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SoCon Preseason Position Rankings: Quarterback

By Jim Johnson
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Here are the SoCon's five best teams, as far as signal callers.

As the beginning of the SoCon season edges ever closer, these are the top teams at each position group. While, in some cases, the starter at a given spot may be enough to carry one team over a stable of talent, largely these rankings will reward depth at each spot.

Quarterbacks will, of course be the exception as, overarchingly, if the backup quarterback has to come in, that's not a good thing. With that said, here are the SoCon's five best teams, as far as signal callers:

5. Wofford

The numbers would point to ETSU and Austin Herink rounding out the group, whilst acknowledging a fair drop off after the top four. However, while flashy plays and big stats and all the other ancillary benefits of more gifted quarterbacks are nice, the primary job of this position is to win, at any cost. Brandon Goodson doesn't always make it look pretty, but Wofford's offense, which starts with him, is downright effective. The Terriers averaged 5.29 yards per play in 2016, due in much larger part to him than the casual observer may acknowledge.

4. The Citadel

Domique Allen mixes success, in the way of winning, with solid statistical production, even playing in an option offense. Since becoming the full-time starter, in 2015, Allen has led the Citadel to a 16-4 record against non-FBS opponents, consecutive postseason appearances, and a win at South Carolina. Only six returning quarterbacks in FCS football rushed for more yards in 2016.

3. Western Carolina

2016 SoCon Freshman of the Year Tyrie Adams proved to be one of the conference's most dynamic rising stars, last season. Already known as an explosive athlete, able to make plays with his legs, he exhibited upper echelon decision making in the passing game. He finished fourth in the voting for the FCS National Freshman of the Year Award, as well, and finished in the top 25 for total offense.

2. Chattanooga

Alejandro Bennifield, who waited patiently behind one of the SoCon's all-time great players, Jacob Huesman, for three years, finally got his shot in 2016 and made the absolute most of it. The second team all-conference selection finished second in the league in passing yards, touchdowns, TD/INT ratio and third in passer rating and completion percentage. His 26 scores through the air tied for second in UTC history in a single season. The total package, Bennifield added another 377 yards and six touchdowns, on the year.

1. Samford

Not only is Devlin Hodges the best quarterback in the SoCon, but the best overall player. By the end of the season, he may well be regarded as the best quarterback in all of FCS. As a redshirt sophomore Hodges earned SoCon Offensive Player of the Year honors, a first team all-conference selection, and was named a third team All-American. He finished in the top five last year in total offense, amongst all Division I college football players, including FBS. He led the SoCon and finished in the top two or three in FCS in every meaningful passing statistic, aside from passer rating, at which he ended up a lowly ninth. With Hodges at the helm, Samford is never truly out of any game.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP