Arkansas State and Troy quarterbacks land on the Johnny Unitas Top 20
A good 10% of the newly released (and freshly trimmed) Johnny Unitas Watch List are Sun Belt gunslingers. The conference’s best QB? Didn’t make the cut.
It’s been an extremely solid year for quarterbacks in the Sun Belt, with the passing offenses of both New Mexico State and Arkansas State cracking the nation’s Top Ten.
Yet, it wasn’t the Aggies’ Tyler Rogers (2,113 yards, 16 TDs) who made the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm cut list, which was released on Wednesday. Instead, the honors went to pre-season All-Sun Belt First Team QB Brandon Silvers of Troy, and Justice Hansen from Arkansas State.
Hansen is having a tremendous season (1,301 yards, 64.9% completions, 14 TDs) for the Red Wolves. After only 4 games, the junior QB is already within ten scores of the team’s season record of 24 TD passes (held by Jonesboro legends Ryan Aplin and Fredi Knighten).
Silvers is posting solid numbers (1,241 yards, 64.8% completions), but he’s only thrown two touchdown passes all year. He didn’t crack 160 yards against Troy’s two toughest opponents this year, Boise State and LSU. Still, Silvers (who had 23 TD passes last year) is unquestionably among the Sun Belt’s best at the position, posting the lowest pick total among consistent starters (two, tied with Taylor Lamb).
Still, one might argue that Rogers deserves more recognition for his season and the cartoonish stats he’s posted less than halfway through the season. However, it’s nice to see Sun Belt quarterbacks listed among such distinguished company. In fact, the Sun Belt ties the AAC with the most selections among G5 conferences with two.
• J. T. Barrett, Ohio State
• David Blough, Purdue
• Jesse Ertz, Kansas State
• Luke Falk, Washington State
• Riley Ferguson, Memphis
• Ryan Finley, NC State
• Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi St.
• Quinton Flowers, South Florida
• Justice Hansen, Arkansas St.
• Kenny Hill, TCU
• Stephen Johnson, Kentucky
• Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
• Trace McSorley, Penn St.
• Josh Rosen, UCLA
• Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
• Brandon Silvers, Troy
• Nick Stevens, Colorado St.
• Clayton Thorson, Northwestern
• Mike White, Western Ky.
• Logan Woodside, Toledo
A former notary public, Jeremy Harper is a professional writer and Chief Instigator for Storm the Castle Creative. He spends much of his free time staring blankly into space.