College football is where players develop the groundwork to become pro-level players. Every kid that steps onto the gridiron has NFL hopes, but a select few have the talent, intangibles and right situation to grow into a pro.
Quarterback is the most difficult position to project, and there are 10 guys that stick out as the worst flops in transitional history. The list includes names like Andre Ware and Tim Tebow, and of course the infamous Ryan Leaf.
Leaf has become the Munson of college football.
This is a look at the 10 guys that had high expectations heading into their pro careers, but instead were major disappointments.
Vince Young is one of the craziest stories to come out of the NFL lately. Young was on top of the world coming out of college in in 2006 when the Tennessee Titans took him as the third overall pick in the draft.
After winning numerous quarterback awards and a national title with Texas the thought was that Young would step in and become the next big star for the league.
Young signed a $58 million dollar contract with the Titans and earned about four cents of every dollar handed to him. He had the talent, but Young lacked the drive and mentality to be a millionaire quarterback.
Gino Torretta was the star of the Miami Hurricanes during the early 1990s. He led the Hurricanes to a national title in 1991 and a title game berth against Alabama in 1992.
Torretta won the Heisman Trophy in 1992 and was taken in the seventh round by the Minnesota Vikings.
He was given the opportunity to start for Minnesota and Detroit in the 1993 and 1994 seasons, but he was never able to take the field.
Over the course of a five-year NFL career Torretta was mainly a backup. In 1996 he had one notable moment when he tossed a 32-yard touchdown pass helping Seattle overtake the Oakland Raiders.
The Canes will always remember Torretta as one of the best in school history, but the NFL has already forgotten he made a roster cut.
Eric Crouch was the prototypical option quarterback in college. He was a 6' scat back that could throw the ball on occasion when needed. He played the pitch and would eat up defenses with his ability to make the best read on the option.
The NFL doesn’t run the option, and despite a Heisman-winning campaign in 2001 and being picked up in the third round by the St. Louis Rams, he never saw the field as an NFL quarterback.
Crouch transitioned to safety and receiver early in his career and played both in NFL Europe. He has bounced around different pro leagues since 2002, but as of 2011, he was no longer in football.
The Nebraska offense was amazing to watch with Crouch at the helm, but he was never going to pan out as a pro player.
Tim Tebow may still be in the NFL, but he is one of the biggest flops at quarterback in recent NFL history.
Tebow entered the league with a lot of controversy. Some said he could be a quarterback, and others said he would be a disaster. So far he has been a disaster.
He was able to lead the Broncos to a playoff win on 2011, but it has become obvious in New York that Tebow is not an answer for any team at quarterback. Third-string option Greg McElroy finished the year for the Jets starting over Tebow.
He finished 2012 with a 17.6 total quarterback rating. It was among the worst in the league. The writing is on the wall for Tebow and the Jets.
Jason White’s pro career ended before it ever got started in 2005. After winning the Heisman Trophy in 2003—and virtually every other award for a quarterback in college during the 2003 and 2004 seasons—White went undrafted in the NFL draft.
He joined the Tennessee Titans squad that season as a practice squad member, but after that one season decided to hang up his cleats.
During the 2003 and 2004 seasons he was the best quarterback in college football. In two years White threw 75 touchdowns and only 17 interceptions. He also threw for over 7,000 yards.
He was plagued with injuries throughout college and that likely kept the NFL away, but after reaching the highest of heights in college White never saw a snap in the pros.
During the mid-1990s the Florida Gators were at the top of college football. Danny Wuerffel was the leader of the Gators' high-flying offensive attack during that time, winning the Heisman in 1996 and every other major award during the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
Wuerffel was drafted in the fourth round by the New Orleans Saints in 1997, but after starting only 10 games over six seasons as a pro, Wuerffel stepped away from the game.
His last team was the Washington Redskins.
Wuerffel was one of the best quarterbacks in the game during his college years, but he was never able to transfer that success to the pros.
Andre Ware was the most explosive player in college football when he won the Heisman Trophy in 1989. He was drafted in the first round by the Detroit Lions in hopes that he and Barry Sanders could turn around the Lions offense.
That never panned out the way it was expected to.
Ware was not very good for the Lions only starting six games for Detroit in his time with the team.
He finished his career with only five passing touchdowns and eight interceptions. Ware was one of the biggest disappointments of the past few decades at the position.
JaMarcus Russell was expected to be the first star that panned out for the Oakland Raiders in the Al Davis years. After making suspect selections over the years, landing a quarterback with the talents of Russell was expected to help the Raiders make a run at the playoffs again.
Russell spent three seasons in the NFL with the Raiders after being selected No. 1 overall in the 2007 draft, but he has since become one of the biggest flops ever in the NFL.
When he arrived at Oakland Russell’s worth ethic was immediately called into question. He never made it past his first contract and has since been regarded as one of the worst draft picks in history.
Russell is now back in his hometown of Mobile, Ala.
Heath Shuler was one of the best quarterbacks in the country during the early 1990s. He played for Tennessee and was the record holder for every major passing record until Peyton Manning showed up on campus.
After finishing second in the Heisman voting in 1993, Shuler was picked in the first round by the Washington Redskins, but he never panned out as the starter.
After taking over the starting role for a few games in 1994, he was replaced by Gus Frerotte and never made a major comeback.
Shuler played for the Redskins, New Orleans and Oakland during his career.
He is now a U.S. House Representative from North Carolina’s 11th district.
Ryan Leaf was expected to be the next great NFL quarterback alongside Peyton Manning coming out in the 1998 NFL draft, but instead Leaf is now the most infamous name in quarterback history.
Leaf was drafted by the San Diego Chargers and immediately the problems began. He missed mandatory meetings during his rookie season, and was criticized for how he handled interviews and teammates.
There was nothing but problems from the beginning, and after just five short and tumultuous seasons, Leaf was out of the game.
This was the biggest letdown at the quarterback position in recent memory. Leaf was expected to be a superstar, but his attitude and poor work ethic got in the way.