- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
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The call hasn't come from Braxton Miller. He's somewhere -- maybe Columbus, Ohio, maybe not -- and many around the SEC are wondering what he's thinking. Is he really going to stay at Ohio State? With all those other quarterbacks? It seems to not make much sense, but with every day that passes, the more it looks like he's not going anywhere.
The call never came from Everett Golson. He didn't wait for an exemption from the SEC offices. He's either in Tallahassee, Florida, right now or will be there very soon, where he'll compete for the starting job at Florida State. The University of Florida wanted him. Instead, as Jim McElwain told reporters this week, “I don't wanna play against him, but we're gonna.”
For many teams in the SEC, this offseason has been about chasing quarterbacks. And in the cases of Miller and Golson, none of it has paid off. Not yet at least.
Alabama is still adrift with Jake Coker probably, maybe, the favorite to start. LSU still doesn't know what to do with Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings. Georgia, Florida and South Carolina still need to find someone to put under center, too. They all could have used Golson or Miller, but they'll all have to go without.
So what now? Where does the SEC go from here?
The answer, predictably, is the exact same place we were a month ago, before all this craziness began. Back at the end of spring practice when coaches were worried about what they had on the field, not foolishly complaining about the conference's rules limiting graduate transfers off of it.
Time to work on your own guys. You recruited them, now go develop them.
As of today, the league's most experienced quarterbacks are Dak Prescott, Maty Mauk and ... Brandon Allen. Yeah, that's right, the same guy who had his car egged after a loss during the 2013 season and then set on fire before the 2014 season. He's been in a bunch of games, but he's also thrown a bunch of errant passes (18 interceptions, 52.5 completion percentage).
Kentucky's Patrick Towles, Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs and Florida's Treon Harris all had varying degrees of playing time last season with varying degrees of success. Kyle Allen started the final few games of the season for Texas A&M but isn't guaranteed to beat out true freshman Kyler Murray. At Ole Miss, former Clemson transfer Chad Kelly was able to stay out of trouble this spring but couldn't do enough to win the starting job from incumbents Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade.
So, if you're keeping score, just one of the league's top five teams heading into next season, according to Mark Schlabach's Too-Early Top 25, will enter the fall with a starting QB, and that's Auburn's Jeremy Johnson, who spent the last two years as Nick Marshall's understudy.
Of the teams that could have benefited most from a new QB's services, Alabama and LSU stand out. The Tide have a defense that promises to be among the league's best and a running back in Derrick Henry that's seemingly impossible to bring down. The same could be said of the Tigers and Leonard Fournette. But without a star QB, you have to wonder how it will all come together.
If Miller doesn't have a last-minute change of heart and pick up the phone to leave town, we could be looking at a long summer, a long fall camp and a long series of questions facing many of the SEC's top programs.
A quarterback can make or break a team, so the conference is skating on thin ice right now.
Someone could very well pull a Blake Sims and become a star. But like Sims, coming from nowhere will mean stepping out of the shadows, not changing uniforms.
21hJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon
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