No player is more praised or scrutinized than a quarterback, whose performance can make or break a team weekly. There are plenty of good ones set to be under center for the 2019 season. In fact, the preseason Heisman Trophy contenders are nearly all quarterbacks. With that in mind, here's a look at our top quarterbacks (in alphabetical order) for the 2019 college football season.
Book will never be compared with the great Notre Dame quarterbacks of the past, but he is far more than a game-manager. He threw for at least two touchdowns in all but two games in 2018 and is a serious red-zone threat with his legs. Plus, Book has a year of experience to build on, which should do wonders for his confidence.
It will be easy for a quarterback other than those playing at Texas or Oklahoma this season to be relegated to the shadows of the Big 12. However, Brewer has a case to be put into the spotlight. He was a big reason the Bears went from one win in 2017 to seven last year. The more he plays, the more confident the multitalented Brewer (3,394 passing/rushing yards, 26 rushing/passing touchdowns in 2018) gets.
Perhaps the biggest quarterback surprise of 2018 was Burrow. There was not much expected from the LSU offense, at least from an elite-unit standpoint, heading into last season. But Burrow was a hit as the Tigers starter after transferring from Ohio State. He thew for 2,894 yards with 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions in '18. He also ran for nearly 400 yards with seven scores. Can he be better in '19?
A struggling running game in 2018 forced Costello and the Cardinal to go to the air more. What resulted was one of the more unheralded quarterback performances of the season. Costello ranked second in the Pac-12 in passing yards (3,540) and touchdowns (29), while his 155.0 passer rating was the best in the league. There will be more pressure on Costello this season, but we think he's capable of coming through again.
It's safe to say that 2019 is the year of the quarterback transfer in college football. Plenty of big names and promising talent are taking classes at different schools. Eason, who threw for 2,430 yards with 16 TDs at Georgia in 2016, is part of the fun. As of mid-August, Eason still was not officially named the Huskies starter, but the team's fate is likely going to rest on his arm at some point. Washington is not actively part of the College Football Playoff at the moment, but Eason might be able to change that.
The story has been told plenty: local boy from Austin leads the storied Longhorns program back into the college football spotlight. Following a breakout sophomore season in '18 (3,292 passing yards, 25 TDs, 16 rushing TDs), Ehlinger and his teammates are poised to better last season's 10-4 mark. Ehlinger has generated Heisman Trophy love and the kind of confidence needed to lead a program of this magnitude.
Fields has yet to play a down and Ryan Day has yet to coach a game at Ohio State, but both are getting the kind of praise one would see for an established quarterback-coach combo. The expectations are high for both, especially Fields, who comes over from Georgia where his dynamic versatility was briefly displayed last season. Can't wait for the hype to become reality.
The casual football fan might not know a lot about Fine. That's too bad. In 27 games over 2017 and '18, Fine threw for 7,845 yards with 58 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions. Only five of those picks came last season while the Mean Green were posting their second consecutive nine-win season. Since 2016, no active quarterback has thrown for more yards (9,417) than Fine.
Just how good is Fromm? How about so good that two other ultra-talent quarterbacks on this list (Jacob Eason and Justin Fields) had to find new places to continue their collegiate careers. After throwing for 5,364 yards with 54 TDs and 13 picks in his first two seasons for the Bulldogs, Fromm is a Heisman contender while again trying to lead his team to a national title.
The Cougars hit it big last season with transfer Gardner Minshew, and they are hoping that will be the case again with Gubrud. Washington State should be excited that it has a guy who threw for 9,984 yards with 87 touchdowns while starring for FCS power Eastern Washington. By all accounts, Gubrud's transition to the FBS level has gone relatively smoothly.
It was a bit surprising that Herbert opted to stay for his senior season instead of heading to the NFL. Maybe he wants his stock to increase a little more, but the 6-foot-6 Herbert is likely to be one of the first signal-callers taken in the 2020 NFL Draft. Herbert has thrown for more than 7,000 yards and 60 touchdowns in three seasons. Now, it's time to lead the Ducks to a Pac-12 championship.
Hurts gets his shot to prove to the folks at Alabama that their beloved Tide were wrong to put him on the back burner. It's going to be fun to see how Hurts does in a Sooners system that is well-fit for his versatile skills (5,626 career passing yards and 1,976 rushing yards). He's a preseason Heisman contender and would like nothing more than to face Alabama at some point during the College Football Playoff.
At one point during the 2018 campaign, King was on the fringe of the Heisman Trophy conversation. Then a November knee injury ended his season early. Now, he's eager to get going again , this time under new coach Dana Holgorsen. King set an American Athletic Conference record with 50 combined touchdowns in 2018, and if healthy, he is capable of even more.
Lawrence has gone from true freshman starter to national champion to Heisman front-runner in less than a calendar year. He might as well be a seasoned veteran entering 2019. The pressure is on Lawrence is do it all over again and perhaps even better a rookie campaign where he completed 65.2-percent of his passes for 3,280 yards and threw 30 TDs and just four interceptions.
The best quarterback in the Mountain West Conference resides in Logan, Utah. Love's sophomore season of 2018 was certainly special, throwing for 3,567 yards with 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He was also sacked just nine times. His 158.3 passer rating ranked 10th in the FBS last year, and there's a chance Love will shine even brighter in 2019.
Next season at this time, we might be talking about Martinez as a serious Heisman Trophy contender. There appears to be plenty of upside for Martinez, who found a nice rhythm as his 2018 freshman season went on. The multiple-purpose Martinez threw for 17 touchdowns and ran for eight. He's now saddled with trying to get the Cornhuskers back to prominence.
It's all about the offense at Hawai'i, and McDonald is another on the list of talented quarterbacks the school has produced. As a sophomore in 2018, McDonald ranked among the national leaders by throwing for 3,897 yards with 36 TDs. Now, Hawai'i's system is one of risk-reward and McDonald will continue to make his mistakes, but he's also pretty fun to watch.
A big reason the Aggies won nine games in Jimbo Fisher's first season as coach was the progress made by Mond. As a sophomore, Mond threw for 3,107 yards with 24 touchdown passes and nine interceptions in 13 games. (He was picked off six times in 10 games as a freshman.) Will the Mond-Fisher pairing be even better in 2019?
The Buffaloes could very well miss out on a bowl game for a third straight season, but Montez might still end up being one of the top pro prospects out of the quarterback crop. In three seasons at the collegiate level, the 6-foot-5 Montez has thrown for 6,902 yards with 46 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He also completed 64.7 percent of his passes in 2018, which was a career best.
Many believe this will be a big season for Patterson, mainly because former Alabama assistant Josh Gattis is now coordinating the Wolverines offense. It's slated to be a more wide-open attack that will put Patterson in the spotlight and has the potential to unleash his overall talent that Michigan needs to make a serious run at the national title.
Perkins enjoyed a stellar season starting for the Cavaliers in 2018. His 2,680 passing yards, with 25 touchdowns and 923 yards on the ground, plus nine scores, helped Virginia to an eight-win campaign. It was the program's highest victory total in seven seasons. Many believe that with a year of experience in the books, Perkins and the Cavaliers can be better in 2019.
This has the potential to be a memorable season for quarterbacks in the Big 12, and Purdy is part of the gang. He threw for 2,250 yards and rushed for more than 300 as a freshman last season for the Cyclones. Matt Campbell is the kind of coach who works well with young talent, and Purdy is progressing nicely at the moment.
While Justin Fields, Adrian Martinez and Shea Patterson are getting most of the quarterback love in the Big Ten, Stanley could be the best NFL prospect from the league. Over the past two seasons, Stanley has thrown for 5,289 yards with 52 touchdowns and 16 picks. However, his overall experience and confidence in running the Iowa offense might be what makes Stanley stand out within the conference this season.
As Tua goes, so does the Crimson Tide. When healthy, he's arguably the best player in college football. It's probably safe to think this will be Tagovailoa's collegiate swan song, and he would like nothing more than to help Alabama return to the top of the college football world. In 24 college games, Tagovailoa has thrown 54 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. His two-year passing rating of 195.1 is pretty impressive.
It's a bit of a quandary when talking about Tate's versatility. He possesses a solid arm that's thrown for 4,364 yards in three seasons, with a set of legs that helped amassed 1,411 rushing yards in 2017. Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin is trying to keep his quarterback healthy but also knows Tate's all-purpose game is likely the key to the Wildcats' success.
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