Southeastern Conference teams must replace a Heisman Trophy-winner, a two-time national champion and several potential first-round draft picks at quarterback.
There's still plenty of star power in the league heading into next season, just not much of it at the game's most important position.
The expectations, of course, remain the same for a league that has claimed 14 of the last 20 national titles.
Bryce Young has departed the Crimson Tide as the presumptive No. 1 NFL draft pick. Stetson Bennett led Georgia to back-to-back national crowns.
Not to mention potential first-round picks Anthony Richardson of Florida, Will Levis of Kentucky and Hendon Hooker of Tennessee.
It could be the most fruitful first-round ever for SEC quarterbacks.
The league has never had more than two quarterbacks picked in the first round, with the latest in 2020 when Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals) went first and Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins) was picked fifth in 2020. Plus, second-round pick Jalen Hurts, who had transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma.
No SEC QBs went in the first round from 2015-2019 though Young could become the eighth to go No. 1 overall since 1998.
That, of course, leaves behind some questions and uncertainty.
There are a handful of established returning quarterbacks, like LSU's Jayden Daniels, Mississippi State's Will Rogers, Arkansas's KJ Jefferson and South Carolina's Spencer Rattler.
Vanderbilt seems set with AJ Swann while Auburn's Robby Ashford, Texas A&M's Conner Weigman and Missouri's Brady Cook are among those trying to fend off competition.
Other teams are likely to plug in transfers either atop the depth chart or at least in the mix, with more additions and subractions still possible to shake things up.
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin has a returning starter in Jaxson Dart, but also brought in plenty of competition. Spencer Sanders was a four-year starter at Oklahoma State and Walker Howard was a top recruit at LSU last year, but didn't play much.
Dart insists he welcomes the challenge.
“Competition's always good,” he said. "For me, I see myself as trying to develop to be a first-round draft pick, so I just try to keep getting better each and every day.
“And it's good to have guys like that push you. We compete day in and day out, so it's fun being in a room like that.”
And Kiffin got his wish to upgrade the quarterback group overall.
“The idea in the offseason was to improve that room, make it competitive, bring guys in," he said. “It's not just being competitive for that first spot like everybody thinks. It just makes you a better room.”
Florida and Kentucky, meanwhile, appeared to find their 2023 starters in the transfer portal.
Alabama's Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson are the front-runners to replace Young, though both had some miscues in the spring game. Freshmen Dylan Lonergan and Eli Holstein are four-star recruits who went through spring. Adding intriguing: Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner jumped in the transfer portal. He was recruited and played for new Tide offensive coordinator Tommy Rees.
Carson Beck, Bennett’s backup the past two seasons, appears to be leading Brock Vandagriff in the race for the starting job for Georgia.
“It’s a good, healthy competition between us two,” Vandagriff said.
Kentucky is replacing one transfer, Levis, with another.
Devin Leary started 26 games for North Carolina State over four seasons. He was the Atlantic Coast Conference preseason player of the year last season but had it cut short by injury. He has passed for 6,807 yards in his career and was one of the top players available in the portal.
At Florida, three-year Wisconsin starter Graham Mertz is a stopgap for a program that has effectively lost six scholarship quarterbacks, including Richardson, over a one-year span.
The Gators are relying on Mertz to help avoid a third straight losing season.
“I think that personally I grew as a player and as a young man,” Mertz said after the spring game.
Tennessee’s 23-year-old Joe Milton helped the Vols close the season with an Orange Bowl rout of Clemson after Hooker was injured. He’s a veteran who has started nine of his 31 games over five years, including three at Michigan.
Freshman Nico Iamalaeaua, the nation’s No. 2 recruit, per the 247Sports composite rankings, looms.
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