Coming into the 2015 season, we Ole Miss fans looked at the talent at receiver and on defense and assumed all we needed from the quarterback position was someone who would not be a disaster and achieve the rank of average. As we now know, what we really needed was a quarterback who could make up for deficiencies on defense and the offensive line to keep the season from becoming an unmitigated disaster.
And then Chad Kelly took his first snap. All Kelly managed to do in Year 1 (and PLEASE let there be a Year 2) at Ole Miss is lead the conference in total offense and passing yards, while finishing second in passing efficiency. In the process of piling up those numbers, he also managed to break or tie four individual Ole Miss records, as well as 10 team records. Oh, and there's one more game to go, which means he's probably going to break a few more.
Now, because I am lazy and shunned exercise for the better part of the last two months (note: I did NOT show a shunning face at exercise), I feel exhausted after going through those accomplishments. But as I sit here gasping for precious oxygen, I don't believe just rattling off lists of accomplishments helps us understand how good Swag's regular season was.
To help offer a better view of what he did in 2015, and to keep us from reading (HUZZAH), I painstakingly* developed a few graphs that compare Swag's total yards and touchdowns first to previous Ole Miss quarterbacks, then to other SEC quarterbacks who had monster years in the same categories.
*Somewhat painstakingly. Switching back and forth between - INTRICACIES OF PHOTOSHOP BOREDOM ALERT - colors, text boxes, and the paintbrush got real irritating real fast, mostly because I would forget to click the right layer or tool. I know, RIGHT?
First, let's see how SWAG compares to Ole Miss quarterbacks going back to 2000.
So you're saying he destroyed everyone else, yes? Indeed I am. I mean, Eli Manning, who was what I assumed would be the best quarterback in Ole Miss history, doesn't come all that close to Swag. Now, before all the hollerin' starts, I'm not saying Swag is a better quarterback than Eli (different offense, blah blah blah), but if you remember how good Eli was, the difference between the two points on the graph is staggering.
Also, can you guess which quarterbacks played under Ed Orgeron? I'm not totally sure, but PERHAPS it could be those in that isolated group on the left. MAYBE. And a special-shout out to quarterback guru David Cutcliffe for Ethan Flatt, who was signed because he reminded Cutcliffe of Eli.
Anyway, let's get away from that forever bitterness on my part and see where Swag falls among SEC quarterbacks, going back to Tim Tebow, who gained yards on yards and were responsible for touchdowns everywhere.
You should know that Newton, Murray, and Tebow ('08 and '09) all played 14 games their listed years, which helped drive up the numbers on already great seasons. I also included Brandon Allen since he's been in the same conversation as SWAG and Dak Prescott about who is the best quarterback in the SEC this season.
Outside of Tebow's absurd '07 season, Cam Newton's insane year, Johnny Manziel's two years of terror, and Dak's outstanding 2014, SWAG's 2015 can beat or matchup with anyone else's year in the history of the conference. That's SOMEWHAT ACCEPTABLE.
Of course, SWAG also has one game to go, so those numbers are most likely going to go even higher. That means the final updated graph (that I won't make) will look something like this:
SWAG is 333 total yards away from being the second player in SEC history to cross the threshold of 4500 total yards in a season. Repeat, SECOND PLAYER EVER. And the really disorienting part is that to break that barrier, he only needs to have a slightly above average game for him. Pretty good for someone we all hoped could just keep the offense from drowning.
If lists are your thing, here are the actual number that helped plot those points on the graphs.
Ole Miss QBs (total yards; total TDs)
- Chad Kelly '15: 4,167; 37
- Bo Wallace '14: 3,393; 27
- Bo Wallace '13: 3,701; 24
- Bo Wallace '12: 3,384; 30
- Randall Mackey '11: 1,297; 8
- Jeremiah Masoli '10: 2,583; 20
- Jevan Snead '09: 2,733; 23
- Jevan Snead '08: 2,822; 29
- Seth Adams '07: 1,952; 13
- Brent Schaeffer '06: 1,542; 10
- Micheal Spurlock '05: 1,683; 9
- Ethan Flatt '04: 1,470; 6
- Eli Manning '03: 3,572; 32
- Eli Manning '02: 3,281; 23
- Eli Manning '01: 2,957; 31
- Romaro Miller '00: 2,432; 20
- Chad Kelly '15: 4,167; 37
- Dak Prescott '15: 3,954; 35
- Brandon Allen '15: 3,255; 30
- Blake Sims '14: 3,837; 35
- Dak Prescott '14: 4,470; 43
- Johnny Manziel '13: 4,873; 40
- Johnny Manziel '12: 5,116; 47
- Aaron Murray '12: 3,825; 39
- Aaron Murray '11: 3,260; 37
- Cam Newton '10: 4,369; 51
- Tim Tebow '09: 3,805; 35
- Tim Tebow '08: 3,419; 42
- Tim Tebow '07: 4,181; 55
- Andre Woodson '07: 3,516; 43