Which JUCO QBs will make the biggest impact this fall?
Finding or developing a quarterback is no easy task for any college football coach. This position is one of the hardest to evaluate in high school, and quarterbacks often transfer early in their career in search of more playing time if they are entrenched behind a proven starter. Needless to say, quarterbacks are the position likely providing the most headaches for coaches throughout the year. While developing a quarterback through the high school ranks is the preferred option for coaches, the junior college level presents quick-fix options and players who were often overlooked in the recruiting process. The junior college level always produces a handful of impact transfers each year, and the quarterback position has a handful of intriguing names back on the scene in 2018. Terry Wilson at Kentucky, Vic Viramontes at Minnesota and Kai Locksley at UTEP are just a few of the other junior college quarterbacks expected to make an impact in 2018.
Which junior college quarterbacks will make the biggest impact in 2018? Here’s a look at 10 who could make an impact this fall, ranked by the most likely to start or see significant snaps:
College Football's Top 10 Impact JUCO Transfer QBs for 2018
1. Terry Wilson, Kentucky
With Stephen Johnson finishing his eligibility in Lexington, along with Drew Barker’s retirement, Kentucky enters 2018 with very little experience at quarterback. Wilson is expected to battle sophomore Gunnar Hoak for the starting job after spending the 2017 season at Garden City Community College. The Oklahoma native originally signed with Oregon and redshirted in his only year on campus. In 2017 at the junior college level, Wilson threw for 2,133 yards and 26 touchdowns and added 518 yards and five scores on the ground. Wilson ranked as the No. 39 overall junior college recruit by the 247Sports Composite. Considering Wilson’s dynamic ability on the ground and strong arm through the air, his development will be worth watching this spring.
2. Vic Viramontes, Minnesota
If second-year coach P.J. Fleck can find the right answer at quarterback, Minnesota has a good shot to get back into a bowl in 2018. The addition of Viramontes was huge for Fleck’s offense, as the Golden Gophers threw just seven touchdown passes in Big Ten games. Viramontes originally signed with California out of high school and spent the 2017 campaign at Riverside Community College. The California native threw for 1,868 yards and 22 scores and rushed for 1,346 yards and 21 touchdowns in a standout 10-2 record for Riverside in 2017. Viramontes ranked as the No. 1 junior college quarterback by the 247Sports Composite.
3. Kai Locksley, UTEP
UTEP averaged only 11.8 points a game last season, but there’s hope for improvement in 2018, as former Kansas State offensive coordinator Dana Dimel takes over as the program’s coach. Dimel has a track record of producing successful offenses with the Wildcats and has previous head coaching experience from stops at Houston and Wyoming. Dimel’s offenses at Kansas State utilized the quarterback in the run game, which is something that should be suited for Locksley’s strengths. The junior college recruit comes to El Paso after spending 2016 as a redshirt at Texas and the 2017 season at Iowa Western Community College. During his year at the junior college level, Locksley posted a prolific season. The Maryland native threw for 2,238 yards and 20 scores and added 705 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Additionally, he was named the 2017 Spalding NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year after guiding Iowa Western to an 11-1 record. He will compete with Ryan Metz and Mark Torrez for the starting job.
4. Bryce Perkins, Virginia
With Kurt Benkert finishing his eligibility after the Military Bowl, the top spot on the quarterback depth chart is wide open for coach Bronco Mendenhall. Perkins signed with Virginia in December and enrolled in time to participate in spring ball. The Arizona native’s decision to enroll early could pay huge dividends in the battle against sophomore Lindell Stone, Texas transfer Matthew Merrick and incoming freshman Brennan Armstrong. Perkins began his career at Arizona State and redshirted in his first year (2015) on campus. However, Perkins missed the 2016 season due to a neck injury and transferred to Arizona Western Community College for 2017. The Arizona native turned in a solid year at the junior college level last fall, throwing for 1,311 yards and seven scores and rushing for 353 yards and four touchdowns. Perkins ranked as the No. 565 prospect coming out of high school and was a three-star recruit for the 2018 247Sports Composite.
5. Woody Barrett, Kent State
Barrett was the biggest addition in coach Sean Lewis’ first class at Kent State. The Florida native originally ranked as a four-star recruit at Auburn in the 2016 signing class. Barrett redshirted in his only season with the Tigers and transferred to Copiah-Lincoln Community College for the 2017 campaign. During his one year at the junior college level, Barrett threw for 1,294 yards and eight scores and added 485 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Barrett only tossed three picks on 201 attempts but needs to improve on accuracy after completing 49.8 percent of passes last year.
6. Sheriron Jones, New Mexico
New coordinator Calvin Magee will have his hands full at the quarterback spot this spring. Lamar Jordan has finished his eligibility, leaving Tevaka Tuioti, Coltin Gerhart and Jones to battle for the starting job. Additionally, freshman Trae Hill is set to enter this mix later this offseason. Jones arrives in Albuquerque after spending the 2017 season at Mt. San Jacinto. During his year at the junior college level, Jones threw for 2,162 yards and 17 scores and rushed for 345 yards and five touchdowns. Jones ranked as a four-star prospect and the No. 247 overall recruit by the 247Sports Composite coming out of high school.
7. Jack Abraham, Southern Miss
Even though Southern Miss returns Kwadra Griggs and Keon Howard, coach Jay Hopson wasn’t shy about adding competition to the quarterback room for 2018. Abraham arrives in Hattiesburg after spending the 2017 season at Northwest Mississippi Community College. During his only year at the junior college level, Abraham threw for 2,949 yards and 23 touchdowns. He’s regarded as a three-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite.
8. Jack Colletto, Oregon State
New coach (and former Oregon State quarterback) Jonathan Smith inherits a passing game that threw only seven scores in Pac-12 play last year. An injury to starter Jake Luton is largely to blame for the production in the passing game, but Smith added additional options on the recruiting trail with two incoming prospects for 2018. Colletto is one of those prospects, as he comes to Corvallis following one year at Arizona Western. Colletto worked as the backup to Bryce Perkins during his season at the junior college level and appeared in 10 games. He’s regarded as a three-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite.
9. Danterius Ellington, Georgia State
The Panthers are set to replace two-year starter Conner Manning this spring. Coach Shawn Elliott has a quarterback with experience on the roster in junior Aaron Winchester, but the battle to replace Manning is likely to extend into fall camp. Ellington and redshirt freshman Jack Walker are expected to push Winchester for the top spot. Ellington arrives in Atlanta after earning NJCAA second-team All-American honors in 2017. The Mississippi native threw for 3,211 yards and 27 touchdowns and ran for 392 yards and eight scores at Itawamba Mississippi Community College last fall. Ellington ranks as a three-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite.
10. Ricky Town, Pitt
Town is on his third stop at the FBS level. He originally signed to USC but transferred to Arkansas for the 2015-16 seasons. Town spent the 2017 season at Ventura College and threw for 1,160 yards and 12 scores. He’s likely to work as the backup to Kenny Pickett in 2018.
Other Junior College Transfer QBs to Watch
Jaylon Henderson, Boise State
Brennen Wooten, ULM
Max Gilliam, UNLV
Cordale Gundy, UTSA
Miles Kendrick, Kansas
Matthew Romero, NMSU
Lindsey Scott, Missouri
(Terry Wilson photo courtesy of @TerryTouchdown3)