Current SEC quarterbacks are not included in this list, and NFL career has no bearing on this list.
Nicknamed the “Hefty Lefty,” this southpaw from Covington, Kentucky, is on this list for good reason. A four-year starter who put Kentucky on his back and holds SEC records for passing attempts (559) and career attempts (1,514), Lorenzen still ranks in the top 10 regarding total offense, passing yards, and passing touchdowns, respectively.
Sad news! Unfortunately, Super Bowl XLII champion with the New York Giants died due to heart and kidney problems at the age of 38.
Manning set or tied 45 passing records while at Ole Miss. In 2003, he earned First Team All-America status and won the Maxwell Trophy as the nation’s top player, also finishing third in Heisman voting behind winner Jason White and Larry Fitzgerald. Under Manning’s direction, Ole Miss achieved its first 10-win season since coach Billy Kinard led their 1971 squad – an SEC career prosperous with numbers but few marquee wins.
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.
Murray would likely rank higher if not for his teams’ poor bowl game performances his regular season career record of 36-18. Murray was an exceptional passer, finishing each of his four seasons with over 3,000 passing yards thrown and two or more touchdown passes tossed. Murray also holds all four SEC career completion, attempt, passing yardage, and touchdown passing records.
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.
Bryant said that Namath was the greatest athlete he had ever witnessed. Over three years as quarterback for Alabama’s Crimson Tide football team, Namath led them to a 29-4 record and three bowl appearances; these victories included defeating Oklahoma 17-6 in 1963 Orange Bowl and Mississippi 12-7 in Sugar Bowl; they lost 21-17 against University of Texas 21st Bowl but still earned national champion status.
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.
Since 2000, only five SEC quarterbacks have ever won the Heisman Trophy; among them, Bryce Young earned it his sophomore year after learning under Mac Jones for a season prior. Young’s incredible year saw him throw 47 touchdowns against seven interceptions for 4,872 yards, propelling Alabama into a College Football Playoff National Championship matchup with Georgia. Any SEC quarterback who achieves college football’s most prestigious award deserves a place on this list.
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.
Tagovailoa made a solid first impression as he climbed to national prominence during the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game, yet that was only the start of his ascension. Despite being just an undergraduate at that point, Tagovailoa achieved phenomenal results during his sophomore campaign receiving all three major awards (Maxwell, Walter Camp and Consensus All-America) during that season – and on course to set school records before suffering season-ending hip injuries that cut short his season. Had these injuries been avoided, Tagovailoa could’ve easily won multiple national titles and the Heisman Trophy trophy.
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.
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.
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