- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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Earlier, we ranked all 14 quarterback groups in the SEC. Now, we'll rank the top 10 SEC quarterbacks heading into the 2013 season.
1. Johnny Manziel, RSo., Texas A&M: Even though he's stirred it up on Twitter this offseason and caused more than a few headaches for Kevin Sumlin, Manziel is still the most dynamic playmaker in college football. His numbers a year ago en route to winning the Heisman Trophy were eye-popping, and it was his first season of college football. They don't call him Johnny Football for nothing.
2. AJ McCarron, RSr., Alabama: There are some who would lobby for McCarron to be in the top spot. When you throw 30 touchdown passes, only three interceptions and win your second straight national championship, there's a strong case to be made. McCarron is an excellent leader. He's tough, and he delivers in the clutch. The Tide will lean heavily on him in 2013.
3. Aaron Murray, RSr., Georgia: The knock against Murray is that he hasn't played his best in some of the Bulldogs' biggest games, although he certainly wasn't shabby against Alabama in the SEC championship game last season. His productivity speaks for itself, and with 95 career touchdown passes, he's on track to break Danny Wuerffel's SEC record of 114.
4. Connor Shaw, Sr., South Carolina: After the top three quarterbacks in the SEC, it gets tough. Shaw gets the nod at No. 4 based on his 17-3 record as the Gamecocks' starter. He's played through pain, delivered in key moments and can hurt teams both running and passing. He's also the ultimate team player and is simply one of those guys who gets it done without a lot of flash and dash.
5. Bo Wallace, RJr., Ole Miss: Wallace missed the spring after undergoing shoulder surgery, and his 17 interceptions a year ago were a concern. But he should be even better his second time through the SEC, and there was a lot to like about his first season as the Rebels' starter. He accounted for 30 total touchdowns and was fifth in the league in total offense (3,384 yards).
6. Jeff Driskel, Jr., Florida: Of the guys on this list, Driskel has the most potential to move up. He did everything the Gators asked of him a year ago without much help from his receivers. The 6-4, 236-pound junior will be counted on even more in 2013 to make plays and has the size, arm strength and wheels to be a top-four quarterback in this league.
7. Tyler Russell, RSr., Mississippi State: Despite the shaky close to last season, there's no denying how much Russell improved a year ago. Now it's time to put it all together, and Russell has the pocket presence, release and arm talent to have his best season yet as a senior. He threw 24 touchdown passes last season and could make a push for 30 in 2013.
8. Zach Mettenberger, RSr., LSU: Les Miles said consistently this spring that he felt much better about his passing game. Part of that was the addition of Cam Cameron to the staff, but Mettenberger threw the ball with a lot of confidence and showed the ability to really stretch the field. He'll get a chance to do more of that this season after coming on last November.
9. James Franklin, Sr., Missouri: Franklin was much higher in these rankings this time a year ago after coming off a stellar 2011 season in the Big 12. If he stays healthy, he may well work his way back into the top 5. He showed more toughness than he was given credit for a year ago and gets a chance as a senior to show once and for all what kind of quarterback he really is.
10. Dylan Thompson, RJr., South Carolina: Even though he's not a full-time starter, look at what Thompson -- more of a drop-back passer than Shaw -- has done. He carved apart Clemson last season on the road. He stepped in and threw the winning touchdown pass in the bowl win against Michigan and just seems to get better every time he steps onto the field.
4dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
5dEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf