There are five more spring games this weekend in the SEC, so I thought I would go through each team in the league right now and give one brief comment. I can tell you this, the quarterback competitions are aplenty around the league and some may go on until fall camp. All of the spring games will be concluded by April 20th and then the coaches will head out for spring recruiting for about a month. After that on campus camps will follow before some time off to get ready for August.
Florida – TheGators completed spring without a game due to injuries. The receiver position will include defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy this fall and true freshman Demarcus Robinson. Matt Jones has won the job to replace Mike Gillislee at running back.
Georgia – The Dogs finished spring with a game that showcased an improving Hutson Mason. He looks SEC ready while he will have to wait one more year behind Murray. The injury bug continues at receiver with Malcolm Mitchell getting nicked up this spring. Josh Harvey-Clemons and Amarlo Herrera had good springs on defense.
South Carolina – They finish spring this Saturday and Dylan Thompson has improved greatly at quarterback with Connor Shaw out due to injury. Steve Spurrier told me that he is sure he will need both quarterbacks in the fall. Mike Davis appears to be the successor to Marcus Lattimore at running back.
Ole Miss – The Grove Bowl is Saturday but the Rebels, like the Gators are low in offensive numbers. They also have gone spring without starting quarterback Bo Wallace. The biggest news is the return of DT Shackleford an All SEC freshman two years ago, who has battled knee injuries and looks great.
Vanderbilt – The Commodores Black and Gold game should be competitive with the lines of scrimmage loaded for James Franklin. Keep an eye on the Wildcat as Franklin tries to amp up the ground game by getting more touches for running backs Wesley Tate and Brian Kimbrow.
Texas A&M – The Aggies are looking forward to some down time away from the media after so much attention given to Johnny Manziel. He will look to break in some new targets this fall. The Maroon and White game is Saturday and Luke Joeckel’s replacement is looking like Jake Matthews. Floyd Raven has made some noise in the secondary this spring.
Kentucky – The amount of fans that could show up this week could be ten times more than last year. The Wildcats expect over 40,000 for their spring game after just 4,000 showed up last season. Keep an eye on the quarterbacks as the competition has been fierce in Neal Brown’s air raid offense. Jaylen Whitlow has been impressive but it seems to be a three horse race that could go until the fall with Maxwell Smith and Patrick Towles.
Auburn – The Tigers have another week before their spring game and the quarterback progress has been stymied just a bit due to injuries around them. The fact that Jaylon Denson has stood out on offense tells you how thin the Tigers are right now. No indication has been given on who leads the quarterback race between Jonathan Wallace and Kiehl Frazier.
Mississippi State – The Bulldogs will not televise their spring game on the 20th because of stadium renovations. Tyler Russell is the only healthy scholarship quarterback right now and Dan Mullen is using him to run some tempo offense and some check with me packages. Russell who is a senior has been given some liberties this spring to try and grow his grasp of the passing game in general.
Missouri – The Tigers have opened up their competition to not just two but three guys. Freshman Maty Mauck had the best first scrimmage although his unique throwing motion is something to see. I still believe Franklin is the opening day starter, but Gary Pinkel is doing everything he can to get his attentions. Henry Josey being healthy is huge for the run game.
Tennessee – The Volunteers have two weeks left and Justin Worley still appears to have a slight edge over freshman Nathan Peterman at quarterback. I think new coaches like Butch Jones wants to wait as long as they can to name a starter because it’s a leadership position and they need that guy on board 100%. They need to find some receivers but the Volunteer offensive line could be one of the best in the league.
Alabama – Nick Saban’s team will have its spring game on April 20th. The Tide are working some new guys on defense like running back Dee Hart and receiver Cyrus Jones working at defensive back. Alabama is really throwing the ball a lot and rightfully so with so many receivers to go with Amari Cooper and Kevin Norwood. Kenny Bell, De Andrew White and Chris Black are all guys looking to get playing time.
Arkansas – It appears Brandon Allen is running away with the quarterback job in Fayetteville. Brandon Mitchell who spent time at receiver last season seems to have been thrown into the fray by new coach Bret Bielema to give Allen some competition. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mitchell back at receiver in the fall. Sophomore Jonathan Williams is emerging at running back.
LSU – The Tigers completed spring first and is already getting plans ready for the summer. I think the downfield passing game will be much more prevalent under new coordinator Cam Cameron. Keep an eye on Jarvis Landry who had a great spring.