CollegeFootballNews.com Preview 2017: Top 20 Quarterbacks
Who are the best quarterbacks coming into the college football season? Here are the projected 20 top guys
Preview 2017: Top 20 Quarterbacks
Who are the best quarterbacks coming into the 2017 college football season? This is a projection of the top COLLEGE players, and not necessarily the best pro prospects. Talent, of course, matters, but this is about looking ahead at who will be the top 20 this year.
20. Kelly Bryant, Jr. Clemson
Remember, there was a concern about replacing Tajh Boyd not all that long ago. Bryant won’t be Deshaun Watson, but he’ll be fabulous.
19. Brandon Wimbush, Jr. Notre Dame
DeShone Kizer will start for Cleveland, Malik Zaire will probably start at Florida, and Wimbush might be a better fit than either of them for Notre Dame this year.
18. Austin Allen, Sr. Arkansas
Lost in the shuffle of great quarterbacks, Allen will once again put up big numbers without the national fanfare. He’ll throw for close to 3,500 yards again.
17. Jarrett Stidham, Soph. Auburn
The hype is through the roof for the Baylor transfer to be the one to take the Auburn offense to a whole other level. Expect more of a passing game to go along with the devastating ground attack.
16. Justin Herbert, Soph. Oregon
The next great Oregon quarterback, he might not be the runner like the Willie Taggart offense might want, but he’ll hold his own against the other great Pac-12 quarterbacks.
15. Deondre Francois, Soph. Florida State
After proving to be one of the toughest quarterbacks in the country last year, now the team will become his. If he and FSU can beat Alabama to start the season, the Heisman hype will be on.
14. Logan Woodside, Sr. Toledo
Who led the nation in touchdown passes last year? One of the most efficient and effective QBs, Woodside threw for 4,129 yards and 45 touchdowns with just nine picks. Expect more of the same.
13. Luke Falk, Sr. Washington State
Is he the most talented quarterback ever under Mike Leach? The pro guys would like to get their shot at him, but he has one more year of throwing for way over 4,000 yards for the Cougars.
12. Josh Allen, Jr. Wyoming
Yeah, he probably would’ve been the top QB taken in this year’s draft, but he has to cut down on the interceptions and needs to be more accurate.
11. Brett Rypien, Jr. Boise State
Lost in the Josh Allen love was that Rypien was the All-Mountain West QB last year. He threw for over 400 more yards than Allen and seven fewer picks.
10. Quinton Flowers, Sr. USF
Known for being one of the elite running quarterbacks, he’s also among the most efficient passers. Now he’ll put up massive numbers for Charlie Strong.
9. Josh Rosen, Jr. UCLA
Health, health, health, and more big wins. Sam Darnold might have passed by Rosen as the star of the Pac-12 – and LA – but that could quickly change. If Rosen stays in one piece, he could carry UCLA to a conference title.
8. Jalen Hurts, Soph. Alabama
Blow off the poor passing performances in the College Football Playoff. He’ll once again be an effective enough passer to go along with the slippery-smooth rushing ability.
7. Nick Fitzgerald, Jr., Miss State
Yeah, some will say the Dak Prescott effect might overhype Fitzgerald, but throwing for 2,423 yards and 21 scores, and running for 1,375 yards and 16 scores on a mediocre team had nothing to do with the Dallas star. Watch out as the 6-5, 230-pound Fitzgerald rises up the NFL Draft charts.
6. J.T. Barrett, Sr. Ohio State
Way, way, way underappreciated – and unfairly blamed for the Clemson loss – Barrett did whatever was needed to get the Buckeyes into the CFP. He’s the consummate leader and all-around quarterback who fits the OSU O to a T.
5. Jake Browning, Jr. Washington
While Browning doesn’t have the NFL body or look the part of a Sam Darnold, Luke Falk or Josh Rosen, it’s possible Browning is the best quarterback in the league … again. The 43 touchdown passes were second in the nation.
4. Mason Rudolph, Sr. Oklahoma State
Welcome to the party – we’ve only been chirping about him for years as a top-shelf pro prospect. Don’t be stunned when the 6-5, 235-pounder who threw for close to 4,100 yards with 28 scores and four picks and six rushing scores goes in the top five next year.
3. Lamar Jackson, Jr. Louisville
Really, why can’t he do it all again? It’s another great Louisville team, and it’s not like he’s going to be any less dynamic or amazing considering he has the experience to go along with the skills. While he might have struggled late in the season when Houston and LSU used the Heisman winner as a hat, that was mostly because the offensive line almost got him killed. Even with all the sacks he took and even with the problems as a marked man, he was still special. Expect more of the same.
2. Baker Mayfield, Sr. Oklahoma
At what point does Mayfield start to be considered among the greatest college quarterbacks of all-time? If he does it one more time, he might be there after leading the nation in passing efficiency hitting 71% of his throws for close to 4,000 yards with 40 scores and eight picks, while rushing for six touchdowns. However, with almost all the top skill guys gone, he’ll have to make everyone around him rock.
1. Sam Darnold, Soph. USC
Now come the knocks. He’s so good, so talented, and with so much upside, now all the pro types will try to come up with reasons why isn’t he the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018. Whatever. He has to take care of the ball, can’t fumble as much, and has to now show he can take USC to a Pac-12 title, but in terms of pro talent, he’s everything a team could possibly want. It’ll be almost impossible to live up to the hype, but he’s got the even temperament and the skills to do it.