What to Watch For: Five NCAA QB’s to Track in 2015

Sorry, been a long time since I’ve blogged. But, now that the desolate summer sports season has subsided, and football around the corner, let’s take a look at FIVE college quarterbacks to track this year.

ohio state qb

  1. JT Barrett/Cardale Jones, Ohio State

Right now, we’re not sure who will start at Ohio State when the season starts at Virginia Tech on September 7th. Ohio State has suspended several players, but losing top defensive end Joey Bosa to suspension could cost them their season opener.

Back to the QB’s: Urban Meyer is mum on who is leading the QB race, and analysts and scouts have been frank about who would win the job. Cardale Jones has a NFL-ready big arm with his deep ball, as his four-game stretch showed. But, JT Barrett has had more time learning the Meyer offense (he’s a sophomore) and is more mobile than Cardale. Here’s the stats for JT in his lone starting season:

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT
2014 203 314 2834 64.7 9.03 80 34 10

Here’s a highlight reel for JT:

Echoing back to Meyer’s previous star QB’s at Florida and Utah, Barrett is probably the likely choice because of his mobility. Alex Smith ran for 631 yards and 10 TDs while throwing for 2,952 yards and 32 TD’s (only 4 picks) before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers’ top pick and has had a steady career in the NFL. Chris Leak and Tim Tebow were mobile QB’s, although Tebow was more of a power runner and Leak the more elusive athlete who had touch on his throws. You’d think that Meyer’s past history with mobile QB’s would sway his opinion, but Cardale’s numbers in his short stint as the starter speak for themselves:

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT
2014 56 92 860 60.9 9.35 50 7 2

Can’t forget about the game tape/highlight reel:

Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel, in their podcast “The Audible” (which I highly recommend listening to), brought up how Cardale’s big personality is fun during the offseason, but what happens if he gets benched in favor of JT? That is something to watch for.

2. Malik Zaire, Notre Dame

Zaire’s rise up the depth chart validated the scouting rankings for him coming out of high school, and it pushed 2013 national championship game starter Everett Golston to transfer to Florida State. Feldman talked about how Golston was more reserved, but Zaire’s charisma and chatty nature wins over the Notre Dame locker room. It reminds me of Jameis Winston, legal issues aside, and how a charismatic and confident leader can carry a team that has injuries and flaws. Here’s what Zaire did last year, but mind you, it’s one blowout loss and the other is a blowout win in a bowl game:

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK
2014 21 35 266 60.0 7.60 49 1 0 1

The guy has great potential:

3. Jeff Rosen, UCLA

Rosen is another highly-touted recruit and became the starter this past week. But, he wasn’t a five-star recruit for nothing based on his passing numbers alone:

Year GP C Att Yds C% Avg Y/G C/G TD TD/G Int Lng QB Rate
Varsity Totals 43 525 840 8473 .625 16.1 197.0 12.2 90 2.1 20 95 122.0

He’s expected to produce a lot this year at UCLA, but he has to fill the shoes of Brett Hundley, who is sitting behind Aaron Rodgers in the NFL. Here’s a highlight reel from high school:

4. Jared Goff, Cal

Bleacher Report recently published an article asking whether Goff is the second coming of Aaron Rodgers, a Super Bowl-winning QB with the Green Bay Packers. Goff’s numbers were pretty good, but it is yet to be seen whether he can carry Cal to the top of the PAC-12. I doubt that because it is a deep conference with a lot of unknowns, such as Oregon’s QB situation, UCLA’s freshman QB taking the reins, and if Stanford will punish everyone with their bruising, ball-control style.

What does Goff have to offer? Check out some highlights from last season:

Here’s what Goff produced in his two years as a starter (an overall record of 6-18, but his first year in 2013 the team went 1-11):

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT RAW QBR ADJ QBR
2014 316 509 3973 62.1 7.81 92 35 7 26 147.6 71.5 76.3
2013 320 531 3508 60.3 6.61 89 18 10 32 123.2 48.0 55.8

He definitely picked up the pace last year, and NFL scouting guru Mel Kiper said he’s better than Hackenburg and other underclassmen QB’s who may declare for the NFL draft in 2016.

5. Taysom Hill, BYU

He is a dark horse for the Heisman trophy, according to some, but he is just as dangerous as Tim Tebow was at Florida. Before a season-ending and gruesome injury at Utah State, Hill wowed college football fans and scouts with his running style and numbers (although many project him as a running back-type player in the NFL if he chooses to play/is drafted:

SEASON CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT RAW QBR ADJ QBR
2014 88 132 975 66.7 7.39 56 7 3 14 141.7 78.3 86.5
2013 236 438 2938 53.9 6.71 60 19 14 37 118.2 61.5 70.3
2012 42 71 425 59.2 5.99 28 4 2 6 122.4 70.6 76.4

I mean, he did run rampant in the 2013 game against Texas and even hurdled a defender on a touchdown run last year:

He’s coming back from tearing his knee, so no one is too sure if he’ll be the same. But, BYU’s independent schedule is intriguing and if they do well, it’ll be because of Taysom Hill. Everyone loves an underdog (see: Boise State).

Here are some other QB’s that will be fun to watch this season (in no particular order):

  • Cody Kessler, USC
  • Christian Hackenburg, Penn State
  • Greyson Lambert, Georgia
  • Whoever wins the Alabama starting job: ex-FSU QB Jake Coker, David Cornwell or Cooper Bateman
  • Brandon Harris, LSU
  • Vernon Adams, transfer to Oregon
Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About Spencer Irvine

Fun loving, D.C. area sports fan, which means I'm frustrated and still can't get a grip on what a win truly means (or a championship for that matter).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: