All 14 SEC teams have wrapped up spring football, and many had quarterback competitions going on throughout spring drills. Today, we recap where the SEC East teams -- except Tennessee, which entered spring with an established starter in senior Josh Dobbs -- sit in their respective quarterback battles coming out of spring:
Florida: If spring-game results mean anything, Luke Del Rio has emerged as the leader for the Gators' QB spot. He had the best performance in that showcase, going 10-for-11 passing for 176 yards. Head coach Jim McElwain as said he he won’t name a starter prior to training camp in August, meaning Purdue transfer Austin Appleby and true freshmen Kyle Trask and Feleipe' Franks still have time to make up ground, but Del Rio is the guy to beat at the moment.
Georgia: It’s a three-man race among veterans Greyson Lambert and Brice Ramsey and true freshman Jacob Eason, though all most around Athens can talk about is the young phenom. Eason looks the part and is the most physically talented of the bunch, but Lambert -- who started almost all of last season -- is the most experienced. Georgia coach Kirby Smart is quick to downplay the possibility of Eason being the leader at the moment. How it’s all handled in August will be compelling to watch.
Kentucky: This one was pretty easy because Drew Barker's most experienced competitor of 2015 -- Patrick Towles -- is no longer on campus, having transferred to Boston College. Mark Stoops named Barker the 2016 starter after the Wildcats’ concluded spring ball. Barker, who started the final two games of last season, beat out junior college transfer Stephen Johnson II and freshman Gunnar Hoak.
Missouri: Drew Lock is the only quarterback on the Tigers’ roster who has thrown an FBS pass, but coach Barry Odom stopped short of naming the sophomore -- who started the final eight games of 2015 -- the starter going into fall. It looks to be a two-man race between Lock and Marvin Zanders, a redshirt sophomore who’s a true dual threat and earned positive reviews from Odom coming out of spring. Lock is still the favorite at the moment, though, based on his experience and improvement shown throughout spring.
South Carolina: Senior Perry Orth and true freshman Brandon McIlwain exited spring as co-leaders at quarterback, listed that way on the Gamecocks’ post-spring depth chart. Junior Connor Mitch and sophomore Lorenzo Nunez have time to make up some ground and both started games (as did Orth) in 2015. Neither Orth nor Nunez participated in the spring game because of injuries suffered during spring ball. McIlwain outperformed Mitch that day, going 19-for-26 passing for 169 yards and two touchdowns (Mitch completed 9 of 16 passes for 139 yards and one touchdown), making the true freshman look like the frontrunner.
Vanderbilt: Head coach Derek Mason wants Kyle Shurmur to “earn” the starting job, so even though he started five games in 2015 and looked the best of the Commodores’ four quarterbacks in their spring game, the competition will continue into August. Wade Freebeck (3-of-5 passing, 39 yards in the spring game), Shawn Stankavage (4-of-7, 58 yards) and true freshman early enrollee Deuce Wallace (2-for-2, 19 yards) are in the race, with Freebeck likely being the closest competitor -- but Shurmur (7-of-9 passing for 96 yards) is certainly the favorite.