By: Tony Thomas Experienced QBs return (and transferred) to the Sunbelt Conference in 2021. Some teams had quarterbacks that set themselves apart from the rest of the position group. Other teams had quarterbacks by committee. This is a position that should be productive top to bottom, making the Sunbelt Conference as competitive as any conference in the country. Below is the list of experienced quarterbacks in the Sunbelt (stats provided by cfbstats.com):
Experienced QBs Return to the Sunbelt
Appalachian State (9-3)
Chase Brice: signed with Clemson out of high school. Transferred to Duke in 2020. Passed for 2,170 yards, 15 INTs, and completed 55% of his passes. Competed in spring practice for App. State and has established himself as the one to beat for the starting job.
Arkansas State (4-7)
Lane Hatcher: split time with Logan Bonner. Helped lead a Red Wolves offense that ranked #2 in the FBS in passing offense, averaging 364 yards per game. Hatcher’s stats:
- 2058 yards
- 19 TDs
- 2 INTs
- 60% completion pct.
- 2- 300+ yard passing games.
- 3 passing TDs in a game.
- 4 passing TDs in a game.
- 5 passing TDs in a game.
- 3 games with 75% or better completion pct.
- Over the last 5 games, 9 passing TDs, 0 INTs.
Coastal Carolina (11-1)
Grayson McCall: McCall won the starting job as a true freshman and never looked back. Named Freshman All-American by the FWAA and a finalist for the Manning Award. The reigning Sunbelt Conference Player of the Year and 1st team All-Sunbelt Conference. His production in 2020 was outstanding:
- 2488 passing yards
- 26 TDs (10th in FBS)
- 3 INTs
- 69% completion pct.
- 569 rushing yards
- 7 rushing TDs
- 3 games over 300 yards passing
- Threw for over 200 yards in 8 out of 11 games.
Georgia Southern (8-5)
Justin Tomlin: starter Shai Werts (career: 3083 yards passing, 3777 yards rushing, 68 total TDs) decided to transfer to Louisville. So, backup Tomlin is now the most experienced QB on the roster. The QB room is really crowded, with six more quarterbacks on the spring roster. Tomlin’s 2020 stats (in 8 games):
- 161 yards passing
- 0 TDs
- 3 INTs
- 197 yards rushing
- 1 TD
Georgia State (6-4)
Cornelious Brown IV: won the starting job as a true freshman. Earned MVP honors after throwing three TDs in their 39-21 win over Western Kentucky in the 2020 Lending Tree Bowl. His stats:
- 2278 yards (2nd in the Sunbelt)
- 17 TDs
- 10 INTs
- 301 rushing yards.
- 7 TDs (most ever by a Ga. State freshman).
- 3- 300+ yard passing games.
- 4 games with 3 passing TDs.
- Accounted for 5 TDs in a 59-52 loss to Ark. State.
Levi Lewis: a senior who decided to return for another season. Lewis was a 2nd team All-Sunbelt selection and is ranked 3rd in school history with 6286 passing yards and 2nd with 54 passing TDs. His stats for 2020:
- 2274 yards passing
- 19 TDs
- 7 INTs
- 335 rushing yards
- 5 rushing TDs
- 14 TDs, 3 INTs over his last seven games.
- Accounted for 5 TDs in 70-20 win over UL-Monroe.
Colby Suits: played in eight games in 2020. Shared playing time with Jeremy Hunt (7 games: 339 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs vs Ga. State). Suits’ 2020 stats:
- 1541 yards
- 8 TDs
- 7 INTs
- 2 games with over 300 passing yards.
- 377 yards vs Texas State
- 334 yards vs Ga. Southern
South Alabama (4-7)
Jake Bentley: former SEC quarterback at South Carolina, and a graduate transfer from Utah. Named the starter after spring practice by USA Head Coach Kane Wommack. His career stats in college:
- 8309 passing yards
- 61 TDS
- 38 INTs
Texas State (2-10)
Brady McBride: McBride did share playing time with Tyler Vitt (933 yards, 9 TDs, 6 INTs). McBride’s 2020 stats:
- 1925 yards
- 17 TDs
- 7 INT
- 4 games over 200 yards passing.
- 1 game over 400 yards passing.
- 443 yards and 5 TDs in 47-45 win over Ark. State.
- 800 yards passing, 8 TDs, and 0 INTs over the last three games of the season.
Gunnar Watson: led the Sunbelt in passing, averaging 237 yards per game. His 2020 stats:
- 2141 yards
- 16 TDs
- 7 INTs
- 70% completion pct.
- 3- 300 yard passing games.
- 2 games over 70% completion pct.
- Completed over 80% of his passes in two games.
Experience QBs Return to the Sunbelt. Indeed.
Combine these quarterbacks with some high-profile coaches and offensive coordinators that have been added to the conference (Terry Bowden at UL-Monroe, Butch Jones at Arkansas State, Major Applewhite at South Alabama, and Rich Rodriguez at UL-Monroe), and the Sunbelt could easily become the “FUNBELT” in 2021.
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