Josh Dobbs rose, Jacob Eason fell, Nick Fitzgerald is back and Danny Etling is gone from our list of the top 10 quarterbacks in the SEC, which Chad Kelly still tops.
Four games into the season, we’ve learned a lot about these guys, but some major tests are still to come.
10. STEPHEN JOHNSON II, Kentucky
Last week’s ranking: 9
Stats vs. South Carolina: 11 of 19 for 135 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Why he’s here: The JUCO transfer, pressed into action thanks to Drew Barker’s back injury, predictably regressed from his monster game against New Mexico State. But his improvised, 8-yard run to the South Carolina 1 on third-and-7 set up the Wildcats’ game-winning touchdown. He’s now guided a reeling UK team to consecutive victories.
9. NICK FITZGERALD, Mississippi State
Last week’s ranking: NR
Stats vs. Massachusetts: 25 of 38 for 299 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT; 15 for 110 rushing
Why he’s here: He barely played in the season opener, yet Fitzgerald is now third nationally among quarterbacks with 329 rushing yards — averaging an impressive 7 yards per carry. He’s right at 60 percent completions with 5 touchdowns and only 1 interception, giving the Bulldogs at least a fighting chance on offense.
8. JACOB EASON, Georgia
Last week’s ranking: 6
Stats vs. Ole Miss: 16 of 36 for 137 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Why he’s here: Fresh off a 300-yard, 3-touchdown performance at Missouri, including the game-winning strike, Eason crashed back to earth in a blowout loss to Ole Miss. Typical of a true freshman trying to play QB in the SEC, he looks alternately brilliant and bewildered. His 52 percent completion rate must improve.
— Jake Reuse (@ReuseRecruiting) September 24, 2016
7. LUKE DEL RIO, Florida
Last week’s ranking: 7
Stats vs. Tennessee: DNP
Why he’s here: Before he got hurt, Del Rio had the Gators looking like East contenders. Backup Austin Appleby, despite strong work in building a 21-0 lead against Tennessee, imploded in the second half: 83 passing yards and an interception. Florida needs Del Rio back from his knee injury ASAP.
6. AUSTIN ALLEN, Arkansas
Last week’s ranking: 5
Stats vs. Texas A&M: 28 of 42 for 371 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Why he’s here: Only Dobbs’ heroics and the Razorbacks’ loss dropped Allen one spot. But he played well yet again. He still leads the SEC in completion percentage (66.9), has thrown for 1,026 yards in four games and has 10 total touchdowns with just 2 picks.
Nobody can say Austin Allen didn't just make a NFL throw . pic.twitter.com/Lo1Dzvj1pB
— $ t o n e y (@dat1ath) September 25, 2016
5. JOSH DOBBS, Tennessee
Last week’s ranking: 8
Stats vs. Florida: 16 of 32 for 319 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT; 17 for 80 yards, 1 TD rushing
Why he’s here: Not for his first half against Florida, when he was 7 of 20 for 84 yards and an INT. But, boy, that second half was a beauty: 9 of 12 passing, 235 yards, 4 TD passes, 1 rushing score and one awful losing streak slain. Dobbs hit 1,000 total yards and 14 touchdowns for the season and put the Vols in the SEC East driver’s seat.
Dobbs to Malone. CUE EARTHQUAKE ON ROCKY TOP!!! https://t.co/zqL1yikSuD
— Jack McGuire (@BigDaddysCourt) September 24, 2016
4. JALEN HURTS, Alabama
Last week’s ranking: 3
Stats vs. Kent State: 16 of 24 for 164 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; 7 for 54 yards, 1 TD rushing
Why he’s here: With all the Crimson Tide’s other talent around him, the most important thing the freshman has done is take care of the football. He’s thrown just 1 interception in 102 attempts, completing 62.7 percent. He has 727 yards passing, 251 rushing and 8 total touchdowns for 4-0 Alabama.
3. DREW LOCK, Missouri
Last week’s ranking: 4
Stats vs. Delaware State: 26 of 36 for 402 yards, 5 TD, 0 INT
Why he’s here: The numbers are getting ridiculous. Lock ranks second in the country in passing yards (1,508) and touchdowns (14) and all 3 of his interceptions came in one half against Georgia. But there’s the rub. His two best games have come against Eastern Michigan and Delaware State. Road games at LSU and Florida the next two weeks will be important tests.
2. TREVOR KNIGHT, Texas A&M
Last week’s ranking: 2
Stats vs. Arkansas: 12 of 22 for 225 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; 10 for 157 yards, 2 TD rushing
Why he’s here: Another week, another reason for the Aggies to be very thankful that Knight came to the rescue as an offseason transfer. He’s up to 1,055 passing yards, 308 rushing (fifth-most by a QB nationally) and 12 total touchdowns with only 2 picks. He and A&M look like the West’s biggest threat to Alabama.
Trevor Knight had four total TDs last night in a big win over Arkansas. This one went 92 yards to stud WR J… https://t.co/D3k2qy8KCZ
— the Sports Spot (@sportstalknmore) September 25, 2016
1. CHAD KELLY, Ole Miss
Last week’s ranking: 1
Stats vs. Georgia: 18 of 24 for 282 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; 4 for 53 yards, 1 TD rushing
Why he’s here: It was all Good Chad against the Bulldogs, as he picked them apart in a 45-14 beatdown. Kelly has completed 65.4 percent of his throws, produced 1,359 total yards and 13 touchdowns and thrown just 3 interceptions through four games. If only he and the Rebels could’ve avoided second-half meltdowns against Florida State and Alabama.