Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Top Six Returning College Quarterbacks of 2017

We are in the midst of spring football season, so there is no better time to start looking ahead to the 2017 College Football season. We begin with a series of looks into the top players returning for the upcoming season, starting with the QB spot. There are several high performing players returning, despite a rash of early NFL draft entries. Here are my top five QBs returning for 2017, in no absolute order:

Logan Woodside, Toledo
Woodside has passed for well over 6000 yards over the last two seasons, and went for 45 passing scores in 2016. He is a fiery competitor and should be, by far, the best returning MAC QB in 2017. He passed for 4129 yards with 45 TDs and just nine INTs last fall, and is as pure a gunslinger as you will find anywhere in college football.

Jake Browning, Washington
I was not a true believer in Browning before the 2016 season began,but I am now. Browning did have a bit of a fall back at the end of last season, but his numbers were still impressive enough that he is immediately elevated over the overhyped and and much overrated Josh Rosen at UCLA, and will be neck and neck with Sam Darnold as the best QB in the PAC-12 in 2017. Browning passed for 3430 yards with 43 scores and nine INTs last season, and the Huskies were in the playoffs.

Sam Darnold, USC
Darnold did not start the season at QB for the Trojans last fall, but he sure ended it with the job. Darnold came in and saved the season from complete disaster,and became a household name in the process. He and Browning were neck and neck for best QB honors in the league last season, and what Darnold did in the Rose Bowl alone was a thing of legend. Look for him to be the undisputed leader of the Trojans as they try to make a run at a national playoff birth.

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Foolish drinking escapades aside, Mayfield is one of the most fluid passers in the game of college football. Everything he does he makes it look easy. The Sooners will lose some potent rushing support with Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine both leaving early, but with Mayfield, another run at the Big 12 title is likely, and Mayfield alone may be just enough for me to buy into the Sooners as a potential final four participant.

Luke Falk, Washington State
If Falk were playing at a higher profile program, we would not be talking about having me convince you as to how good he is. Washington State has become very relevant again in the PAC-12 behind the Pirate, Mike Leach, as head coach, and with Falk at QB. He has been destroying secondaries for a while now, and the Cougars are winning. Now, if they can just find a way not to lose to FCS programs early in the season...

Lamar Jackson, Louisville
For a solid month and a half, Jackson was a human video game character who was on track to score 91 TDs on the season between his rushing and passing. He did not get to that ridiculous number, but he was the Heisman trophy winner as a sophomore after a mostly mixed up freshman season. He ended up sliding a great deal at the end of the season with losses to Louisville and LSU, and he got exposed a bit, but there is nobody as game breaking as he can be when he is on his A game.

Honorable Mention
Mike White, Western Kentucky
Riley Ferguson, Memphis
Jalen Hurts, Alabama
Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
Trace McSorley, Penn State
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Josh Allen, Wyoming

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