Plenty of SEC talent departed from the conference during the offseason, leaving many position groups in question. However, the conference has recruited at a high enough level to overcome the losses.
These position groups feature several players who could affect the balance of power in the conference. Here are the five biggest position battles remaining in fall camp.
Participants: Cooper Bateman, Jalen Hurts, David Cornwell, Blake Barnett
All eyes will be on the signal-caller position in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide had three players battling for the position heading into the fall – Blake Barnett, David Cornwell and Cooper Bateman. But during the fall, true freshman Jalen Hurts has quickly inserted himself into the picture as well.
Ultimately, Alabama’s strengths will be on the lines and at wide receiver with Calvin Ridley. A quarterback will be asked not to make costly mistakes on Saturdays. However, if a freshman like Hurts or Barnett can get the job, it would be a huge knock to the older quarterbacks on the roster, who would likely never get a chance to start at Alabama.
Ole Miss offensive tackle
Participants: Gregory Little, Jeremy Liggins, Alex Givens
Many saw Little, the No. 2 overall prospect in the class of 2016, as the heir apparent to All-American offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. However, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has told media he wants to bring Little along slowly.
The first depth chart released before camp had Liggins leading for the position, but there are plenty of tackles on the roster. After losing all five starters on the offensive line, every offensive line position is in doubt at this point and plenty of space to accommodate everyone.
Participants: John Franklin III, Jeremy Johnson, Sean White
Neither returners Sean White nor Jeremy Johnson played well last season. Poor quarterback play was one of the main reasons for a disappointing 7-6 record. Another season like that in 2016 and head coach Gus Malzahn could be looking for a new job.
In addition to White and Johnson, junior college transfer John Franklin III is hoping to make his mark on the program. One of the stars of Netflix’s “Last Chance U,” Franklin developed a reputation as arrogant. He will have plenty to prove to fans and his teammates if he wants to capture the starting job. Though his passing is somewhat in question, he is a dynamic playmaker that fits Malzahn’s system well.
Arkansas running back
Participants: Kody Walker, Rawleigh Williams, Devwah Whaley,
Bret Bielema has consistently produced some of the top running backs in the nation. In each of his last 10 years as a head coach, he’s had a 1,000-yard rusher every year. There is plenty of talent on this roster, but the experience is limited.
Williams, a true sophomore, has been taking the bulk of the reps in fall camp. However, those around the program are high on Whaley’s potential. Williams is a sixth-year senior, but has only 148 rushing attempts in his career. More likely than not, all of these players will get significant playing time. However, Bielema would like one or two to stand apart.
Participants: Jacob Eason, Brice Ramsey, Greyson Lambert
The blue-chip recruit Eason has already been labeled a future superstar at the position, but head coach Kirby Smart is taking things slow in Athens. Eason threw for 244 yards and a touchdown during the spring game, but has yet to play in a real game.
Both Ramsey and Lambert have been serviceable but unspectacular throughout their careers. Eason gives Georgia the opportunity to have its best vertical passing attack since the days of Aaron Murray. There will certainly be growing pains, but is Eason worth the upside?