2024 SEC QB Rankings: It Just Means More for Jalen Milroe, Carson Beck

    Nine teams will replace their starter from 2023 -- 10 if including Texas A&M, who lost Conner Weigman four games in -- overhauling the 2024 SEC QB Rankings.

    Jayden Daniels, Joe Milton III, Spencer Rattler, and Devin Leary are all leaving the SEC for the NFL Draft. Meanwhile, Dillon Gabriel (Oregon), Will Rogers (Washington), KJ Jefferson (UCF), Max Johnson (TCU), and AJ Swann (LSU)/Ken Seals (TCU) joined new teams via the transfer portal.

    What does all the movement mean for the 2024 SEC QB Rankings, and who belongs at the top?

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    SEC 2024 QB Rankings

    16) Payton Thorne, Auburn Tigers

    Auburn went 6-7 in Hugh Freeze’s inaugural season; is that the ceiling with Michigan State transfer Payton Thorne under center?

    Although the pass-caching talent supporting him wasn’t exceptional, Thorne didn’t elevate them. With bottom-of-the-conference yards per attempt and passer rating, he completed just 60% of his passes for 1,755 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.

    Replacing offensive coordinator Philip Montgomery with former Ole Miss WRs coach Derrick Nix should be a positive. Still, Thorne is now two middling seasons removed from his record-setting 11-2 campaign with Michigan State.

    15) Brock Vandagriff, Kentucky Wildcats

    A four-star recruit in the 2021 class, Brock Vandagriff ranked behind only Quinn Ewers, Caleb Williams, Sam Huard, and Drake Maye and was one spot ahead of J.J. McCarthy. That’s great company. Nevertheless, he’s spent the last three years sitting on Georgia’s bench.

    Vandagriff has the pedigree of an above-average SEC QB, but his lack of experience will likely lead to some growing pains in his first year as a starter.

    14) Blake Shapen, Mississippi State Bulldogs

    Blake Shapen flashed at times with Baylor but went 9-16 as a starter the last two years. In 2023, he suffered a knee injury early and a concussion late in the year, limiting his output.

    Regardless, new Mississippi State head coach Jeff Lebby tabbed Shapen as the quarterback he wants to run his Air Raid offense. Despite Lebby’s belief, we know who Shapen is as a quarterback. Perhaps more importantly, we know who he is not.

    13) Taylen Green, Arkansas Razorbacks

    Exit 6’3″ dual-threat KJ Jefferson, and enter 6’6″ dual-threat Taylen Green. In two years at Boise State, Green threw for 3,794 yards, 25 TDs, and 15 INTs and rushed for 1,022 yards and 19 scores.

    He isn’t the most accurate QB, but he comes equipped with a rocket arm and lethal legs. If Sam Pittman and Co. can help him improve his decision-making and call the offense to his strengths, Green could improve against stiffer competition.

    12) LaNorris Sellers, South Carolina Gamecocks

    LaNorris Sellers played a handful of snaps in his true freshman season, but he was electric. He completed all four of his passing attempts for 82 yards and two TDs while taking five carries for 51 yards and another score.

    At 6’3″ and 240 pounds, Sellers has the size, athleticism, and arm strength to take the conference by storm — we just have to see it first.

    11) Diego Pavia, Vanderbilt Commodores

    A Vanderbilt QB vying for the top 10? Absolutely. New Mexico State transfer Diego Pavia has torched the competition over the last two years, tossing 4,423 yards, 39 TDs, and 15 INTs through the air and picking up 1,436 yards and 15 TDs on the ground.

    MORE: 2024 SEC Power Rankings

    Thanks to his legs and awareness, Pavia rarely turns pressures into sacks and can get out of seemingly inescapable situations in the pocket. He can make you miss in the open field, and zip passes downfield to move the chains.

    10) Graham Mertz, Florida Gators

    Much has been made of Graham Mertz’s 72.9% completion rate, which led the conference last season. However, his average depth of target was the lowest in the SEC — you’d better complete passes that close to the line of scrimmage.

    I’m not buying Mertz as an elite QB, but he does keep the football out of harm’s way, as highlighted by his 20:3 TD-to-INT ratio in 2023. Head coach Billy Napier’s seat is warming up, and Mertz may not have the talent around him to avoid another disappointing season in Year 3.

    9) Jackson Arnold, Oklahoma Sooners

    By talent alone, Jackson Arnold may be a top-five QB come the end of the season. Yet, the Sooners will trot out an entirely new offensive line in 2024, which could be a disaster in their first year in the SEC.

    If they can give the consensus five-star time to rip it downfield, Arnold could put up numbers in Seth Littrell and Joe Jon Finley’s offense, especially with 6’5″ Jayden Gibson on the outside.

    8) Nico Iamaleava, Tennessee Volunteers

    The Volunteers have been spoiled with gifted QBs in the Josh Heupel era. Joe Milton III wasn’t Hendon Hooker, but he still led Tennessee to an 8-4 regular-season record. Nico Iamaleava finished the season with a Citrus Bowl victory over Iowa, showcasing the physical tools that have fans hyping him up as a Heisman candidate.

    His skill set meshes well with Heupel’s high-octane offense, but don’t take my word for it.

    “I believe he’s going to be a great, dynamic playmaker,” Heupel said after the team’s bowl win. “I thought he handled himself composed all day long. Subtle things of breaking the huddle, communication inside of the huddle, controlling the run game, his eyes were in the right place.”

    “Great to see a young guy go out and perform in that way in his first career start. There are a lot of things that Nico can continue to grow and will continue to grow in.”

    7) Garrett Nussmeier, LSU Tigers

    Unlike fellow 2021 recruiting class member Vandagriff, Garrett Nussmeier has seen plenty of playing time in all three of his seasons, albeit usually in garbage time.

    However, with Jayden Daniels skipping the ReliaQuest Bowl against Wisconsin, Nussmeier received his first career start and didn’t disappoint. He completed 31 of 45 passes for 395 yards and three TDs en route to a 35-31 victory.

    Nussmeier won’t have Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr., but the Tigers brought in Liberty’s CJ Daniels and Mississippi State’s Zavion Thomas to pair with holdover Kyren Lacy. Plus, 2023 QBs coach Joe Sloan will call the offense with Mike Denbrock off to Notre Dame, maintaining some semblance of continuity to Nussmeier.

    6) Conner Weigman, Texas A&M Aggies

    An injury robbed Conner Weigman of what was turning into a dominant 2023 campaign after just four games. He has tossed 16 TDs to two INTs since his true freshman year in 2022, and with Mike Elko — who unleashed Riley Leonard at Duke — taking over for Jimbo Fisher, Weigman could challenge for a top-five spot with a full season.

    5) Brady Cook, Missouri Tigers

    The Tigers defeated four top-25 teams on their way to their best record in nearly a decade (11-2). Brady Cook was a large reason for their success, finding a rhythm in the passing game and throwing darts downfield.

    Losing 1,600-yard rusher Cody Schrader will put more pressure on the passing attack, but with top WRs Luther Burden III, Theo Wease Jr., Marquis Johnson, and Mookie Cooper returning back, Cook should continue to cook in 2024.

    4) Jaxson Dart, Ole Miss Rebels

    Jaxson Dart quelled concerns in his second year at the helm of Lane Kiffin’s offense, posting 390 yards and three TDs over his 2022 numbers while tossing six fewer picks. He even ran for eight scores, seven more than the previous season.

    Dart returns with much of the roster and is joined by several key transfer additions — including multiple offensive linemen, RB Logan Diggs, and WR Antwane Wells Jr. — making Ole Miss a legitimate SEC title threat.

    3) Quinn Ewers, Texas Longhorns

    Quinn Ewers may come down to Earth a bit with Xavier Worthy, AD Mitchell, Jordan Whittington, and Ja’Tavion Sanders off to the NFL, but he’s an elite talent in his own right.

    Arch Manning breathing down his neck has only pushed him to keep his foot on the gas pedal, and the pressure will reach new heights in 2024. But I expect Ewers to continue his diamond crystallization rather than burst like a pipe.

    2) Carson Beck, Georgia Bulldogs

    Much like in recent seasons, the Bulldogs are sending several starters to the NFL, and they have future professional athletes ready to succeed them.

    While the roster will undergo turnover at key positions, one spot they won’t have to worry about is QB, with Carson Beck returning for his senior season. He conducts the Georgia bulldozer with the efficiency of a Tesla, crushing opponents with relative ease.

    1) Jalen Milroe, Alabama Crimson Tide

    A brief benching in 2023 sparked Jalen Milroe, who responded with 10 straight wins and an emphasis on taking care of the ball. Of course, the Crimson Tide ultimately fell to Michigan in the playoffs, as they struggled to move the chains offensively.

    KEEP READING: SEC Changes Coming, But Conference Maintains Eight-Game Format in 2025

    Yet Milroe showed enough to warrant the No. 1 spot in the 2024 SEC QB Rankings. Even with Nick Saban retiring, Alabama should remain a title contender, with Kalen DeBoer and Nick Sheridan implementing an offensive scheme that should help their quarterback take his ability as a passer to another level in 2024.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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