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Is Florida Gators’ Kyle Trask the SEC’s top returning quarterback?

With Georgia’s Jake Fromm entering the NFL draft, Kyle Trask looks like the SEC’s top passer for 2020.
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) throws during the first half of the Orange Bowl against Virginia on Dec. 30 in Miami Gardens.
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) throws during the first half of the Orange Bowl against Virginia on Dec. 30 in Miami Gardens. [ BRYNN ANDERSON | AP ]
Published Jan. 9, 2020
Updated Jan. 9, 2020

Georgia’s Jake Fromm became the latest SEC quarterback to announce that he’s leaving school early to enter the NFL draft when he declared for the draft Wednesday. His proclamation came two days after Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa announced his intention to turn pro, too.

Even with a hip injury, Tagovailoa will likely be a top-10 pick. Opinions are much more mixed with Fromm. We’ll get to the draft (and Bucs) discussion another time. But today, let’s focus on their departures from the college perspective:

Does this mean Florida’s Kyle Trask is the top returning quarterback in the SEC?

Related: 11 things to know about Florida Gators quarterbacks Kyle Trask, Emory Jones

The field has narrowed thanks to the draft. Fromm and Tagovailoa are both gone. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow will be playing in his final LSU game Monday before becoming a top pick (if not the top pick). That gets rid of three of the SEC’s top four leaders in passing touchdowns. The one remaining? Kyle Trask (who threw 25 this season).

The departures also wipe away three of the SEC’s top five quarterbacks in passing yards and efficiency. The only returning player who also ranked in the top five in the SEC in both of those categories? Kyle Trask, whose efficiency (156.09) was No. 15 in the country. Trask also had the highest completion percentage (66.9) of any SEC returning starter.

Not every number or argument favors Trask. Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano (assuming he returns) averaged slightly more yards per attempt (8.4 to Trask’s 8.3), although Guarantano’s completion percentage was almost 8 points lower, and he threw fewer touchdown passes and more interceptions.

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix runs against Minnesota during the second half of the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Auburn quarterback Bo Nix runs against Minnesota during the second half of the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]

Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond rushed for 500 yards and eight touchdowns under coach Jimbo Fisher. Auburn’s Bo Nix progressed over his true freshman season and showed plenty of promise, including an Iron Bowl triumph over Alabama and a win over Pac-12 champ Oregon in his debut. And Terry Wilson should be back after leading Kentucky to a historic year in 2018 (including a win at UF), but sustaining a season-ending knee injury in his second game this season.

Related: Why backup quarterback Kyle Trask didn’t leave the Florida Gators

There are also a lot of unknowns on other rosters, including what happens at ’Bama and how the transfer portal could affect competitions.

But as of now, Fromm’s departure has rippled into another remarkable step in Trask’s crazy college career. A year ago at this time, Trask was still a two-star prospect who hadn’t started since his freshman year in high school and had yet to see any meaningful action in college.

Now he might be the best returning quarterback in the best conference in the country.