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SEC Spotlight: Checking in on QB recruiting for 2019

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Grant Gunnell
Grant Gunnell (Nick Lucero/

When it comes to building a recruiting class, nabbing a quarterback commitment early in the process can really help a school get momentum going with other prospects. In addition to their importance on the field, the field general often serves like an extra coach in recruiting. With the 2019 class on the clock, we take a look at each team in the SEC and check in on their efforts at recruiting the quarterback position.

MORE: Ten grad transfers to watch in 2018


Over a dozen quarterbacks claim offers from Alabama, but the two you hear the most about are located in their own backyard. Both have connections to the Crimson Tide, too. Will they sign another Tagovailoa? Tua led them to a national title and his younger brother Taulia is a top target. Then you have Paul Tyson, the great grandson of Paul "Bear" Bryant. Those are two to watch.


The Hawgs are bringing in a new offensive system so landing a quality quarterback will be very important for the first-year staff in Fayetteville. Hawgs legacy and Rivals100 prospect Grant Gunnell sits high on the board for Chad Morris and company, but he’s one of just several prospects the school is pursuing at the position. Other names to watch include Mississippi prospect K.J. Jefferson, who is also high on the board of several other SEC programs. Right now the Hawgs have only offered seven total prospects, but that number could increase as other prospects start to come off the board.


Auburn has their guy. Bo Nix is the top quarterback in the South and he is going to follow in his father's footsteps and be a Tiger. Nix won a state title in 2017 and he will challenge for playing time the minute he steps foot on the Auburn campus.


One of the biggest recruiting victories in the young Dan Mullen era in Gainesville was the signing of Emory Jones in December, meaning landing a top quarterback isn’t as crucial as it might have been otherwise. Nevertheless, the Gators are still eyeing several prospects at the position, with 12 different 2019 signal callers claiming a Florida offer. But the pecking order of who is at the top of the board is still in flux, with prospects like three-star IMG Academy quarterback David Baldwin and three-star Texas quarterback Jacob Zeno both believed to be high on the Gators. The one player to watch could be Baltimore-area quarterback Jalon Jones, who committed to Mullen at Mississippi State only to re-open his commitment when Mullen left for Gainesville.


Georgia is casting a wide net out at this position because it is not an easy sell for the coaching staff with two five-stars on campus. That said, most know what happened last season in Athens and how quickly things can change. Ryan Hilinski is one to watch out of California. He will be in Athens for the spring game. John Plumlee is an athlete who has offers to play three different positions and he was in Athens last week for a visit. New offers will likely still go out this spring.


The Wildcats are in a unique position after losing two veteran quarterbacks after this past season. In an effort to bolster depth at the position, Kentucky has been aggressive in targeting quarterbacks, with high three-star Nik Scalzo recently grabbing an offer from the ‘Cats following a visit. Kentucky has also been in pursuit of Paul Tyson and was one of his first offers, while Hayden Wolff, Travis Mumphrey and Connor Bazelak have all been mentioned in conjunction with UK as well.


LSU did not sign a quarterback last cycle, so 2019 is an important signing for the Tigers. Grant Gunnell may be the top name on their board at this time, but he is a top guy on many boards. Paul Tyson is another one to watch. Lance LeGendre is committed to Kansas, but the in-state dual-threat quarterback could emerge this spring or summer with an LSU offer.


Ole Miss signed Matt Corral in 2018, so that is who many feel will be the future signal caller in Oxford, but the Rebels, like most schools, will look to sign a top quarterback again in 2019. Ryan Hilinski is a hot name in Oxford and despite being from California, he appears to be looking hard at SEC schools. Michael Johnson, Maverick McIvor and Grant Tisdale are also names to track.


KJ Jefferson is an in-state quarterback who has Mississippi State high on his list. The Bulldogs are thought to be one of Jefferson's top two or three schools at this time. When looking out-of-state, Garrett Schrader is a name to watch closely. He was in Starkville last month and he is high on the Bulldogs too.


Quarterback is a big need for the Tigers in this class. They will be looking to replace Drew Lock soon, but who will be the program's signal caller of the future? Graham Mertz committed to Wisconsin in the fall, but Missouri is still going hard after the Kansas standout. KJ Jefferson recently visited and he is another one the Tigers seem to like. A number of offers are out there, but Mertz appears to be their top target despite his commitment to the Badgers.


Despite nabbing in-state four-star quarterback Dakereon Joyner in the 2018 class, the Gamecocks are prioritizing getting another quality passer in this year’s class. The Gamecocks have been a player with North Carolina prospect Sam Howell as well as California prospect Ryan Hilinksi. However, right now it looks like high three-star prospect Garrett Shrader could be the prospect to jump on board with the Gamecocks. Shrader continues to collect offers, but he has already visited Columbia and left impressed with what he saw on that trip earlier this year.


The Vols have already offered 14 prospects at the position but it appears as if Sam Howell is the among the top of the school’s list. Howell visited Rocky Top last month and continues to weigh his options as he takes visits this spring. Because of the new staff’s connections across the country, several prospects have emerged from around the country, including Alabama four-stars Paul Tyson and Taulia Tagovailoa. As the Vols push to get more prospects on campus this spring, the pecking order at the top of their board should come more into focus.


The Aggies once had Rivals100 quarterback Grant Gunnell in the fold, but the new coaching staff appears to have a different vision for the quarterback position. The Aggies only have offers out to five players at the position and four of them are already committed elsewhere, with Gunnell being the only prospect still on the market. That hasn’t slowed Jimbo Fisher in his previous stops but getting a marquee quarterback in this class will be vital. Can they lure Gunnell back in or flip a prospect like Oklahoma commit Spencer Rattler?


The Commodores have been more selective in the early going, offering just six prospects at the position thus far. Three-star quarterback Connor Bazelak already has an offer and has visited Nashville and in the past, it hasn’t been uncommon for the Commodores to evaluate and offers new prospects at their on-campus camp over the summer. Right now it appears the school is taking a slower approach and waiting on the spring evaluation period before zeroing in on one prospect.