By David Bradford, for VFL Insider
Barton Simmons wrote a fantastic piece for 247Sports today where he ranked all 14 starting SEC quarterbacks. You can read the list and be outraged your favorite quarterback isn’t ranked No. 1 here.
While some would disagree with the order (my vote for No. 1 would go to Nick Fitzgerald), the list is divided into the appropriate groupings. You have the inexperienced/late bloomers section at the bottom (No. 12-14), the quarterbacks who provided flashes but we need to see more of in the next group (No. 9-11), the big arms (No. 6-8), and the studs with the most potentials (No. 1-5).
Interestingly enough, Simmons has the two starting SEC quarterbacks hailing from the state of Tennessee right next to each other — Tennessee’s Quinten Dormady is ranked at No. 13, while Vanderbilt’s Kyle Shurmur sits tightly at No. 12.
Here’s what Simmons had to say about both quarterbacks.
No. 13: Quinten Dormady, Tennessee — Dormady is largely an unknown but he’s also somebody that I ranked as a four-star coming out of high school. He’s plenty talented and reviews from spring practice have been positive. He could rise as high as ninth on this list by the end of his junior season. Anything above that would be a surprise — and great news for Tennessee.
No. 12: Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt — Shurmur is probably looking at dead last on this list until things started clicking late last season. He threw for 250-plus yards in his last three regular season games including a 416-yard effort against Tennessee. He’s the son of an NFL coach so the mental side was going to come. After a rough freshman season, things look like they’re starting to click for Shurmur as he enters his junior season.
In regards to Shurmur, Simmons is on the money with his assessment. There’s no question his 416-yard performance against Tennessee boosted his stock. For the first time since Jay Cutler, there’s legitimate excitement surrounding Vanderbilt’s quarterback situation. According to Simmons, he believes Shurmur could rank higher by season’s end.
Dormady as high as 8th (just above Eason) doesn’t seem far-fetched. Shurmur as high as 9 (above Malik Zaire) seems reasonable too
— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) July 19, 2017
That’s where this gets interesting. By Simmon’s estimation, both Shurmur and Dormady operate on similar plains, as evident by their side-by-side ranking and similar ceiling range. While it’s understandable, I disagree — Dormady’s ceiling is much higher than Shurmur’s.
The initial assessment on Dormady is accurate. He is an unknown, having only 39 passes to his name in two seasons, as well as a countless amount of throws during practices. During the few spring practices I attended, the junior out of Texas deserved the praise he received, showcasing the necessary accuracy and footwork a quarterback needs in the SEC. While he didn’t have Jarrett Guarantano’s flashy bravado, Dormady acted like the CEO of a company, which is essentially what the quarterback is for an offense.
Based on his arm talent and overlooked athleticism — a common stereotype associated with white quarterbacks nowadays — Dormady possess legitimate top-5 potential, especially if the offensive line holds up.
Just look at this throw:
Regardless of competition, that’s an impressive play.
And that’s the type of play we’ll see from Dormady in 2017, should he be the starter (which he certainly deserves to be). The ability to evade defenders and keep his eyes down the field, something Joshua Dobbs didn’t do as often as he should have during his playing days.
There’s limited film on the favorite to win the Vols’ starting quarterback job, which makes projecting difficult, but based on what we can measure, the ceiling for Dormady is much higher than eighth.