Manziel, McCarron headline crop of quality SEC quarterbacks - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Manziel, McCarron headline crop of quality SEC quarterbacks

Posted: Updated:
SEC's crop of quality quarterbacks:  Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Alabama's AJ McCarron, LSU's Zach Mettenberger, Georgia's Aaron Murray, Mississippi's Bo Wallace and South Carolina's Connor Shaw. (AP Photos) SEC's crop of quality quarterbacks: Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Alabama's AJ McCarron, LSU's Zach Mettenberger, Georgia's Aaron Murray, Mississippi's Bo Wallace and South Carolina's Connor Shaw. (AP Photos)

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel has the Heisman Trophy. Alabama's AJ McCarron has the national championships.

Those two are the Southeastern Conference's most famous quarterbacks, but they're just the main headliners — there's a host of talented signal-callers that have offenses rolling across the league.

Georgia's Aaron Murray, LSU's Zach Mettenberger, Mississippi's Bo Wallace and South Carolina's Connor Shaw are among the many quarterbacks who have had a good start this season, turning the usually smash-mouth conference into an offensive paradise.

"We're putting so much emphasis on quarterback play, functioning and taking care of the ball in the system in which we're asked to run," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. "I know how hard we worked at it, and I'm sure others have done the same. It seems to me that it's been raised to another level."

Last week's Manziel-McCarron showdown, whose teams combined for 1,196 total yards in the Tide's 49-42 victory, was the most obvious sign that this might be a banner year for SEC offenses — and especially quarterbacks.

But the gaudy stats are popping up everywhere:

— Georgia's Murray threw for 323 yards against Clemson and 309 yards against South Carolina. He's on pace to become the only SEC quarterback in history to have four straight 3,000-yard passing seasons.

— Mississippi's Wallace threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for 57 yards and a touchdown, as the Rebels walloped Texas 44-23. Wallace hasn't thrown an interception this season.

— LSU's Mettenberger needed just 18 pass attempts to throw for 264 yards and three touchdowns against Kent State on Saturday. He has the highest efficiency rating in the SEC so far this season, completing nearly 65 percent of his passes for 797 yards, nine touchdowns and no interceptions.

— South Carolina's Shaw picked apart Vanderbilt's defense, completing 21 of 29 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 84 yards.

— Even the Mississippi State-Auburn game provided offensive fireworks. Auburn's Nick Marshall threw for a career-high 339 yards and two touchdowns while Mississippi State's Dak Prescott countered with 213 passing yards, 133 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Quarterbacks will make this season awfully tough for proud, traditionally stout SEC defenses.

"What I've noticed the most is that quarterbacks now in the SEC are becoming more and more mobile as the years advance," Tennessee senior defensive end Corey Miller said. "I feel like these guys are now able to make plays not only with their arms but with their feet. They're able to get outside the pocket, prolong drives, prolong passing plays."

Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson agreed, saying the rise of the mobile quarterback has defenses scrambling to make adjustments.

Seven SEC teams averaged at least 30 points per game last season. So far this season, 10 teams are above that threshold.

"There are so many really good dual-threat quarterbacks coming out right now in our conference," Johnson said. "There have been some good ones in the past, but I don't know if there's been as many. It's going to be a challenge."

The SEC's quality and depth under center has also attracted the attention of NFL scouts.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said the SEC doesn't have a quarterback who is considered a sure-fire first round pick, but at least a half dozen are drawing considerable interest from teams.

He said McCarron, Manziel and Murray are likely to go highest in the draft, but Wallace, Mettenberger and Mississippi State's Tyler Russell — who has been sidelined with a concussion — are also legitimate prospects.

"Obviously, with the level of the competition in the SEC, it's a good league to scout," Kiper said. "They're playing against good defenses and these schools have a history of turning out quality NFL players."

Wallace said he knows most of the SEC's quarterbacks through summer events like the Manning Camp and developed friendships. One of his habits is peaking at box scores to see how his friends are doing league-wide and he enjoys seeing all the big numbers.

"I don't think you've seen quarterback play in the SEC this good in a long time," Wallace said.

_____

AP Sports Writers John Zenor in Auburn, Ala., Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn. and Steve Megargee in Knoxville, Tenn., contributed to this story.

_____

Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • TechBits: portable power (04.23.14)

    TechBits: portable power (04.23.14)

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:41 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:41:00 GMT
    There are many options for getting extra power to your portable devices- and they go beyond just batteries..The EnerPlex Surfr series phone cases have solar panels built in. They generate power from the sun, and store it in an internal battery you use to power up your phone. They make the phone a little big and bulky- but they can be invaluable to hikers or campers.Dane-Elec provides power and data with the Mobile Junkie Media Streamer. The unit has a built-in battery beefy enough to complete...More >>
    There are many options for getting extra power to your portable devices- and they go beyond just batteries..The EnerPlex Surfr series phone cases have solar panels built in. They generate power from the sun, and store it in an internal battery you use to power up your phone. They make the phone a little big and bulky- but they can be invaluable to hikers or campers.Dane-Elec provides power and data with the Mobile Junkie Media Streamer. The unit has a built-in battery beefy enough to complete...More >>
  • Birmingham Mayor issues takeover agreement amid lawsuit over precinct construction

    Birmingham Mayor issues takeover agreement amid lawsuit over precinct construction

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 10:32 PM EDT2014-04-24 02:32:26 GMT
    Birmingham Mayor William Bell addressed police officers Wednesday at the city's West Precinct following years of delay to construction of a new site.ABC 33/40 has learned some people say parts of the building is in dire need of upgrades. A few years ago, the city approved a plan for new construction. Since then, it has been delayed. A contractor for the project, Chris Woods, has also filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming city leaders stalled progress.Bell did not speak directly to that l...More >>
    Birmingham Mayor William Bell addressed police officers Wednesday at the city's West Precinct following years of delay to construction of a new site.ABC 33/40 has learned some people say parts of the building is in dire need of upgrades. A few years ago, the city approved a plan for new construction. Since then, it has been delayed. A contractor for the project, Chris Woods, has also filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming city leaders stalled progress.Bell did not speak directly to that l...More >>
  • Burned body found in Fairfield identified as 22-year-old Pinson woman

    Burned body found in Fairfield identified as 22-year-old Pinson woman

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:52 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:52:02 GMT
     The body of 22-year-old Megan Elizabeth Monroe, of Pinson, was found outside this home in Fairfield, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (abc3340.com) The body of 22-year-old Megan Elizabeth Monroe, of Pinson, was found outside this home in Fairfield, Saturday, April 19, 2014. (abc3340.com)
    Police have identified the burned body found last weekend behind a vacant home in Fairfield as a 22-year-old Pinson woman.More >>
    Police have identified the burned body found last weekend behind a vacant home in Fairfield as a 22-year-old Pinson woman.More >>
  • U.S. Space and Rocket Center: Make donation, take aerial tour of Huntsville with NASA Astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson

    U.S. Space and Rocket Center: Make donation, take aerial tour of Huntsville with NASA Astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:52 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:52:00 GMT
    The U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation in Huntsville, Alabama is asking for your help to raise $70,000 to begin installation of a Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's Shuttle Park.The U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation in Huntsville, Alabama is asking for your help to raise $70,000 to begin installation of a Gulfstream II Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's Shuttle Park.
    For a generous donation, one can take flight with a veteran NASA astronaut in a shuttle training aircraft and get a birds-eye view of Huntsville, including a rare view of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center campus, organizers announced Wednesday.More >>
    For a generous donation, one can take flight with a veteran NASA astronaut in a shuttle training aircraft and get a birds-eye view of Huntsville, including a rare view of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center campus, organizers announced Wednesday.More >>
  • NWS Birmingham to replace tower by May 3

    NWS Birmingham to replace tower by May 3

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:45 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:45:18 GMT
    The National Weather Service Birmingham office is offering weather-related alternatives after a recent transmitter outage. The service's tower, which sits atop Red Mountain, failed over the weekend. NWSMore >>
    UpdateMore >>
  • Amber Alert issued for 2-year-old girl from Mississippi

    Amber Alert issued for 2-year-old girl from Mississippi

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:16 PM EDT2014-04-24 00:16:07 GMT
    THE MISSISSIPPI HIGHWAY PATROL HAS ISSUED AN AMBER ALERT FOR 2-YEAR-OLD MALIAH HARRIS, WHO WAS ABDUCTED THIS MORNING FROM CALEDONIA, MISSISSIPPI.More >>
    The Mississippi Highway Patrol has issued an amber alert for 2-year-old Maliah Harris, who was allegedly abducted Wednesday morning from Caledonia, Mississippi. More >>
  • Man charged with murder in nursing home deaths

    Man charged with murder in nursing home deaths

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-04-23 23:24:31 GMT
    A Houston nursing home resident accused of using the armrest of his wheelchair to beat two of his roommates to death is facing a capital murder charge, police said Wednesday.More >>
    A Houston nursing home resident accused of using the armrest of his wheelchair to beat two of his roommates to death is facing a capital murder charge, police said Wednesday.More >>
  • Alabama schools Superintendent Tommy Bice discusses meeting with Hoover school leaders over bus fees

    Alabama schools Superintendent Tommy Bice discusses meeting with Hoover school leaders over bus fees

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:35 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:35:04 GMT
    Alabama schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy BIce said he had a "productive meeting" with Hoover City School Superintendent Andy Craig (pictured) on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (abc3340.com)Alabama schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy BIce said he had a "productive meeting" with Hoover City School Superintendent Andy Craig (pictured) on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (abc3340.com)
    Alabama schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice met with Hoover City School leaders Wednesday, and he released a statement afterwards clarifying his position on the school system following its recent approval of school bus fees.More >>
    Alabama schools Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice met with Hoover City School leaders Wednesday, and he released a statement afterwards clarifying his position on the school system following its recent approval of school bus fees.More >>