A Star Is Born: Six Candidates for the Next Great College Quarterback
While two former Heisman winning QB's in Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford return to lead there teams in what they hope to be a National Title run, we have plenty young QB's who were able to get their feet wet last season who are ready emerge and lead their teams to hopefully greener pastures.
While most people know the Terrelle Pryor's, Robert Griffin's, and Tyrod Taylor's, there are many others set to make their mark. The road to glory isn't always an easy one. Usually, the learning experience is filled with bumps and bruises, both in the physical sense and to the ego.
Most QB's have to win their job in position battles which will go on through the late summer. Some QB's have already won the starting battle but they are sure to be challenged by incoming talent which is part of the reloading process at the top schools. Here are a few of the up and comers which should make a statement in college football this season.
I'm not sure most people expected Jacory Harris to emerge as "the guy" at Miami but a year after arriving from High School, Jacory is "that guy" for the Hurricanes. Like his former team mate at Miami, the recently departed Robert Marve, Harris was the winner of Florida's High School "Mr. Football" who previous winners include Tim Tebow and Anquan Boldin.
While Harris has the arm and legs to provide all of the athleticism it takes to be a winner, it's his head where he is strongest. Harris expects to win and expects to be able to get the job done.
Harris is surrounded by many High School team mates from Miami's Northwestern High School who won 30 straight games including the National Championship as awarded by USA Today. All Of Harris team mates agree to the man, that Jacory Harris is a player who can lead Miami back to glory. He will get his chance to start this season.
Kellen Moore won the Broncos starting QB last summer as a freshman and hasn't looked back. While Moore had his skittish moments under center at times last year, he spent most of the season looking like an old pro, leading Boise State to win after win and an undefeated regular season.
The sky is the limit for Moore. While Boise State is in the WAC, a non BCS conference, most years should be filled with BCS expectations and if this past year was any indication of what the future has in store, the Broncos should be set at QB at least for the next few years.
Christian Ponder tries to bring a continuity and credibility at the QB position for the Seminoles that they haven't had since Mark Richt left the Offensive Coordinator post to take the head coaching job at Georgia. Ponder led the Noles not just to some nice wins last season, he led the Noles back to credibility and optimism.
While Ponder isn't a classic Seminole drop back passer, he gets it done with his feet and his arm and may just be the perfect guy for the job in Tallahassee. While he didn't enter last season as the starter, he won it on the field and in game play. He will more than likely cement this role and get a full season to show exactly where he can take the Nole offense.
Jordan Jefferson is an interesting story as while he more than likely is the Tiger starter heading into the spring, he's no lock to be the starter throughout the season. Jefferson saw the field in seven games last season but started in two of them going 1-1. While LSU was convincing in their Chick-Fil-A Bowl win over Georgia Tech as I thought they would be, I considered to be more of a team effort than just the Tigers finding their man under center.
To further complicate things, LSU recruited a top level QB, Russell Shepard, who most gave a five star rating two. Since Jordan has the experience at the college level as a starter and showed he can win, he should have a decided edge. He will have to endure not just the pressure of SEC football but of the fan base and a young talented star breathing down his neck.
It's pretty tough to believe there is a third year starter in college football who so many people know so little about. What makes this situation stranger is Trevor Vittatoe has been putting up monster numbers under coach Mike Price and he should continue to do the same this season.
Vittatoe threw for 3100 yards and 25 TD's in 2007 only to follow it up with 33 touchdowns and 3274 yards in 2008; we can only imagine what 2009 has in store. Vittatoe is clearly the Miners starter and while we didn't hear his name the past two seasons, my guess is he's a household name by December of this year.
Wilson was one of the more exciting players to watch last season though he didn't get the press a lot of the other young QB's got. Wilson wasn't originally supposed to start for the Wolfpack but by the end of the season he was the Wolfpack offense.
The wild card here for WIlson is his health. While he led NC State to the Papa John's Bowl against Rutgers, he was injured and many felt that it cost NC State the game. Surgery wasn't necessary and Wilson should be armed and ready come the Fall.
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