The SEC's best 25 players: No. 9

February, 13, 2013
2/13/13
10:10
AM ET
We finally crack the top 10, as the nation's most efficient quarterback is next on our list:

No. 9: AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama, RJr.

2012 summary: The All-American and All-SEC member ranked sixth in the SEC with 2,933 passing yards, and threw 30 touchdowns to just three interceptions. He also led the nation with a quarterback rating of 175.3, and averaged 9.3 yards per attempt.

Most recent ranking: Not ranked in the 2012 preseason countdown.

Making the case for McCarron: Talk about a major preseason mistake by us SEC bloggers. How did we leave McCarron off our preseason top 25? He certainly deserves his current spot in our rankings after a tremendous second year as the Crimson Tide's starting quarterback. He didn't throw for a gaudy amount of passing yards, but he was extremely efficient throwing the ball, and at one point went 291 pass attempts (2011-12) without throwing an interception, which ranks as the second-longest streak in SEC history. Unlike 2011, McCarron didn't try to force passes that weren't there. He took care of the ball better than any quarterback around, and his patience in the pocket served the Tide well. The game-winning touchdown drive he orchestrated in a thrilling 21-17 win against LSU in Baton Rouge was a great example of McCarron's resiliency and maturity. He went from having an average game to completing 4 of 5 passes for 72 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Yeldon, to top the Tigers. After throwing two interceptions in the loss to Texas A&M, McCarron threw 10 touchdowns to one interception in the final four games of the season. In the Discover BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame, McCarron was outstanding, completing 71 percent of his passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns in the Tide's championship route of the Irish. The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist improved to 25-2 as the Tide's starter, won his second straight national championship and won his first SEC title in 2012. He could have forgone his final season at Alabama to make the jump to the NFL, but McCarron decided to stick around for one final year and go for his third straight national championship.

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