Athlon ranks all 130 starting quarterbacks for the 2019 season
With summer workouts underway and fall practice right aroud the corner for all 130 college football teams, it's never too early to evaluate how every program looks at quarterback for the 2019 season. The FBS level is loaded with talent at this position for the upcoming year, as Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Clemson's Trevor Lawrence are neck-and-neck for the No. 1 spot in this ranking. The depth continues with the return of Texas' Sam Ehlinger, Georgia's Jake Fromm, Oregon's Justin Herbert and Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts.
Ranking the quarterbacks by conference or nationally is no easy task. To help compile the rankings, there was some projection involved for 2019. This was not a ranking of quarterbacks only based on accomplishments so far or pro potential. All factors - pure talent, supporting cast, having a clear hold on the No. 1 position, previous production/career stats, 2019 projection and scheme changes (just to name a few) - were considered and projected to rank all 130 quarterbacks in the nation for 2019. This list could look a lot different by August, especially once some of the battles are settled at Power 5 programs.
College Football Starting QB Rankings for 2019
130. Mike Beaudry, UConn
Marvin Washington’s decision to transfer means UConn’s starting quarterback job is wide open going into the fall. Coach Randy Edsall is counting on two transfers – Beaudry and Micah Leon – to push redshirt freshman Steven Krajewski for the starting nod. Beaudry arrived at UConn after spending four years at the University of West Florida. The Orlando native did not play from 2015-16 but went 10-4 as a starter in 2017 with 3,215 passing yards and 29 touchdown tosses. Beaudry missed nearly all of the 2018 campaign due to injury.
129. Jackson Williamson, Miami (Ohio)
Zero. That’s the amount of career pass attempts by RedHawks’ quarterbacks at the FBS level entering 2019. With that in mind, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the program pursue a graduate transfer this offseason. Williamson played in two games as the backup to Gus Ragland last year and is the frontrunner to start. Freshmen AJ Mayer (redshirt) and Brett Gabbert (true) are names to watch this offseason.
128. Grant Loy, Bowling Green
Uncertainty surrounds Bowling Green’s quarterback situation after Jarret Doege’s decision to transfer in May. Doege was poised to rank among the MAC’s top quarterbacks for 2019, but new coach Scot Loeffler will have to find a new No. 1 option. A graduate transfer seems like a strong possibility for the new staff to explore. For now, Loy’s experience should put him atop the depth chart. The Ohio native has connected on 16 of 28 throws for 341 yards and two scores and rushed for 215 yards and two touchdowns over the last two years.
127. Andrew Brito, UMass
The Minutemen are likely to have a lot of new faces stepping into starting roles under first-year coach Walt Bell. Brito is one of those players, as the former junior college product is an intriguing addition to the roster for 2019. The New Jersey native arrives in Amherst after spending two years at the College of the Canyons. Brito threw for 3,071 yards and 30 scores in a prolific 2017 campaign at the junior college level and added another 1,092 yards and nine touchdowns in limited action in ’18.
126. Tom Stewart, Rice
Coach Mike Bloomgren is tapping into the transfer market for help in his second year at Rice. Stewart arrives in Houston after spending the previous four seasons at Harvard. Stewart did not record a snap in 2015 or ’17 with the Crimson and played in three games in ’16. However, he played in nine games in 2018, throwing for 1,614 yards and 14 touchdowns to just two picks.
125. Frank Harris, UTSA
UTSA’s offense struggled mightily in 2018. The Roadrunners were held to 24 points or less in 10 contests and finished the season by averaging 14.2 points a game and 3.9 yards a play. In an effort to spark this unit, coach Frank Wilson handed play-calling duties to Jeff Kastl and landed junior college (and former LSU) signal-caller Lowell Narcisse in the 2019 recruiting class. While Narcisse was a big catch on the recruiting trail, Harris is the frontrunner to start exiting spring practice. This will be his first opportunity for extended action after redshirting in his first year on campus and suffering a torn ACL in spring practice last season.
124. Fred Payton, Coastal Carolina
Coastal Carolina used four quarterbacks last season, with Kilton Anderson and Payton receiving the most playing time. Anderson and Chance Thrasher left the program over the offseason, opening the door for Payton and Bryce Carpenter to battle for the starting job. Payton started four out of the last five games in 2018 and ended the year with 677 passing yards and six touchdowns to just two picks. He also contributed 142 rushing yards. Carpenter finished ahead of Payton in rushing yardage (194) and posted 464 yards and five scores through the air.
123. Cephus Johnson, South Alabama
Evan Orth and Cole Garvin expired their eligibility at the end of the 2018 season, leaving Johnson as the favorite to take the starting job for the Jaguars this fall. The Alabama native has an intriguing skill set for coach Steve Campbell to develop over the next few years. In limited action last season, Johnson completed 7 of 19 throws for 120 yards and three touchdowns to one pick. The 6-foot-5 quarterback also rushed for 62 yards on 28 carries. Junior college recruit Tylan Morton and freshman Desmond Trotter could push for time in the fall.
122. Asher O’Hara, MTSU
Brent Stockstill won’t be easy to replace this season. The Blue Raiders have four candidates in the mix to replace the four-year starter, with O’Hara, redshirt freshman Chance Nolan, sophomore Chase Cunningham and junior college recruit Randall Johnson set to battle in fall practice. In his first year on campus, O’Hara played in two games last fall, completing 9 of 20 passes for 114 yards and one pick. He also added 85 yards and a score on the ground.
121. Kyle Vantrease, Buffalo
Tyree Jackson leaves big shoes to fill in Buffalo this offseason. With one of the MAC’s top offensive lines and a deep stable of backs, the Bulls can lean on the ground until a quarterback emerges. Vantrease has played in six games (with one start) in his first two years on campus. In limited action, Vantrease has completed 43.9 percent of his passes for 375 yards and two touchdowns to two picks. Redshirt freshman Matt Myers, junior Dominic Johnson and true freshman Trevor Bycznski will push Vantrease for the job in fall practice.
120. Tevaka Tuioti, New Mexico
After back-to-back 3-9 seasons, 2019 is a critical year for coach Bob Davie at New Mexico. The good news for Davie and new coordinator Joe Dailey: Tuioti and Sheriron Jones provide plenty of experience and talent to utilize at quarterback. As a redshirt freshman in 2017, Tuioti completed 57 of 118 throws for 705 yards and four touchdowns to six picks and rushed for 142 yards and a score on 28 carries. Tuioti started three out of the first four games in 2018 but suffered a season-ending injury against Liberty. Prior to the injury, Tuioti threw for five touchdowns and 439 yards and posted 100 yards and a score on the ground.
119. Kai Locksley, UTEP
Locksley was a big-time pickup on the recruiting trail for coach Dana Dimel last season. However, the former Texas signal-caller battled injuries for a good chunk of his first year in El Paso. Locksley ended 2018 with 937 passing yards and three touchdowns to nine picks but ranked second on the team with 340 rushing yards and six scores. Locksley ran into off-field problems in early June. If he is forced to miss any snaps due to suspension, Brandon Jones would likely fill in as the starter.
118. Josh Adkins, New Mexico State
Adkins took over the starting job in New Mexico State’s fifth game last season and showed flashes of potential for coach Doug Martin to build around in 2019. The Texas native was the starter for all three of the Aggies’ victories in 2018 and ended the year with 2,563 yards and 13 touchdowns to nine picks. Adkins completed 56.5 percent of his throws and finished season by posting two 300-yard efforts (Alcorn State and Liberty) in November.
117. Steven Williams, Old Dominion
With Blake LaRussa foregoing his senior year, the Monarchs will have a wide-open battle under center this offseason. Coach Bobby Wilder added two junior college prospects in Messiah deWeaver and Stone Smartt to compete with Williams and redshirt freshman Jonah Fitzgerald. Williams was named to Conference USA’s All-Freshman Team in 2017, throwing for 1,528 yards and six touchdowns to 11 picks on 147 completions. He also added 263 yards and three scores on the ground that year. Williams was expected to build on his promising freshman season in 2018, but after starting the first four games, he was relegated to a redshirt year with Blake LaRussa entrenched as the starter following the win over Virginia Tech.
116. Thomas MacVittie, Kansas
Kansas is the second stop at a Power 5 school in MacVittie’s career. The Ohio native started his career at Pitt but only played in three games on special teams as a redshirt freshman in 2017. He transferred to Mesa Community College for the 2018 campaign and passed for 1,064 yards and 16 touchdowns. MacVittie ranked as the No. 3 JUCO quarterback by the 247Sports Composite in the 2019 signing class and is the frontrunner to start for the Jayhawks this fall.
115. Isaiah Williams, Illinois
Uncertainty surrounds the quarterback position for coach Lovie Smith. MJ Rivers – the projected starter – left as a transfer after spring practice. The Fighting Illini are in pursuit of a graduate transfer to add depth and competition to this position for the upcoming season. However, if no other quarterbacks are added to the roster, freshmen Coran Taylor, Matt Robinson and Williams will battle for the starting job in fall practice.
114. Tobias Oliver, Georgia Tech
Transitioning away from the option to more of a spread scheme will require some growing pains for Georgia Tech in 2019. However, the future of this program is bright under new coach Geoff Collins. Oliver gets the nod in this space as the frontrunner to start, but Lucas Johnson and James Graham will push for the job in the fall. All three quarterbacks were recruited by the previous staff to run the option and have combined for just 17 passes attempts in their career at Georgia Tech. Oliver made one start against Virginia Tech but spent the 2018 season as the backup to TaQuon Marshall. In 12 overall appearances, Oliver completed seven passes for 167 yards and two scores and rushed for 876 yards and 12 touchdowns. Graham played in three games but used a redshirt year, while Johnson did not record a snap in 2018.
113. Josh Love, San Jose State
Having a senior quarterback like Love should help San Jose State’s rebuilding effort in coach Brent Brennan’s third year at the helm. The California native has played in 29 career games and enters 2019 with 13 starts over the last two seasons. In his career at San Jose State, Love has connected on 55 percent of his passes for 3,283 yards and 21 touchdowns to 21 picks.
112. Chris Reynolds, Charlotte
Improving the offense is a top offseason priority for new coach Will Healy and coordinator Alex Atkins. Charlotte ranked 10th in Conference USA in scoring (21.7 ppg) last fall and averaged just 5.0 yards per play. Reynolds is the frontrunner to start under center after a promising stint in 2018. The North Carolina native started the first six games of the year before suffering a season-ending injury. During his six-game stint, Reynolds threw for 1,173 yards and six touchdowns to just two picks and connected on 65 percent of his throws. USF graduate transfer Brett Kean will arrive this summer to compete for the starting job.
111. Steven Duncan, WKU
New coach Tyson Helton worked under Jeff Brohm during his successful stint at WKU, so there’s plenty of optimism the offense will return to its high-scoring ways in 2019. Duncan led the team with 1,071 passing yards and nine touchdowns last season but completed 57.8 percent of his passes and tossed seven picks. Additionally, he averaged only 5.7 yards per attempt. Duncan will be pushed in fall practice by Arkansas transfer Ty Storey, redshirt freshman Kevaris Thomas and sophomore Davis Shanley.
110. Drew Plitt, Ball State
Riley Neal transferred to Vanderbilt this offseason, but the cupboard isn’t empty at quarterback for coach Mike Neu. Plitt has played in 13 games over the last two years, proving to be a capable option for the Cardinals. In five appearances in 2017, Plitt completed 42 of 84 throws for 430 yards and three scores. Plitt received even more playing time last season, as he made eight overall appearances and three starts. The Ohio native tossed eight picks to six scores but accounted for 1,008 yards and completed 65 percent of his throws. The junior has a strong supporting cast at his disposal in his first full year as the team’s No. 1 quarterback.
109. Chris Robison, FAU
Uncertainty surrounds FAU’s quarterback situation following spring practice. Robison was suspended indefinitely during spring ball by coach Lane Kiffin, and it’s uncertain if or when he will return to the team. If he’s back for fall practice, Robison is likely the best option on FAU’s roster. The Oklahoma transfer threw for 2,533 yards and 12 touchdowns to 12 picks and rushed for 211 yards and three scores in his first chance for snaps in Boca Raton. If Robison doesn’t return, Florida State transfer Deondre Francois, Nick Tronti, Cordel Littlejohn or Justin Agner will battle for the starting job. If Francois officially ends up at FAU, he should rank as one of the top quarterbacks in Conference USA.
108. Malik Henry, Nevada
Senior Christian Solano ended spring practice atop the depth chart for coach Jay Norvell. However, let’s roll the dice and project Henry as the quarterback who will take the most snaps for the Wolf Pack in 2019. Talent certainly isn’t an issue for the former Florida State signal-caller after ranking as a four-star recruit out of high school. However, can Henry put everything together and realize his potential in Reno? The spring game provided optimism, as Henry completed 16 of 28 passes for 211 yards. Assuming he wins the job, Henry should easily climb this list during the 2019 season.
107. Logan Bonner, Arkansas State
Bonner inherits big shoes to fill this offseason. The junior has played sparingly over the last two years and is set to replace last season’s first-team All-Sun Belt quarterback Justice Hansen in Jonesboro. Bonner completed 9 of 21 throws for 70 yards and a touchdown in 2017 and connected on 15 of 21 passes for 165 yards and a score in ’18. Helping to ease Bonner’s transition into the starting role will be a strong supporting cast that features one of the Sun Belt’s top offensive lines, running back Marcel Murray and 1,000-yard receiver Kirk Merritt.
106. Artur Sitkowski, Rutgers
Sitkowski was a big pickup on the recruiting trail for coach Chris Ash, as the New Jersey native ranked as the No. 395 prospect and No. 18 pro-style quarterback by the 247Sports Composite for the 2018 signing class. Sitkowski started 11 games in his debut with the Scarlet Knights but tossed 18 picks to just four touchdowns. He also connected on 49.1 percent of his throws for 1,158 yards. Sitkowski’s development is crucial for Rutgers to show progress in the win column in 2019.
105. Quinten Dormady, Central Michigan
Central Michigan is the third FBS stop in Dormady’s career. The Texas native played at Tennessee from 2015-17, which included 16 overall appearances and five starts during the 2017 season. Dormady ended his stop on Rocky Top with 925 passing yards and six touchdowns to six picks. He transferred to Houston prior to the 2018 campaign and received playing time in just two contests. Dormady had one more year of eligibility remaining and chose to leave Houston for a chance to start at Central Michigan. After averaging just 15 points a game last season, Dormady’s experience should help new coach Jim McElwain find a spark on offense this year.
Related: MAC Football Predictions for 2019
104. Gresch Jensen, Texas State
In terms of returning production for the 2019 season, few rosters in college football rank ahead of Texas State. New coach Jake Spavital has plenty of experience to work with in his debut, and the addition of Jensen could provide a much-needed spark under center. The Washington native started his collegiate career at Montana under current Texas State offensive coordinator Bob Stitt. Jensen accounted for 2,734 yards and 26 scores with the Grizzlies. He transferred to Fullerton College prior to the 2018 campaign and threw for 2,330 yards and 16 touchdowns. Jensen’s familiarity with Stitt should help ease the transition to the FBS level, allowing him to push for a spot much higher on this list by the end of the 2019 season.
103. Buckshot Calvert, Liberty
The combination of Calvert and receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden should be a potent one for new coach Hugh Freeze this season. Calvert surpassed the 3,000-yard mark for the second year in a row in 2018, finishing the Flames’ first season at the FBS level with 3,068 yards and 21 touchdowns. Lowering the interception total (18) will be crucial if Liberty is to earn a winning record in 2019.
102. Marcus Childers, Northern Illinois
This might seem low for Childers, but with a new coaching staff, along with the addition of California graduate transfer Ross Bowers, uncertainty surrounds the quarterback position in DeKalb. Childers started all 14 games for the Huskies in 2018 and accounted for 2,706 total yards and 21 overall scores. The Georgia native delivered a clutch performance in the MAC title game, tossing four scores and 300 yards in a win over Buffalo. However, Childers had only one other performance of more than 200 yards, averaged 5.5 yards an attempt and ranked 10th among qualified MAC passers in quarterback rating.
101. Jack Coan, Wisconsin
Due to an injury to Alex Hornibrook, Coan stepped into the starting role in four out of Wisconsin’s last six games of 2018. The New York native never topped 160 passing yards in a contest but was efficient (60.2 percent) and threw for 515 yards and five scores to just three picks. Coan enters 2019 as the favorite to start, but true freshman Graham Mertz – a four-star prospect – enrolled in time to compete in spring practice and will push for the job in the fall.
100. Jorge Reyna, Fresno State
Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford has a strong track record when it comes to developing quarterbacks, so it wouldn’t surprise us if Reyna finished much higher on this list by December. The California native started his career at West Los Angeles College and used a redshirt year in his first year at Fresno State (2017). Reyna worked as the backup to Marcus McMaryion last fall, throwing for 111 yards on eight completions and rushing for 75 yards on nine attempts. The senior was named Fresno State’s starting quarterback for 2019 in late April.
99. Ryan Agnew, San Diego State
Rocky Long isn’t going to move away from a power rushing attack anytime soon, but the veteran coach has promised a few tweaks to his offense in 2019. Agnew started seven times due to an injury to starter Christian Chapman last season and threw for 1,651 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also ran for 141 yards over 62 attempts. Junior college recruit Jordon Brookshire was recruited to add competition under center, but Agnew exited spring atop the depth chart.
98. Sean Chambers, Wyoming
Wyoming’s offense struggled to replace Josh Allen under center last season. Tyler Vander Waal started the first eight games, but the coaching staff gave Chambers a chance to spark the offense late in the year. The California native delivered a spark in his four appearances, rushing for 100 or more yards against Utah State, Colorado State and San Jose State. Chambers attempted just 25 passes in his four games but connected on 15 for 266 yards and three scores. Just how big of an impact did Chambers have on the offense? Consider this: Wyoming’s offense scored 30 or more points three times in 2018. Two of those came with Chambers at the helm.
97. Mike Glass III, Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan is losing some key pieces off last year’s seven-win team, but coach Chris Creighton’s program should be in position to earn its third bowl trip in four seasons. Glass is poised to take over as the No. 1 quarterback after sharing time under center with Tyler Wiegers last fall. Glass transferred from the junior college ranks to Eastern Michigan prior to the 2017 season and took a redshirt that fall. Last season, Glass completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 1,024 yards and nine touchdowns to just one pick. Additionally, Glass ranked second on the team with 412 rushing yards and paced the offense with six touchdowns on the ground. With a full offseason to work as the starter, Glass appears primed for a breakout year.
Related: MAC Football Predictions for 2019
96. Kato Nelson, Akron
New Akron coach Tom Arth had a successful collegiate career as a quarterback at John Carroll and spent some time in the NFL as a backup with the Colts. That experience and background should help Nelson take a step forward under the new staff. After taking over as the team’s starter at the end of 2017, Nelson made 11 starts in ’18, throwing for 2,329 yards and 15 touchdowns to eight picks. He also chipped in 303 yards and a score on the ground last fall. If Nelson takes the next step under the new staff, contending for All-MAC honors in 2019 is certainly within reach.
95. Sam Howell, North Carolina
Keeping Howell at home was a big win for Mack Brown in his first recruiting class back at North Carolina. Howell was committed to Florida State before flipping to sign with the Tar Heels in the early signing period in December. The North Carolina native was the top prospect in Brown’s 2019 class, ranking as the No. 93 overall recruit by the 247Sports Composite. Cade Fortin and Jace Ruder are also in the mix to start, and the battle with Howell is likely to extend deep into fall practice.
94. Quentin Harris, Duke
Quarterback play isn’t likely to be a weakness on a David Cutcliffe-coached offense. While the Blue Devils will miss Daniel Jones, Harris has garnered valuable experience with 22 appearances over the last three years. The Connecticut native received extended playing time when Jones was recovering from a collarbone injury last fall. Harris went 2-0 as a starter, picking up wins against Baylor and N.C. Central. He finished 2018 with 437 passing yards and seven touchdowns to just one pick but completed just 50 percent of his passes. Harris showed good mobility in his limited work, recording 83 rushing yards versus Baylor and 195 overall on just 46 attempts for the season.
Related: ACC Football Predictions for 2019
93. Jawon Pass, Louisville
Appalachian State never finished below third in the Sun Belt in scoring offense under Scott Satterfield’s watch. Louisville’s offense averaged only 19.8 points a game last season, so Satterfield’s track record should provide some optimism for Louisville this fall. Improved play under center is a must if the Cardinals are going to contend for a bowl in Satterfield’s first year. Pass completed 54 percent of his throws for 1,960 yards and eight touchdowns to 12 picks in 2018. The Georgia native ranked as the No. 204 prospect out of high school, so there’s certainly some talent for Satterfield, coordinator Dwayne Ledford and quarterbacks coach Frank Ponce to mold in 2019.
92. Matt McKay, NC State
NC State’s offense ranked third in the ACC in scoring (33.8 ppg) last season but features a handful of changes for 2019. Des Kitchings and George McDonald were promoted to co-offensive coordinator after Eli Drinkwitz left to be the head coach at Appalachian State. The line has to be retooled, No. 1 running back Reggie Gallaspy and standout quarterback Ryan Finley finished their eligibility, and the receiving corps must replace two 1,000-yard players. The battle to replace Finley is likely to extend deep into fall practice, as four candidates are vying for the No. 1 job. McKay worked as Finley’s backup last season, completing seven of eight passes for 87 yards in five appearances. Freshmen Devin Leary (redshirt), Ty Evans (true) and former Florida State signal-caller Bailey Hockman are battling McKay for the starting nod.
91. Zack Annexstad, Minnesota
Minnesota left spring practice without a clear answer under center. Annexstad and Tanner Morgan will continue their battle into the fall, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see both quarterbacks receive significant snaps in 2019. Annexstad won the job as a freshman walk-on last season, starting the first seven games for coach P.J. Fleck. The Minnesota native was limited to eight appearances due to injury and threw for nine touchdowns and 1,277 yards. Morgan edged Annexstad (1,401 to 1,277) in passing yards and also tossed nine scores last season.
90. Levi Lewis, Louisiana
Louisiana’s offense averaged 31.9 points a game in coach Billy Napier’s first season in Lafayette. With a deep stable of running backs, along with a standout offensive line in place, the Ragin’ Cajuns could push that total even higher in 2019. Of course, doing so will hinge on what transpires under center. Andre Nunez finished his eligibility, leaving Lewis as the team’s starter for 2019. Lewis started three games as a freshman in 2017 and played in all 14 contests as the backup last fall. The Louisiana native has been solid in limited action, throwing for 962 yards and nine touchdowns to three picks. The development of junior college signal-caller Jai’ave Magalei is worth monitoring in fall practice.
Related: Sun Belt Predictions for 2019
89. Dan Ellington, Georgia State
The 2018 season was a rebuilding year for Georgia State, but the development of young talent should pay dividends for this program in ’19 and beyond. After a prolific stint at Itawamba Community College, Ellington started 11 games in his first year at Georgia State. The Mississippi native ranked third among Sun Belt signal-callers by averaging 249.5 total yards a game and accounted for 17 overall touchdowns.
88. Chase Cord, Boise State
Make no mistake: Replacing Brett Rypien isn’t going to be easy. However, Boise State has a strong track record of finding the next standout signal-caller, so it’s safe to assume coach Bryan Harsin will keep this offense performing at a high level in 2019. Cord, Jaylon Henderson and freshmen Kaiden Bennett, Riley Smith and Hank Bachmeier are all in the mix to replace Rypien. Cord ranked as a three-star prospect in the 2017 signing class and took a redshirt that year. The Arizona native played in four games last season, completing 6 of 9 passes for 67 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 109 yards and a score. Cord suffered a torn ACL in mid-October but is on track to return to full strength for 2019.
87. Holton Ahlers, East Carolina
New coach Mike Houston was one of the offseason’s top hires, and Ahlers could be primed for a breakout year under the new staff. The North Carolina native played in 10 games as a true freshman last season, throwing for 1,785 yards and 12 touchdowns to three picks. Ahlers paced the East Carolina rushing attack with 592 yards and six scores and eclipsed the 100-yard mark in a 55-21 victory over UConn. Improving a 48.3 completion percentage from his freshman season will be a priority for Ahlers in 2019.
86. Donald Hammond III, Air Force
If you are looking for a breakout pick among Mountain West quarterbacks, Hammond is the one to watch. As a sophomore in 2018, Hammond played in nine games (with five starts), accumulating 374 yards on the ground and nine scores. He also completed 52.8 percent of his passes for 623 yards and five touchdowns to two picks. Air Force went 3-2 in Hammond’s five starts, which included a 35-7 victory over Navy.
85. Zach Smith, Tulsa
As evidenced by Smith’s No. 10 ranking among AAC quarterbacks, it’s a deep year for signal-callers in this conference. Smith began his career at Baylor, receiving playing time in 10 games at Baylor in 2016 and throwing for 1,526 yards and 13 touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2017, Smith played in nine games and threw for 1,471 yards and eight scores to eight picks. He sat out 2018 due to transfer rules but is battling sophomore Seth Boomer for the starting job. Considering Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery helped recruit Smith to Baylor, he should be an excellent fit in the Golden Hurricane offense.
84. Alex Delton, TCU
Injuries forced TCU to start three quarterbacks in 2018, and coach Gary Patterson’s team enters the summer without a clear-cut starter. Delton – a graduate transfer from Kansas State – arrived in Fort Worth this spring after spending four years with the Wildcats. During his stint in Manhattan, Delton threw for 171 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 868 yards and 11 scores over 20 appearances. Ohio State transfer Matthew Baldwin joined the mix this spring but needs a waiver to play in 2019. If healthy, redshirt freshman Justin Rogers could be the right answer under center. Delton, Baldwin and Rogers will also face competition from incoming freshman Max Duggan and junior Max Collins.
83. Woody Barrett, Kent State
Kent State’s offense showed marked improvement under first-year coach Sean Lewis in 2018. The Golden Flashes averaged 23.9 points a game, up from 12.8 in ’17. Another step forward is on tap for 2019. Barrett – a former Auburn quarterback – threw for 2,339 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first year on campus. He also finished third on the team with 503 rushing yards and tied for the lead with seven scores on the ground. With another offseason to work under Lewis, combined with one of the MAC’s top receiving corps, Barrett should push for all-conference honors in 2019.
82. Jake Luton, Oregon State
Oregon State’s offense showed slight improvement in coach Jonathan Smith’s first year at the helm in Corvallis. The Beavers increased their scoring average from 20.7 in 2017 to 26.1 last fall. Injuries forced Smith to start three quarterbacks in 2018, with Luton pacing the offense with 1,660 yards and 10 touchdowns to four picks. As evidenced by back-to-back 300-yard efforts versus Colorado and USC last season, Luton has the talent to help Oregon State’s offense improve in 2019. He will be pushed in the fall by Nebraska transfer Tristan Gebbia.
Related: Pac-12 Football Predictions for 2019
81. Chase Garbers, California
California has made considerable progress over the last two years under coach Justin Wilcox. However, in order for the Golden Bears to make a move in the Pac-12 North, improving an offense that averaged only 20.3 points in conference play is a must. Former UCLA quarterback Devon Modster arrived this offseason to push for time, but Garbers finished spring atop the depth chart. The California native took a redshirt in his year on campus (2017) and started 10 games last season. Over 12 appearances last fall, Garbers threw for 1,506 yards and 14 touchdowns to 10 picks and added 420 yards and two scores on the ground.
80. Dillon Sterling-Cole, Arizona State
The steady play and leadership of Manny Wilkins won’t be easy for coach Herm Edwards to replace in 2019. However, Edwards and his staff reeled in three touted quarterback recruits to add competition this offseason. Sterling-Cole left spring with an edge over freshman Jayden Daniels for the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. The Texas native has played in 13 games in his career with the Sun Devils, connecting on 28 of 57 attempts for 388 yards and a touchdown to four picks. Sterling-Cole ranked as a four-star recruit out of high school and already has one start under his belt (2016 versus Oregon).
79. N’Kosi Perry, Miami
Miami finished spring practice with uncertainty at quarterback, and the battle is expected to extend into the fall. Perry, Ohio State transfer Tate Martell and redshirt freshman Jarren Williams are vying for the starting job. New coordinator Dan Enos is one of the top assistant coach hires for 2019, and while the Hurricanes may not have an All-ACC quarterback by the end of the year, improvement should be noticeable out of the offense. Perry led the team with 1,091 passing yards and 13 touchdowns and also chipped in 169 yards and a score on the ground last season. However, he completed only 50.8 percent of his throws, tossed six picks and averaged 5.7 yards per attempt. How far will Perry improve this offseason under Enos?
78. Jack Abraham, Southern Miss
Abraham started his career at Louisiana Tech and spent time at the JUCO level before returning to Conference USA at Southern Miss. Abraham started nine games and missed two due to injury for the Golden Eagles last fall. He connected on 73.1 percent of his passes for 2,347 yards and 15 scores. However, 10 of his touchdown passes came over the first three games.
77. Justin McMillan, Tulane
McMillan replaced Jonathan Banks as Tulane’s starting quarterback and compiled a 5-1 record over the final six contests. McMillan – a transfer from LSU – should be a good fit for new coordinator Will Hall’s offense and showed flashes of his potential by throwing for 372 yards versus East Carolina and 291 against Navy. The senior also added 238 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Considering McMillan didn’t arrive on campus until August last season, he should be more comfortable (and productive) in his second year in New Orleans.
76. Riley Neal, Vanderbilt
Despite losing starting quarterback Kyle Shurmur, the pieces are in place for Vanderbilt to improve upon last year’s scoring average (28.5 ppg). Of course, exceeding that total largely depends on what transpires at quarterback. Neal transferred to Nashville after starting his career at Ball State. From 2015-18, Neal played in 34 games (with 32 starts) and threw for 7,393 yards and 46 scores to 25 picks. Neal connected on 60 percent of his passes and added another 1,363 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground. If Neal holds off Deuce Wallace and settles into the starting role, an offense that features Ke’Shawn Vaughn at running back, Jared Pinkney at tight end and receiver Kalija Lipscomb should have no trouble putting points on the board in 2019.
75. Ben Hicks, Arkansas
Arkansas averaged only 21.7 points a game in coach Chad Morris’ first year in Fayetteville, so it was no surprise the staff looked for immediate help under center this offseason. In addition to Hicks, Texas A&M transfer Nick Starkel will join the competition in fall practice. Starkel has an edge in talent, but Hicks has the benefit of familiarity with Morris and his scheme. Under Morris’ direction at SMU from 2016-17, Hicks threw for 52 touchdowns and 6,499 yards. The Texas native wasn’t as prolific (2,582 yards and 19 TDs) under Sonny Dykes last season but still finished his career as SMU’s all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns.
74. J’Mar Smith, Louisiana Tech
Smith enters his third year as Louisiana Tech’s starter, looking to improve off last year’s career-high 3,160 passing yards. The Mississippi native has tossed 31 touchdowns and rushed for 530 yards and nine scores over the last two years. He also led all Conference USA quarterbacks by completing 12 passes of 40 or more yards in 2018. Helping Smith’s case for All-Conference USA honors in 2019 is a solid receiving corps, featuring likely first-team all-conference pick Adrian Hardy.
73. Mitchell Guadagni, Toledo
Toledo exited spring practice with uncertainty at quarterback. Guadagni opened 2018 as the starter and threw for 1,053 yards and 13 scores over his first seven appearances. The Ohio native also recorded 428 yards and three scores on the ground, which included 100-yard games versus Nevada and Eastern Michigan. Guadagni was off to a solid start in his first year as the No. 1 quarterback, but he suffered a season-ending injury against Western Michigan and missed the final five games. Redshirt freshmen Cross Wilkinson and Carter Bradley and junior Eli Peters are the top competition for Guadagni. Assuming Guadagni is the starter, he should put up big numbers in Toledo's high-powered offense.
72. Collin Hill, Colorado State
Hill has shown flashes of potential since he joined the team in 2016, but knee injuries have limited the South Carolina native to just 15 games. As a true freshman in 2016, Hill made five appearances (with four starts) and threw for 1,096 yards and eight touchdowns. After a redshirt year in 2017, Hill had to overcome knee surgery in March of 2018 to return to action that season. He played in 10 contests and started the last four games of the year last fall. Hill ended 2018 with 1,387 yards and seven touchdowns to seven picks. If Hill can stay healthy, his performance under center would be a boost for a Colorado State team looking to rebound from last season’s 3-9 record.
71. Austin Kendall, West Virginia
Will Grier’s departure leaves a significant void under center for new coach Neal Brown. However, the Mountaineers did receive some good news at this position prior to spring practice. Kendall decided to transfer from Oklahoma and landed in Morgantown with an opportunity to start in 2019. The North Carolina native ranked as a four-star prospect in the 2016 signing class and played in eight contests during his career with the Sooners. In Kendall’s limited snaps, he completed 28 of 39 throws for 265 yards and three touchdowns. Miami transfer Jack Allison started the Camping World Bowl against Syracuse last season and is also in the mix for the starting nod.
Related: Big 12 Football Predictions for 2019
70. Skylar Thompson, Kansas State
New coach Chris Klieman’s offense should be a good fit with Thompson’s skill set. And with the Wildcats dealing with the departure of running back Alex Barnes to the NFL, Klieman and coordinator Courtney Messingham certainly need a big season out of the junior. The Missouri native played in 11 contests in 2018, completing 58.7 percent of his throws for 1,391 yards and nine touchdowns to four picks. Thompson also added 373 yards and five scores on the ground last fall. The junior has made 14 starts over the last two seasons and has accumulated 2,080 passing yards in that span.
69. Isaiah Green, Marshall
Green edged Wagner transfer Alex Thomson for the starting job last season and pieced together a solid debut for the Thundering Herd. The Georgia native threw for 2,459 yards and 15 touchdowns to 10 picks, while adding 116 yards and a score on the ground. Green missed three games due to injury but still claimed a spot on Conference USA’s All-Freshman Team. The sophomore has to find a new No. 1 receiver after Tyre Brady finished his eligibility following the 2018 campaign.
68. Malcolm Perry, Navy
A breakout season seemed to be on tap for Perry in 2018. After all, he rushed for at least 114 yards in three out of his last four games in 2017, including a 250-yard performance against Army. While Perry was certainly productive (1,087 rushing yards and seven touchdowns), he did not record a start at quarterback after the first five contests. Instead, the Tennessee native spent the rest of the year as the starter at slot back. Perry is back under center for 2019, and there’s plenty of optimism for the senior to take the next step under coordinator Ivin Jasper this fall.
67. Anthony Russo, Temple
New Temple coach Rod Carey had success with dual-threat quarterbacks at Northern Illinois, so it will be interesting to see how this staff handles Russo’s development for 2019. The Pennsylvania native isn’t a statue in the pocket, but his strength is as a passer. Russo took over for Frank Nutile as Temple’s starting quarterback during the 2018 season and ended the year with 2,563 yards and 14 touchdowns to 14 picks. Russo threw for 444 yards and four scores in a 52-40 loss to UCF.
66. Tyler Johnston, UAB
The reigning Conference USA champions return only eight starters, but despite the hefty turnover on both sides of the ball, coach Bill Clark’s team will be in the mix for a repeat. A big reason for that is an expected breakout campaign by Johnston. After a redshirt year in 2017, the Alabama native was expected to work as the backup to A.J. Erdely in ’18. However, Erdely played in nine games due to injury, allowing Johnston to showcase his potential. Over 13 appearances, Johnston threw for 1,323 yards and 11 touchdowns and ranked second on the team with 359 yards and four rushing scores. He also capped 2018 with a monster performance in the Boca Raton Bowl, gashing Northern Illinois’ defense for 401 total yards and four passing touchdowns.
65. Armani Rogers, UNLV
A healthy year out of Rogers could be the difference between a bowl and a losing season for UNLV in 2019. The California native redshirted in his first season on campus in 2016 and was named Mountain West Freshman of the Year after a prolific debut in ’17. Rogers recorded 780 rushing yards and eight scores and threw for 1,471 yards and six touchdowns to five picks that season. A breakout season appeared to be in order for 2018, but Rogers suffered a foot injury in the fourth game of the year. He missed the next six contests before returning for the final two games of 2018. Rogers ended ’18 with 601 passing yards and 10 touchdowns and 565 yards and eight scores on the ground. The junior is still developing as a passer, but his athleticism and ability to make plays with his legs should help UNLV navigate a difficult schedule to make a push for a bowl in 2019.
64. Terry Wilson, Kentucky
With Benny Snell off to the NFL, Kentucky’s offense needs more out of Wilson to match last year’s 10 victories. The Oklahoma native started his career at Oregon but transferred to the junior college level for the 2017 season. After a prolific year at Garden City Community College, Wilson won the starting job for the Wildcats prior to the 2018 opener. He started all 13 games for coach Mark Stoops and threw for 1,889 yards and 11 touchdowns to eight picks. Wilson’s ability to make plays with his legs added another dimension for the Wildcats, as he finished the year with 547 yards and four scores on the ground. The junior isn’t short on talent and should show progress as a passer in his second stint through the SEC. However, will that be enough to spark an offense that averaged only 18.3 points in conference games last season?
63. Joey Gatewood, Auburn
The battle to replace Jarrett Stidham is down to two players. In early May, coach Gus Malzahn indicated Gatewood and Bo Nix were ahead of Malik Willis and Cord Sandberg and would battle for the job in the fall. Both Gatewood and Nix are short on experience, but talent certainly isn’t an issue. Gatewood ranked as the No. 49 prospect in the 2018 signing class, while Nix checked in at No. 33 in the ’19 haul. Gatewood only played in one contest in his debut, attempting one pass and recording 28 rushing yards versus Purdue in the Music City Bowl. Nix accounted for over 12,000 total yards in his high school career and is regarded as the better passer. The battle between Gatewood and Nix could continue into the season.
62. Shai Werts, Georgia Southern
Georgia Southern’s offense got back on track last season, as the Eagles ranked first in the Sun Belt in rushing and averaged 30.5 points a game. Werts certainly played a huge role in that performance, as he led the team with 15 rushing scores and finished second on the offense with 901 yards. Opportunities to throw the ball are limited in Georgia Southern’s offense, but Werts certainly made the most of his chances. He connected on 69 of 116 attempts for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns to zero interceptions. Werts also earned honorable mention All-Sun Belt honors in 2018.
61. Kaleb Barker, Troy
New coach Chip Lindsey finished spring practice with Barker and Sawyer Smith locked into a tight battle for the starting job. However, Smith transferred in late April, leaving Barker as the team’s No. 1 quarterback. The Alabama native started the first six games for the Trojans in 2018, throwing for 1,013 yards and 10 touchdowns to two picks. Barker tossed just two picks over 126 attempts and connected on 73 percent of his throws. He also added 261 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, including 111 yards versus Georgia State. Barker did not play in Troy's final seven games due to a knee injury but is set to return to 100 percent for the 2019 season.
60. Caleb Evans, ULM
The 2019 season marks the third consecutive year Evans owns the starting job for the Warhawks. As a sophomore in 2017, Evans emerged as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks among Group of 5 teams. He accounted for 2,868 yards and 17 touchdowns to six picks through the air and rushed for 579 yards and 13 scores. Evans’ numbers in 2018 were nearly identical to his ’17 totals. The Texas native threw for 2,869 yards and 16 scores and rushed for 632 yards and 10 touchdowns. Evans earned third-team All-Sun Belt honors last season, and provided ULM can reload at receiver, he should be in the mix for all-conference honors once again.
Related: Sun Belt Predictions for 2019
59. Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State
Quarterback play is usually a strength in Stillwater, so even though Taylor Cornelius is gone after tossing 3,978 yards and 32 touchdowns, it’s hard to envision Oklahoma State’s offense slipping too far on the stat sheet. Sanders is competing with freshman Brendan Costello and Hawaii transfer Dru Brown for the starting nod this offseason. The Texas native ranked as a four-star prospect in the 2018 signing class and used a redshirt year last fall. Sanders threw for 8,747 yards in his high school career but also rushed for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons (2016-17).
58. Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Rich Rodriguez had a busy offseason in his first year as the offensive coordinator in Oxford. In addition to getting Corral acclimated to the starting role and new scheme, the Rebels opened spring practice needing to plug a few holes on the offensive line and restock a receiving corps that lost four out of its top five options from 2018. Rodriguez’s arrival should help Corral’s development, as the California native played in four games in his first year on campus as the backup to Jordan Ta’amu. In the limited playing time, Corral impressed by connecting on 16 of 22 throws for 239 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 83 yards and two scores. The former four-star prospect is an intriguing first-year starter to watch in 2019.
57. Keytaon Thompson, Mississippi State
Prior to becoming the head coach at Mississippi State, Joe Moorhead ranked among the best offensive coordinators in college football. Considering the production from his stint at Penn State, it was surprising to see the Bulldogs near the bottom of the SEC in scoring offense and yards per play for conference-only matchups. Nick Fitzgerald’s ability to make plays on the ground will be missed, but Moorhead’s passing attack might operate at a higher level with Thompson under center. The Louisiana native has played in 19 games (and two starts) over the last two years, connecting on 50 of 115 passes for 846 yards and eight touchdowns to three picks. Thompson is also a capable runner, recording 672 yards and 10 scores in his Mississippi State career. While Thompson gets the nod here, his place atop the depth chart isn't secure. Penn State graduate transfer Tommy Stevens committed to the team in May and could win the No. 1 spot over Thompson in the fall.
56. Jon Wassink, Western Michigan
Injuries have derailed back-to-back seasons for Wassink. In his first year as the starter in 2017, Wassink threw for 1,391 yards and 14 touchdowns to just four picks before suffering a collarbone injury against Eastern Michigan on Oct. 21. In 2018, Wassink played in nine games before an ankle injury ended his season. Prior to the injury, Wassink was on track for all-conference honors. He completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,994 yards and 16 touchdowns and added six scores on the ground. If Wassink can stay healthy, Western Michigan will have a chance to contend for the MAC West title. But even if he misses time, coach Tim Lester’s offense is in good hands with backup Kaleb Eleby.
Related: MAC Football Predictions for 2019
55. Blake Barnett, USF
After stints at Alabama and Arizona State, Barnett quickly settled into the starting role at USF last fall. He tossed seven scores through the first three games and ended the year with 2,710 passing yards and 20 overall scores. However, Barnett’s debut with the Bulls was hindered by a late-season shoulder injury, forcing him to miss two out of the final four games. As evidenced by USF’s 7-3 record with Barnett under center, his health will be key to erasing last year’s disappointing finish.
54. Brandon Wimbush, UCF
Full Disclosure: If we knew who was going to claim the starting job at UCF, it’s likely that quarterback would rank much higher on this list. However, with McKenzie Milton sidelined for 2019, it’s a wide-open battle between Wimbush and Darriel Mack. For now, let’s give a slight nod to Wimbush. The New Jersey native ranked as a four-star prospect out of high school and played in two games a freshman in 2015. After a redshirt year in 2016, Wimbush started 12 games for the Fighting Irish in ’17, throwing for 1,870 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushing for 803 yards and 14 scores. After opening 2018 as Notre Dame’s No. 1 quarterback and leading the team to a victory over Michigan in the opener, Wimbush was replaced by Ian Book as the starter in the fourth game of the season.
53. Kenny Pickett, Pitt
Pitt’s offense leaned heavily on the run (nearly 65 percent of its plays) last season, but that total could shift with the addition of Mark Whipple as the team’s play-caller. Whipple has a good track record of developing quarterbacks, and his 2018 offense at UMass tied for 10th nationally in yards per pass attempt (8.7). That’s all good news for Pickett and a receiving corps featuring Taysir Mack (22.3 ypc) and Maurice Ffrench (35 catches). After playing in four games (with one start) as a true freshman in 2017, Pickett started all 14 games for the Panthers last season. The New Jersey native completed 58.1 percent of his throws for 1,969 yards and 12 touchdowns to six picks. Pickett also chipped in 220 yards and three scores on the ground and tied for second among ACC quarterbacks with 11 completions of 40 or more yards in 2018. Expect Pickett to take a step forward in his development under Whipple’s direction.
Related: ACC Predictions for 2019
52. Anthony Brown, Boston College
Brown’s freshman season was cut short due to a knee injury, but the New Jersey native showed no rust in his return to the lineup in 2018. He started all 12 games for the Eagles, throwing for 2,121 yards and 20 touchdowns to just nine picks. Brown also connected on 55 percent of his throws, up from 52 percent the previous year. His best performance of the 2018 season came in mid-September against Wake Forest. In a 41-34 win for the Eagles, Brown connected on 16 of 25 throws for 304 yards and five touchdowns. As a junior, Brown should take another step forward in his development in 2019.
51. Jamie Newman, Wake Forest
Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson has a good problem on his hands entering the 2019 season. The return of Newman and Sam Hartman means the Demon Deacons have two capable quarterbacks vying for the starting job. Hartman was impressive in nine starts as a true freshman last season, throwing for 1,984 yards and 16 touchdowns to eight picks. He also rushed for 275 yards and two scores before suffering a season-ending leg injury against Syracuse. Newman picked up where Hartman left off, recording a 3-1 record over his four starts with 12 overall scores. Counting snaps as a backup, Newman finished 2018 with 1,083 yards and nine touchdown tosses to four picks. Regardless of which quarterback starts, Wake Forest’s offense should average over 30 points a game once again.
50. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
UCLA’s offense showed signs of life at the end of the 2018 season, scoring at least 30 points in four out of the final seven contests. With coach Chip Kelly having another offseason to develop this group, look for the Bruins to take another step forward in 2019. Thompson-Robinson is another reason for optimism for Kelly. The Nevada native ranked as a four-star prospect in the 2018 signing class and played in 10 games last fall. As expected with any true freshman, Thompson-Robinson had his share of ups and downs. He completed 57.7 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and four interceptions and rushed for 68 yards on 50 carries. However, he delivered arguably his best performance of the year against Washington’s standout defense, accounting for 286 total yards and two scores. A breakout season could be in order for the sophomore.
49. James Morgan, FIU
Morgan was an impact addition via the graduate transfer ranks for coach Butch Davis last fall. Under Morgan’s direction, the Panthers’ scoring average jumped from 25.6 in 2017 to 34.6 in ’18. The former Bowling Green quarterback did not play in the Bahamas Bowl due to injury but still finished 2018 with 2,727 passing yards and 26 touchdowns to seven picks. Morgan tossed only three interceptions over his last eight appearances and connected on 65.3 percent of his passes.
48. Sean Clifford, Penn State
With Tommy Stevens transferring, the starting job in Happy Valley is Clifford’s to lose. The Ohio native inherits big shoes to fill with Trace McSorley out of eligibility, but he garnered valuable experience working as the No. 1 quarterback in the spring. Clifford used a redshirt year (2017) in his first year on campus and played in four games last fall, connecting on five of seven throws for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Clifford isn’t likely to match McSorley’s production (798 yards and 12 TDs) on the ground, but the sophomore should be able to make enough plays with his legs to threaten opposing defenses.
47. Shane Buechele, SMU
With Sam Ehlinger entrenched as the starter in Austin, Buechele left as a graduate transfer for an opportunity to start. With Ben Hicks moving on to Arkansas, SMU had an immediate need for experience and a starter for 2019. Buechele started all 12 games at Texas in 2016 and threw for 2,958 yards and 21 scores as a freshman. The following year, Ehlinger’s rise limited Buechele to seven starts, but he still finished with 1,405 yards and seven scores. Buechele played in only two games in 2018, completing 30 of 44 passes for 273 yards and two scores. The Texas native will have one of the AAC’s top receiving duos (James Proche and Reggie Roberson) at his disposal this fall.
46. Zach Wilson, BYU
Offseason shoulder surgery sidelined Wilson in the spring, but the sophomore seems to be on track to return at full strength for the 2019 campaign. As a true freshman last fall, Wilson provided a spark for BYU’s offense in the second half of 2018. The Utah native finished the year with 1,578 yards and 12 touchdowns to only three picks and was a perfect 18-of-18 for 317 yards and four scores in the bowl win over Western Michigan. Wilson also threw for 204 yards against Utah and 252 against Boise State. With a full year to learn under coordinator Jeff Grimes, all signs point to Wilson delivering a breakout year in 2019.
45. Brady White, Memphis
Riley Ferguson left big shoes to fill last offseason, but White delivered a solid debut for coach Mike Norvell. He started all 14 games, throwing for 3,296 yards and 26 touchdowns to just nine picks. Even though Patrick Taylor should keep Memphis’ ground game performing at a high level without Darrell Henderson, White will have to take on more of the offensive workload in 2019.
44. Hunter Johnson, Northwestern
Johnson committed to Clemson as one of the top quarterback recruits in the 2017 signing class and spent a season in Death Valley as the backup to Kelly Bryant. The Indiana native was impressive in limited action, connecting on 21 of 27 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns to just one pick. He transferred to Northwestern following the 2017 season and sat out last year due to NCAA rules. Johnson has a ton of potential and should be a breakout candidate for coach Pat Fitzgerald in 2019.
Related: Big Ten Predictions for 2019
43. Peyton Ramsey, Indiana
Indiana has quietly assembled a deep and talented quarterback room for new play-caller Kalen DeBoer to deploy in 2019. In addition to Ramsey, Michael Penix is back after playing in three games as a true freshman last fall, and the Hoosiers added Jack Tuttle – a four-star prospect in the 2018 signing class – as a transfer from Utah. Ramsey finished ’18 with 2,875 passing yards and 19 touchdowns to 13 picks and added 354 yards and five scores on the ground. Additionally, Ramsey’s completion percentage (66.0) tied for second among Big Ten quarterbacks last season.
42. Gage Gubrud, Washington State
Gardner Minshew will be missed, but it’s safe to assume coach Mike Leach will find another standout signal-caller to pilot his high-powered offense. The battle to replace Minshew will continue into the fall with three candidates vying for the starting job. Anthony Gordon and Trey Tinsley received limited playing time as backups to Minshew last season, but Gubrud – a transfer from Eastern Washington – could be the favorite. The Oregon native started 28 games with the Eagles, including 13 in a record-setting 2016 campaign. Over 14 appearances that year, Gubrud threw for 5,160 yards and 48 touchdowns to 14 picks and added 606 yards and five scores on the ground. Gubrud only played in five games due to injury in 2018 and missed time due to an ankle ailment in the spring. However, he’s on track to be at full strength by the fall.
41. Steven Montez, Colorado
Montez returning for his senior year was a big boost for new coach Mel Tucker. After an impressive stint as a part-time starter and backup to Sefo Liufau in 2016, Montez threw for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns in ’17 during his first full year as the No. 1 quarterback. The Texas native continued his development with a solid junior campaign last fall. Montez started all 12 games for the Buffaloes, throwing for 2,849 yards and 19 touchdowns to nine picks. He’s also added 576 yards and seven scores on the ground over the last two years. Montez should finish his career in Boulder on a high note, especially with All-America receiver Laviska Shenault back in 2019.
40. JT Daniels, USC
In order for USC to rebound from a disappointing 5-7 season, more is needed out of an offense that averaged only 26.1 points a game in 2018. Coach Clay Helton took some steps to address this unit by hiring Graham Harrell as the team’s new play-caller after Kliff Kingsbury left for the NFL. Talent certainly isn’t an issue for Harrell. USC has one of the nation’s top receiving corps in place, and Daniels ranked as a five-star recruit coming out of high school. The California native started 11 games as a true freshman last fall, completing 59.5 percent of his throws for 2,672 yards and 14 touchdowns to 10 picks. Daniels also closed out the year on a high note, throwing for a career-high 349 yards versus Notre Dame. How far can Harrell help Daniels progress in 2019?
Related: Pac-12 Predictions for 2019
39. Josh Jackson, Maryland
Jackson’s arrival in College Park solidifies a position that has been hit hard by injuries in recent years. The Michigan native took a redshirt year in 2016 and delivered a standout debut in ’17. Jackson accounted for 2,991 yards and 20 passing scores and rushed for 324 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. He was poised to contend for All-ACC honors last fall but suffered a season-ending injury in the third game of the year. New coach Mike Locksley coordinated one of the nation’s top offenses at Alabama and should have no trouble building a successful group around Jackson in 2019.
38. Elijah Sindelar, Purdue
With David Blough out of eligibility, Sindelar is set to regain the starting role in 2019. As a sophomore in 2017, Sindelar started eight games for coach Jeff Brohm, throwing for 2,099 yards and 18 touchdowns to seven picks. While those numbers were solid, that wasn’t the most impressive part of Sindelar’s 2017 campaign. The Kentucky native suffered a torn ACL in the Nov. 11 win over Northwestern but started the final three contests of the year, including a 396-yard performance in the Foster Farms Bowl against Arizona. Sindelar played in just two games in 2018 and was able to get an additional year of eligibility for ’20. With Sindelar back to full strength, along with a high-powered offense in place, he should easily exceed his production from the 2017 season.
37. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
After throwing for 2,793 yards and 20 touchdowns to seven picks in 2017, Lewerke seemed poised to claim a place among the Big Ten’s top quarterbacks last season. Instead, a shoulder injury suffered in the first half of the year derailed his 2018 campaign. Lewerke tossed 2,793 yards and 20 touchdowns in his first season as the starter in ’17 but regressed to 2,040 yards and eight touchdowns to 11 picks last fall. Additionally, Lewerke’s completion percentage dropped from 59 percent (2017) to 54.3 in ’18. With a full offseason to recover, the senior’s production and overall performance should rebound in 2019.
36. James Blackman, Florida State
The addition of Kendal Briles as the team’s new play-caller and added competition along the offensive line should help to jumpstart Florida State’s offense in 2019. With Deondre Francois off the team, Blackman is the unquestioned starter in Tallahassee. The sophomore has plenty of experience under his belt. After an injury to Francois in 2017, Blackman started 11 games and threw for 2,230 yards and 19 touchdowns to 11 picks. The Florida native utilized a redshirt year in 2018 but took advantage of the new NCAA rule by playing in four games (with one start). Blackman passed for 421 yards and four scores in a 47-28 loss at NC State last season and completed three passes for 88 yards in a loss against Clemson. If the Seminoles get improved play in the trenches, Blackman could push for All-ACC honors in 2019.
Related: ACC Predictions for 2019
35. Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee
Tennessee’s offense struggled in coach Jeremy Pruitt’s first year, but there are reasons for optimism going into 2019. Pruitt landed a standout recruiting class, (which included help on the offensive line), Jim Chaney returned to Knoxville to call the plays, and Guarantano is on track to take a step forward in his second year as the starter. The New Jersey native started all 12 games for the Volunteers last season and threw for 1,907 yards and 12 touchdowns. Guarantano also connected on 62.2 percent of his throws and set a new school record with 166 passes without an interception.
34. Ryan Willis, Virginia Tech
Willis pushed Josh Jackson for the starting role last offseason and was pressed into action early in the 2018 campaign. Jackson suffered a season-ending leg injury versus Old Dominion, opening the door for Willis to start the final 10 games. He was instrumental in helping the Hokies reach bowl eligibility, throwing for 2,716 yards and 24 touchdowns to nine picks last fall. Willis also added 354 yards and four scores on the ground and tied for fourth place among ACC quarterbacks with 10 completions of 40 or more yards. Including his career at Kansas, Willis has passed for 5,246 yards and 36 touchdowns at the FBS level.
33. Kelvin Hopkins, Army
Hopkins shined in his first season as Army’s starting quarterback. He led the Black Knights by rushing for 1,017 yards and 17 scores over 208 carries. Hopkins also did just enough through the air to keep the offense performing at a high level, as he completed 51 of 93 passes for 1,026 yards and six touchdowns to three picks. The 1,026 passing yards helped Hopkins become the first player in Army school history to throw for 1,000 yards and add 1,000 yards on the ground in a single season.
32. Cole McDonald, Hawaii
McDonald ranks No. 2 among Mountain West quarterbacks for 2019 but isn’t guaranteed the starting job. That’s due to the continued development of Chevan Cordeiro, who impressed in a four-game stint as a freshman in 2018. Regardless of which quarterback wins the job, coach Nick Rolovich should have one of the nation’s highest-scoring offenses. McDonald threw for 3,875 yards and 36 touchdowns to 10 picks in his first year as the starter. He opened 2018 with back-to-back 400-yard performances and torched San Diego State for 452 in the regular season finale. If McDonald edges Cordeiro, he should rank closer to the top 25 names on this list.
31. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Ridder didn’t start the opener for the Bearcats in 2018, but he quickly emerged as one of the top freshmen signal-callers in college football last season. The Kentucky native was instrumental in Cincinnati’s 11-win season, throwing for 2,445 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushing for 572 yards and five scores. Ridder did not throw an interception over his last five games and tossed only five over 311 attempts.
30. Alan Bowman, Texas Tech
The quarterback position is usually one that causes a lot of angst for any new coaching staff, but that’s not the case for Matt Wells. The former Utah State coach arrives in Lubbock with Bowman - one of the Big 12’s rising stars - entrenched as the team's starter. Injuries limited the Texas native to just eight games in his freshman campaign, but he still finished the year with 2,638 yards and 17 touchdowns to seven picks. Bowman torched Houston for 605 yards and five touchdowns in a 63-49 win for Texas Tech and passed for 408 against Iowa State. Due to only playing in eight contests, Bowman did not qualify for the Big 12 statistical leaders. However, his 69.4 completion percentage was higher than Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (69.0) and Will Grier (67.0).
Related: Big 12 Predictions for 2019
29. Jake Bentley, South Carolina
With 32 career starts under his belt, Bentley enters his senior year among the most experienced quarterbacks in college football. Can he put it all together and deliver a huge senior year? Bentley posted career highs in passing yardage (3,171) and touchdowns (27) last season but also tossed 14 interceptions. Additionally, he ranked fourth in the SEC in yards per attempt (8.2) and completed 60.7 percent of his throws in SEC games in 2018. South Carolina faces one of the nation’s toughest schedules in 2019, so Bentley’s continued development and ability to cut down on mistakes is critical. Receiver Bryan Edwards should push for All-SEC honors, but No. 1 target Deebo Samuel will be missed. The Gamecocks could also use more consistency out of the ground game to alleviate some of the pressure on Bentley.
28. Joe Burrow, LSU
Burrow was a huge pickup as a graduate transfer at the conclusion of spring practice for coach Ed Orgeron last season. The Ohio State transfer provided a steady presence under center, completing 57.8 percent of his throws for 2,894 yards and 16 touchdowns to five picks. Burrow also added 399 yards and seven rushing scores. The Ohio native saved his best performances for the end of 2018 season, scoring six times versus Texas A&M and accounting for 394 passing yards and four touchdowns against UCF in the Fiesta Bowl. LSU’s transition to more of a spread offense should be a great fit Burrow’s skill set.
27. Charlie Brewer, Baylor
Brewer showed plenty of promise as a freshman, as he paced the Bears’ offense with 1,562 yards and 11 passing touchdowns in 2017. As expected, Brewer was better as a sophomore last season and should be primed for a push for All-Big 12 honors in 2019. The Texas native started 12 contests and connected on 61.5 percent of his throws for 3,019 yards and 19 touchdowns. Brewer tossed only nine picks over 390 attempts and ended the year with back-to-back 300-yard efforts versus Texas Tech and Vanderbilt. The Brewer-to-Denzel Mims connection should be a potent one for coach Matt Rhule in 2019.
26. Jacob Eason, Washington
The battle between Eason and Jake Haener to replace Jake Browning as Washington’s No. 1 quarterback is expected to continue into fall practice. While the starter spot isn’t technically settled, it would be a surprise if Eason opened 2019 as the backup. The Washington native signed with Georgia after ranking as a five-star prospect in the 2017 signing class. He received playing time in all 13 games that season, throwing for 2,430 yards and 16 touchdowns to eight picks. Eason seemed poised to build on those totals as a sophomore in 2018. However, a knee injury in the first game of the year opened the door for Jake Fromm to unseat Eason as the team’s starting quarterback. Talent certainly isn’t an issue for Eason, and his arm strength could allow Washington to have more success throwing downfield.
25. Tommy DeVito, Syracuse
Eric Dungey is gone, but Syracuse’s quarterback position is in good hands with DeVito. The New Jersey native ranked as a four-star prospect in the 2017 signing class and used a redshirt year in his first season on campus. DeVito played in eight games last fall as Dungey’s backup, completing 44 of 87 passes for 525 yards and four touchdowns to three picks. DeVito has a strong supporting cast at his disposal and should emerge as one of the ACC’s top quarterbacks in coach Dino Babers’ high-powered offense.
24. Zac Thomas, Appalachian State
Despite having to replace standout quarterback Taylor Lamb prior to 2018, Appalachian State’s offense didn’t miss a beat. The Mountaineers once again boasted a strong ground game and defense, but Thomas quickly emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the Sun Belt. Over 12 appearances, Thomas threw for 2,039 yards and 21 touchdowns to six picks and added another 504 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. New coach Eli Drinkwitz was instrumental in developing Ryan Finley at NC State, and Thomas should take the next step in his progression to emerge as one of the top Group of 5 quarterbacks in 2019.
23. Nathan Rourke, Ohio
No debate is needed to pick the MAC’s No. 1 quarterback in 2019. Rourke is the unquestioned No. 1 signal-caller going into fall practice, as the Canada native has amassed 76 total touchdowns over the last two years. After accounting for 3,115 total yards in 2017, Rourke was even better as a junior last fall. He started all 13 games for the Bobcats and finished with 3,294 total yards. Additionally, Rourke’s completion percentage jumped from 55.1 in ’17 to 59.9 last season. He also finished second in the MAC by connecting on six passes of 50 or more yards. With Rourke directing Ohio’s offense for one more year, coach Frank Solich’s team could be the preseason favorite to win the MAC in 2019.
22. Nate Stanley, Iowa
Stanley enters his third year as the starter with a chance to etch his name into Iowa’s record book. The Wisconsin native set a new school record with 52 touchdown passes over a two-year span and needs 23 more to pass Chuck Long for the most in a career. Stanley has passed for 5,351 yards over the last three seasons and improved his completion percentage to 59.3 (up from 55.8) last fall. The senior should help Iowa push for the Big Ten West Division title in 2019.
Related: Big Ten Predictions for 2019
21. Bryce Perkins, Virginia
Perkins delivered a breakout season in his first year with the Cavaliers. The Arizona native started all 13 games for coach Bronco Mendenhall and finished third in the ACC by averaging 277.2 total yards a game. Perkins passed for 2,680 yards and 25 touchdowns to only nine picks and added 923 yards and nine scores on the ground. Perkins started his career at Arizona State but transferred to the junior college level at Arizona Western Community College for the 2017 season. After one year at the JUCO level and one season in Charlottesville, Perkins has already emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC.
20. Kelly Bryant, Missouri
Drew Lock is gone, but there’s little concern at quarterback for Missouri. Bryant faced a lot of pressure to fill the void left behind by Deshaun Watson in his first year as the Tigers’ starter in 2017. The South Carolina native guided Clemson to an ACC title and a trip to the CFB Playoff that season, throwing for 2,802 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushing for 665 yards and 11 touchdowns. Bryant was off to a solid start in 2018, as he accounted for 130 yards on the ground and completed 36 of 54 throws for 461 yards and two touchdowns through four games. However, with Trevor Lawrence named the team's starter, Bryant decided to use a redshirt and transfer, giving him a year of eligibility to utilize in 2019. Helping to ease Bryant’s transition in Columbia will be a strong supporting cast, which includes one of the SEC’s top offensive lines and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam.
19. Feleipe Franks, Florida
Under Dan Mullen’s watch, Franks emerged as one of the most improved quarterbacks in the nation last fall. As a freshman in 2017, Franks threw for only 1,438 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 20 yards on 58 carries. A year later, with Mullen calling the plays, Franks passed for 2,457 yards and 24 touchdowns to just six picks. He also raised his completion percentage to 58.4 and rushed for 350 yards and seven scores. Franks’ development helped Florida increase its scoring average from 22.1 points a game in 2017 to 35 in ’18.
Related: SEC Predictions for 2019
18. Brock Purdy, Iowa State
After a breakout performance against Oklahoma State (318 yards and 4 TDs), Purdy assumed the starting job and never relinquished it the rest of the way. The Arizona native went 6-2 over his eight starts and finished the 2018 season with 2,250 yards and 16 touchdowns. Purdy tossed only seven picks over 220 attempts and added 308 yards and five scores on the ground. Additionally, his 66.4 completion percentage ranked third among qualified quarterbacks in the Big 12 last fall. Purdy won’t have No. 1 receiver Hakeem Butler to throw to in 2019, but he’s primed to take another step forward in his development.
17. Khalil Tate, Arizona
After a breakout season in 2017 (3,002 total yards), Tate seemed poised to push for a spot among college football’s top quarterbacks last fall. After all, new coach Kevin Sumlin had no trouble producing high-powered offenses at Texas A&M, so the transition from Rich Rodriguez to the new scheme wasn’t projected to be much of an issue. However, Tate got off to a slow start with just 211 total yards versus BYU in the opener and suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 that seemed to hinder his rushing ability for the remainder of the year. Despite the ailment, Tate still ended the season with 2,754 total yards and 28 overall scores. With the ankle injury fully healed, look for Tate to rebound with his best all-around season in Tucson.
16. Tyler Huntley, Utah
In addition to leading Utah to its first Pac-12 South title, Huntley was on pace for a breakout year and a place among the conference’s top quarterbacks in 2018. However, a collarbone injury against Arizona State prevented Huntley from playing in the final five games of the season. Prior to the injury, Huntley threw for 1,788 yards and 12 touchdowns to six picks and rushed for 304 yards and four scores. New coordinator Andy Ludwig was one of the offseason’s top assistant hires, and the veteran play-caller should help Huntley take a step forward in his final year in Salt Lake City.
15. Ian Book, Notre Dame
The decision by Brian Kelly and offensive coordinator Chip Long to change starting quarterbacks was a key part of Notre Dame’s run to the CFB Playoff last season. Brandon Wimbush started the first three games, but Kelly and Long decided to promote Book in an effort to spark the passing attack. Mission accomplished. The California native started nine out of the next 10 contests for the Fighting Irish and finished the year with 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns to seven picks. Book also chipped in 280 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while completing 68.2 percent of his passes. He also went 8-1 over his nine starts, with the only defeat coming in the CFB Playoff to Clemson.
14. K.J. Costello, Stanford
Stanford’s offenses under coach David Shaw have traditionally leaned on the offensive line and ground game. That setup is likely to change in 2019, as the Cardinal lost running back Bryce Love to the NFL, the offensive line enters the year in transition, and the strength of this group is under center. Costello thrived in his first full season as the starter, throwing for 3,540 yards and 29 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. The California native ranked second among Pac-12 quarterbacks by completing 65.1 percent of his passes and tied for third with 21 completions of 30 or more yards.
Related: Pac-12 Predictions for 2019
13. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Jimbo Fisher is one of the best quarterback gurus in college football, so it was no surprise Mond showed marked improvement last fall. After sharing the job with Nick Starkel in 2017, Mond started all 13 games for the Aggies last season and threw for 3,107 yards and 24 touchdowns. Those totals represented a significant increase from the 1,375 yards and eight passing scores in 2017. Additionally, after completing just 51.5 percent of his throws in ’17, Mond connected on 57.3 in ’18. Mond also finished second on the team by rushing for 474 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018. With one of the SEC’s top receiving corps at his disposal, along with another offseason under Fisher, Mond should earn a spot on the All-SEC team by the end of 2019.
12. Jordan Love, Utah State
After a prolific 2018 season, Love ranks among the top returning quarterbacks for ‘19. Love started the final six games of 2017 and showed promise by finishing the year with 1,631 yards and eight passing scores. The California native started 2018 by throwing for 319 yards and nearly led Utah State to an upset win over Michigan State. The performances only got better the rest of the way, as Love posted six more games of 300 or more yards, including 491 versus San Jose State and 359 against North Texas. He ended the season with 3,567 yards and 32 touchdown tosses (both school records for most in a single year) and added seven additional scores on the ground.
Related: Mountain West Predictions for 2019
11. Mason Fine, North Texas
Fine’s 9,417 passing yards ranks as the most in North Texas history and also leads all active FBS quarterbacks for career yardage prior to the 2019 season. After a prolific sophomore season (4,052 yards and 31 TDs) in 2017, Fine was even better last fall. He cut his interceptions from 15 to five, completed 65 percent of his passes and ended the year with 3,793 yards and 27 touchdown tosses. Fine will easily eclipse the 10,000-yard mark for his career and is a big reason why North Texas could be the preseason favorite to win Conference USA in 2019.
10. D’Eriq King, Houston
Dynamic. That’s the easiest way to sum up King’s ability. In his first full year as the team’s starting quarterback, King accounted for 2,982 yards and 36 scores through the air and contributed 674 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. A knee injury suffered in mid-November against Tulane prevented King from playing in the final two games of 2018. However, King’s 50 overall touchdowns are the most by a player in a single season in AAC history. Look for King and new coach Dana Holgorsen to score plenty of points this fall.
9. Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
The continued development of Martinez is a big reason why coach Scott Frost’s team should take a big step forward in 2019. Martinez did not play as a high school senior due to injury but showed no rust in his freshman season. The California native connected on 64.6 percent of his passes for 2,617 yards and 17 touchdowns to just eight picks. Martinez finished second on the team with 629 rushing yards and chipped in eight scores on the ground. With a full offseason to develop under Frost, look for Martinez to contend for All-Big Ten honors this fall.
Related: Big Ten Predictions for 2019
8. Justin Fields, Ohio State
Not only does new coach Ryan Day have to maintain Ohio State’s dominance in the Big Ten, but the first-year coach also starts his career in Columbus having to replace a first-round pick at quarterback (Dwayne Haskins). However, Day’s quarterback room isn’t hurting for talent despite the transfers of Tate Martell and Matthew Baldwin this offseason. Fields signed with Georgia as a five-star prospect during the 2018 recruiting class and received playing time in 12 games. The Georgia native flashed potential in his limited snaps, completing 27 of 39 throws for 328 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 266 yards and four scores on the ground. With Jake Fromm entrenched as the starter, Fields decided to transfer following the 2018 season. Talent certainly isn’t an issue for Fields. How quickly will Day get the sophomore playing up to his potential in 2019?
7. Shea Patterson, Michigan
After Michigan’s offense cycled through three quarterbacks in 2017, Patterson provided stability and an upgrade at the position in his first year on campus. The Ole Miss transfer completed 64.6 percent of his throws for 2,600 yards and 22 touchdowns to only seven picks. Patterson also added 273 yards and two scores on the ground. Coach Jim Harbaugh plans to hand over the play-calling duties to coordinator Josh Gattis this season, and Michigan’s spring game provided a small peek into what’s in store for 2019. Patterson should benefit from an approach that uses more tempo and spread looks, especially with a receiving corps that ranks among the best in college football.
6. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
With Tua Tagovailoa entrenched as the starter in Tuscaloosa, Hurts decided to transfer for his final year of eligibility. The Texas native landed in a perfect situation, as he will inherit the controls of Oklahoma’s high-powered attack – an offense that has produced back-to-back Heisman winners. Hurts played in 42 games at Alabama and completed 445 of 707 passes for 5,626 yards and 48 scores to just 12 picks. He also added 1,976 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground. Hurts’ mobility and penchant for making plays with his legs is no secret. However, he also showed marked improvement as a passer from 2017 to ’18. Under the tutelage of coordinator Dan Enos, Hurts connected on 73 percent of his throws (up from 60 in 2017) and looked more comfortable with his reads and overall comfort level within the pocket. With an offseason to work under Lincoln Riley, look for Hurts to only get better in that department, combining with his rushing ability to have a huge senior year in Norman.
Related: Big 12 Predictions for 2019
5. Justin Herbert, Oregon
Winning the offseason doesn’t always translate into on-field success, but not many teams had a better one than Oregon. The Ducks landed the Pac-12’s top recruiting class, and a couple of key veterans – Troy Dye, Herbert and three starters up front – decided to return to Eugene instead of pursuing the NFL. After taking over the starting job midway through 2016 and missing time due to injury in ’17, Herbert played in all 13 games for the first time in his career last fall. The Oregon native posted a prolific junior season, passing for 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns to eight picks, while adding 166 yards and two scores on the ground. Finding a No. 1 receiver to replace Dillon Mitchell is a priority this offseason, but all signs point to Herbert closing out his career with a huge 2019 season and a run at the Pac-12 title.
4. Jake Fromm, Georgia
Fromm set the bar high as a freshman in 2017, as he was instrumental in guiding Georgia to an SEC Championship and a trip to the national title game against Alabama. As expected, Fromm continued his development with a standout sophomore campaign and enters 2019 as one of the top quarterbacks in college football. The Georgia native started all 14 games and threw for 2,749 yards and 30 touchdowns last season. Efficiency has been a critical part of Fromm’s career in Athens. He’s completed 65 percent of throws and has only 13 interceptions over 597 attempts.
3. Sam Ehlinger, Texas
The Longhorns return only seven starters from last year’s 10-win team, so coach Tom Herman and his staff have some retooling to do on both sides of the ball. However, having an All-Big 12 quarterback like Ehlinger certainly eases a lot of concerns. As a freshman in 2017, Ehlinger made six starts (and nine overall appearances), completing 158 passes for 1,915 yards and 11 touchdowns to seven picks. He also added 385 yards and two scores on the ground that year. Ehlinger continued his development into one of the top quarterbacks in the nation last fall. He started all 14 games for the Longhorns, recording 482 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground and passing for 3,292 yards and 25 scores. Ehlinger has tossed just 12 picks over 700 career attempts. His 41 overall touchdowns in 2018 ranked as the second-most in a single season in school history. If Ehlinger stays healthy, Texas will once again make a run at the Big 12 title.
2. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
After ranking as the No. 1 prospect for the 2018 signing class, it was only a matter of time before Lawrence emerged as a star one of the top quarterbacks in college football. The Georgia native started his freshman campaign sharing the quarterback duties with Kelly Bryant but earned the starting job after a 49-21 victory over Georgia Tech. Lawrence’s emergence as the team’s starter helped Clemson jumpstart its downfield passing attack, which was instrumental in the program’s run to a national championship. Lawrence ended 2018 with 3,280 yards and 30 touchdowns to just four picks and connected on 65.2 percent of his throws. And here’s a scary thought for the rest of college football: Lawrence can only get better in 2019.
Related: ACC Predictions for 2019
1. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
After leading a second-half comeback against Georgia to win the 2018 national title, Tagovailoa edged Jalen Hurts to win a high-profile quarterback battle in Tuscaloosa. The Hawaii native certainly lived up to the hype and then some in his first full year as the starter. Tagovailoa started all 15 games and accounted for 3,966 passing yards and 43 scores (both single-season records at Alabama). He tossed only six picks over 355 attempts, completed 69 percent of his throws, earned Athlon Sports first-team All-America honors and added another 190 yards and five scores on the ground. Tagovailoa finished second in the Heisman race last fall and another trip to New York is likely in store as the leader for the Crimson Tide’s high-powered offense.
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