One of the first thoughts we have about a new group of prospects, be it in the NFL draft or in college football recruiting, is who are the best quarterbacks? It's natural, because the QB position is the single most important player to his team in all of sports.
Last year's QB class was better than the 2012 group. Will this year's class be better than the 2013 signal-callers? Well, let's begin our look into that right now as we rank the early top-10 2014 QB recruits. These 10 guys have all made the most noise early in the process, showing great skills, productivity and high ceilings as high school underclassmen.
Here are the top-10 QBs in the 2014 class right now.
Kyle Allen may be the best QB from Arizona since Connor Brewer a few years ago. At 6'2" and about 200 pounds, Allen is a very efficient QB who reads defenses well, can check in and out of plays and makes good decisions.
He's an accurate thrower, evidenced by his 72 percent completion rate as a junior. Allen also had a 36:7 TD:INT ratio. From Scottsdale, Arizona State may be tough to beat for Allen.
Jerrod Heard is one of the best offensive playmakers in the country for 2014. He's right in between 6'2" and 6'3" and weighs 190 pounds.
As a junior in Texas, Heard threw for 2,000 yards while also rushing for another 2,100 yards. He finished with a total of 52 TDs and threw just seven interceptions.
A dynamic dual-threat field general, Heard already has pledged to Texas.
Brandon Dawkins is a 6'3', 190-pound QB from the Los Angeles area. He has good mobility to escape traffic from the pocket, is elusive in the open field as a runner and can skate to pay dirt.
Not just a runner, Dawkins has good arm strength from the pocket and can roll out to hit targets on the move. 247Sports reports Notre Dame, Alabama and Tennessee lead for him.
As a junior, D.J. Gillins threw for over 2,600 yards, 31 TDs and just seven interceptions. He's got a live arm, can fire the rock downfield with ease, and I think the Texan has a high ceiling.
Gillins may be a bit raw and needs some refinement, but he has a lot of potential to be a good one. He's also pretty mobile and can run for necessary yardage to keep drives alive.
He's committed to Texas Tech right now.
Drew Barker is a big 6'4", 210-pound gunslinger from the Blue Grass state. He's got solid arm strength, is pretty accurate and has speed to beat defenses with his leg, proven by his 1,455 yards rushing and 18 scores to boot.
Barker also tossed for over 2,000 yards and 22 TDs as a junior. 247Sports shows Kentucky, South Carolina and Ohio State as his top three schools.
I think he'll end up staying home and throwing for Neal Brown.
Tyler Harris may need some mechanics work from a full-time college QB coach, but his arm and passing skills tell me he's a prospect. He's right about 6'2" or 6'3" and 205 pounds.
From Georgia, Harris can spin the ball gorgeously and has good arm strength. He should see his game improve at the next level. I expect that Harris will hit the camp/combine circuit hard this spring and summer.
You have to love David Cornwell's size at 6'5", 230 pounds. He's got a pretty strong arm, can make all of the throws and shows good judgment.
Cornwell can see over the rush, read coverages with vision and make decisions to keep his offense on the field. 247Sports shows the Sooner state QB standouts as Virginia Tech, Alabama, Michigan and UCLA.
Caleb Henderson is out of Virginia and used his junior season to throw for over 2,400 yards and 19 TDs. He's 6'3", 220 pounds and has a good-looking frame, solid arm strength and ball placement skills.
He's a deceptive athlete and can attack the edges to make throws on the run. He should be among the nation's best for 2014 recruiting.
Keep an eye on Michigan State.
From North Carolina, Will Grier basically threw for a gazillion yards and TDs as a junior. OK, maybe not a gazillion but 5,785 yards and 69 TDs is a lot.
In one game came 837 of those yards and 10 of those TDs. Grier's got a good arm, is very accurate, commands his current offense with ease and knowledge along with being a mobile running threat.
He's 6'3", 180 pounds and is already committed to Florida.
Keller Chryst is the son of 49ers' QB coach Geep Chryst, so you know this guy gets good coaching and understands the position well. He's also a 6'3", 215-pounder with excellent physical tools.
Chryst shows good field vision, is a smart and heady QB with solid instincts and pitches an accurate ball to targets. His arm strength is capable of executing all throws, and he appears to be a future starter at the college level.
It's Stanford vs. USC right now.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.