Primed for a great 2021, Ole Miss QB Matt Corral is in elite company in SEC history
OXFORD, Miss. — In 2020, Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral was the first SEC quarterback to lead the country in total offense per game (384.9 yards) since Johnny Manziel (2012) and is only the fourth QB in all of SEC history to do so.
We all know Manziel’s exploits during A&M’s first two seasons in the league and although his NFL career wasn’t what he’d hoped for, it’s difficult to find fault with his extraordinary two-year college career. In addition to Manziel, Corral joins two other all-time greats in this offensive category in Florida’s Rex Grossman (2001) and Auburn’s Pat Sullivan (1971). Each of these outstanding quarterbacks also led the country in total offense per game.
I saw them all play, although very few of us got to see much of Pat Sullivan due to televised games not being nearly as plentiful in 1971 as they are today. Then, even the Top 10 teams only made the TV airwaves a few times during a season.
So here we have four quarterbacks who’ve all accomplished the same lofty achievement during their careers, and where did that lead them? How did they rank among their peers and in the college football record books?
Well, here’s the deal: Pat Sullivan won the Heisman Trophy and was a second-round NFL draft pick. Rex Grossman was the Heisman runner-up in 2001 and was a first-round draft pick. Johnny Manziel was a Heisman Trophy winner and was also a first-round draft choice.
The old saying goes, “You are what the numbers say you are.” And it turns out Matt’s numbers put him up there with two Heisman winners and a runner-up, and two first-rounders and a second-rounder. That’s an impressive group in which to be included.
Matt is also the top returning quarterback in the country in ESPN’s Total QBR with an 89.9 rating, strong enough for third overall last year against an all-SEC schedule and the Rebels’ bowl game victory over No. 7 Indiana.
The two quarterbacks ahead of him in 2020 were Alabama’s Mac Jones and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, both of whom were first-round draft choices.
Corral, a finalist for the Manning Award last season, passed for 3,337 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2020, while completing over 70 percent of his passes.
College football fans need to hold onto their seats in 2021 with this young man. If we’re known by the company we keep, Matt Corral is in tremendous shape. Now it’s just a matter of capitalizing on this amazing opportunity for himself and his Ole Miss Rebels football team.
If precedent is any kind of a guide, the best is yet to come!