So we decided the quarterbacks should lead off our series of the top freshmen by position in the SEC.
We’ve seen quarterbacks enter the league in recent years and play early. Guys like Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel (Florida), Kiehl Frazier (Auburn) and Tyler Bray (Tennessee).
The players below will likely wait a little longer, although injuries could change that prediction. Still, there are several quarterback signees who look to have bright futures.
Here are the top five freshman quarterbacks in the SEC.
1. Nathan Peterman – Tennessee
Peterman was impressive during spring practice after he enrolled early in January. The Jacksonville native is considered by many to be the top quarterback from the state of Florida for the 2012 class. Peterman has good size (6-2, 215) with a strong arm and enough mobility to make plays on the run. Peterman won’t be in position to start this year – Bray will – but he’ll have a chance in 2013 if Bray leaves early for the NFL.
2. Matt Davis – Texas A&M
Davis is the most versatile player on this list. He has great mobility, although some wonder if he uses it too often. Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin will try to take advantage of Davis’ ability to run while teaching him to stay in the pocket. Davis is confident, and while the Aggies prepare for life in the SEC, the coaching staff would love to see Davis lead the transition. Still, some wonder if he will end up at receiver some day.
3. Patrick Towles – Kentucky
Towles hasn’t received enough attention, probably because he signed with Kentucky. But he’s a good athlete (a theme on this list) with good size (6-6, 230) and a strong arm. Towles might have the best chance among players on this list to start right away. Towles still has plenty of work to do but he also has playmaking ability. The Wildcats need more of that. Expect Kentucky to try to find a way to use Towles early. When he polishes his game, watch out.
4. Maty Mauk – Missouri
Like Peterman, Mauk will have the luxury of being able to wait his turn while he learns the offense in Columbia. Mauk (6-1, 190) doesn’t have a lot of size, but neither did former Tigers standout Chase Daniel. He turned out just fine. Mauk can make strong throws in the pocket or on the run, which seems like a requirement in coach Gary Pinkel’s offense. The quarterback position belongs to James Franklin right now, but Mauk will have a chance to lead the Tigers in the future.
5. Zeke Pike – Auburn
It’s Pike’s fault he’s not higher on this list. In fact, he barely made it at all. The highly-touted quarterback was sent home last month after an alcohol-related arrest. It’s far from his first run-in with trouble. Pike (6-4, 230) has the talent to be a successful quarterback in the SEC, but he has to be in school to make it happen. How good is Pike? He’d likely be No. 1 on this list if his off-field record were clean. Here’s hoping he figures it out in time.
Be sure to keep up with recruiting from across the SEC on MrSEC.com’s Recruiting Page.