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#pounditMonday, February 6, 2023

10 best quarterbacks in college football

Lamar Jackson

College football is loaded with quality quarterbacks. Many will contend for the Heisman Trophy in 2017, including last year’s winner. A good team generally starts with a good quarterback, after all, so the position is of great importance.

Who are the nation’s best quarterbacks? Here is a list of ten who will dominate in the upcoming season.

10) Jalen Hurts, Alabama

Hurts ranks on this list despite not being the most polished passer in the world. He’s very much a work in progress, but to quarterback the Crimson Tide to a College Football Playoff final in one’s freshman season is no small thing. Alabama reached the title game because of him, too, not in spite of him; Hurts put together some strong performances.

Hurts threw 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 15 games, but he didn’t throw a pick in the SEC Championship or the CFP. He ended up throwing for 2,780 yards and rushing for another 954, making him a valuable dual-threat quarterback. He threw for a score and rushed for another in Alabama’s title game loss to Clemson — the only loss Hurts played in last season.

Hurts is on this list as much for what he will do as what he has done. Only a sophomore, he has a bright future ahead of him, and should be even better in 2017.

9) Josh Rosen, UCLA

Rosen would probably feature more highly on this list had he not gone down with a season-ending shoulder injury six games into the 2016 season. It was no coincidence that the Bruins managed to go just 1-5 without him.

The former Freshman All-American was well on his way to a second strong season under center at UCLA. He had ten touchdowns to five interceptions, racking up 1,915 yards in the process. He appeared well on his way to bettering his freshman campaign, when he threw for 3,670 yards and 23 scores, including a streak of 245 consecutive passes without an interception.

Rosen is fully healthy, and probably poised for a big junior season if his previous campaigns are any indication. The only thing that could keep him down is if UCLA’s receivers continue to be plagued by the drops issues that hurt them last year, and if his offensive line doesn’t improve.

8) Trace McSorley, Penn State

Christian Hackenberg’s former backup was handed the reigns to the Penn State offense in 2016, and all he did was take them to the Rose Bowl for the first time in eight years. McSorley emerged as one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in the process, throwing for 3,614 yards and 29 touchdowns to only eight interceptions.

What really made McSorley stand out was the fact that he really seemed to step up in the big games. His 384 yards passing was a Big Ten Championship record, and he added 254 yards and four touchdowns in the Rose Bowl, though his three interceptions were a blemish on that performance.

McSorley heads into his junior year with a good team and a real chance at earning Big Ten honors with another strong year.

7) Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

A 4,000-yard passer, Rudolph has firmly established himself in the upper-echelon of collegiate passers. He put up 28 touchdowns and only four interceptions, a second straight quality season for him. He will, in all likelihood, surpass 10,000 career passing yards at some point during his senior season, and it would not be remotely surprising if he put together a second consecutive 4,000-yard campaign.

In addition to taking Oklahoma State as far as they can go, Rudolph’s senior season will likely double as an NFL audition. He’s a pro-style quarterback with an NFL arm, and he’ll have his sights set on possibly being a first-round pick. That alone makes Rudolph intriguing, and he’ll put up big numbers again for Oklahoma State so long as he stays healthy.

6) Quinton Flowers, USF

USF’s dual-threat quarterback is most certainly the best signal-caller outside of the Power 5 conferences. Flowers can beat opponents both in the air and on the ground. His 2,812 yards and 24 passing touchdowns in 2016 are nothing to scoff at, and he delivered six 200-yard games, including a Birmingham Bowl win.

Flowers really stands out because of his legs, though.

As a junior, Flowers ran for 1,530 yards and another 18 touchdowns, making him the team’s leader in both rushing yards and scores. He has 5,219 career passing yards to go with 2,594 yards on the ground, and 10,000 career all-purpose yards should be easily attainable if he stays on the field. Charlie Strong will have a fun time watching Flowers lead his team.

See Nos. 5-1 on Page 2

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