Ole Miss football or Kentucky? Which SEC team got best transfer QB? And who still needs one

Nearly half of the SEC's teams signed a transfer quarterback this winter, and Ole Miss nabbed two.

In at least a few of those instances, transfers are expected to be a strong contender or even the headliner for the starting job.

The SEC's raid of quarterbacks includes:

Arkansas: Jacolby Criswell (North Carolina); Florida: Graham Mertz (Wisconsin); Kentucky: Devin Leary (North Carolina State); Ole Miss: Spencer Sanders (Oklahoma State), Walker Howard (LSU); Mississippi State: Mike Wright (Vanderbilt); Missouri: Jake Garcia (Miami).

On today's edition of "SEC Football Unfiltered," a podcast from the USA TODAY Network, hosts Blake Toppmeyer and John Adams review the SEC's quarterback transfer haul, and they point to a couple of programs that might hunt for a quarterback after spring practice.

Subscribe to SEC Football Unfiltered
iTunes | Google Play | Spotify

So, who hit it big?

Adams awards Kentucky top marks for adding Leary, who threw 35 touchdown passes in 2021 at N.C. State before being hampered by a shoulder injury last season. Additionally, he believes Sanders will unseat Jaxson Dart as Ole Miss' starter. Sanders, like Dart, is a dual threat. He was a four-year starter at Oklahoma State. Sanders dealt with a shoulder injury last year, though, and he's not coming off of his finest season.

TOPPMEYER: Nick Saban's problems don't start and end with Kirby Smart. Peep Brian Kelly and LSU

ADAMS: A defense of the 'Golden Boy' Blake Toppmeyer, and a rebuke of my proposed 12-team playoff

Toppmeyer is less enamored with Sanders, but he likes the upside of the other Ole Miss transfer, Howard.

Meanwhile, Adams is puzzled as to why Alabama hasn't added a transfer in its quest to replace Bryce Young, but Toppmeyer offers a theory on why Nick Saban might be slow-playing that move: The Crimson Tide return backup quarterbacks Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson and signed two four-star prospects in this recruiting class. If Alabama added a transfer this winter, it risked losing an incumbent before spring practice. By waiting, Alabama can exit the spring with a starting quarterback in mind, and its top quarterback after A-Day likely will stick around, even if Alabama adds a transfer after spring practice.

[ WANT MORE OPINIONS FROM TOPPMEYER AND ADAMS? Sign up for the SEC Unfiltered newsletter for exclusive columns delivered straight to your inbox ]

Elsewhere, Hugh Freeze should make adding a transfer quarterback a priority for Auburn after spring practice, especially if he's unable to polish Robby Ashford's passing skills this spring.

Later in the episode

– Lane Kiffin, Mark Stoops and Shane Beamer are among the SEC coaches who were awarded sizable raises either toward the end of last season or in the offseason. The hosts explain why Stoops' raise to $9 million is the most puzzling out of that trio. Kentucky is coming off a season in which its 7-6 record failed to meet expectations. The Wildcats' shortcomings included a home loss to Vanderbilt. As a $9 million man, more must be expected of Stoops, even at a basketball school.

Where to listen to SEC Football Unfiltered





Blake Toppmeyer is an SEC Columnist for the USA TODAY Network. John Adams is a senior columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel. You can subscribe to their podcast, SEC Football Unfiltered, or check out their SEC Unfiltered newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: Ole Miss football or Kentucky, who landed top transfer quarterback?