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Josh Dobbs Could Be Top SEC Quarterback in 2016

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Tennessee’s junior quarterback Joshua Dobbs finished the 2015 regular season with the sixth-most passing touchdowns and seventh-most passing yards among SEC quarterbacks this year. Dobbs also finished the season with the most rushing yards among SEC quarterbacks and had the second-most rushing scores among quarterbacks in the conference as well. All-in-all Dobbs had one of the better overall seasons at quarterback in the conference.

But Dobbs could be in line for an even more impressive 2016.

Once the 2015 season is completely over, the SEC will be without five of its top six passers from this year heading into the 2016 season. Alabama’s Jake Coker, Arkansas’s Brandon Allen, and Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott are all graduating while Texas A&M’s Kyle Allen and Kentucky’s Patrick Towles have already announced their intent to transfer schools. Only Ole Miss’s Chad Kelly will remain from the top six passers in the conference, and there’s still a chance he could declare early for the 2016 NFL Draft.

That means Dobbs will, by default, be at least the second-best returning starter at quarterback next season. And Dobbs will easily be the most experienced quarterback heading into next year.

Kelly has made 13 FBS starts in his career before bowl season concludes. Florida’s Treon Harris has 14 career starts in his two seasons with the Gators. LSU’s Brandon Harris has made 12 starts. Dobbs recently finished his first full season as a starter this year, but he’s accumulated a total of 21 starts in his three seasons.

Next year will be a season of potential and hope at quarterback in the SEC, one lean on experience and proven track records. Auburn, Florida, Missouri and South Carolina all have returning starters at quarterback, but none of those quarterbacks had exceptional seasons and won’t be expected to turn out particularly great seasons next year either.

The SEC East is especially devoid of proven quarterback talent.

Florida will be without Will Grier for the first half of the 2016 season as he serves out the rest of his year-long suspension. That means Treon Harris will likely begin the year as Florida’s starting quarterback, and Harris has barely completed 50 percent of his passes in his career. Georgia will likely be relying on incoming freshman five-star quarterback Jacob Eason as long as he stays committed, and Kentucky will have rising sophomore Drew Barker as the favorite to land its starting job.

South Carolina will have Perry Orth and Lorenzo Nunez returning from this season as well as incoming four-star quarterback Brandon McIlwain set to compete for the job. Missouri returns rising sophomore Drew Lock as its only viable option at the moment, and Vanderbilt has Kyle Shurmer and Johnny McCrary returning from this year as well as incoming freshman Deuce Wallace.

Dobbs will be the only quarterback in the SEC East next season with more than two years of playing experience under his belt. And he will arguably have the most talent among the SEC East quarterbacks as well.

Dobbs will easily be the best dual-threat quarterback in the division and most likely in the whole SEC as well. And that’s no bias.

Texas A&M’s Kyler Murray is a weapon both on the ground and through the air, but his talents are still raw and unproven. Jeremy Johnson at Auburn did not live up to the hype this season, but he possesses dual-threat capability. And both Brandon and Treon Harris can burn teams on the ground, but neither of them can throw as well as Dobbs.

While still inconsistent at times and lacking in downfield accuracy, Josh Dobbs will be the most experienced SEC quarterback next season and has the most proven dynamic ability. The conference’s younger signal-callers could prove to develop quickly and blossom into productive quarterbacks this year, but odds are against that happening in the SEC.

In a conference full of unproven potential, Josh Dobbs will be the most experienced quarterback in the SEC next season. And he has a chance to be one of the best overall quarterbacks in the conference in 2016.

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