This is not my list of top future NFL Quarterbacks, or which ones could be drafted first. This is my list of the NCAA Quarterbacks that were either the best in college football last season or meant the most to their college football teams.
1. Marcus Mariota – Oregon: When the Oregon Ducks finish their season after playing the Ohio State Buckeyes for the National Championship, Mariota will no doubt announce his intentions to forgo his senior year at Oregon and make himself available to move on to the NFL.
2. Jameis Winston – Florida State: Winston has already announced his NFL decision and could be picked before Mariota. Despite off the field issues, the man can play Quarterback.
3. Trevone Boykin – TCU: Boykin was the surprise of the 2014 season. Great arm and feet which allowed him to throw for 3,901 yards and run for 707 yards. Boykin is a super fun guy to watch. Boykin was a former Wide Receiver, so he’s a versatile athlete.
4. Blake Sims – Alabama: Sims was like Boykin in that he was a huge surprise during the 2014 season. He was expected to be beaten out by Florida State transfer Jake Coker, but Sims wound up winning the job and having a spectacular season. Like Boykin, also, in that he has a super strong arm and very quick feet. Sims passed for 3,487 yards and ran for 350 yards. Sims was a senior and since it was his only opportunity to impress, he sure made the most of it.
5. Cody Kessler – USC: The Trojans used to be known for top tailbacks in the I formation, but they generally had good to great Quarterbacks as well. Kessler is a top Quarterback that has already announced his intentions to return for his senior season. As a junior, Cody Kessler impressed with 3,826 yards passing and 39 Touchdowns. Kessler is mobile enough for a Quarterback but won’t ever be accused of being a running threat. admirably he tried to convince Trojan teammates such as Leonard Williams and Nelson Agholer to return for their senior seasons and make a possible run at the Pac 12 championship and maybe more, but they are leaving school for the fortunes of the NFL. With the departures of Mariota, Hundley, Taylor Kelly, Sean Mannion and Connor Halliday, Kessler could be the top dog in the West now.
6. Bryce Petty – Baylor: The senior Petty threw for 3,855 yards in his last season at Baylor. He would be ranked higher on this list, but his replacement in 2015 will have almost the same numbers. But, you can’t deny that Petty has impressive athleticism and at 6-3, 230 he is more suited for the Pro game than many others who have come through that system.
7. Dak Prescott – Mississippi State: Some have compared Prescott to Tim Tebow, but I believe he’s got more potential. Prescott threw for 3,449 yards and 27 Touchdowns. Plus, he ran for 986 yards and 14 Touchdowns. At 6-2, 230, I can see the Tebow comparisons but he is faster than Tebow and throws the ball a lot better. Since he announced he is returning for his senior season, the question will become whether he is a Heisman candidate or not. At one point in 2014, he was one of the frontrunners along with Todd Gurley of Georgia.
8. Justin Thomas – Georgia Tech: Thomas is a far cry from your usual modern day Quarterback, reminding much of the 1970s Wishbone or Option Quarterbacks. He is extremely quick and has a surprisingly good arm. The 5-11, 190 sophomore from Prattville, Alabama is just an extremely gifted athlete and a team leader. Thomas just made the Georgia Tech Flexbone offense work and appeared to have a lot of fun doing it while leading his team to a very impressive 11-3 record and an Orange Bowl win over Dak Prescott and his Mississippi State Bulldogs. He won’t be popular with NFL GM’s at Quarterback but he looks quick enough to play another position at that level.
9. Brett Hundley – UCLA: Because of Brett Hundley, the UCLA Bruins were expected to challenge for the Pac 12 crown and a spot in the first ever college football playoff. It didn’t happen and it’s hard to put a finger on exactly what went wrong. Hundley still managed to throw for 3,155 yards and 22 Touchdowns. He also ran for 644 yards and 10 Touchdowns. It’s hard to think about 10-3 being disappointing, but with the talented 6-3, 225 Hundley some just expected a little more.
10. JT Barrett – Ohio State: If Trevone Boykin is the number 1 surprise story of 2014 then Barrett is number 1A. The story is well documented already, but when pushed into duty for Buckeyes the redshirt freshman responded in a huge way. Throwing for 2,834 yards and 34 Touchdowns and running for 938 yards and 11 Touchdowns in leading the Buckeyes into the Big 10 Championship Game. But, he was injured against Michigan and unable to play against Wisconsin or Alabama. Otherwise, he would have easily gone over 3,000 yards in the air and a 1,000 yards rushing.
11. Rakeem Cato – Marshall: Probably, a lot of college football fans have not even seen Cato play. The 6-1, 175 senior from Miami, Florida passed for an impressive 3,903 yards and 40 Touchdowns. Cato also ran for 482 yards and 8 Touchdowns in leading the Marshall Thundering Herd to the
Conference USA championship and a win over Northern Illinois in the Boca Raton Bowl and a 13-1 finish. If not for a 66-67 loss to Western Kentucky in their last regular season game, they would have finished undefeated at 14-0
12. Cody Fajardo – Nevada: From the same school that produced Colin Kaepernick, we now have Cody Fajardo. Fajardo threw for 2,498 yards while rushing for 1,046. Over his career, Fajardo threw for 9,624 yards and ran for 3482 yards. Only Kaepernick and Fajardo have passed for over 9,000 yards and run for over 3,000 yards.
13. Jacoby Brissett – North Carolina State: Brissett was a Quarterback at Florida but lost out on the starting position and transferred to North Carolina State. Brissett is a 6-4, 230 junior from West Palm Beach, Florida. He is big and strong and a solid runner, but he’s a better passer. We all know the struggles the Gators have had at Quarterback and I am sure they would have had to miss Brissett in Gainesville. Brissett threw for 2,606 yards and 23 Touchdowns while running for 529 yards and 3 Touchdowns.
14. Gunner Kiel – Cincinnati: Once considered the top Quarterback recruit in the country coming
out of Indiana. He committed to Indiana, then to LSU before signing with Notre Dame. He left the Fighting Irish and wound up at Cincinnati. I like his size and athletic ability, plus he has a really strong arm. Kiel had a bit of an injury problem this season and particularly with his ribs. But, he still managed to throw for 3,254 yards and an impressive 31 Touchdowns. Kiel had some of the best Wide Receivers in the country which helped his numbers. Kiel could come out early, but he needs to stick around at least another season.
These are some other Quarterbacks that were considered for this list.
Jared Goff – California: Still tall and skinny, but has a big arm and a bright future.
Dylan Thompson – South Carolina: SC defense sucked, but Thompson was pretty stinking good.
Connor Cook – Michigan State: Could be one of the more under appreciated QBs around.
Tyler Murphy – Boston College: Exciting player that made games interesting for BC.
Shane Carden – East Carolina: Good player and could have easily been in top 14.
Paxton Lynch – Memphis: Future is exciting for this big guy.
Justin Holman – UCF: Big time arm from the program that produced Blake Bortles.
Anthony Boone – Duke: Disappointing ending for Boone, but good player.
Taylor Kelly – Arizona State: Better as a junior but foot injury held him up.
Jake Waters – Kansas State: Waters was solid for Wildcats.
Mitch Leidner – Minnesota: Big man that’s just a sophomore.
Christian Hackenberg – Penn State: He had a brilliant freshman year but struggled in 2014.
Nick Marshall – Auburn: Marshall was greatness for the Tigers and could be in top 14.
Driphus Jackson – Rice: Love this guy. He’s got a big time arm.
James Knapke – Bowling Green: Young guy with potential to be big time.
Drew Hare – Northern Illinois: Similar player to Jordan Lynch from same school.
Garrett Grayson – Colorado State: Big numbers
Anu Solomon – Arizona: Big numbers but inconsistent with his throws to wide open receivers.
Sean Mannion – Oregon State: Disappointing senior season.
Kevin Hogan – Stanford: He took some heat for Stanford’s bad season, but still quality QB.
Connor Halliday – Washington State: He who Quarterbacks for Leach will have the stats.
Patrick Towles – Kentucky: This guy is awesome and should be in NFL after 2015 season.
Bo Wallace – Ole Miss: Other than Jameis Winston, most unpopular QB in country.
Maty Mauk – Missouri: Super talented guy that made some incredible throws this season.
Joshua Dobbs – Tennessee: Look for Dobbs to make a run next year. Changed Tennessee.