The 12 Best Dual-Threat QB Recruits of the BCS Era

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IMarch 28, 2013

The 12 Best Dual-Threat QB Recruits of the BCS Era

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    The dual-threat QB has always been around, but we probably didn't realize it, or even more so, we didn't know how to classify it. Players like Randall Cunningham, Steve Young and John Elway were actually dual-threat QBs in their prime.

    Today, the position has its own classification in recruiting, and with the zone-read spread-option offense now being the big thing in the game, having a dual-threat QB has become crucial. The threat of having a QB who has the speed, quickness and athleticism to run with the football, while still possessing good passing QB skills presents a lot more problems for defenses.

    Over the years, we've seen some very good dual-threat QBs come through the recruiting trail, especially in the BCS era. Today, we're going to rank the best dual-threat QB recruits in the BCS era. 


    Remember, we're ranking the best 12 dual-threat QBs as recruits, not based on what they did in college.

Special Mention: Johnny Manziel

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    In 2011, both Scout and Rivals rated Manziel a 3-star dual-threat QB recruit. This just goes to show you that the star system and recruiting rankings are not always right.

    Today, Manziel is considered the best player in college football and was the first freshman to ever win the Heisman in 2012.

    Johnny Football has gone from a 3-star recruit to a living legend in two years. 

Honorable Mention

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    Based on what recruiting publication you look it, some QBs were classified as dual-threat types on some sites and as pro-style on others.

    So let's take this time to mention QBs like Teddy Bridgewater, Brett Hundley, Devin Gardner, Robert Bolden, Russell Shepard, E.J. Manuel, Jake Locker, Xavier Lee, Gavin Dickey, Dennis Dixon and Marcus Vick.

12. Tyrod Taylor

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    Scout rated Tyrod Talyor as a 5-star QB in 2007, and many viewed him as the nation's best dual-threat QB that year. He wasn't the biggest QB around at just over 6'0", but he made magic.

    Taylor accounted for 7,912 yards of total offense in his high school career. He went on to Virginia Tech and threw 44 career TDs before being drafted by the Ravens.

    Taylor was big time in 2007.

11. Cam Newton

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    I know Cam Newton won a Heisman, but remember we're looking at this from the player was a recruit—not as a college player or prop prospect.

    Scout had Newton as a 4-star recruit and just the 14th best QB in 2007. Rivals had him as a 5-star prospect, however, as Newton 6'5" frame, arm strength, athleticism and creativity were electric in Georgia. 

    Newton originally committed to Florida but ran into some off-field trouble and transferred. He later resurfaced at Auburn and won the Heisman before being selected with the No. 1 pick by the Panthers in 2011. 

10. Robert Griffin III

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    There was a QB in Texas in 2008 that had a cannon for an arm and great speed. He was also a very good hurdler on the track, and his athleticism was off the charts.

    As you watched him, you just kept saying to yourself, "this guy could be a steal. Once he gets seasoned him, he may have chance to do some things."

    Robert Griffin III, as a recruit was a stud, and his potential made scouts drool. He's a perfect example of how raw tools + a great work ethic + good player development and coaching = dynamite.

9. Jameis Winston

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    Not only did I have Jameis Winston ranked as my top dual-threat QB in 2012, he was also my top QB overall. The 6'4" Alabama native isn't a running-QB prospect, but rather a QB prospect that can run.

    Winston can play in the pocket, read coverages and win games with his arm. Many classified him as a dual-threat QB, because he's such a good athlete and has solid instincts as a ball carrier.

    I expect him to become Florida State's starting QB at some point this year.

8. Braxton Miller

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    I was just talking to a good friend of mine from Ohio last week about how big a deal Miller was in Ohio during his time at Wayne High School in Huber Heights.

    Miller was basically a celebrity by his junior season, and it was thanks to his amazing play on the field. A 5-star recruit per just about everyone's eyes, Miller was vicious dual-threat QB recruit. He had a very good burst as a runner, some wiggle and his arm strength was impressive

    In 2011 I compared him to Donovan McNabb at Syracuse and the early Eagle years. Today, Miller's got a chance to win both a national title and a Heisman in 2013. 

7. Michael Bush

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    Bush was a dominant high school football player and did it as a dual threat QB recruit in Kentucky. Seriously, saying this was impressive would be an understatement. 

    Rivals listed him as an ATH in 2003, because people weren't sure just exactly when Bush would become a RB. He could pass, make all of the throws and his running ability with the ball was spectacular.

    I know he went on to become a great RB at Louisville, but I urge you to not sleep on Michael Bush as a dual-threat QB recruit from the 2003 class.

6. Tim Tebow

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    Tebow had a lot of hype in 2006, as Rivals ranked him as the No. 1 dual-threat QB in the country and rated him a 5-star recruit. His recruiting hype, as we all know, was nothing compared to the hype he got while at Florida.

    However, he's still one of the best dual-threat QB recruits in the BCS era. Tebow's work ethic, toughness, heart, competitiveness and power as a runner were all remarkable.

    The lefty was a 6'3", 217 pounder with a quirky delivery but awesome play strength and a fullback's mentality. Tebow went on to win the Heisman in 2007.

5. Ryan Perrilloux

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    Perrilloux was a consensus 5-star dual-threat recruit in 2005—and man, did this guy have some serious talent and skills. He was a 6'2", 207-pound dynamic signal caller from Louisiana and also a bit loquacious at times.

    However, Perrilloux was one of the biggest, high profiled and hyped recruits that I can remember. Many people were convinced he was going to be star and impact collegiate game almost immediately.

    He committed to Texas but eventually ended up at LSU. After several incidents, he was kicked off the team by Les Miles and had to finish his college career at Jacksonville State. 

4. Michael Vick

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    Before the star system came into play in the early 2000s, in 1998 when the BCS era began, the state of Virginia had two great dual-threat QB prospects. 

    One of those two great dual-threaters was a kid by the name of Michael Vick. A highly recruited and profiled player, Vick once scored nine TDs in one game.

    He chose Virginia Tech over Syracuse and went on to pretty much usher in a new era of how the QB position is played on the big stages.

3. Terrelle Pryor

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    The 2008 recruiting class brought us a QB by name of Terrelle Pryor.

    He was considered not only a 5-star dual-threat QB prospect but also the No. 1 recruit in the nation that year. 

    Pryor had an outstanding amount of hype and was the subject of a lot of intense scrutiny. The 6'6", 230 pounder from Pennsylvania didn't have the best throwing motion but had good arm strength and the athleticism of a small forward.

    As a recruit, Pryor ranks among the very best dual-threat QBs ever. 

2. Ronald Curry

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    Remember when I mentioned Michael Vick as one of two great dual-threat QBs from Virginia in 1998?

    The other QB was Curry, who was considered by many to be the nation's best player overall that year.

    Curry wasn't just a raw QB with a strong arm who could run fast. This guy had good pocket-passing skills, read coverages well and could pick you apart from the pocket.

    He just so happened to be an elite, world-class athlete with fantastic foot speed and elusiveness with the ball. He may have come before recruiting really took off as an industry, but Curry was a superstar dual-threat QB recruit in high school.

1. Vince Young

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    The best dual-threat QB recruit was Vince Young, and there's not much room for argument.

    Young was the nation's best overall player in 2002, according to Rivals. He was featured on Texas TV stations more than the Houston Texans were and was as big as LeBron James was in high school if you ask former Longhorns teammate and Texas native Rodrique Wright (

    Young dominated great Houston-area competition, was an excellent athlete and had a lot of hype that he fulfilled at Texas. Say what you want about his NFL career, but as a recruit, there no better dual-threat QB prospect than VY.


    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, and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.