There was a debate on here a few weeks ago (I think it was on a BTI links post) about Michael Hartline being a top-5 quarterback in the SEC. At the time, it was dismissed as completely ignorant by everyone (including me) and we moved on with our lives. But, I’ve been thinking about it the past few days and, even though this idea was originally spurned by Hartline’s huge stats on my dynasty on NCAA 09, it might not really be that crazy to think that he might be there at season’s end.
The SEC isn’t bringing back the QB firepower it was a year ago. In fact, half of the teams are breaking in fresh faces and the defending champs are rolling with a transfer from Harvard. Even Chris Low thinks things are a little wack in the SEC. So, would it be that big of a stretch to think that Hartline might actually be one of the best quarterbacks in the conference when it’s all said and done? The way I see it, there are four tiers:
– Tim Tebow (Florida)
– Matt Stafford (Georgia)
Experienced, but not spectacular veterans
– John Parker Wilson (Alabama)
– Casey Dick (Arkansas)
– Wesley Carroll (Mississippi State)
– Chris Nickson (Vanderbilt)
Newcomers with huge upside
– Jevan Snead (Ole Miss)
– Jonathan Crompton (Tennessee)
– Tommy Beecher (South Carolina)
– Andrew Hatch (LSU)
– Kodi Burns and Chris Todd (Auburn)
Obviously, Hartline is not in Tebow or Stafford’s class and he didn’t enter college with the hype of Snead and Crompton, so it’s a fair assessment to say his ceiling might not be as high. But, I think it’s reasonable to say that he could expect to have just as good, if not better, year than the bottom group given the talent around him and the system he runs. And, if he’s painfully average, he’s still probably better than everyone in the second group besides Wilson, who I’d consider a little above average. Is Hartline the next Matt Leinart? No way. But, I think he deserves a little more credit than he’s been getting in the preseason.