In this article, I will cover the quarterbacks you should following as we approach the 2017 college football season.The quarterback class of 2018 already has some big names like Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, and Josh Allen battling for the top spot. But they may have some competition coming this fall. I will outline a number of quarterbacks which have a great deal of potential and are on the brink of a breakout season. With a big season, I could see guys like Stidham, Wimbush and Francois jumping up and putting their names amongst the top 5 in the class at the quarterback position. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Jarrett Stidham or Brandon Wimbush make a dark horse run at the Heisman trophy. Both players are extremely talented and great fits in their offenses. There’s no question in my mind that these four quarterbacks have tons of talent and potential. Now it time for that to translate onto the football field.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn: After posting a near 70% completion rate and a 12 TD to 2 Interception ratio in 2015 as a true freshman Stidham decided to transfer from Baylor after the schools off the field issues. He now finds himself at the University of Auburn. He’s currently in a battle for the starting QB job but that’s a battle I expect Stidham to win. Stidham should be a really good fit the for Auburn offense. Stidham ran a 4.66 40 yard dash coming out of high school and should be a good running threat for the Tigers. I’m expecting a big season out of the junior to be. I could see him as a Heisman dark horse candidate if he’s able to perform to his potential. In terms of pure raw talent, I think Stidham matches up to any quarterback in the country.
Drew Lock, Missouri: Drew finished the 2016 season as the second leading passer in the SEC. The true junior already has 20 starts under his belt. In his first two seasons he’s completed 49% and 54.6% of his passes. That’s a number I expect to climb this coming season now that Lock has a season and a half of starting experience. Lock reminds me of Jay Cutler as he has really great arm talent but can be reckless with the ball. He throws one of the prettiest and tightest spirals in the country. Lock has a tendency to rifle his passes to his receivers. On short and intermediate routes he’ll need to learn to add some touch and take some steam off of his passes to aid his receivers. Lock has decent mobility he will never be confused with Lamar Jackson but he’s able to move the chains with his feet. If Lock can limit the poor decisions and continue to develop as a quarterback a big season could be on the brink.
Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame: With the departures of DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire the Irish are expected to be led by Wimbush this coming season. With only 5 career passing attempts at the collegiate level Wimbush is extremely raw and inexperienced. Wimbush played sparingly in 2015 (as he remained in a backup role once Malik Zaire was injured week two) and was redshirted in 2016. Wimbush has an incredibly strong arm. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had the strongest arm in the country. He has all the raw ability you could want to throw and run the ball but the lack of experience is a major issue. If Wimbush can refine his skills, his combination of running and throwing could vault him to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Wimbush will have plenty of targets within the Notre Dame offense to feed at the wide receiver and tight end positions.
Deondre Francois, Florida State: Coming off a redshirt freshman season where he completed nearly 60% of his passes and threw for over 3,300 yards, Francois is in for an even bigger 2017. Francois is another quarterback on this list with a really big arm who can make NFL level passes as a redshirt freshman. His arm strength is top-notch and not matched by many at the collegiate level. Francois was able to run for 5 touchdowns in 2016 but this isn’t a big part of his game. He has good mobility skills but he doesn’t tuck it away and run very often. Francois will lose some of his top targets from 2016 but with the emergence of Auden Tate in 2017 he will have a new primary target. Listed at 6’2” Francois has a stocky frame for the quarterback position. He was able to withstand taking a beating in 2016. The Florida State offensive line ranked 106th in the country allowing 36 sacks on the season. His toughness was on display in 2016 playing behind that offensive line.
This covers the QB’s aspect of my series. Be on the lookout for the other skill position players you should have on the radar as we move towards the college football season.
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