EAS College Football Pre-Season Player Rankings: QB

 

Photo: MARK J. TERRILL/AP

Rules: All QB’s must have played at least one year of FBS College Football and must also be eligible to play in the upcoming season. Rankings are based on previous statistical performances, ability to win games, and expected statistical performances.

Honorable Mentions: Josh Allen, Quinton Flowers, and Trace Mcsorley

5. Jalen Hurts

Whether you think Hurts is overrated, the next Alabama legend, or simply a young player who needs time to prove himself, you cannot ignore the fact that had Alabama’s defense made one more stop in the fourth quarter of the National Championship Game, Hurts would have scored the game winning touchdown and would have lead Alabama to a National title against one of the best defenses in the country, as a true FRESHMAN.

And while some may argue that Hurts shouldn’t even be considered as a top 10 QB because he got carried by Alabama’s defense and because of his “ok” passing statistics, not only would Alabama come close to shutting opponents out last season but they would also demoralize opponents by running up the score thanks to the ability of Hurts. Despite the fact that Hurts played under a shaky system last year due to Saban’s inexperience with having a freshman starting QB. Saban even acknowledged that he wanted Hurts to develop his skills as a passer and he wanted Hurts to become comfortable running the offense.

Saban said he “did not want Hurts to run the whole offense” and instead Saban “limited him to a group of manageable plays” (SEC Country). While this helped both Hurts and Saban to run a low risk offense, it also limited Hurts ability to put up the kind of statistical numbers many fans would have wanted to see from Hurts before comfortably placing him in their top 5.

However, this year Hurts should have an opportunity filled season now that he is more comfortable with the offense. Even though Alabama has lost talent on the offensive end, Hurts will still be surrounded with many weapons such as star receiver Calvin Ridley to take the pressure off Hurts and help him move up even further in the rankings as a sophomore.

4. Lamar Jackson

It’s pretty obvious Lamar Jackson would be on this list. Even those out there that hate Lamar Jackson can’t deny that it would be ridiculous not to list the Heisman winner as a top 5 player for his position, considering that most of last seasons best QB talent, besides Jackson, moved onto the NFL. Lamar Jackson stats alone earn him a spot in this top 5. Last season, Jackson had an absurd 51 total touchdowns last season and had he continued his hot start throughout the season who knows how many records he would’ve broken last year.

Despite the increased competition in the ACC, with the resurgence of teams like Pitt, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina, Jackson should look to improve even more in his Junior year and no one should be surprised when Jackson has another statistically dominant season.

3. Mason Rudolph

Rudolph had an outstanding Junior season last year posting 4091 yards and 28 passing touchdowns as he continued to pick apart weak Big 12 defenses. Many NFL scouts are high on Rudolph and there is no reason for him to take a step back next season. Rudolph has not only put up big numbers, but he has also lead and carried Oklahoma St. to two 10-3 records over the past two seasons despite Oklahoma St. not having a top 60 defense in either of those years.

Rudolph’s only roadblock is rival Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, who has stolen the spotlight from and slightly outplayed Rudolph each of the past two years as Oklahoma has finished with one more win than Oklahoma St. in each of the past two seasons.

If Rudolph can finally surpass Mayfield and Oklahoma in the Big 12 standings next season and continue to put up his usual passing numbers, this could be the year of Mason Rudolph in College Football.

2. Baker Mayfield

As mentioned earlier, Baker is the Big 12’s best QB by a very small amount and yet has still taken all of the national spotlight. Some may already believe Mayfield is the best QB in football due to his two Heisman finalist appearances and crazy passing statistics, but others continue to undermine his ability due to his off field troubles and the lack of defense in the Big 12.

While a Heisman season does not seem likely for Mayfield given that he would have to top his previous two seasons, with less offensive weapons surrounding him, if he has matured and prepared hard over the offseason, there is no reason Mayfield shouldn’t have another amazing season at Oklahoma and establish his position as the number one QB in college football.

1. Sam Darnold

While USC QB Sam Darnold 2016 stats don’t jump out at you in the same way as Mayfield or Jackson’s, some people also tend to forget that Darnold was a Redshirt freshman last season and beat out Max Browne, former number one ranked QB of the 2013 high school class, for the starting QB position 4 games into the season. Despite the fact that Darnold only started 10 games last season and was also playing his first year of College Football, he still posted over 3000 yards passing and 30 passing touchdowns.

He ended the season in great fashion as well, leading USC to victories in their last 9 games last year including an incredible victory in the Rose Bowl vs Penn State where he posted a sensational stat line of 453 passing yards and 5 touchdowns. The other four quarterbacks each had around one game each with a similar or better stat line than Darnold had against Penn State. However, none of the other QB’s performances were against as good of a defense or on as big of a stage as Darnold’s game.

His ability to play at such a high level so early in his college career recognized and applauded by almost all NFL scouts and many believe that Darnold will enter the NFl draft after his sophomore (third) season and will be selected with the number one overall pick in 2018.

Leave a Reply