Editor's note: The 2013 season was an incredible year for quarterbacks in the Southeastern Conference. There was a Heisman winner (Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel), the conference's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns (Georgia's Aaron Murray) and a two-time national champion (Alabama's AJ McCarron). Then there was Auburn's Nick Marshall, LSU's Zach Mettenberger and Missouri's James Franklin. Nearly all of those aforementioned sign al-callers have departed, however. Still, someone will rise to the occasion to fill those spots, and that's why we're here to take stock of them as we head into the summer, counting them down from 14 to 1. Note that proven performers, even if they were not the unquestioned starter last season, figure heavily into these rankings. The series concludes today as the top signal-caller in the league is revealed.
Yes, astonishing as it may sound, a player who wasn't even on campus at this point last year is the top quarterback in the SEC.
The worrisome thing for opponents is that Nick Marshall should be even better in 2014. The Tigers are stout on the offensive line, even with the loss of left tackle Greg Robinson, who was the No. 2 overall pick in this year's NFL draft. Auburn also lost Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Mason to the Rams, but Marshall proved last season he was more than capable running the read-option, finishing with 1,068 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.
But it's in the passing game where the biggest improvement is expected. The entire two-deep receiving corps is back, and the Tigers' offense got a jolt with the addition of junior college stud D'haquille Williams. Give Marshall a whole offseason to work with coach Gus Malzahn and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, and there's no telling what the senior signal-caller might accomplish this fall.
(More could be written here, but this topic has already been covered extensively. But no need to fret. If you're still looking for more reading on this subject, well, you're in luck.)
Check out these other stories for related coverage on Marshall and the Tigers' passing game (in chronological order, starting with the most recent):