Publish Date: 02/21/2022
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
Current SEC quarterbacks are not included in this list, and NFL career has no bearing on this list.
Hodson gets overlooked, but he was, as I said ahead of his time as a passer in the SEC. Hodson led LSU to two SEC Championships in 1986 as a freshman and again in 1988 as a junior. Way ahead of his time, Hodson became the first quarterback to throw for more than 60 career TDs, and he was the third QB in NCAA history to finish all four seasons with over 2,000 passing yards.
Spurrier’s 5,290 career yards of total offense still rank 10th in UF history. In 1966, Spurrier was named the SEC Player of the Year and the Heisman Trophy winner. Spurrier is still the only player on the losing team to be named MVP of the Sugar Bowl. I know he is mainly remembered as a coach these days, but Spurrier was a great football player at Florida.
In 1970, Sullivan led the nation in total touchdowns, which set the table for his Heisman Trophy-winning season in 1971. Sullivan’s 26-7 record and finishing every season ranked in the top-20 nationally puts him on the list.
McCarron has three national championships on his resume, including the first quarterback to win back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. The Crimson Tide signal-caller was named a First-Team All-American his senior season and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting. McCarron’s ridiculous 77-to-15 touchdown to interception ratio is mind-blowing. He once went 291 attempts without an interception. McCarron is primarily considered a game-manager at quarterback, and that’s a shame because he was a legit stub in College.
In Couch’s first season as the starter in 1997, he led the SEC in every single passing category. He was even better in 1998. The two-time Heisman finalist broke his own SEC single-season records for completion percentage and passing yards. Sure it gets overlooked mainly because he was considered an NFL bust, but Couch turned the Kentucky Wildcats into an exciting team to watch, and he won more than he lost as a Wildcat.
Leak gets over-shadowed by another Gators quarterback on this list, but he shouldn’t be! Leak was a great quarterback with Florida, and that should always be remembered. Leak led Florida to a 13-1 record as a senior in 2006, the program’s first SEC Championship since 2000, and a BCS National Championship — Leak was named the title game’s Offensive MVP. During his career, Leak broke Florida records for completions (895), attempts (1,458) and passing yards (11,213), all of which still rank top five in conference history.
Newton was only around for one season, but what a season it was! Newton’s 182.0 passer rating in 2010 was the best single-season mark in SEC history at the time. His 51 total touchdowns were the second-most in conference history, and he won the 2010 Heisman Trophy in a landslide. Not only that, Newton took Auburn to their first national championship since 1957.
Johnny Football was the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012 in grand style. His 5,116 total yards and 47 total touchdowns were among the greatest seasons in NCAA history. The following year, Manziel threw for 4,114 yards, the third-most in a single season in SEC history, and completed 69.9 per cent of his passes. Johnny football was an electrifying college quarterback.
In 1995 and 1996, Wuerffel led the nation in total touchdowns and led the SEC in passing yards and total offense. Wuerffel was a two-time Davey O’Brien Award winner, named first-team All-SEC twice, took home SEC Player of the Year twice and won the Maxwell Award and Heisman Trophy in 1996. I almost forgot to mention he led the Gators to an SEC Championship in all four of his years.
Burrow had the most incredible season any College quarterback has ever had. Burrow shattered SEC records for passing yards and passing touchdowns during the regular season as a senior, becoming the only QB in conference history to throw for at least 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. He wasn’t done, though, as he eclipsed 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns heading into the College Football Playoff title game against defending champion Clemson. Burrow would have been number one on this list if he would have had one more season.
Manning’s 89 passing touchdowns are fourth-most all-time in SEC history. The owner of every Tennessee passing record from 300-yard games (18) to career wins (39), Manning finished runner-up to Charles Woodson for the 1997 Heisman Trophy as a senior. The knock-on Manning was he couldn’t win the big one, and to a large extent, that was true but make no mistake, Manning was a legendary quarterback.
Tebow was a three-time first-team All-SEC selection that led Florida to a 13-1 record and the national championship in 2008. His 2007 Heisman Trophy season was the best in SEC history for a quarterback — Tebow’s 55 total touchdowns were an SEC record, and his 23 rushing touchdowns were also a record at that time. It may not have worked out in the NFL for Tebow, but he might be the best college quarterback of all time.