Best QB Recruiting Classes of Last Decade
I notice in today's recruiting that many programs who want a top-flight quarterback prospect offer the QB early, and he usually is committed before his senior high school season. More times than not, the board that fills up quickest with commitments is the QB board.
Another observation is that programs usually don't take two upper echelon quarterbacks in a single class. Yet, there have been exceptions, and that's what this read will focus on. Other positions usually see teams sign more than one recruit in a class, therefore position classes within a recruiting class are born. Yet, there have been some good "quarterback-recruiting classes" over the pass decade (2004-2013).
Having a quarterback-recruiting class is a bit rare, and having a quarterback class of multiple elite-level prospects is almost insane. But the payoff can be great. Here are the best quarterback-recruiting classes of the past decade.
Penn State, 2013
Recruits: Christian Hackenberg and Tyler Ferguson
I really loved what Bill O'Brien did with the quarterback position as a recruiter in 2013. For starters, he got his franchise QB of the future in Christian Hackenberg, who some feel is the top signal-caller from the 2013 class.
Hackenberg wants to redshirt in 2013, so O'Brien getting Tyler Ferguson from the JUCO trail is golden insurance. Ferguson could be the starter in 2013 while Hackenberg gets settled in.
Then in 2014 or even 2015, Hackenberg should be ready to command the Nittany Lions' huddle.
Recruits: Cooper Bateman, Parker McCleod and Luke Del Rio
The Crimson Tide signed a top-flight prospect in Bateman, who I believe has the best arm talent of any quarterback Nick Saban has brought to Tuscaloosa.
McLeod could become a great backup, but don't sleep on him competing to be a starter.
Del Rio is a smart QB who works hard and chose to walk on at 'Bama over offers from other schools.
Recruits: Cyler Miles and Jeff Lindquist
Miles and Lindquist are two of the better quarterback prospects from the 2012 class. They both have good movement skills in the pocket and possess the athleticism to make throws on the run.
Steve Sarkisian has these two on a collision course to compete as the next Husky quarterback after Keith Price.
Recruits: Max Wittek and Cody Kessler
The Trojans will see these two begin an intense competition this spring for the right to replace Matt Barkley. Wittek is the bigger of the two at 6'4" and has a cannon for an arm.
Kessler is shorter at 6'1", but he has moxie as well as a growing reputation for being a "gamer." Wittek emerged as the No. 2 quarterback on the USC depth chart last season and has started two games.
Recruits: Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel
The Gators signed two top 10 quarterbacks in 2011 and each got their chance to start as true freshmen. Brissett announced this past winter that he has transferred to NC State.
Driskel is the starter in Gainesville these days, and in 2012, completed about 64 percent of his passes for over 1.600 yards and 12 TDs. This has to be a make or break year for Driskel, as it's time for his production to match his talent.
Penn State, 2010
Recruits: Paul Jones and Rob Bolden
Both of these quarterbacks were top 10-caliber prospects in 2010 and they both chose to toss the rock in Happy Valley. But this class looks better on paper than actual production.
While Bolden became the first true freshman start at QB for PSU in the modern era, and he has since left for LSU.
Jones transferred to Robert Morris last November.
Recruits: Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson
This technically wasn't a true QB class because many thought Robinson would end up being a cornerback or a wide receiver at Michigan.
Yet Robinson went on to set numerous records and became the pillar player for Big Blue, while Forcier ended up transferring to several schools.
Recruits: Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger
These were two of the top signal-callers in the country in 2009. Murray was the polished guy from Florida who had the makings of a franchise-pillar player from the start, but the buzz centered around Mettenberger's impressive size and arm strength.
Mettenberger ended up transferring and wound up at LSU through the JUCO route, where he's the starter today.
Murray may go down as one of the best quarterbacks the SEC has ever seen.
Recruits: Jevan Snead and Sherrod Harris
Harris really never got a fair shot at winning the starting job and spent much of his career wowing people in practice. Essentially, Mack Brown chose Garrett Gilbert over him.
Snead was a bust at Texas, transferred to Ole Miss and had some success. He then left school a year too early and wasn't drafted.
Florida State, 2004
Recruits: Xavier Lee and Drew Weatherford
Lee seemed to be the more naturally talented of the two, but never really could find a consistent groove. He finished his career with 2323 yards and 15 TDs, which is pretty underwhelming.
Weatherford figured things out better and had more success. He left FSU with 7567 yards and 39 TDs attached to his name. Neither of the two were dominant players, but they produced some.
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.