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 signal-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, figures heavily into these rankings.
There is no doubt the Commodores have talent at this position. Patton Robinette threw for 642 yards and four touchdowns last year and led the team to victories against Georgia, Tennessee and Florida while filling in for the injured Austyn Carta-Samuels. In addition, Robinette scored seven touchdowns on the ground, including the memorable game-winner to beat Tennessee.
But he wasn't able to separate himself from Johnny McCrary this spring. A redshirt freshman, McCrary has nearly unlimited potential. Playing at Cedar Grove (Ga.) High School, he left as DeKalb County's all-time leading passer with 9,025 yards and 78 touchdowns. In his senior season alone, he threw for 2,927 yards and 25 scores and was named a first-team all-state performer by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
As talented as the 6-foot-4, 222-pound McCrary may be, he's likely not the favorite for the job.
In fact, that player hasn't even arrived on campus yet.
Stephen Rivers appeared in four games at LSU, all during his redshirt freshman season in 2012. He attempted only two passes, completing neither. Last season he fell to third on the depth chart, behind starter Zach Mettenberger and backup Anthony Jennings. In March, Rivers announced his intention to transfer to Vanderbilt, where he'll have two seasons of eligibility remaining after graduating this month. One thing is for certain: He has great bloodlines, as he's the younger brother of the San Diego Chargers' starting quarterback, Philip Rivers.
Whoever wins the Commodores' starting job will have to deal with a sobering fact, though: There are no proven receivers on the roster. With Jordan Matthews — who left as the SEC's career leader in yards (3,759) and receptions (262) — on to the pros, Vandy's top returning pass-catcher is rising sophomore Jordan Cunningham.
His numbers last season, you ask?
15 receptions. 123 yards. No touchdowns.
So wish Rivers, Robinette and McCrary some luck this season. They'll probably end up needing it.