For many programs, we're nearing the start of spring football. That period will be especially big for many SEC programs who are breaking out very new looks on offense, and particularly at the quarterback position.
Last week, we saw some 2020 quarterback rankings coming in from the league, and they reveal just how new-look the whole conference is under center. Saturday Down South ranked the league's projected starters 1-to-14, and comes up with Florida's Kyle Trask at No. 1. You can really debate these rankings top to bottom, and that becomes clear by looking at a new set released today.
247Sports' Barton Simmons thinks that former Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello will thrive in Mike Leach's system in Starkville, predicting him to be the top quarterback in the SEC this fall. "I really think when you consider what Costello has had to deal with over the last couple of years on the offensive line at Stanford, it's been hard for him to really break into that top tier of quarterbacks nationally but he's shown the talent to be that kind of guy," the analyst writes. "When you go back to 2018 when Costello was healthy, he topped 3,500 yards and led the Pac-12 in passer rating. He's a competitive kid walking into a great system for him."
Costello goes from a pretty buttoned up, run-heavy Stanford offense to Leach's high-flying system. Over the last few years, Leach has proven that he can get guys to the next level in pretty short order as well. ECU transfer Gardner Minshew turned into a star in one year under him at Washington State, and was pretty effective in the NFL as a rookie this year. It wouldn't be overly surprising to see K.J. Costello thrive in Starkville.
Costello is followed by another SEC graduate transfer from a smaller Power Five program: Georgia's Jamie Newman. He's expected to bridge the gap from Jake Fromm in Athens this year.
"Newman has all the physical and mental tools needed to compete at the highest level, but also has a winning mentality that enables him to deliver in clutch moments," (analyst Les) Johns told Dawgs247. "He’s big, physical, intelligent and decisive, with a strong arm and the ability to deliver a crisp pass into a tight window. He led three game-winning two-minute drills in his first five starts for Wake Forest, delivering thrills Demon Deacon fans will remember for a lifetime."
Mond, who was No. 2 in the SDS rankings, is in at No. 3, followed by Trask. Alabama's Mac Jones, who I thought was pretty underrated at No. 7 in the other list, rounds out the top five here.
There are pretty wild variations in rankings for Costello, Ole Miss' John Rhys Plumlee, Arkansas' Feleipe Franks, and Tennessee's Jarrett Guarantano.
It is weird to see this level of uncertainty, but it makes things pretty thrilling as well.