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. We continue with Day 11 of the countdown.
Before he ever took a snap at Missouri, Maty Mauk had gained notoriety for one reason: He ended his high school career in Ohio as the nation's all-time leader in multiple passing categories, including yards (18,932), touchdown passes (219), pass completions (1,353) and total offense (22,681).
Pressed into duty last year when starting quarterback James Franklin went down, Mauk proved his high school numbers weren't a by-product of a system. Stepping in for Franklin in a road contest against then-No. 7 Georgia, Mauk didn't flinch, leading the Tigers to a 41-26 victory in Sanford Stadium. He followed that up with wins over Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky. His only loss came in double-overtime, as South Carolina toppled the Tigers 27-24.
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Still, a 3-1 record is nothing to be ashamed of, and his final numbers from last season were stout: 1,071 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
The third-year sophomore is going to need to be at his best this fall, though. Missouri had two of their top three wideouts graduate (Marcus Lucas and L'Damian Washington) in addition to the loss of their most talented player. After multiple off-field issues, the Tigers dismissed Dorial Green-Beckham in April. The player known by his initials "DGB" led the team in receptions (59), receiving yards (883) and receiving touchdowns (12) last season and was returning in 2014 as arguably college football's best receiver.
Mauk will now turn to a trio of seniors — Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt and Darius White — to make up for the massive loss of production.
If Missouri can overcome that (and a road slate that features trips to Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas A&M), it could position itself for another SEC East title.