"My wife can call plays with that guy at quarterback."
That's what Billy Napier had to say about Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson after he upset and torched Utah for a zillion yards through the air and on the ground. And that's not a knock on Napier's wife. That's just because Anthony Richardson has tools and tangibles that no one in college football has at the quarterback position.
That's why I'm here to tell you that he's the SEC's QB1. Yeah, I don't care about Bryce Young's Heisman Trophy or Stetson Bennett's national championship. Those guys are chumps compared to the monster that Richardson is. I've seen enough to make the call. It's time to put some respect on Anthony Bleepin' Richardson's name.
Why Anthony Richardson is the SEC's Top QB
I'm not going to bore you with stats, mostly because doing so will only help Young and Bennett's cases in this argument. And while Richardson's accolades in his first game this season -- 168 passing yards, 106 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and the Davey O'Brien Award National Quarterback of the Week -- look pristine, I'm here to talk about everything else that makes him great.
First, we have to talk about his size. Richardson stands 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds. That's the same height and about the same weight as Alabama star linebacker Will Anderson Jr. There's only one other passer in the conference that can rival that, and that's Arkansas' KJ Jefferson. Richardson gets compared to Cam Newton a lot, and for good reason. He's damn near impossible to tackle. Need a few yards? Just let him fall forward. That's something the 6-foot Young can't do.
Then there's Richardson's straight-line speed. He ripped off a 45-yard rushing touchdown in the Utah game, leaving NFL scouts salivating across the country. A dude that big moving that fast is rare. Just how fast is No. 15? He said he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, which is MOVING. In fact, only one other quarterback has run faster at the NFL Combine since 1999, and that's Michael Vick. Bryce Young is quick, too, but I'm gonna guess he's not running 4.4 40s.
45 YARDS TO THE HOUSE FOR ANTHONY RICHARDSON ?? pic.twitter.com/HIhYQSXZ4z
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 4, 2022
Since we're talking best quarterbacks, we should probably mention arms. Richardson has a cannon for one. Sure, he may not have the accuracy or vision as his peers yet, but he certainly has the arm strength. On one play that went incomplete against Utah, he uncorked a 60-yarder. Something tells me he can reach 75 yards, too.
Anthony Richardson flexing the arm strength pic.twitter.com/fcVHqvalfd
— WalkTheMock (@WalkTheMock) September 3, 2022
Lastly, we have to talk about improvisation. The best quarterbacks have this quality. Think Johnny Manziel or Aaron Rodgers. You've got to be able to squirm away from sacks and extend the play. There are a lot of elite college quarterbacks who do this, but we're seeing Richardson get better and better at this each game.
Still thinking about this Anthony Richardson play from last night ?
Unreal ? pic.twitter.com/Azn1FCNW9N
— ESPN (@espn) September 4, 2022
To have two defenders breathing down his throat, pump fake and roll out to find a wide open receiver is next-level stuff. It wasn't even the only time in that game he escaped pressure in spectacular fashion.
Anthony Richardson did a lot of spectacular things on Saturday but one of the most impressive, in my opinion, ended up being an incomplete pass. There are really no words for this so just watch. pic.twitter.com/upJT6hlqMC
— Jacob Rudner (@JacobRudner) September 5, 2022
When you add all of this together, to me it's clear: I'd rather have Anthony Richardson over any other quarterback in the SEC. Bryce Young has a bevy of talent around him that others could succeed with. Stetson Bennett has an NFL defense to lean on. The rest of the SEC's passers don't compare.
Richardson could be a top-10 pick in next year's NFL Draft, as some sites are predicting. He still has so much more developing to do. But after what I saw against Utah and the flashes of brilliance last season, I don't need any more film to know who the SEC's QB1 is.