Ranking College Football's 50 Best Quarterbacks of 2012
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It may be a while before we see two superstar quarterbacks like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III battle for the spotlight during a college football season like they did in 2011. However, after getting a look at some of the young up-and-coming gunslingers that stepped out onto the national stage this season, there's definitely reason for fans to get excited about the future.
Young underclassmen quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel, Braxton Miller and Marcus Mariota all became household names this year. Plus, there were also plenty of older veteran signal-callers such as Collin Klein and Geno Smith who left their mark on the sport as well.
So which quarterbacks were the true cream of the crop this season?
Here's a look at how college football's top 50 quarterbacks stack up based on their performance in 2012.
1. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
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It didn't seem as if hopes were high for Texas A&M's first season in the SEC. The Aggies were coming off a disappointing seven-win season in 2011, and they had a new head coach and a new starting quarterback.
What many of the team's doubters didn't know during the offseason, though, was just how perfect the marriage between first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin and new starting signal-caller Johnny Manziel would end up being.
Like he did with Case Keenum at Houston, Sumlin helped turn Manziel into one of the most productive quarterbacks in college football. Manziel was able to become one of the biggest breakout stars of 2012.
The athletic 6'1'', 200-pound dual-threat quarterback threw for over 3,400 yards, rushed for over 1,100 yards, accounted for 43 total touchdowns and led A&M to a surprising 10-2 regular-season record, which included a huge upset win over a No. 1-ranked Alabama team in Tuscaloosa.
Manziel earned numerous honors for his performance, including the sport's most prestigious award, the Heisman Trophy. His 2012 campaign will go down as one of the greatest seasons by a freshman in college football history.
2. Collin Klein, Kansas State
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Even though Collin Klein had a breakout season in 2011 and helped guide Kansas State to 10 wins, poll voters didn't seem to show much faith in the Wildcats during the preseason, as they started the year ranked outside of the top 20 in both preseason polls.
Klein made those non-believers look rather foolish, however, as he put together another dominant campaign in 2012, leading Kansas State to an 11-1 record in the regular season and a Big 12 championship.
The beastly 6'5'', 226-pound senior totaled over 3,300 yards of offense and accounted for 37 total touchdowns. It was a performance that helped him finish third in the Heisman voting.
Although "Optimus Klein" may not be the type of polished pro-style passer that NFL teams are searching for, you still have to appreciate all that he's been able to accomplish over the last two years in Manhattan.
3. Braxton Miller, Ohio State
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Last winter, when it was announced that Urban Meyer would be the next head coach at Ohio State, Buckeyes fans instantly became excited and intrigued about the idea of Meyer developing a raw, yet supremely talented young dual-threat quarterback like Braxton Miller.
Many thought that Miller would be a perfect fit for Meyer's unique Shotgun-based spread offensive system, and that turned out to be exactly the case.
The 6'2'', 210-pound sophomore flourished during his first year in Meyer's offense. He totaled over 3,300 yards, accounted for 28 total touchdowns and led Ohio State to a perfect 12-0 season.
Miller should only continue to get better as he continues to get a better grasp on all of the nuances of the offense, and there's no telling just how good he could be in 2013.
4. AJ McCarron, Alabama
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AJ McCarron led Alabama to a 12-1 record and a BCS championship last season. However, many simply viewed him as a game-manager and a quarterback that relied on a great running game and a dominant defense to win games.
This year, however, McCarron shed that game-manager label and became an integral part of the Tide's success. The 6'4'', 210-pound junior transformed into a true offensive leader in 2012, and he turned out to be one of the most productive and efficient passers in all of college football.
McCarron finished the regular season ranked first in the nation with a 173 passer rating; he threw for over 2,600 yards and tossed 26 touchdown strikes compared to just three interceptions.
Obviously, McCarron benefits from playing on the most talented team in college football. But without him controlling the offense, it's highly doubtful that the Tide would have made a return trip to the BCS championship game this season.
5. Geno Smith, West Virginia
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Geno Smith became the early front-runner for the Heisman Trophy after putting together an amazing passing performance in the month of September, as he led West Virginia to a 5-0 start and a top-five national ranking.
Unfortunately, the Mountaineers weren't able to sustain their success once they started facing some of the Big 12's top teams. They finished the regular season with just a 7-5 record. However, that doesn't diminish what Smith was able to accomplish from an individual standpoint.
The 6'3'', 220-pound senior signal-caller completed 71 percent of his passes for over 4,000 yards and threw 40 touchdowns compared to just six interceptions.
Smith solidified his status as one of the top quarterback prospects available for the 2013 NFL draft. If he has a strong performance in offseason workouts, he could even end up as a top-10 pick in April.
6. Aaron Murray, Georgia
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When Georgia lost to South Carolina 35-7 back on Oct. 6, it seemed as if the Bulldogs' dreams of winning the SEC East division for a second straight year had been dashed. But QB Aaron Murray was able to rally the team after the devastating defeat.
Murray led Georgia on a six-game winning streak to end the season, which included a huge win over archrival Florida that helped seal up the division. In the SEC championship game against Alabama, he came up just five yards short of winning a conference championship and earning a berth in the BCS championship game.
Although the junior signal-caller wasn't able to lead the Bulldogs to a crucial victory over the Tide, he still put together a tremendous campaign in 2012.
Murray finished the regular season with a 65 percent completion percentage, over 3,400 passing yards, 31 passing touchdowns and a 172 passer rating, which was the second-highest in the country.
If Murray chooses to return for his senior year, he'll surely enter the 2013 season as one of the top Heisman favorites.
7. Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
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When it was initially announced that Northern Illinois would be playing in the Orange Bowl, it caused quite a stir among college football fans and analysts, who said that the Huskies weren't worthy of playing in a BCS bowl game.
It's likely, though, that many of the team's critics haven't paid attention to just how good QB Jordan Lynch and his team have been in 2012.
Lynch has been one of the most impressive players in the country this season. The 6'0'', 216-pound junior has completed 63 percent of his passes for over 2,900 yards and 24 touchdowns, and he's rushed for over 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns while leading the Huskies to a 12-1 record and a MAC championship.
The dynamic dual-threat signal-caller will now have the chance to prove himself against one of the best defenses in the country when Northern Illinois takes on Florida State in the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day.
8. Marcus Mariota, Oregon
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This past offseason, there was some uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position at Oregon. Many fans wondered whether it would be Marcus Mariota or Bryan Bennett who would end up being the one to take over for the departed Darron Thomas.
Ultimately, Chip Kelly handed the reins to Mariota, and it turned out to be a decision that made Kelly look like even more of a genius.
Although he had never seen live game action before 2012, the redshirt freshman still stepped in and looked like a seasoned veteran in 2012.
Mariota was the leader of a Ducks offense that averaged 50 points and 550 yards per game. Individually, he accounted for over 3,200 yards of total offense and 35 total touchdowns.
The future certainly looks very bright for Oregon's young offensive leader.
9. Tajh Boyd, Clemson
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Tajh Boyd had plenty of talent surrounding him this season at the offensive skill positions with players like RB Andre Ellington, receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins and TE Brandon Ford.
Boyd managed to make the most of all of his dangerous weapons. He was the centerpiece of a Clemson offense that finished the regular season ranked in the top 10 nationally in both total offense and scoring offense. It was a unit that averaged 42 points and 518 yards per game.
The talented junior signal-caller completed 66 percent of his passes for over 3,500 yards and threw 34 touchdowns, while also adding 492 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.
The fact that Boyd lost the only two real meaningful games of the season against Florida State and South Carolina certainly diminishes what he did this year. However, overall, he still had a mighty impressive campaign in 2012.
10. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
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During his first year at Louisville, Teddy Bridgewater gave Cardinals fans plenty of glimpses of his special talent. However, this was the season when he really showed just how great he could really be.
In his second year as a starter, Bridgewater helped lead Louisville to a 10-2 record in the regular season, a Big East championship and a berth in the Sugar Bowl.
The budding star sophomore signal-caller was one of the most accurate and efficient passers in the country, completing 69 percent of his passes for over 3,400 yards and throwing 25 touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions.
The Cardinals coaching staff has now taken the leash off of Bridgewater and allowed him to let his natural playmaking ability take over. That's very bad news for any opponent on Louisville's schedule in 2013.
11. David Fales, San Jose State
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After deciding to leave Nevada after just one year, David Fales ended up at Monterey Peninsula College, where he honed his skills for two years before transferring to San Jose State this past offseason.
The Spartans gave Fales his chance to shine as the starter in 2012, and he certainly made the most of the opportunity.
Fales displayed remarkable accuracy, arm strength and leadership ability this season. He led the nation with a 72 percent completion percentage, threw for over 4,000 yards and 33 touchdowns and led San Jose State to its first double-digit win season since 1987.
Although he may not be a true household name just yet, the rising star signal-caller should be one of the most talked-about quarterbacks in college football in 2013. He's a player who possesses the potential to be special, and he's definitely a quarterback to watch out for in the future.
12. EJ Manuel, Florida State
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EJ Manuel had a very intriguing, yet also very inconsistent first season as a full-time starter last year. This season, however, Manuel finally looked like the type of star that Seminoles fans were expecting to see when the former blue-chip recruit out of Virginia Beach arrived in Tallahassee back in 2008.
Manuel finished the regular season with a 68 percent completion percentage, over 3,100 passing yards and accounted for 25 total touchdowns.
Most importantly, he led the Seminoles to an 11-2 record, an elusive ACC championship and a berth in the Orange Bowl.
Although he still has some work to do if he ever wants to become a starting quarterback in the NFL, Manuel definitely boosted his pro stock with a big swan-song season in 2012.
13. Landry Jones, Oklahoma
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Landry Jones has been a fixture on Oklahoma's offense since taking over for an injured Sam Bradford in Week 1 of the 2009 season. Over the last four years, Jones has put up some monster passing numbers, and that trend continued in 2009.
The Sooner signal-caller finished the regular season just 11 yards short of the 4,000-yard passing mark, and he threw at least 29 touchdowns for the third straight year.
Jones was unable to lead Oklahoma to wins over the two toughest opponents on the team's schedule, Kansas State and Notre Dame. However, he still managed to put together a strong final season.
14. Brett Hundley, UCLA
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First-year UCLA head coach Jim Mora showed a lot of faith in Brett Hundley when he picked the unproven redshirt freshman to be his starting quarterback over more experienced seniors such as Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut.
Mora's decision ended up paying off in a big way, however, as Hundley turned out to be one of the Pac-12's biggest breakout stars in 2012.
The young, inexperienced signal-caller quickly adapted to the starting role. He showed why he was such a coveted recruit when he signed with the Bruins out of Arizona's Chandler High School.
The highly athletic 6'3'', 223-pound dual-threat quarterback totaled over 4,000 yards of offense and accounted for 38 total touchdowns. Most importantly, he led UCLA on a surprising run to a Pac-12 South division title in just his first season as a starter.
15. Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech
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Louisiana Tech had one of the most potent offensive attacks in college football this season. Much of the team's offensive success centered around the play of QB Colby Cameron.
Cameron was the leader of an offense that finished the regular season ranked first in the nation in scoring offense, second in total offense and fourth in passing offense. It was a unit that averaged 51 points and 577 yards per game.
The strong-armed senior signal-caller completed 68 percent of his passes for over 4,100 yards and threw 31 touchdown passes compared to just five interceptions, as he led the Bulldogs to a 9-3 overall record.
16. Matt Barkley, USC
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After announcing that he would return to USC for his senior year, Matt Barkley quickly became a media darling, and he spent this past offseason as the cover boy of college football.
He started off the 2012 season as the early Heisman favorite and the front-runner to be the No. 1 overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft. Unfortunately, though, Barkley was unable to live up to sky-high expectations. Ultimately, he turned out to be the face of the most disappointing team of 2012.
Still, even though Barkley may not have turned out to be the truly elite NFL prospect that he was originally built up to be, he still managed to put together a solid overall season.
The highly touted senior signal-caller completed 63 percent of his passes for over 3,200 yards and threw 36 touchdown passes in just 11 games of action.
17. Chuckie Keeton, Utah State
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All Chuckie Keeton did in 2012 was lead Utah State to the most successful season in the history of the program.
Keeton guided the Utes to an 11-2 record, a WAC championship and just the school's second-ever bowl victory.
The athletic dual-threat signal-caller threw for over 3,300 yards and 27 touchdowns, and added another 619 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.
Although Utah State is going to miss head coach Gary Andersen next season, Keeton is the type of promising young talent that the Aggies should be able to rally around in 2013.
18. Nick Florence, Baylor
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It's certainly no easy task to replace the greatest player in the history of a program. But that's exactly what Nick Florence was asked to do this season when he took over for Heisman winner Robert Griffin III.
Understandably, Florence wasn't the same caliber of national star as RGIII was in 2011. However, he still did a tremendous job, considering the circumstances.
Florence threw for over 4,300 yards and 33 touchdowns, and he led the Bears to an eight-win season and a win over UCLA in the Holiday Bowl.
19. Seth Doege, Texas Tech
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This season, Seth Doege didn't receive the same type of attention as other more prominent Big 12 quarterbacks such as Collin Klein, Geno Smith or Landry Jones. However, Doege actually finished the regular season as the conference's leader with 38 touchdown passes.
The senior signal-caller was one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country, completing 70 percent of his passes for over 3,900 yards.
Doege may not have a big future in the NFL, but he'll certainly be remembered as one of the best quarterbacks in Texas Tech history.
20. Connor Shaw, South Carolina
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Connor Shaw was limited to just 10 games of action this season due to injury troubles. However, during the time he was out on the field, he was very impressive.
Shaw completed 67 percent of his passes for over 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns, and he also added 339 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, as he led the Gamecocks to another double-digit win season.
You can tell Steve Spurrier really likes his junior signal-caller, and South Carolina fans have to be excited for what Shaw should be able to do in 2013.
21. Derek Carr, Fresno State
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Derek Carr definitely didn't have the performance he wanted to have in Fresno State's final game of the season, a 43-10 loss to SMU in the Hawaii Bowl. However, his performance in the regular season was certainly worthy of praise.
Carr was the leader of a high-powered passing attack that averaged 325 yards per game through the air in 2012.
The younger brother of former No. 1 overall NFL draft pick David Carr finished the season with a 67 percent completion percentage, over 4,100 passing yards and 37 passing touchdowns.
Although he still has to work on a few flaws in his game, Carr will definitely be a quarterback to watch out for in 2013.
22. Everett Golson, Notre Dame
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After watching two years of mediocre play from QB Tommy Rees, Notre Dame fans were cautiously excited about getting to see what new starting quarterback Everett Golson could do this season.
Although Golson certainly wasn't as big of a key to Notre Dame's undefeated season as the Irish's stout defense was, he did provide the type of spark that helped the team make a run to the BCS championship game.
The athletic redshirt freshman threw for over 2,100 yards and 11 touchdowns and also added 305 yards and five scores with his legs.
It will be very interesting to see how Golson handles the spotlight, and more importantly, how he handles Alabama's loaded defense when the Irish and the Tide square off down in Miami Gardens on Jan. 7.
23. Kevin Hogan, Stanford
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It was a gutsy move for David Shaw to throw unproven freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan into the starting role just as Stanford was entering the toughest part of its schedule. However, it turned out to be a decision that ultimately paid off in a huge way.
Hogan stepped in and gave the offense the type of stability and leadership it needed at the quarterback position. He led the Cardinal to huge wins over Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA twice in consecutive weeks to win the Pac-12 championship and earn a Rose Bowl berth.
Obviously, it's much too early to start calling Hogan the next Andrew Luck, considering just how incredible Luck was in Palo Alto. However, the young freshman signal-caller certainly looks like he has the potential to be a special player.
24. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
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Going into the 2012 season, everybody already knew that Taylor Martinez was one of the most dangerous running quarterbacks in college football. What we still needed to find out, though, was if Martinez was ready to be a consistent passer and if he was ready to be a true team leader.
The speedy junior signal-caller proved that he was ready to be a consistent passer, as he completed 62 percent of his passes for over 2,600 yards. He also proved that he was ready to be a team leader, as he guided the Cornhuskers to 10 wins in the regular season and a Big Ten Legends Division title.
Once again, Martinez was also one of the most productive running quarterbacks in the country, rushing for 973 yards and 10 touchdowns.
25. Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State
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The Gus Malzahn-Ryan Aplin head coach-quarterback tandem proved to be an outstanding partnership in 2012.
Aplin shined in Malzahn's unique offensive scheme. He completed 67 percent of his passes for over 3,100 yards, rushed for 443 yards and accounted for 29 total touchdowns while throwing just four interceptions.
The dual-threat signal-caller helped lead the Red Wolves to a 9-3 record in the regular season, a Sun Belt championship and the team's second straight bowl game.
26. Mike Glennon, NC State
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You never knew quite what to expect from Mike Glennon and NC State on a weekly basis this year. The quarterback and his team endured a highly inconsistent campaign in 2012. However, when Glennon was actually on his game, he showed why he has the chance to be a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
The big 6'6'', 232-pound pro-style pocket passer finished the regular season with some impressive numbers, as he threw for over 3,600 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Although Glennon may not have had the truly standout senior season that scouts wanted to see, he still displayed one of the strongest arms in all of college football.
27. Tyler Bray, Tennessee
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Tennessee endured a disappointing 5-7 season in 2012. But it's hard to blame the team's struggles on QB Tyler Bray, who was actually one of the lone bright spots for the Vols.
Bray finished the year with over 3,600 passing yards and 34 touchdown passes. However, he simply didn't rise to the occasion against some of the better defenses he faced such as Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
Still, if the big, strong-armed 6'6'', 215-pound junior can impress scouts in workouts, there's a chance that he could end up in the first-round discussion for the 2013 NFL draft by the time April rolls around.
28. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
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Syracuse certainly wasn't the most consistent team of the 2012 season. But the Orange's most consistent player this year was their quarterback Ryan Nassib.
Nassib finished the regular season with a 63 percent completion percentage, over 3,600 passing yards and 24 passing touchdowns.
The senior signal-caller showed the type of traits that scouts are looking for in an NFL quarterback. Ultimately, he could end up being one of the real sleeper prospects to watch out for in the months leading up to the 2013 NFL draft.
29. Matt McGloin, Penn State
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Bill O'Brien did a terrific job guiding Penn State to an 8-4 record in his first season as head coach. What allowed O'Brien to be so successful so quickly was that he was able to transform Matt McGloin into a highly efficient passer.
After a 2011 season in which he completed just 54 percent of his passes, threw just eight touchdowns and finished with just a 118 passer rating, McGloin showed a huge improvement under O'Brien in 2012.
The senior signal-caller completed 60 percent of his passes for over 3,200 yards and threw 24 touchdowns compared to just five interceptions.
30. Bryn Renner, North Carolina
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Star RB Giovani Bernard was clearly the biggest impact player for North Carolina's offense in 2012. However, the Tar Heels also got a solid overall campaign out of QB Bryn Renner as well.
Renner was one of the most productive passers in college football this season, throwing for over 3,300 yards and 28 touchdowns as he led the team to an 8-4 overall record.
Although the Tar Heels will certainly miss Bernard in 2013, there's still reason to get excited about the North Carolina offense with Renner coming back to lead the show.
31. J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State
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J.W. Walsh didn't see much action in the second half of the season due to an injury. However, it's what he was able to do in the first half of the year that was really so impressive.
Walsh finished his freshman season with a 66 percent completion percentage, over 1,400 passing yards, 277 rushing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, seven rushing touchdowns and a 165 passer rating.
One thing's for sure, Oklahoma State's definitely going to have one of the most intriguing quarterback battles to watch this offseason.
32. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
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Todd Graham struggled to develop Tino Sunseri into a viable passing threat during his one year spent at Pitt in 2011. However, Graham did a much better job developing his new quarterback Taylor Kelly during his first season at Arizona State.
Kelly certainly didn't play like a quarterback who came into the 2012 season with just four career pass attempts.
The sophomore signal-caller turned out to be one of the Pac-12's most underrated players. During the regular season, Kelly completed 66 percent of his passes for over 2,700 yards and threw 25 touchdowns.
Now that he has a year of experience working with Graham and offensive coordinator Mike Norvell, Kelly should be even better in 2013.
33. Terrance Broadway, Louisiana-Lafayette
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Terrance Broadway's career at Houston may not have worked out. But you can bet that the Cougars would love to have him back now after seeing the way he played at Louisiana-Lafayette in 2012.
After taking over the starting job from Blaine Gautier early in the season, Broadway turned out to be one of the most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the country.
The athletic sophomore signal-caller totaled over 3,600 yards of offense and accounted for 26 total touchdowns as he led the Ragin' Cajuns to a 9-4 overall record.
Broadway will once again be one of the best offensive difference-makers in the Sun Belt in 2013.
34. Matt Scott, Arizona
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After spending the majority of his career sitting behind Nick Foles, Matt Scott finally got the chance to prove himself as a starter in 2012.
Scott made the most of the opportunity in his final season. He didn't seem to have much trouble at all adapting to Rich Rodriguez's spread system.
The 6'3'', 197-pound senior was a dynamic offensive threat who completed 60 percent of his passes for over 3,600 yards, rushed for over 500 yards and accounted for 33 total touchdowns.
35. Stephen Morris, Miami
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Duke Johnson may have been Miami's biggest offensive star this season, but the Hurricanes also got a solid performance from QB Stephen Morris as well.
In his first year as a full-time starter, Morris showed plenty of glimpses of his intriguing potential as he threw for over 3,300 yards and 21 touchdowns and led Miami to a 7-5 overall record and a 5-3 record in ACC play.
Now that he has a year of starting experience under his belt, there are going to be some big things expected of the soon-to-be senior signal-caller in 2013.
36. Tyler Russell, Mississippi State
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There was a point in the 2012 season when Mississippi State was 7-0. However, the Bulldogs went on a major slide down the stretch once their schedule toughened up, losing four of their last five games.
Although QB Tyler Russell struggled in the team's losses, he still put together a solid overall effort in 2012.
Russell threw for over 2,700 yards and 22 touchdowns while tossing just six interceptions in the regular season.
The 6'4'', 220-pound junior still has plenty to improve upon, but coach Dan Mullen has to be encouraged by some of the flashes he saw from his quarterback this season.
37. Bo Wallace, Ole Miss
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If you looked through one of the numerous college football preview magazines on the shelves this summer, you likely saw that many of them picked Ole Miss to finish in the basement of the SEC once again in 2012.
Expectations were certainly low for the Rebels. But the team's doubters obviously didn't realize at the time just how good first-year starting quarterback Bo Wallace would end up being.
Wallace gave the Ole Miss offense the type of boost it needed, and he turned out to be one of the biggest surprise stories in the SEC this season.
The 6'4'', 204-pound sophomore totaled over 3,200 yards of offense and accounted for 27 total touchdowns as he led the Rebels to a 6-6 record and a berth in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
If Wallace can cut down on the interceptions in 2013 and continue to develop as expected in Hugh Freeze's offensive system, the Rebels could be a team to watch out for in the SEC West next year.
38. Kolton Browning, Louisiana-Monroe
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After leading Louisiana-Monroe to a huge upset win over Arkansas in the team's season-opener, Kolton Browning nearly led the Warhawks to upset victories over two other BCS schools, Auburn and Baylor, losing to the two teams by just a combined eight points.
Browning proved that he was one of the most underrated dual-threat quarterbacks in the country this season. The mobile 6'1'', 198-pound junior finished the regular season with over 3,200 total yards and accounted for 34 total touchdowns.
With Browning coming back for another year, the Warhawks will definitely be a team to watch out for in 2013.
39. Tino Sunseri, Pittsburgh
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It wasn't a big secret what Tino Sunseri needed to do in order to have a better season this year than he did in 2011. Mainly, he simply he had to make better decisions with the ball and cut down on interceptions.
That's exactly what Sunseri did.
The senior signal-caller put together the best season of his up-and-down college career in 2012, completing 66 percent of his passes for over 3,100 yards, and throwing 19 touchdowns and just two picks.
Sunseri may have only gone 6-6 as a starter during the regular season, but he showed great improvement as a passer and a decision-maker.
40. Tyler Wilson, Arkansas
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Tyler Wilson passed up the chance to be a first-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft in order to return to Arkansas for his senior year, not knowing at the time that his head coach Bobby Petrino wouldn't be around to lead the Razorbacks.
Without Petrino, the team just seemed to lack the energy and motivation it takes to compete in the SEC.
Still, even though Arkansas went just 4-8 this year, Wilson actually had a pretty decent individual season.
The senior signal-caller may not have won many games, but he did complete 62 percent of his passes for over 3,300 yards and he did throw 21 touchdown passes.
41. Brett Smith, Wyoming
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It wasn't exactly a riveting season for Wyoming in 2012. The Cowboys went just 4-8, and none of those four victories came against a team with a winning record.
There was one bright spot in an otherwise dark season, though, and that was the play of QB Brett Smith.
Smith followed up a great freshman campaign in 2011 with another terrific outing this year. He completed 62 percent of his passes for over 2,800 yards and threw 27 touchdowns compared to just six interceptions.
If Wyoming can surround the sophomore signal-caller with a better rushing attack and a better defense next year, Smith should be able to lead the Cowboys back to the postseason in 2013.
42. Jeff Driskel, Florida
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If you want to judge Jeff Driskel just purely on his stats, then you probably won't be all that impressed by what he was able to do in 2012.
Driskel finished the regular season with a very modest 1,471 passing yards and 11 passing touchdowns. However, it's the type of leadership, versatility and consistency he provided in his first year as a starter that was really encouraging.
The former 5-star recruit from Oviedo, Florida helped provide the stability that the Gators offense needed at the quarterback position as he led the team to an 11-1 record and a top-five national ranking.
Although he may never come close to being the legend in Gainesville that Tim Tebow was, Driskel certainly has the chance to develop into one of the elite quarterbacks in college football over the next few years.
43. Cody Fajardo, Nevada
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Nevada may have faded during the stretch run of the season, losing five of its last six games after starting the year 6-1. However, it's hard to put the blame on QB Cody Fajardo's shoulders.
Fajardo was one of the most productive overall quarterbacks in the country in 2012. The 6'2'', 205-pound sophomore completed 67 percent of his passes for over 2,700 yards and 20 touchdowns while adding another 1,121 yards and 12 scores on the ground.
The duo of Fajardo and breakout star running back Stefphon Jefferson should be one of the most feared backfield tandems in all of college football once again in 2013.
44. Denard Robinson, Michigan
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Denard Robinson started off the 2012 season as one of college football's most talked-about payers. Sports Illustrated even put him on one of the regional covers of its college football preview magazine.
Unfortunately, though, Robinson was not able to live up to his hype or preseason publicity.
After getting hammered by Alabama in the season-opener, the speedy senior signal-caller was unable to regain the momentum he had coming into the season.
Still, even though Robinson failed to progress as a passer and even though he was hampered by injuries, he still turned out to be a quality offensive threat for the Wolverines. Shoelace finished the regular season with over 2,400 total yards and he accounted for 17 total touchdowns.
45. Tyler Tettleton, Ohio
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Tyler Tettleton was able to gain some national notoriety early in the 2012 season when he helped guide Ohio to a big upset win at Penn State in Week 1. Tettleton then proceeded to lead the Bobcats to a 7-0 record to start the season.
However, the wheels eventually fell off late in the year, as they lost four of their last five games to end the regular season 8-4.
Still, even though his team struggled down the stretch, the athletic junior signal-caller still had a very strong individual season in 2012.
Tettleton finished the regular season with over 2,500 passing yards and accounted for 21 total touchdowns.
46. Rakeem Cato, Marshall
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Rakeem Cato could probably use a little ice on his arm this offseason. That's because Cato led the country with a whopping 584 total pass attempts, which was 62 more total passes than Colby Cameron, who had the second-most pass attempts this season.
Although he threw the ball a ton of times, the sophomore signal-caller was still remarkably accurate, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes for over 4,200 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Cato may not have been able to lead the Thundering Herd to a winning season or a bowl game, but he still had a very impressive 2012 campaign throwing the ball.
47. Kain Colter, Northwestern
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Northwestern had one of its best seasons in school history this year.
The Wildcats finished the regular season with a 9-3 record, and one of the key players to their success was QB Kain Colter.
Colter may not have been the best passer, as he totaled a respectable yet modest 796 passing yards and eight passing touchdowns. But what he was he able to do with his legs really helped boost the offense.
The 6'0'', 190-pound junior averaged 5.1 yards on 158 total carries and scored 12 rushing touchdowns.
The athletic and mobile signal-caller had six games in which he rushed for over 60 yards, and there were seven games in which he had a rushing touchdown.
48. Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan Rodgers likely won't even come close to becoming the type of quarterback in the NFL that his brother Aaron has turned into in Green Bay.
However, Rodgers will be able to one day look back on his senior year at Vanderbilt and say that he led the Commodores to one of the best seasons in school history.
Rodgers helped guide the team to its first eight-win regular season since 1982. The senior signal-caller showed poise and leadership ability, as he threw for over 2,400 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2012.
His passing numbers may not be stellar, but Rodgers' play down the stretch helped Vanderbilt go on a six-game winning streak to end the regular season.
49. Cody Green, Tulsa
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Cody Green seemingly made the wise choice when he decided to transfer from Nebraska to Tulsa after the 2010 season.
After sitting out last year, Green stepped into the starting role this season and helped guide the Golden Hurricane to a 10-3 record in the regular season and a Conference USA championship.
Green totaled over 2,700 yards of offense and accounted for 20 total touchdowns in the regular season.
50. Sean Renfree, Duke
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There aren't many quarterbacks in the history of Duke's football program that can say they led the Blue Devils to a bowl game. But Sean Renfree is one of the rare ones who was able to accomplish that feat in 2012.
Renfree guided the team to six wins and its first postseason appearance since the 1994 season.
The 6'5'', 225-pound senior signal-caller completed 66 percent of his passes for over 3,000 yards and threw 19 touchdowns this year.