- Sam Darnold, USC
This may come as a shock to some, but to most of the college football world Sam Darnold is the “Truth.” His incredible game against Penn State in the 2017 Rose Bowl showed his ability as a passer and as a leader. Darnold showed poise and skill that most young NFL quarterbacks wish they could have. He is your prototype pocket passing quarterback.
Darnold did not start until the week 4; after USC decided that Max Browne wasn’t the answer. The Trojans were 1-2 to start the 2016 season. Darnold led the Trojans to a 10-3 record, and ended the season with 3,086 passing yards and 31 touchdowns. Darnold is an outstanding quarterback that has the talent to be a #1 overall NFL Draft choice.
- Deondre Francois, FSU
One word comes to mind when Francois name comes up and that is “Special.” He is an outstanding talent, and he understands what he must do to get Florida State back into the playoffs.
Francois performance in the 2017 Orange Bowl was a precursor for what we will see out of him in 2017. Francois will have a huge test to start the 2017 season when he goes up against Alabama in Atlanta. But it’s not like we have not seen Francois start the season against a difficult team. Last season in his very first start, Francois debut came against Ole Miss, Alabama’s SEC west rival. Francois was challenged all last season, and I don’t expect him to start folding against Alabama. He threw for 3350 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. Francois ran for 198 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns.
- Jalen Hurts, Alabama
The Freshman who took the job at Alabama. Hurts is a dynamic quarterback that got the opportunity to play for a dynamic team. He is on this list because Alabama is so good across the depth chart. Alabama’s offensive line held up well all last season, as well as in the playoffs. Hurts benefitted greatly because Alabama’s offensive line were so good last season.
Alabama also flipped the play style last year by introducing the RPO (run, pass, option). Jalen Hurts was the perfect quarterback to run that system for Alabama.
But the only drawback to Hurts is that he plays for Alabama.
It sounds crazy, but it is true. Alabama has a track record of not preparing their quarterbacks for the next level. Alabama quarterbacks benefit so much because they are on a great team, but because Alabama’s players are so good the quarterbacks never face adversity. Jalen Hurts is a solid quarterback, for college, but when it is time for him to move on to the NFL he might not be so good. He threw for 2780 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, 9 Interceptions, and he rushed for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns.
- Trace McSorley, PSU
To most he is a top 10 quarterback and not a top 5, but for the college level, Trace McSorley is a solid top 5. McSorley is a winner. He plays big in big games, look at the game he played against Ohio State. He played close to lights out, and when he played in the Rose Bowl he went toe to toe with the guy I have as the best quarterback in college football.
McSorley benefited from solid receiver play in 2016 and from a solid running game. But now, McSorley must duplicate his impressive 2016 season without his number one target last season: Chris Godwin.
Penn State should have a solid team in 2017. The lions will return their amazing tight-end and running back. McSorley must take the next step in his development if the Nittany Lions ever hope to make in to the college football playoffs.