Thursday, January 24, 2013
Looking back at the 3,000-yard SEC passers
By Edward Aschoff
Heading into the 2012 season, a lot of attention was paid to the quarterback position. Some proven studs were returning and a few that lacked in experience made up for it in hype.
So, before the year got underway, we took at look at nine players we thought had a chance to hit the 3,000-yard passing mark. Chris predicted that at least four would actually hit it, and he was right. The SEC produced just four 3,000-yards passers, which was two more than 2011.
Here's a look back at what our original nine did in 2012:
1. Tyler Bray, Tennessee: He was finally healthy for an entire season and cleared the 3,000-yard mark by a wide margin. Bray finished his year third in the SEC with 3,612 yards and was second in the league with 34 touchdowns. He averaged 301 yards per game and 8 yards per attempt.
2. James Franklin, Missouri: Injuries ruined Franklin's first year in the SEC. Thanks to two separate shoulder injuries, a concussion and a knee injury, Franklin played in just nine games and threw for 1,562 yards and only 10 touchdowns. He averaged just 6.7 yards per attempt in 2012.
3. AJ McCarron, Alabama: McCarron might have ended the year as a national champion (again) and the country's most efficient passer, but he just missed out on getting 3,000 yards. McCarron threw for 2,933 yards and 30 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Really, not bad at all.
4. Zach Mettenberger, LSU: His hype certainly made it seem like he would have no problem reaching 3,000 yards, but we forgot that he actually had to play games first. Mettenberger didn't get going until late in the year, but that has to be encouraging for 2013. Mettenberger finished with 2,609 yards and 12 touchdowns to seven interceptions.
5. Aaron Murray, Georgia: Once again, Murray didn't disappoint on the stats sheet. Murray became the first SEC quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards in three straight seasons when he threw for a league-high 3,893 yards and 36 touchdowns. He averaged 278.1 yards per game.
6. Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt: Rodgers made a lot of improvement from 2011 to 2012. He was a much more patient player and passed for 2,539 yards, which surpassed his 2011 total by more than 1,000 yards. He also had 15 touchdowns to just five interceptions.
7. Tyler Russell, Mississippi State: He quietly had a very productive year through the first seven games of the season, but the teeth of the schedule hurt his production during the last month of play. Still, he had a good year overall, passing for 2,897 yards and 24 touchdowns (single-season school record) to 10 interceptions.
8. Connor Shaw, South Carolina: If not for all of those injuries (shoulder and foot) Shaw would have had a much more productive season. He just couldn't stay healthy in 2012 and finished the year with 1,956 yards, but had 17 touchdowns. Not bad for a walking Band-Aid.
9. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas: Even with his head injury and the absence of Bobby Petrino, Wilson still managed 3,387 yards and 21 touchdowns. It was a very up-and-down year for Wilson, who threw 13 interceptions, but he still managed 308 passing yards per game.
Who was overlooked:
- Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: I mean, come on. No one saw this coming! He wasn't even supposed to be the starter until fall practice got underway. But the redshirt freshman shocked everyone with his record-setting, Heisman-winning year. Johnny Football passed for 3,706 yards, which was good enough for second in the SEC. He also threw 26 touchdown passes.