College Football: Which Programs Produce the Most Starting NFL Quarterbacks?
At the beginning of the football season, I did an analysis of where all of the quarterbacks in the NFL went to college. What I found was, for the most part, fairly random. The schools that produce the current NFL quarterbacks ranged from the classic (USC, Michigan, Miami) to the not quite so expected (Alabama State, Akron).
However, many things have changed since I wrote that article, so I've decided to update it—at least with regards to the starters.
I'm going to break this analysis into three parts.
1) Players that are their teams' presumed starters as of today (3/21/2008). This could change between now and the beginning of the season. Refer to "2008 Presumed Starters" below.
2) I'll sprinkle in players that have a good chance of starting a handful of games becomes of the starter's tenuous hold on the starting job. An example of this is Joey Harrington in Atlanta. As of right now, he looks like the starter—but there is likely another veteran on the roster that will start a few games, even if they do pick up Matt Ryan. This is list is "2008 High-Probablity Replacements." This does not factor in injuries to a starter.
3) The third is a list of the three rookies that I'm guessing have a chance of playing 2008. Those are Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and Brian Brohm. "2008 Potential Rookie Starter".
So, here we go.
The alma maters for the presumed starters in 2008, once again, yield very scattered results. The 32 presumed 2008 starters represent 30 universities. Only Oregon (Kellen Clemens and Joey Harrington, neither of whom have a stronghold on the position) and USC (Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart) have at two quarterbacks starting in the NFL.
The interesting thing about Oregon is that neither one of those players was the team's starter in early 2007. Harrington took over after Vick was incarcerated and Clemens, a rookie in 2007, took over for a largely ineffective Chad Pennington.
Other interesting notes about the presumed crop of starters:
- Heading into the 2007 season, Marshall had two quarterbacks (Pennington and Byron Leftwich) at the top of their teams' presumptive depth charts. Heading into 200, they don't have any.
- The list of 2008 starters' colleges include Alabama State, Alcorn State, Central Washington, East Carolina, Eastern Illinois, Louisiana-Lafayette, Miami Ohio, San Jose State, and Vanderbilt.
- More traditional programs like Miami, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, UCLA, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Penn State, and many others have none.
- In the 80s the University of Miami produced Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, and Vinnie Testaverde. Now, Miami of Ohio has more starting NFL quarterbacks then the U.
- The breakdown among the major conferences is as follows: SEC and Pac-10 (seven each), ACC (three), Big East and Big Ten (two each) and the Big 12 (one). However, Matt Hasselbeck was a member of the Big East when he played, so you can make the case that the Big East has three and the ACC has two.
- The Pac-10 and ACC make up 44 percent of all of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL. And none of the SEC schools have more than one starter. That's seven players from 7 (out of 12) schools.
- In case you're wondering, the five SEC colleges without a starter are Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and South Carolina.
If you sprinkle in the 15 other players that I think have a very good chance to start, you suddenly have Michigan leading the pack with 3 quarterbacks (Tom Brady, Brian Griese, and Todd Collins). Purdue (adding Kyle Orton to Drew Brees) and Cal (Aaron Rogers and Kyle Boller) are the only other schools that would now have two starters.
The interesting thing about the Michigan situation is that it is not too far-fetched that those three players could be their teams' starters for large portions of the season. Todd Collins did a great job in injury relief last year and Brian Griese is backing up the historically ineffective Rex Grossman. It is important to point out that Purdue and Michigan both jumped on this list because of Rex Grossman's situation. Orton and Griese are probably both going to get some playing time due to Grossman's, and then each other's, ineffectiveness.
A few more notes:
- With the additional players, the Pac-10 now has 10 players (Andrew Walter of ASU, Damon Huard of Washington, and Boller from Cal were added from the Pac-10).
- Michigan's influx of players now puts the Big Ten, with eight quarterbacks, ahead of the SEC, who added nobody. The players added by the Big 10 were the aforementioned Michigan and Purdue players, plus Drew Stanton from Michigan State, Brooks Bollinger from Wisconsin, and Troy Smith from Ohio State.
- The new scenario would have 7 out of the 10 PAC 10 schools with a starting quarterback in the NFL. The 4 without one would be UCLA, Washington State (with Drew Bledsoe's retirement) and Arizona.
Adding in the rookies would give BC and Louisville two starting quarterbacks each. Although, Chris Redman's career is on borrowed time. In fact, there's a very good chance that Chris Redman will be one step closer to the trash heap because of one of the three rookie quarterbacks I mention. If the Falcons draft Matt Ryan, then you have to figure Chris Redman is no better than the third-string quarterback by the middle of the year, and probably out once the season ends.
So. as a conclusion, I guess I would say that, if you look at schools individually, the results are very scattered. Alcorn State has more starting quarterbacks than Notre Dame. However, consider that the SEC and Pac-10 will probably represent 14 day-one starters. And, the Big Ten has a chance to have as many as eight at some point in the year.
The power conferences rule the roost. But, while the Drew Hensons, Brian Grieses and Tom Bradys of the world were battling for playing time in Ann Arbor, players like Jay Cutler and David Garrard were able to learn on the field—without the competition just to get on the field—and establish themselves into NFL-caliber players. I don't know what works in the end. But it's fun trying to figure it out.
2008 Presumed Starters
Buffalo Bills – Trent Edwards - Stanford
Miami Dolphins – John Beck - BYU
New England Patriots – Tom Brady - Michigan
New York Jets – Kellen Clemens - Oregon
Baltimore Ravens - Steve McNair - Alcorn State
Cincinnati Bengals – Carson Palmer - USC
Cleveland Browns – Derek Anderson - Oregon State
Pittsburgh Steelers – Ben Roethlisberger - Miami (Ohio)
Houston Texans – Matt Schaub - Virginia
Indianapolis Colts – Peyton Manning - Tennessee
Jacksonville Jaguars – David Garrard - East Carolina
Tennessee Titans – Vince Young - Texas
Denver Broncos – Jay Cutler - Vanderbilt
Kansas City Chiefs – Brodie Croyle - Alabama
Oakland Raiders – JaMarcus Russell - LSU
San Diego Chargers – Phillip Rivers - NC State
Dallas Cowboys – Tony Romo - Eastern Illinois
New York Giants – Eli Manning - Mississippi
Philadelphia Eagles – Donovan McNabb - Syracuse
Washington Redskins – Jason Campbell - Auburn
Chicago Bears – Rex Grossman - Florida
Detroit Lions - Jon Kitna - Central Washington
Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rogers - Cal
Minnesota Vikings – Tavaris Jackson - Alabama State
Atlanta Falcons - Joey Harrington - Oregon
Carolina Panthers – Jake Delhomme - Louisiana - Lafayette
New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees - Purdue
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jeff Garcia - San Jose State
Arizona Cardinals – Matt Leinart - USC
St. Louis Rams – Marc Bulger - West Virginia
San Francisco 49ers – Alex Smith - Utah
Seattle Seahawks – Matt Hasselback - BC
2008 - High-Probability Replacements
Oakland Raiders - Andrew Walter - Arizona State
Cleveland Browns - Brady Quinn - ND
Chicago Bears - Brian Griese - Michigan
Minnesota Vikings - Brooks Bollinger - Wisconsin
New York Jets - Chad Pennington - Marshall
Atlanta Falcons - Chris Redman - Louisville
Kansas City Chiefs - Damon Huard - Washington
Detroit Lions - Drew Stanton - Michigan State
Miami Dolphins - Josh McCown - Sam Houston State
Buffalo Bills - JP Losman - Tulane
Baltimore Ravens - Kyle Boller - Cal
San Francisco 49ers - Shaun Hill - Maryland
Washington Redskins - Todd Collins - Michigan
Chicago Bears - Kyle Orton - Purdue
Baltimore Ravens - Troy Smith - Ohio State
2008 Potential Rookie Starters
Rookie - Matt Ryan - BC
Rookie - Brian Brohm - Louisville
Rookie - Joe Flacco - Delaware
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