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Thursday, August 16, 2018

15 best quarterbacks in college football

Tua Tagovailoa Alabama

After a season in which five quarterbacks were taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, it’s time for a new generation of signal-callers to emerge at the college level. There are a lot of rising stars who deserve attention, as well as some established veterans poised to take their place atop the rankings of collegiate quarterbacks.

Here are the 15 best quarterbacks in college football today.

15) Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech

After a freshman season that saw Jackson throw 20 touchdowns and nearly hit 3,000 yards, it’s fair to say that there’s plenty of room for growth for the sophomore. He’s a dual threat, as evidenced by his six rushing touchdowns, and he’s already been successful at the collegiate level. There’s no reason to think he won’t take another step forward in 2018, which could firmly establish him on the national scene.

14) Brian Lewerke, Michigan State

The Spartans returned to national prominence after a year away from it largely thanks to the emergence of Lewerke. After a sophomore season that saw him throw for 20 touchdowns and 2,793 yards, expectations are high for 2018, but he seems poised to meet them as a junior. As an added bonus, Lewerke can run a little bit, too. He’s a big reason why the Spartans will be relevant once again in 2018.

13) Alex Hornibrook, Wisconsin

Hornibrook needs to cut down on the turnovers — he threw 15 interceptions in 2017 — but if he does that he entrenches himself firmly in the elite. He had four games last season where he threw for at least three touchdowns and no interceptions, including a 4-touchdown game in the bowl win over Miami. A solid, steady quarterback, Hornibrook figures to lead a very good Wisconsin team in 2018. He has two years of experience under his belt and has the weapons around him to improve his numbers.

12) Jake Bentley, South Carolina

Bentley is a name on the rise, but entering his junior year with two years of experience under his belt, expect him to really burst onto the scene in 2018. With 4,214 career passing yards and 27 touchdowns, he’s already well-versed after two years of action. New offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon will be tasked with taking him to the next level. He has every chance to do so.

11) Jake Browning, Washington

He may not be the same guy who threw 43 touchdown passes in 2016, but that has as much to do with the supporting cast as it does with the quarterback himself. Browning is still a quality talent who really takes care of the football, throwing just five interceptions in 2017 while completing over 68 percent of his passes. He’ll need the weapons around him to step up, but he has the talent to push Washington toward the College Football Playoff again.

10) Jake Fromm, Georgia

As a freshman, he threw 24 touchdowns to only seven interceptions and performed fairly well in a national title game. The sky is the limit for Fromm if he continues to improve. He had a tremendous season and enters as the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback, even if his supporting cast won’t be quite as good this season. He should be able to compensate by playing even better.

9) Justin Herbert, Oregon

Herbert just needs to stay healthy. He’s played in 16 total games over two seasons for Oregon, and he’s racked up 3,919 yards and 34 touchdowns in those games. When he stays on the field, he’s genuinely one of the very best quarterbacks in the nation, and gives Oregon a chance to win every time out. Hopefully 2018 will be the year he stays on the field, especially since the NFL may beckon after his junior season.

8) Ryan Finley, NC State

Finley looks to have a bright NFL future ahead of him, and he’s already posting big numbers in a pro-style system at NC State. Which he doesn’t have huge touchdown tallies, he already has a pair of 3,000-yard seasons under his belt since transferring from Boise State. A third looks to be in the pipeline as long as he stays healthy. He could be a first-round pick next spring.

See Nos. 7-1 on Page 2

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