2014 was the year of the Running Back led by such stalwarts as Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey. But, the 2015 recruiting class was the year of the Quarterback. With the Quarterbacks that didn’t redshirt, they are going into their junior seasons now. How have the highly rated Pocket Passers and Dual Threat Quarterbacks done and how does their future look?
1. Blake Barnett – Corona, California: Alabama 6-5, 200: Barnett has been a trail blazer. After redshirting as a true freshman with Jacob Coker on the job at Quarterback, Barnett was the favorite to start in 2016. Incoming freshman Jalen Hurts beat out Barnett and Blake may have started a new trend by transferring immediately and heading to a Junior College. Now, Barnett is at Arizona State starting over. However, it’s not going to be a cakewalk for Barnett with Arizona State having some talent at Quarterback.
2. Josh Rosen – Bellflower, California: UCLA 6-4, 205: The Rosen One started his very first game as a true freshman and he threw for nearly 3,700 yards. As a sophomore, Rosen did not have a lot of luck with injuries taking him off the field. Rosen should be back at full strength next season and giving the NFL’s desperate needs for Quarterbacks, he should be an early draft pick.
3. John Kolar – Norman, Oklahoma: Oklahoma State 6-4, 185: With Mason Rudolph coming back for his senior season, it looks like Kolar will be relegated to the sidelines another season.
4. Brady White – Newhall, California: Arizona State 6-2, 185: When Blake Barnett transferred to Arizona State, one of the Quarterbacks he might replace is Brady White. Coming in during the 2015
season, White redshirted. Last season, White got some playing time and threw for 259 yards and 2 Touchdowns. If White is ever going to start, he will have to beat out several players.
5. Jake Browning – Folsom, California: Washington 6-2, 185: Rosen and Browning were two of the brightest of this class early on, and may still be. Both started their first game as true freshmen and Browning led his Huskies to the Pac 12 championship in his sophomore season. People are now judging him by his performance against Alabama in the playoffs which is totally unfair. The argument is that Browning had really good receivers, which is true, but he’s still got to be able to hit those receivers in stride. Look for one more season out of Browning and then the NFL.
6. Drew Lock – Lee’s Summit, Missouri: Missouri 6-4, 205: An outstanding athlete, Lock had to decide between football and basketball while he was being recruited. Forced into playing early as a freshman, he was not ready and struggled greatly. He admitted in the off season he didn’t know how to read defenses. He improved last season and threw for over 3,300 yards and 23 Touchdowns. With Offensive Coordinator Josh Heupel on board, Lock is going to do nothing but get better.
7. Kyle Shurmur – Wyndmoor, Pa: Vanderbilt 6-4, 210: Now up to about 225 pounds, Shurmur has about as much potential as anyone on this list. It doesn’t show up in the stats, but it’s not always about the numbers. Shurmur’s play was inconsistent, but against rival Tennessee, he threw for an astounding 416 yards leading his Commodores to a shocking upset of the Vols. With his father’s NFL connections, there’s no way Shurmur at least doesn’t get a shot at that level, but he needs to stay all 4 years, in my opinion.
8. Sam Darnold – San Clemente, California: USC 6-4, 210: The perfect example of why it’s more than just about highlight videos in determining the talent of a player. Nobody could see Darnold’s heart, or his clear focus, or his coolness under pressure. Darnold redshirted as a true freshman and then became the starter after the Trojans fell apart and started 1-3 before righting the ship. Darnold was instrumental in turning the program around and making them a force for this coming season. After the season ends, Darnold will announce for the NFL and probably be the first player chosen. He’s also will be a favorite to win the Heisman.
9. Zach Gentry – Albuquerque, NM: Michigan 6-7, 237: Gentry moved to Tight End. The Wolverines are loaded at Tight End even after the graduation of Jake Butt, but Gentry could play this season. He looked great in the Spring Game showing very good speed for a big man. Gentry has a shot at being a star at Tight End with the speed and size.
10. Ricky Town – Ventura, California: USC 6-4, 205: Enrolled early at USC, but he was gone as soon as he saw the talent of Darnold, in my opinion. Town transferred to Arkansas where things didn’t work out, either. He transferred from Arkansas to Ventura College. Hopefully, he finds the right place and playing time.
11. Brian Lewerke – Phoenix, Arizona: Michigan State 6-3, 192: He has been compared to Kirk
Cousins and he has looked good at times. The Spartan’s season was awful last year and Lewerke moved into the starting role briefly before being lost for the season. There are still very high hopes for Lewerke.
12. Kyle Kearns – Pleasanton, California: Wake Forest 6-3, 190: Kearns is basically third team at Wake Forest behind John Wolford and Kendall Hinton. In game action, he has been really inconsistent.
13. Ross Bowers– Bothell, Washington: California 6-1, 175: After finishing 5-7, the Bears brass decided to make a change at head coach and they hired Wisconsin Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox. The Bears apparently wanted some defense. Bowers should be in a battle with Chase Forest for the starting role in 2017.
14. Quinten Dormady – Boerne, Texas: Tennessee 6-4, 210: With a very impressive arm, Dormady has been the back up Quarterback at Tennessee the past 2 seasons to Josh Dobbs. Now, he gets his chance if he can beat out hotshot young talent Jarrett Guarantano.
15. Brett Rypien – Spokane, Washington: Boise State 6-2, 185: If the name sounds familiar, he is the nephew of former Washington Redskins Quarterback Mark Rypien. This season will be Rypien’s third year to start at Boise State and it’s hard for me to think that he returns to college ball after this season with the numbers he has produced.
22. Ben Hicks – Waco, Texas: SMU 6-2, 195: After redshirting as a true freshman, Hicks could be big at SMU over the next couple of years.
23. Eric Dungey – Lake Oswego, Oregon: Syracuse 6-4, 180: Injuries have held him back, but this kid is a talent. Syracuse QB
45. Alex Hornibrook – Malvern, Pa: Wisconsin 6-4, 195: Started at Wisconsin as a redshirt freshman.
46. Riley Neal – Yorktown, Indiana: Ball State 6-5, 200: Supposedly, Neal has grown to 6-6, 220 and he can run for a big kid.
1. Kyler Murray – Allen, Texas: Texas A%M 5-11, 178: After playing as a true freshman in 2015, Murray just suddenly transferred to Oklahoma. He sat out last year and he will back up All American Quarterback Baker Mayfield this season. He would more than likely still be starting at his previous school, so that was a strange decision. Murray should be a great option for the Sooners in 2018 at Quarterback. The only negative on Murray is his size which is probably exaggerated.
2. Jarrett Stidham – Stephenville, Texas: Baylor 6-3, 185: Stidham played a lot as a true freshman at Baylor, but he was injured late. When Art Briles was fired, Stidham transferred to a Junior College and then this winter he decided to transfer to Auburn. Stidham looked like the savior of the Auburn program and Gus Malzahn’s job. As a freshman at Baylor, Stidham connected on 75 out of 109 passes for 1,265 yards and 12 Touchdowns with only 2 Interceptions. Obviously, Stidham can run and will be used well at Auburn, although he may be one of those one and done guys.
3. Deondre Francois – Orlando, Florida: Florida State 6-2, 193: Redshirting as a true freshman,
Francois beat out senior Sean Maguire and then led the Seminoles to a 10-3 record. Francois took a beating early on in the year before the Offensive Line started to come together. He threw for a nice 3,350 yards and 20 Touchdowns. The future looks bright for the Seminoles as long as Francois is still around.
4. Brandon Wimbush – Jersey City, New Jersey: Notre Dame 6-2, 215: Wimbush has yet to throw a pass for the Fighting Irish, but he looked really good in the Spring and should be the starter this season. Last year’s back up, Malik Zaire is transferring probably to Florida and Wimbush is clearly the starter for 2017.
5. Dwayne Lawson – Tampa, Florida, Virginia Tech 6-4, 200: At Virginia Tech, things apparently did not live up to Lawson’s expectations for whatever reasons. He transferred to a Junior College and is expected to graduate and attend Illinois this season and play for Lovie Smith. Supposedly, Lawson has now grown to 6-6, 230 and he could be a huge pick up for the Fighting Illini.
6. Sheriron Jones – Moreno Valley, California: 6-3, 188: Sitting behind Joshua Hobbs and Quinten Dormady last year, Jones transferred out only to return 2 weeks later. This year, he is behind Dormady and Jarrett Guarantano and he is off again probably to never be heard of again.
7. De’Andre Jones – Jacksonville, Florida: Florida State 6-0, 173: Tossed from school for hitting woman in bar, Jones eventually transferred to Florida Atlantic. At FAU, he should play for former Tennessee and USC coach, Lane Kiffin.
8. Travis Jonsen – Anaheim, California: Oregon 6-3, 195: Redshirting as a freshman, Jones did not play as a second year guy. 6-6, 225 true freshman Justin Herbert came in last season and took over the Quarterback job. But, the previous coaches were fired and Willie Taggart came in from USF to take over.
9. Joe Burrow – Athens, Ohio: Ohio State 6-3, 200: Last season, Burrow backed up JT Barrett. This season, Burrow is in a heated battle with Dwayne Haskins for 2nd string with the winner probably taking over when Barrett leaves after this season.
10. Kelly Bryant – Piedmont, South Carolina: Clemson 6-4, 205: Right now, Bryant is in the lead to replace departed super star Deshaun Watson. Bryant and Tucker Israel are the only Quarterbacks fighting for that starting position that have ever played in a college game.
11. Jason Pellerin – New Iberia, Louisiana: Ole Miss 6-3, 210: Pellerin is huge now growing to about 6-4, 230 and he is playing Tight End while backing up new Quarterback Shea Patterson.
12. Austin Kafentzis – Sandy, Utah: Wisconsin 6-1. 195: Was an early enrollee, but transferred out as soon as the semester ended heading to a Junior College. Now, he’s at BYU.
13. Chason Virgil – Mesquite, Texas: Fresno State 6-2, 170: Virgil was committed to Mississippi State and was supposed to enroll early when they pulled his offer at the last minute. Virgil
Scrambling to find a place to play football, Virgil was lucky to find Fresno and he started there this past season.
14. Bryce Perkins – Chandler, Arizona: Arizona State 6-3, 200: Arizona State is loaded at Quarterback and Perkins is fighting for playing time. ASU QB’s
15. Steven Montez – El Paso, Texas: Colorado 6-4, 205: With injuries to Colorado’s starting Quarterback, Montez filled in admirably and he will be the starter for the Buffaloes this season. Montez is bigger now at 6-5, 225, but he runs really well.
17. Lamar Jackson – Boynton Beach, Florida: Louisville 6-3, 202: Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner. Jackson put up unbelievable passing and rushing yards last season before being lost for the year.
19. Tucker Israel – Orlando, Florida: Clemson 6-0, 190: Israel is in a battle for playing time at Clemson with several others. Israel is smaller, but a pretty good passer.
35. Kendall Hinton – Durham, North Carolina: Wake Forest 5-11, 190: Hinton is the back up Quarterback at Wake Forest, but if healthy, he might take over starting role this season.