kam Martin told AL.com. “You know, you still have the other guys behind him that are still competing; the job is wide open, but Jarrett is real good, and I feel like we’ll see … at A-Day how everything goes.”
John Franklin III has worked primarily at wide receiver and is said to be “comfortable” at his new position.
A decision on the starter won’t be made until fall camp, but Stidham is the favorite.
Coach Jim McElwain earlier this week said the quarterback position was “sorting itself out,” and most consider redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks the favorite entering the Gators’ spring game Friday night.
Redshirt freshman Kyle Trask is the main competition with returning starter Luke Del Rio sidelined after shoulder surgery. Chances are Franks and Trask would’ve beaten out Del Rio anyway.
“Feleipe’s doing great. This year, he knows the system better, he’s slowing down, making his reads better and not forcing anything,” sophomore wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland said after practice on Wednesday. “… (He’s) making those plays, making those reads, making those throws. Kyle is doing a great job also. It’s a tight competition.”
An interesting curveball was tossed into the mix earlier this week with a report that there was mutual interest between Florida and Notre Dame grad transfer Malik Zaire. If coaches truly are interested in Zaire — who might not be able to sign with UF anyway because of an SEC rule — that would seem to be a sign that they’re not entirely comfortable with the young guys.
Danny Etling is favored to reclaim the starting role in 2017, although coach Ed Orgeron has said sophomore Justin McMillan, redshirt freshman Lindsey Scott and true freshman early enrollee Lowell Narcisse also are in the mix with a new offense being introduced by coordinator Matt Canada.
“I think it’s still open now,” Orgeron said after the second spring scrimmage. “I don’t think anybody has taken the bull by the horns. They take two steps forward and one step back. … Obviously, Danny is the first-team quarterback. Nobody has beaten him out. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen.”
This is another competition that won’t be decided until August. LSU will have a new participant then in true freshman Myles Brennan. While Narcisse is a dual-threat guy, Brennan is more of a dropback passer.
Junior Quinten Dormady and redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano are vying for the job in the wake of the departure of Josh Dobbs.
While Dormady’s limited in-game experience gave him an advantage, Guarantano’s athletic ability could end up winning him the job.
Coaches aren’t going to name a starter until fall camp.
Senior Jake Hubenak, redshirt freshman Nick Starkel and true freshman early enrollee Kellen Mond are the options at quarterback. Hubenak has made three starts in his two seasons after transferring in from junior college, and while his ceiling is limited, his experience gives him an edge.
Starkel redshirted in 2016 but was rumored to have been considered as an immediate replacement after Trevor Knight was injured late last season.
Mond, a dual-threat prospect, also has a realistic chance of starting.
Texas A&M opens at UCLA, which means the new quarterback won’t be able to ease his way into the season. That could work in Hubenak’s advantage.
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