These power rankings reflect both the performances so far this season and the most recent game from each quarterback.
14. Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee
Guarantano took over the starting job in Knoxville for after a disappointing start to the season for Quinten Dormady. Vols fans were hoping Guarantano’s mobility would provide a spark to their struggling offense, which failed to score any points against Georgia in their last matchup. Guarantano completed 61 percent of his passes but only picked up 133 yards through the air, while his 17 carries were only good for -2 yards in the loss to South Carolina.
13. Cole Kelley, Arkansas
Kelley stepped in for an injured Austin Allen, who is seen as one of the better quarterbacks in the conference. For a backup quarterback, Arkansas relied heavily on Kelley and didn’t turn to the run too heavily. Kelley completed just over half of his 42 pass attempts against Alabama, throwing one touchdown and one interception. This guy should just be proud he was able to score against the Tide, as most quarterbacks can’t accomplish that feat.
12. Feleipe Franks, Florida
The Gators lost for a second straight week, and Franks failed to throw a touchdown pass for a third straight game. He also threw two interceptions in the loss to Texas A&M, one of which came in the final seconds as the Aggies put the game away. Franks did have his best rushing game after breaking loose on a 79-yard run. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for the win. Franks will need to start finding the end zone if the gators want to start winning games again.
11. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
Shurmur hasn’t completed more than 55 percent of his passes since week three of the season, which is also when the Commodores last won a game. That isn’t all on Shurmur, as Vanderbilt gave up a total of 13 points in its first three games and has given up 199 points in its last four. Either way, Shurmur is having trouble connecting with his receivers and was sacked seven times against Ole Miss.
10. Danny Etling, LSU
LSU’s offense is finally getting into a rhythm. After an extremely slow start against Auburn, Etling and the Bayou Bengals were able to put enough points on the board to overcome a 20-0 deficit. Etling’s numbers haven’t been eye-popping this season, mostly because this is a running offense, but he has completed over half of his throws in all but one game. He’s only thrown for one interception all season as well and, after two victories over ranked opponents, Etling and the Tigers are back in the mix with a No. 24 ranking.
9. Drew Lock, Missouri
Most power rankings would have Lock higher than this, mostly because of his NFL-caliber arm and the flashes of glory he has shown in the past. If Missouri was at least 3-3 at this point in the season, Lock would be higher. However, this team is 1-5 and their only victory was over an FCS team which is now 1-5 as well. No matter how many yards or touchdowns Lock can throw for, the quarterback is the leader of the offense and a 1-5 record keeps Lock at number nine on this list for now.
8. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Losing games despite of good numbers kept Lock at nine. Winning games despite mediocre numbers is what puts Mond at eight. When looking at the stat line against Florida (8-of-24, 120 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception), Mond appears to be one of the worst quarterbacks in the conference. Looking at how the game went, however, Mond led his team to victory in a tough environment against a good Florida team. He also had 52 yards on the ground with one touchdown. He has led his team to a 5-2 record with impressive wins, and a one-possession loss against Alabama should be considered a victory for the Aggies.
7. Stephen Johnson, Kentucky
Johnson has quietly led the Kentucky Wildcats to the third-best record in the SEC, behind Alabama and Georgia. Every game has been close, and the Wildcats probably should have emerged victorious in their lone loss to Florida. With a 63.9 percent completion rate and nine touchdowns on the season, along with a 5-1 record, Johnson stands tall among the middle-of-the-pack SEC quarterbacks.
6. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
Similar to Lock, many would put Fitzgerald higher on this list because of his potential and his past performances. He looked better against BYU this week than he did against Georgia and Auburn, but Fitzgerald has six interceptions in his last three games. He only has three passing touchdowns in that span. His legs continue to be what powers his success, as he ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns this week. However, the inaccuracy of his arm and the interceptions keep him from moving further up this list.
5. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Putting Stidham here is hard. For a few weeks, he looked like the best quarterback in the SEC. He had completed 71 percent of his passes going into LSU, and he had thrown for five touchdowns with no interceptions through three games of SEC play. While his numbers weren’t amazing, mostly because the Tigers have been running the ball so often and so effectively, Stidham was leading the Auburn offense to college football playoff conversations. The 9-of-26 showing in Baton Rouge was surprising to say the least, but the play calling was questionable as there were few intermediate routes throughout the entire game. Stidham also said after the game that the coaches don’t allow him to audible out of plays on the field. Being able to change the plays on the field is what made Cam Newton and Nick Marshall so effective under Malzahn, so Stidham’s lack of freedom to adjust to the defense is surprising.
4. Jake Fromm, Georgia
Similar to Stidham, Fromm hasn’t had to throw a large number of passes because of such an effective running game. Fromm has been effective when called upon, and he has done exactly what Kirby Smart needs him to do to win games. Through seven games, Fromm has only thrown three interceptions to go with his 12 passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns. Fromm has the skill to be more than just a game manager, but being a game manager is all Georgia needs, and he has been almost perfect at it.
3. Jake Bentley, South Carolina
South Carolina’s offense struggled to drive the ball and score against Tennessee, so seeing Bentley this high may surprise some, but looking at South Carolina’s offensive roster shows that Bentley doesn’t have much talent around him. With wide receiver Deebo Samuel injured, there aren’t really any reliable options for Bentley to throw to. Most, if not all, SEC coaches would love to have Bentley as their starting quarterback. If he had the wide receiver options that quarterbacks like Jalen Hurts and Jake Fromm have, this team would be dangerous. Despite the lack of talent around him, Bentley led his team to a close victory over Tennessee, and a 5-2 record is enough to keep Bentley this high on the list.
2. Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
Similar to Bentley, Patterson is another quarterback that almost every SEC coach would love to have. Also, Bentley doesn’t really have much talent around him. With a 65.8 percent completion rate on the season and a four-touchdown performance against Vanderbilt, Patterson led his team to a big victory over Vanderbilt after three straight losses. Patterson’s skill is evident. The day he has more talent around him, whether it be at Ole Miss or in the NFL, opposing defense should be scared of what he can do.
1 . Jalen Hurts, Alabama
Hurts hasn’t been overly impressive, which is why he hasn’t been mentioned in any Heisman talks. He only has eight passing touchdowns on the season. His six rushing touchdowns are impressive, but that’s not why he is number one on this list. Hurts is at the top because h is good at winning. Fromm has been almost perfect at what he’s been asked to do for Georgia. Hurts has been perfect. With only one interception on the season and a 7-0 record, there is no reason to doubt Hurts’ ability to lead this team. The guy just knows how to win.