– Brian Wolf
With the 2015 college football season just over a month away, it is time to take a look at the top five quarterbacks to watch out for. No more Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota as they went one and two in this year’s NFL Draft, but someone from this list will most likely be a strong Heisman candidate and high pick in next year’s draft.
5) Dak Prescott – Mississippi State
2014 stats – 4,435 yards passing (986 rushing) 41 total TD/11 INT
Prescott finished 8th in last years Heisman voting and looks to improve on Mississippi States 11th overall ranking from the 2014 season. In just the second week of the season, Dak and the Bulldogs have a statement game as they host LSU in the Saturday night game on ESPN. Prescott also has the advantage of playing against Alabama at home. Because of his mobility, Prescott has a solid chance to rush for over 1,000 yards. The senior surpassed 100 rushing yards in four of his first six contests last season. After holding down the number one ranking for a couple of weeks last year, Prescott and the Bulldogs have one thing on their mind, and that is a National Championship.
4) Cody Kessler – University of Southern California
2014 stats – 3,826 passing yards, 38 TD/5 INT
USC has seen some great quarterbacks come through their campus. Matt Barkley, Mark Sanchez, Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer. Three year starter Cody Kessler is looking to add himself to that list. The redshirt senior is ranked fourth on the career TD pass list with 59 and is also a deadeye accurate passer. Last season, Kessler only had one game with a passing percentage under 60%, and that was 59% against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. While he may not have the physical stature as some of the other quarterbacks on this list, Kessler does whatever it takes to win, and that is why he is a three year starter. Who knows, maybe Kessler will have a successful NFL career, following in the footsteps of Carson Palmer instead of the likes of Barkley and Leinart.
3) Trevone Boykin – Texas Christian University
2014 stats – 3,901 passing yards (707 rushing) 41 total TD/10 INT
Boykin could have been the number one quarterback on this list. But he is not. TCU finished 4th in the final rankings in 2014, and missing out on the first ever CFB playoffs. Did that all fall on Boykin’s shoulders? No, but he crumbled when it mattered most. In early October, TCU blew a 21 point lead to the Baylor Bears and Boykin accounted for only one TD. The in November in a one point victory over WVU, Boykin completed just 12 passes in 30 attempts. The Horned Frogs do have a daunting schedule, with their first contest on the road in Minnesota, followed up with visits to Texas Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma, and then a season finale show down against Baylor at home. With no Big 12 Championship game, Boykin will have to impress the voters if they want a chance at a National Championship.
2) Christian Hackenberg – Penn State University
2014 stats – 2,977 passing yards, 12 TD/15 INT
You probably think I am crazy for having the Junior so high on this list. Yes Hackenberg only had eight touchdown passes heading into the Nittany Lions bowl game against Boston College, but lets just call it a Sophomore slump, and due to a coaching change. Well Penn State coach James Franklin is in his second season, and Hackenberg is out to prove to scouts that he is the real deal and that he could be the first overall pick someday in the NFL draft. In Penn State’s bowl game victory, the 6’4” 239 gun slinger completed 34 of 50 passes for 371 yards and 4 TD. While Penn State may not be competing for a National Championship, look for Hackenberg to bolster his stock come NFL Draft time. This guy has all the tools!
1) Cardale Jones – Ohio State University
2014 stats – 860 passing yards, 7 TD/2 INT
If Jones did not lead Ohio State to a 59-0 rout over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Title game, and then shock the world with victories over Alabama and Oregon, the strong armed quarterback would not be on the list. Pro scouts are already drooling over the 6’5” 250 lb quarterback. Some compare him to Daunte Culpepper, or Ben Roethlisberger. That is some high praise. Jones know he has a target on his shoulder, not only from the rest of the country, but from his teammates. J.T. Barrett, who took over the position after Braxton Miller went down with a season ending shoulder injury, will be strong competition. It will be interesting to see whether or not Jones will be named the starter to kick off the season at Virginia Tech, but it is safe to say there will be packages for the rocket armed QB to spread it out.
– Brian Wolf (@bwolf_17)