‘QB1’ Report: Justin Fields starring, Jake Fromm’s big game, Tate Martell adjusting
“QB1: Beyond the Lights” is a popular series on Netflix that debuted in 2017. A documentary series directed by Peter Berg of “Friday Night Lights” fame, each season follows three high school quarterbacks. The show provides a glimpse at the student-athletes’ day-to-day lives as the star QB of their respective schools.
Each season has featured a top-rated quarterback, and a few are doing big things already in their college careers. So how is each QB doing? We provide this progress report after three weeks of the 2019 college football season.
Jake Fromm, Georgia – A starter as a true freshman at Georgia, Fromm has been the true crown jewel of the show in terms of college success. He has passed for 59 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 32 career games and took the Bulldogs to the championship in his first year. This season, he has completed 75 percent of his passes for 601 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. He has only played limited action due to the Bulldogs beating up on easy opponents. That all changes when he faces his first big test of the season: a clash on Saturday against Notre Dame.
Tate Martell, Miami – A highly-touted recruit coming out of high school, Martell initially enrolled at Ohio State. He redshirted his first year and then played last year as a goal-line complement to Dwayne Haskins, mostly as a rushing option. He rushed for two scores and threw for another last year. After Season 2 participant Justin Fields transferred in to Ohio State, Martell transferred to Miami. He lost the starting quarterback battle to Jarren Williams. He is listed as the backup quarterback and has switched to wide receiver, where he’s seeing most of his playing time. He has two rushes for two yards this season.
Tayvon Bowers, Wake Forest – Bowers redshirted his first year at Wake Forest and then saw his first college action against Towson last year, handing the ball off for eight plays. In Wake’s 41-21 win over Rice in their second game, Bowers came in but did not throw any passes. He has yet to throw a pass in his college career and seems to be third on Wake’s depth chart. Bowers received praise for transforming his body over the offseason.
Justin Fields, Ohio State – Next to Fromm, Fields is having the best college career so far among the ‘QB1’ quarterbacks. The two have something major in common too; Fields began his career at Georgia in 2018, banking that he could beat out Fromm for the job — a decision that seemed misguided considering Fromm led the team to the title game as a true freshman. Fields played in 12 games for the Bulldogs, passing for 328 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 266 yards and four TDs. He transferred to Ohio State after Dwayne Haskins left for the draft, causing the transfer of Martell to Miami. So far, so good for Fields. He has gone 52/74 for 657 yards, 9 touchdowns, no interceptions, and he has rushed for 114 yards and four touchdowns. The pretty stats have come against mostly weak opponents. He’ll start to get tested when he faces tougher defenses like Michigan State and Wisconsin next month, and then Penn State and Michigan at the end of the regular season. For now, he’s a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Sam Hartman, Wake Forest – Hartman went to Wake and pushed out another QB1 quarterback. The Charlotte native won the starting job as a true freshman last year and threw for 16 touchdowns against eight interceptions with 1,984 passing yards. Wake went 4-5 in his starts before he broke his leg in a loss to Syracuse. Hartman was beaten out for the job this year by redshirt junior Jamie Newman. During the win over Rice, the Deacons let Bowers enter the game rather than Hartman, in an effort to allow Hartman to potentially save eligibility and take a redshirt season.
Re-al Mitchell, Iowa State – Mitchell redshirted last season and is the backup quarterback for the Cyclones behind Brock Purdy, who committed to the program last February and quickly earned the starting job. Mitchell has a package of plays intended to utilize his speed, but he has not recorded any stats this year. Re-al played high school ball at St. John Bosco — a powerhouse program in Southern California that produced Josh Rosen. His mother was “Blaze” on “American Gladiators.”
Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma – Rattler was the most hyped quarterback of the Season 3 class and one of the top recruits in the country. He had a high-profile incident in high school that resulted in him becoming ineligible. He reported to Oklahoma during the summer, unlike many other prospects who graduate early to spend spring football with their team. Rattler is third on the Sooners’ depth chart behind Jalen Hurts and Tanner Mordecai. He is destined to take a redshirt year but did see action against South Dakota, going 4/4 for 50 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 15 yards.
Spencer Rattler got in late, and put on a Late Show. pic.twitter.com/dAWfQe0K8L
— RJ Young (@RJ_Young) September 8, 2019
Lance LeGendre, Maryland – LeGendre is the fourth-string quarterback at Maryland behind starter Josh Jackson, backup Tyrell Pigrome, and third-string QB Tyler DeSue. The team beat up on Howard so badly in their opener — winning 79-0 — that even LeGendre made it into the game. He mostly handed the ball off and rushed twice for 30 yards. The New Orleans native chose Maryland over Florida State.
Nik Scalzo, Kentucky – Scalzo suffered a knee injury the day after Season 3 of the series was released. The freshman from Fort Lauderdale suffered a torn ACL and underwent surgery in late August. He will likely take a medical redshirt year and try to be ready in time to compete next year. Kentucky’s starter Terry Wilson went down with a season-ending injury, opening the door for Sawyer Smith. Walker Wood is behind Smith on the depth chart. It’s unclear where Scalzo would have figured in prior to his injury. The youngster has remained positive despite getting hurt.