Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Shaw picked as SEC's most improved QB
By Edward Aschoff
The SEC brings back a good crop of quarterbacks this fall, but they're all looking to get better.
Which one will be the most improved? We asked our readers and with more than 7,700 votes cast in our SportsNation poll, South Carolina's Connor Shaw narrowly beat LSU's Zach Mettenberger by taking 30 percent of the vote. Mettenberger grabbed 28 percent.
I like the fans' pick because a healthy Shaw could do some real damage this fall. He's a very good passer and has no problem extending plays with his feet. The thing that has held him back is that pesky injury bug. If he can stay on the field and away from the trainer's table this fall, he could put up some nice numbers for the Gamecocks.
It helps that Bruce Ellington is back at receiver and sophomore running back Mike Davis has the potential to be a strong player for South Carolina, which should help open up the passing game even more.
As for Mettenberger, if he plays like he did during the last month of the season in 2012, he could make a run at the passing yardage crown. Mettenberger was way more confident and more comfortable in LSU's offense late last season and he only got better this spring. Having new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron helping him out was a plus. Also, he gets back his top pass-catchers, including Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr.
Florida's Jeff Driskel came in third with 19 percent of the vote, while Missouri's James Franklin earned 15 percent and Mississippi State's Tyler Russell nabbed eight percent.
There might be questions surrounding Florida's receiving corps, but Driskel was much more confident in his game this spring and is working with the same offensive coordinator for the second straight year for the first time with the Gators.
Franklin and his offensive line have to stay healthy this fall. He has all the talent to have a big year, but if he can't stay healthy he'll have another rough go in 2013. Most of his receiving targets are back so that should help, as well.
For Russell, he's having to deal with a rebuilt receiving corps. With the line and running backs he has coming back, Russell will have some of the pressure taken off of his shoulders, but he'll have to help develop those receivers quickly.