Texas A&M's Kellen Mond will be a part of several intriguing QB pairings this fall
It just means more down in the SEC but that wasn't the case when it came to the quarterback position for many years. Sure there were good players from time to time but depth was not quite the strong suit like it is in other leagues.
Things have changed recently however and the SEC crop of signal-callers is as good — and deep — as it has been in some time. There's some of the sport's most elite players lining up behind center in the conference now and a host of others vying to join them after earning plenty of stars as recruits.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the impressive roster of SEC quarterbacks to sort out the best matchups during the upcoming 2019 campaign.
1. Kellen Mond (Texas A&M) at Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) — Sept. 7
The Aggies have a brutal schedule this season with a number of top-10 teams on the docket in 2019, which represents both a challenge and an opportunity for somebody like Mond. He had a breakout game when the Tigers escaped by a hair with a win in College Station and has a chance to return the favor against the defending champs and Lawrence, who is likely the early season Heisman favorite.
2. Kellen Mond (Texas A&M) vs. Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) — Oct. 12
Mond knows better than most that you can make a huge splash nationally and become an A&M legend in the process by upsetting the Crimson Tide. That's a lot easier said than done of course given that last year's Heisman runner-up is on the other sideline — sporting one of the nation's best receiving corps to boot. This game very well could determine the SEC West and is bound to draw plenty of scouts hoping to see these two signal-callers up close.
3. Jake Fromm (Georgia) vs. Kellen Mond (Texas A&M) — Nov. 23
Fromm is never a guy who is going to wow you with Air Raid-like numbers but there's a reason why he's penciled in as a potential 2020 first-round pick. While his size, arm and ability to diagnose a play at the line has plenty at the next level talking, the visiting Aggies have a pretty good one under center themselves. It all sets up a fascinating battle between the hedges of QBs and former Nick Saban assistants-turned-head coaches.
4. Jake Fromm (Georgia) vs. Feleipe Franks (Florida) — Nov. 2
Fromm made a statement in last year's trek to Jacksonville to face off against the program's biggest SEC East rival while Franks was mired in the middle of one of his worst stretches of 2018. After each guided their program to a New Year's Six Bowl after the World's Largest Cocktail Party though, the stakes for the 2019 edition of the meeting could be higher than it has been in a decade.
5. Jake Bentley (South Carolina) vs. Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) — Nov. 30
Bentley has had his ups and downs as a starter for the Gamecocks but enters his final year with the program as one of the most experienced QBs in the SEC. He impressed in torching the eventual national champs' secondary last season (510 yards, 5 TDs) but still couldn't manage a victory over his in-state rival. One final shot remains but it won't be easy against the sensational sophomore Lawrence, who could be looking to lock up a Heisman Trophy vs. USC.
6. Jake Fromm (Georgia) vs. Ian Book (Notre Dame) — Sept. 21
The legend that became Jake Fromm during his 2017 freshman campaign all started when he went into South Bend and left with a thrilling victory that eventually propelled the team into the national title game. Book saw action that game too but he's in a much different place as the entrenched starter when the Irish head south to go between the hedges. Each QB has a playoff appearance under their belt and is looking to score another by earning a victory in this meeting.
7. Joe Burrow (LSU) at Sam Ehlinger (Texas) — Sept. 7
The Tigers' trip to Austin is among the biggest non-conference matchups in all of college football after both ended 2018 with New Year's Six bowl triumphs. A lot of that success came as the result of their two young QBs leading their respective teams to a top 10 ranking and proclamations that each program is back in the conversation among the nation's elite. Burrow and Ehlinger are as tough as they come inside the pocket and are plain and simple playmakers whenever they have the ball in their hands.
8. Jake Fromm (Georgia) vs. Kelly Bryant (Missouri) — Nov. 9
Bryant was among the most discussed graduate transfers in the country last year and stuck with Missouri despite NCAA sanctions hitting the school hard. While the Tigers' trip to Athens won't be their last game, it does set up as the biggest in 2019 with or without a bowl game. Either way, the pressure is on both QBs during this key SEC East battle.
9. Joe Burrow (LSU) vs. Kellen Mond (Texas A&M) — Nov. 30
Last year, these two staged such an incredible seven-overtime game that the powers in charge of college football decided to re-write the rule book when it comes to free football after four quarters. While it was Mond (seven total touchdowns) who secured A&M's first win over their nearby rival since joining the SEC by an improbable 74-72 score, it will be an improved Burrow who is hoping even things up down in Death Valley.
10. Jake Bentley (South Carolina) vs. Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) — Sept. 14
The last time the Tide ventured into Columbia, they were shockingly upset by the Gamecocks thanks to a heroic performance out of their starting quarterback and host of offensive playmakers. Bentley is hoping history repeats itself nine years later, though Tagovailoa is by far the most talented Alabama quarterback to ever play South Carolina.
Best of the rest:
- Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) vs. Joe Burrow (LSU) — Nov. 9
- Jake Fromm (Georgia) vs. Jake Bentley (South Carolina) — Oct. 12
- Kellen Mond (Texas A&M) vs. Jake Bentley (South Carolina) — Nov. 16
- Kelly Bryant (Missouri) vs. Feleipe Franks (Florida) — Nov. 16
- Joe Burrow (LSU) vs. Feleipe Franks (Florida) — Oct. 12
- Jake Bentley (South Carolina) vs. Feleipe Franks (Florida) — Oct. 19
- Kelly Bryant (Missouri) vs. Jake Bentley (South Carolina) — Sept. 21
- Joe Burrow (LSU) vs. Jordan Love (Utah State) — Oct. 5
- Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) vs. Quentin Harris (Duke) — Aug. 31
- Jake Bentley (South Carolina) vs. Zac Thomas (Appalachian State) — Nov. 9
- Feleipe Franks (Florida) vs. James Blackman (Florida State) — Nov. 30
- Feleipe Franks (Florida) vs. N'Kosi Perry (Miami) — Aug. 24
- Jarrett Guarantano (Tennessee) vs. Zack Wilson (BYU) — Sept. 7
- Feleipe Franks (Florida) vs. Jarrett Guarantano (Tennessee) — Sept. 21
- Kelly Bryant (Missouri) vs. Jarrett Guarantano (Tennessee) — Nov. 23
— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.