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Top Returning Quarterbacks 2018

This is my top college football quarterbacks for 2018 post. It is not best NFL prospect post. That should come later.

1. Milton McKenzie – Central Florida: McKenzie was incredible during his sophomore season in leading the Knights to a 13-0 record. Maybe he didn’t prove it against top competition, but the Peach Bowl win over Auburn gave him instant credibility. He’s much too small for an NFL quarterback list, but this guy can play and he demonstrated that in the bowl game if not sooner. He is a fun guy to watch and hopefully that remains the case even after the loss of head coach Scott Frost. MM

2. Tua Tagovailoa – Alabama: Getting his chance in the national championship game, Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide from behind to beat Georgia in overtime. As a true freshman, he backed up Jalen Hurts and he probably wins the job outright in the spring. Tua is about 6-0, 220 with a really strong arm and great running ability. Obviously, we need to see a lot more Tagovailoa with a full season behind him, but he already is a legend in Tuscaloosa.  Tua  Controversy

3. Jake Fromm – Georgia: You have to like Fromm’s cool head and what he can do under pressure and especially for a true freshman. Time will tell if he can hold off super incoming freshman Justin Fields who was the top dual threat quarterback recruit in the country this past season. Fromm is just a winner when all is said and done, but he does have a decent arm. He does not have that running ability that a Justin Fields will bring to the game, but Fromm is a strong competitor and brings a lot to the table. Fromm

4. Brian Lewerke – Michigan State: This is talented player going into his junior season. He hasn’t vs Kirk Cousins

put up the huge numbers of some of the quarterbacks around, but he was steady as a sophomore. I believe Lewerke is going to blow up this season and make believers out of everyone. He’s big enough, with a strong arm and running ability to be a top NFL prospect, but that’s not what this list is about. Lewerke was injured during his freshman season and the team collapsed. This past season, they rebounded and won 10 games. Could Michigan State return to 2013 form? Maybe, if Lewerke turns out as good as I think he can.

5. Trace McSorley – Penn State: Maybe McSorley should be a little closer to the top of this list. Talk about a winner, this guy has done it on every level. As soon as McSorley took over the starting job, the Nittany Lions have roared loudly and proudly. Penn State does lose a few talented stars from last year’s team and their offensive coordinator. But, they have their offensive line returning mostly and some other talent. Don’t feel sorry for Penn State, or write them off, as long as they have Trace McSorley at quarterback. Penn State also has talented Tommy Stevens at quarterback and McSorley is good enough to keep Stevens on the sideline. McSorley

6. Jake Browning – Washington: Many thought that Browning might come out and announce for the NFL like the other quarterbacks of his class. But, he did return along with super running back Myles Gaskin. The Huskies return a lot of starters on offense, but could be hurt by the loss of their Browning

top wide receiver in Dante Pettis who is off to the NFL. The senior from Folsom, California brings 3 years of starting experience to the table and while he isn’t the biggest, the strongest armed, or the most athletic, Browning brings plenty of everything to the table.

7. Jarrett Stidham – Auburn: Stidham started the year off well, but stumbled at the end somewhat, If Stidham has a better season and decides to come out next year, he could be one of the very best quarterbacks available to the NFL. Stidham brought something to the party that the Tigers haven’t had in a while with his arm and his athletic ability. After helping his Tigers beat Alabama, they kind of fell apart in the SEC Championship game and their Peach Bowl game. But, Stidham can still develop into a top quarterback. Auburn QB

8. Nick Fitzgerald – Miss State: Talk about a gruesome injury, go back and watch last year’s Egg Bowl and the break that Fitzgerald suffered. If he is fully recovered, this guy is really good. Fitzgerald lost his coach, Mullins, who took the Florida job. The way I see it, Fitzgerald could either collapse and not recover from his injury, or he could come back stronger than ever. Time will tell, but the 6-5, 230 Fitzgerald can run like very few others of his size. His passing has been erratic, mostly, but he has helped his team win games on just his outstanding running ability. The new Miss State coach was the offensive coordinator at Penn State the past two seasons and a former head coach at a smaller school where he did really well.

9. Drew Lock – Missouri: Lock finally came on last season and became the quarterback that we all thought he could be as the Tigers came on strong. Missouri head coach Barry Odoms was on the hot seat for a while before the Tigers finished strongly and posted a winning record. Lock threw for almost 4,000 yards and 44 touchdowns and aired out SEC defenses along the way. Lock is 6-4, 225 and while not considered a runner, he was good enough at basketball to be offered scholarships in that sport as well. He is mobile enough to avoid pass rushers. Returning for his senior season, expect Lock to finish strongly. Locked and Loaded

10. Deondre Francois – FSU: The Florida State Seminoles figured to challenge for national supremacy last season, but that all ended on opening Saturday when they lost the talented Francois in

game one against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Francois was expected to compete for the nation’s best quarterback honors, but instead went down to a busted knee in their first game. True freshman James Blackman replaced Francois and the entire team struggled most of the year while the Seminoles finished 7-6 on the season. Head coach Jimbo Fisher left for the big bucks and the Noles replaced him with Willie Taggart. If Francois is healed properly, expect him to have another great season.

11. Kelly Bryant – Clemson: The Tigers started the season off well, but mostly because of their defense while Bryant got his feet wet. Bryant is not consistent as a passer, but this past year was his first to get extensive playing time and he has one more year to prove he is a championship quarterback. Bryant is a really strong runner, but he must hit the deep ball better if the Tigers are going to make it back to the playoffs and do something. He must also hold off a talented group of young quarterbacks behind him including the past two recruiting classes’ top 2 pocket passers in Trevor Lawrence and Hunter Johnson. 2018

12. Ryan Finley – NC State: The former Boise State back up seems like he has been at North Carolina State forever, but this is his last season.  The Wolfpack has also lost a lot of talent and particularly with their defense and with top offensive player Jaylen Samuels. While Finley does have all of the tools, I expect maybe some drop off this season because of all of the talent that his team lost from last season. As a pure passer, Finley might be one of the top talents in this class and he has that length that NFL coaches dream about at 6-4, 210.

13. Khalil Tate – Arizona: One of the more exciting players in college football a year ago. He only threw for just under 1,600 yards, but he ran for over 1,400. Tate and Arizona lost their coach when Rich Rodriguez was fired, and they brought in Kevin Sumlin formerly of Texas A%M, who should actually improve the offense at Arizona. During his first season for the Aggies, Sumlin had Johnny Manziel and now with his first season at Arizona he has Khalil Tate and Tate could prosper. Now, about that defense? Tate

14. Alex Hornibrook – Wisconsin: Hornibrook started to come into his own last season as a sophomore. But, Wisconsin is always going to favor the run over the pass. He is a big, strong drop back passer with a good arm. He threw for over 2,600 yards and is a lefty. Hornibrook seems to be coming along and is developing slowly. He has that prototype size and strength.

15. Eric Dungey – Syracuse: When healthy, Dungey is pretty good. Dungey is big and strong at about 6-4, 225 with a good, strong arm and excellent running ability. When he can stay on the field, he can play. He could be a great player on a better team, but he gives it his all. With 3 years in a college weight program, he has beefed up and should take punishment better this season. Eric

16. Will Grier – West Virginia: Grier has had his issues staying on the field, as well. But, when he’s out there he also can play. He started out at Florida and was seemingly coming into his own before he was suspended. He transferred to West Virginia and had to sit out a year. In 2017, he was playing well until a broken finger cost him a couple of games. He lit some defenses up this past year and could do the same in 2018. Grier is not a club footed player either and can avoid pressure with his feet. Exciting player. Will

17. Clayton Thorson – Northwestern: If Thorson can get his picks down in 2018, he might start looking really attractive to NFL scouts. He has the size at 6-4, 225 to play in the NFL. He’s also got 3 years of experience under his belt. He did not really have a great season in 2017, throwing 12 interceptions. Thorson first caught my eye as a freshman when he ran for a touchdown against a Thorson

pretty good Stanford defense. Thorson has the talent and the athletic ability to have a really big year in 2018.

18. KJ Costello – Stanford: The Cardinal tried Keller Chryst and even maybe Ryan Burns before Costello took over the job. Chryst has since graduated and transferred to Tennessee and Burns should be done in eligibility. Costello was a highly recruited 4 star quarterback that might start for the Cardinal for the next few seasons if he can hold off other super recruits like Davis Mills and Jack West. Costello was a guy that I liked as a high school recruit and thought big things were ahead of him and I might still be right. He’s inconsistent currently, but that goes with young quarterbacks sometimes. He also has a good offensive line and running back Bryce Love returning.

19. Jake Bentley – South Carolina: Bentley left high school a year early and was quarterbacking in college when he should have been a senior in high school. He showed flashes of greatness as a freshman, but diminished a bit as a sophomore. Look for Bentley to bounce back as a junior and to have a great season. Bentley

20. Justin Herbert – Oregon: Poor Herbert will be on his third head coach in as many seasons. But, the 6-6, 225 Herbert has a lot of potential and going into his third season as a starter, he has plenty of experience as well. Not only does Herbert have good size, but he’s also good in the mobility area with great feet and athletic ability. With new head coach Mario Cristobal on hand and a new system, Herbert could be a guy we will want to keep a close eye on this season.

Kyler Murray – Oklahoma: Could have easily been on the list. He is small, but very athletic and runs much better than Baker Mayfield. He also has a surprisingly big arm for a smaller guy. Murray could be a major surprise this season.

Jawon Pass – Louisville: Very athletic replacement for Lamar Jackson. He could really shock the nation.

Josh Jackson – Va Tech: Jackson started all of 2017 as a redshirt freshman. He had his moments, but comparisons to Michael Vick were silly at best. He is mobile, but lacks Vick speed and his arm is nowhere near in the Vick range.

Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State: Could he be better than JT Barrett? We could see soon. He does have a stronger arm than Barrett, but not as strong of a runner.

Mason Fine – North Texas: Small guy with a big arm. Fine

Shea Patterson – Michigan: The question concerning the Ole Miss transfer will be rather he will be eligible or will have to sit out the 2018 season. There’s no doubt he has talent. Shea  2018

Hayden Moore – Cincinnati

N’Kosi Perry – Miami

Taylor Cornelius – Oklahoma State

Shawn Robinson – TCU

Peyton Ramsey – Indiana

Nate Stanley – Iowa

Elijah Sindelar – Purdue

Jason Driskel – Florida Atlantic

J’Mar Smith – Louisiana Tech

AJ Erdely – UAB

Manny Wilkins – Arizona State

Cole Kelley – Arkansas     Ark QB

Jordan Ta’amu – Ole Miss

Kyle Shurmur – Vanderbilt

Justice Hansen – Arkansas State