There apparently will be a college football season of some sort - at least for now - in 2020. Thus, plenty of eyes will be on the stars of the game, especially at the quarterback position. Some of the most prominent Heisman Trophy favorites are part of this group, along with a couple of unique transfers.
Here are 25 quarterbacks to keep an eye on in 2020 (in alphabetical order).
Bachmeier had an interesting freshmen season, winning the starting job out of the game. However, he missed six games - dealing with hip and shoulder issues - to disrupt a campaign that began with potential. He threw for 1,879 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. The hope is that year of game experience under his belt will be beneficial for whatever the 2020 season looks like.
After three seasons, the verdict might still be out on Book. 1) In terms of if he can lead Notre Dame to a national championship. 2) Is he seriously capable of playing at the next level. The first is probably all that matters for the 2020 season. Book threw for 3,034 yards with 34 touchdowns, six interceptions and also rushed for 546 yards in 2019. Solid numbers, but perhaps not at an elite level.
Following in the footsteps of Joe Burrow obviously won't be easy. However, Brennan, by some accounts, seems to at least have the confidence and demeanor, plus the skill set, to be more than serviceable. Does that mean a repeat national championship for the Tigers? Tough call. Brennan has thrown for 600 career yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions during 17 games of mop-up duty.
Playing in the shadows of those prominent Oklahoma quarterbacks the past three seasons, Brewer has still proven himself to be among the nation's best at the position. In 2019, Brewer set career highs with 3,161 passing yards and 21 touchdowns. He also ran for 11 TDs last season while leading Baylor to an 11-3mark and Sugar Bowl appearance. There's reason to believe he can be better in 2020.
After three seasons competing for, and ultimately losing, the starting job at Texas, Buechele has found a home not too far away at SMU. In his first season with the Mustangs in 2019, Buechele amassed 3,929 passing yards with 34 touchdowns and 10 interceptions an SMU squad that won its first eight games of the season. Now, Buechele gets one more shot at collegiate success and improve his case for an NFL career.
In his first season as a full-time starter in 2019, Clifford was pretty solid. Though Clifford completed just 59.2 percent of his passes, he threw for 2,654 yards with 23 touchdowns, to go along with seven picks. More importantly, Clifford helped the Nittany Lions to an 8-0 start and eventually an 11-2 record and berth in the Cotton Bowl. He's not asked to shoulder too much of the load, which limits the pressure.
Some might be surprised to see Coan on this list. It's easy to call him a dreaded "game manager," but Coan might be more than that kind of player. Last season, Coan ranked eighth in the nation with a 69.6 completion percentage and 20th boasting a 151.8 passer rating. Now, Coan is not much of a risk-taker, but a smart quarterback who threw for 2,727 yards with 18 TDs and five interceptions.
The versatile Daniels is a special player, and someone expected to shine even brighter in his second collegiate season. As a true freshman, Daniels threw for 2,943 yards and ran for 355. While 2019 was about getting his feet wet, Daniels overachieved on many levels to help the Sun Devils go 8-5 and win a bowl game. No doubt, his ceiling should be much higher in 2020.
This is the end of the collegiate line for Ehlinger, who should have a special place in the hearts of Texas fans. In three seasons, the local boy has thrown for 8,870 yards with 68 touchdowns, 22 interceptions, 1,526 rushing yards and 25 TDs on the ground. Ehlinger has been steady and improved each season, especially when becoming a leader. Expect a spirited effort from Ehlinger in 2020.
One of the obvious Heisman Trophy favorites, Fields is hoping to lead the Buckeyes to greatness during whatever this 2020 season looks like. There might not be a more complete quarterback in the country. In 2019, Fields was the complete package: ranking among the national leaders with 41 touchdowns, a 67.2 completion percentage, 181.4 passer rating and 3,273 yards. Is it possible Fields can be better in 2020?
Another signal-caller coming off a strong, and rather unexpected, freshman campaign. There was hype surrounding Gabriel, who lived up to most of it, or at least on a modest level. After throwing for 3,653 yards and 29 touchdowns with just seven interceptions in 2019, the excitement surrounding Gabriel this season will be greater. It will be interesting to see Gabriel's progression in 2020.
Keeping with the theme of quarterbacks trying to build on impressive, true freshmen seasons. We head to Chapel Hill, where there should be a lot of excitement about what Howell is capable of doing in 2020. As a rookie in 2019, Howell threw for 3,641 yards with a whopping 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also boasted a 160.2 passer rating in Mac Brown's return to coaching the Tar Heels.
The assumption is that Jones will be under center to start the 2020 season. However, there's a lot of buzz that touted freshman Bryce Young might not have to wait long for his shot. Jones was more than serviceable after Tua Tagovailoa was injured, throwing for 1,503 yards with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions over 11 games during the 2019 season. With that experience and more confidence, there's reason for a solid upside in Jones' case for 2020.
There should be plenty of eyes on King in 2020. Coming over from Houston, the do-it-all quarterback will try to elevate the current state of the Hurricanes program to a serious College Football Playoff contender - at least for one season. In three-plus seasons at Houston, King threw for 4,925 yards with 50 TDs and 10 interceptions; plus 1,421 yards on the ground and 28 scores.
At the moment, Lawrence will be playing the 2020 season. Even though he's expressed support for those Pac-12 players threatening to boycott the season to bring awareness to health and social justice issues. A Heisman frontrunner (with Justin Fields) and the expected No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick in 20212, Lawrence probably wouldn't have much to lose by sitting out this potentially unique campaign. In two seasons, Lawrence has thrown 66 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while completing 65.5 percent of his passes for 6,945 yards.
Mond is a bit of a polarizing figure after three seasons with the Aggies. He's thrown 44 touchdowns and 18 interceptions over the last two seasons, but he has a 57.8 completion percentage. He's also been sacked 83 times in 37 collegiate contests. This is Mond's final chance to prove that he was worth the time and effort Aggies' fans put in to supporting him.
Coming off a breakout 2019 season, Morgan enters this year as one of the nation's top quarterbacks. His 178.7 passer rating ranked fifth in the nation last season, when he was second in the Big Ten with 3,253 passing yards and 30 touchdowns - behind only Justin Fields. Is it possible Morgan can be even better in 2020? And again help the Gophers remain a Big Ten title contender?
The Bulldogs get a one-year rental in Newman, who - it seems - still has to beat out USC transfer JT Daniels for the starting job. For the sake of this list, we're figuring Newman will be the man when - or if - the 2020 seasons starts. The former Wake Forest star helped the Demon Deacons get off to a 5-0 start. He ultimately finished the season throwing for 2,868 yards with 26 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and also rushing for 574 yards.
In all fairness to Nix, there was a ton of hype and pressure starting as a freshman for Auburn last season. The Tigers went 9-4 with him under center, but as expected, Nix had his bouts with inconsistency. Still, he held his own while throwing for more than 2,500 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. Nix also rushed for 313 yards and earned some obviously invaluable success.
Purdy is another quarterback who many scouts believe can have a potentially solid NFL career. Though the Cyclones underachieved to a 7-6 mark in 2019, Purdy's personal numbers were rather solid. He threw for 3,982 yards with 27 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. He also rushed for eight TDs. If Iowa State can generate a consistent ground game in 2020, some of the pressure will come off Purdy to do everything. That might also allow his pure talent and leadership to blossom even more.
Rattler has played three college football games and thrown 11 passes. Yet, he's considered a Heisman hopeful heading into this season. Technically, Rattler is in a battle for the starting job with Tanner Mordecai, who was recently injured during a practice session. Yet, there's the assumption that he will start and ultimately shine within the Sooners' quarterback-friendly system that boasted two Heisman winners (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray) at the position over the past three seasons.
Slovis was not expected to be a factor when the 2019 season began. However, after JT Daniels' injury in the season opener, Slovis got his chance. The result: 3,502 passing yards, 30 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. With his late-season elbow issue apparently healed, this has the potential to be an exciting season for both Slovis and the Trojans. The key could be if he's able to stay healthy.
Thomas enters the season on the watch lists for the Maxwell, Davey O'Brien and Manning Awards. To the casual college football fan, Thomas might not be a known commodity, but he's certainly worth keeping an eye on. Over the past two seasons, the versatile Thomas has thrown 4,757 passing yards with 49 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while rushing for 944 with another 17 scores.
While Trask's NFL stock continues to rise, it's uncertain if he has what it takes to lead the Gators to an SEC title. Last season, Trask threw for 2.941 yards with 25 touchdowns - and just seven interceptions. He has a pro-style body, and with that full year of experience, there should be some lofty expectations for Trask this season. Not just from a personal standpoint, but for his team, as well.
White opted to come back for his senior season after setting career highs with 4,014 passing yards and 33 touchdowns. With White under center, Memphis won the American Athletic Conference in 2019. Whether the Tigers will achieve similar success this season, remains to be seen. That said, with White at the controls of the offense, anything is possible.
Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago. You can follow Jeff at @jeffm401.