SEC football 2024 power rankings: Identifying league's most-talented skill positions (2024)

The expanded SEC features college football's best at the QB, RB and WR spots.

Brad Crawford

Which SEC football teams have 2024 difference-makers at the skill positions? The answer likely correlates to College Football Playoff expectations within a conference touting potentially nine nationally-ranked teams a few weeks from now when fall camp begins.

There are several programs which have talent to flex at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. There are a few with depth concerns, too, in need of more bodies in key spots before the games begin.

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Despite heavy NFL Draft departures across the board in the expanded league with newcomers Texas and Oklahoma helping to carry the torch, the SEC should still tout a bevy of college football's best offensively. Which programs are best-suited at the skill spots?

The first in a summer series dissecting the SEC position by position, we're going through the skill talent at quarterback, running back and wide receiver, initially:

1. Texas Longhorns

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The personnel: Quinn Ewers, Arch Manning, QB;CJ Baxter, Jaydon Blue, RB; Isaiah Bond, Matthew Golden, Johntay Cook, WR; Amari Niblack, TE

Quotable via Horns247's Hank South: "This reminds me of an Alabama-esque reload. (I) can't think of a more talented bunch since theColt McCoy, Vince Young days in Austin."

Laced with the best quarterback room in the country and a bevy of playmakers in the backfield and on the outside, Texas is loaded ahead of its first season in the SEC. The Longhorns went to the transfer market for assistance at wideout and tight end, upscaling their room with a couple of Alabama's high-end producers, an Oregon State slot superstar and Golden from Houston. Any production gaps left by Xavier Worthy and AD Mitchell's departures to the NFL will be minimal.

2. Georgia Bulldogs

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The personnel: Carson Beck, QB; Trevor Etienne, Roderick Robinson, RB; Dominic Lovett, Colbie Young, RaRa Thomas, Dillon Bell, WR; Oscar Delp, TE

Quotable via Dawgs247's Kipp Adams:"They didn't get healthy Brock (Bowers) and Ladd (McConkey) last season, so you could argue it's less talented but more prepared to be more productive with the pass-catching depth."

Withanother banner season, Beck could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2025 NFL Draft and there's help around him. The pickup of Etienne from Florida in the transfer portal gives the Bulldogs a prized possession in their rushing attack and Miami's Young provides assistance on the outside. Look for more balance from the Bulldogs this season given their depth, at least on paper, in the pass-catching department.

3. Ole Miss Rebels

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The personnel: Jaxson Dart, QB; Henry Parrish, Logan Diggs, Rashad Amos, RB; Tre Harris, Jordan Watkins, Juice Wells, WR;Caden Prieskorn, TE

Quotable via InsideTheRebels' David Johnson:"

Given the offseason investment in the transfer portal and the returning talent offensively, this is College Football Playoff or bust for the Rebels' skill players.ThisOle Missroster has never looked better from a play-making perspective. With a couple new running backs from Miami and LSU, ex-South Carolina star Wells and the three-headed monster returning offensively of Dart,Harris and Watkins — this group is loaded.

4. Alabama Crimson Tide

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The personnel: Jalen Milroe, QB; Justice Haynes, Jam Miller, RB;Germie Bernard, Kendrick Law, Kobe Prentice, WR;CJ Dippre, TE

Quotable via Bama247's Mike Rodak:"Ryan Williams has the talent to be the next Amari Cooper. We just haven’t seen him on the field yet."

Could Milroe take the next step in his development as a preseason Heisman contender? First-year coach Kalen DeBoer says that is the plan for his quarterback. While unproven, Alabama's running back is deep with talent. Haynes and Miller are emerging talents set to take over the ground game in Tuscaloosa. The jury's still out on Alabama's WR1 coming out of spring and true freshman Williams may have a say in the discussion during fall camp.

5. Missouri Tigers

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The personnel: Brady Cook, QB; Marcus Carroll, Nate Noel, RB; Luther Burden, Theo Wease, Mookie Cooper, WR;Brett Norfleet, TE

It's hard not to love what you see in the two-deep within an offense coming off an 11-win season. That said, losing Doak Walker finalist Cody Shrader is potentially a devastating blow in the run game unless the Georgia State, Appalachian State transferduo of Carroll and Noel can have their way. There's not a better WR1 in the SEC than Burden, who should exceed 75 catches and 1,000 yards as one of the nation's topbig-play producers.

6. Tennessee Volunteers

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The personnel:Nico Iamaleava, QB; Dylan Sampson, Cameron Seldon, RB; Bru McCoy, Chris Brazzell, Squirrel White; Ethan Davis, Holden Staes, TE

ShouldIamaleava flourish as the facilitator those close to and within the Tennessee program expect, the sky's the limit for the Vols' passing game this season if there's a semblance of balance as Sampson and Seldon take over as the lead ballcarriers. Convincing Tulane's Brazzell to join the wide receiver corps was a substantial get, as was former Notre Dame tight end Staes.

7. LSU Tigers

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The personnel: Garrett Nussmeier, QB; Josh Williams, John Emery, RB; Kyren Lacy, Chris Hilton, C.J Daniels, WR; Mason Taylor, TE

Can this offense at LSU still produce record-setting numbers after losing a Heisman-winning quarterback and two first-rounders on the outside? That's part of the reason we're slotting the Tigers in the mid-tier of the league's skill position groups as a collective unit. Lot of replacements this season. Emery announced in Junehis return to Baton Rouge after previously entering the portal following spring practice, which further solidifies the Tigers' plan in the backfield a bit.

8. Oklahoma Sooners

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The personnel: Jackson Arnold, QB; Gavin Sawchuk, Kalib Hicks, RB; Nic Anderson, Deion Burks, Andrel Anthony, WR; Bauer Sharp, TE

Arnold preps for Year 1 as the Sooners' new starting quarterback. Sawchuk should get a steady does of carries in Seth Littrell's revised scheme offensively after he wore down defenses with five straight 100-yard outings to end his redshirt freshman campaign. Burks, a Purdue transfer, was Oklahoma's offensive MVP of the spring. Part of Oklahoma's offseason plan was to overhaul its tight end room and the addition of Sharp, a transfer from Southeastern Louisiana, looks promising based on spring production at the position.

9. Auburn Tigers

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The personnel: Payton Thorne, QB; Jarquez Hunter, Damari Alston, RB; Cam Coleman,KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Sam Jackson V, Robert Lewis;Rivaldo Fairweather, TE

Quotable via AuburnUndercover's Nathan King:"Receiver has the overwhelming talent for Auburn at the skill spots, but it’s also a bunch of unproven guys.Quarterback and running back are more veteran, but obviously less talented than what we've seen in recent years with Bo Nix and Tank Bigsby."

Can Thorne be a difference-making quarterback in the SEC? That's the major question concerning this offensive arsenal for the Tigers, who landed a couple high-end wideouts this cycle in the portal and recruiting its 2024 freshman class. Coleman is a future superstar at the position and the post-spring addition of Lambert-Smith from Penn State was a major development.

10. Florida Gators

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The personnel: Graham Mertz, QB; Montrell Johnson, RB; Eugene Wilson, Chimere Dike, Elijhah Badger, WR; Hayden Hansen, Tony Livingston, TE

Landing two Power-conference wideouts in the portal will be an asset for the Gators, especially with Mertz returning at quarterback. Badger from Arizona State was the latest pickup, coming via the spring window. Losing Etienne to Georgia puts a damper on what would've been one of the league's top backfields. Now, Johnson will have to handle the heavy-lifting in hopes of notching a 1,000-yard season. Wilson has All-SEC ability after a standout freshman year.

11. Texas A&M Aggies

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The personnel:Conner Weigman, QB; Leveon Moss, Rueben Owens, RB; Moose Muhammad III, Cyrus Allen, Noah Thomas, Jahdae Walker, WR; Donovan Green, TE

Texas A&M has talent on offense, much of it unproven to an extent outside of Weigman, whose first season as a starter last fall started off with a bang prior to a prolonged injury. Muhammad steps into the WR1 role after Evan Stewart's departure to Oregon. And if we know one thing about first-year coach Mike Elko, it's that he will take the black-and-blue approach offensively between the tackles. He wants a hard-nosed, physical football team and the Moss-Owens combo in the backfield should provide that in the run game.

12. Kentucky Wildcats

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The personnel: Brock Vandagriff, QB; Chip Trayanum, Demie Sumo-Karngbaye,RB;Dane Key, Barion Brown,Ja'Mori Maclin, WR; Jordan Dingle, TE

With a former Georgia quarterback and ex-Ohio State ballcarrier leading the charge offensively, Mark Stoops hopes the transition from Liam Coen to a new system is aided by the talent the Wildcats have assembled from the transfer portal. Speedster Key and Brown return on the outside and should get their share of deep targets from the strong-armed Vandagriff. Dingle is one of the more underrated tight ends in the SEC and is often featured on third down.

13. South Carolina Gameco*cks

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The personnel:LaNorris Sellers, QB; Raheim Sanders, Oscar Adaway, RB; Nyck Harbor,Mazeo Bennett, Jared Brown, Gage Larvadain, WR; Josh Simon, TE

Under second-year play-caller Dowell Loggains, the Gameco*cks expect to move to a more ground-and-pound look following the exit of Spencer Rattler to the NFL. Sanders and Adaway are two of three ballcarriers acquired in the portal in the new-look backfield and this is wideout room at South Carolina is largely unproven after losing stars Xavier Legette and Juice Wells. Bennett, Brown and Larvadain are just three of a handful of new pass-catching options for Sellers, a first-year starting quarterback.

14. Arkansas Razorbacks

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The personnel: Taylen Green, QB; Ja'Quinden Jackson, RB; Andrew Armstrong, Tyrone Broden, Jaedon Wilson, WR;Luke Hasz, TE

Quotable viaHawgSports' Trey Biddy:"Showed playmaking ability in the spring but was also inconsistent in the middle stretch of the 15 practices before picking it up again. Arkansas returns every receiver who caught a pass last season and has some good players there, but unless you count Hasz — who might be the best tight end in the SEC — I’m not sure there’s an NFL guy at receiver unless it’s Armstrong. Jackson comes across to me as a guy with something to prove, despite running for over 1,300 yards the last two seasons at Utah. Arkansas has some good skill players on offense, but I don’t know if I’d categorize any of them as ‘elite,’ right now."

Arkansas will rely on a bevy of transfer portal help this season to try and extend Sam Pittman's tenure in Fayetteville. Without question, Hasz is this offense's best player and go-to weapon for new OC Bobby Petrino.

15. Mississippi State Bulldogs

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The personnel: Blake Shapen, QB; Jeffery Pittman, Keyvone Lee, RB; Jaden Walley, Kevin Coleman, KellyAkharaiyi, WR; Justin Ball, TE

Jeff Lebbypromises an explosive offense in Starkville during his tenure, but expecting everything to come together for this program in Year 1 might be asking too much. Like most first-year coaches flipping a roster, Lebby went transfer portal-heavy to try and field a competitive group and players that fit his system.LouisvillewideoutKevin Colemanand UTEP'sKelly Akharaiyiare potential big-play threats if ex-Baylor quarterbackBlake Shapenhas time to throw.

16. Vanderbilt Commodores

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The personnel: Diego Pavia, QB; Sedrick Alexander, RB; Quincy Skinner Jr., Loic Fouonji, Junior Sherrill, WR; Eli Stowers, TE

Clark Lea brought inNew Mexico State's Tim Beck to call the offense (along with NMSU quarterbackDiego Pavia, who arrives this summer) in an effort to fix what's broken in Nashville. And with Pavia, comes along a host of other transfers who will be instant-impact guys offensively including Stowers, a converted quarterback who now plays tight end.

SEC football 2024 power rankings: Identifying league's most-talented skill positions (2024)
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