This offseason of college football can basically be summed up in a few short sentences:
It has been an interesting year, and it is bound to get more interesting as fall practice starts and we near actual games.
As has already been pointed out, Johnny Manziel has gotten more attention from the press than any college athlete since Tim Tebow. As a matter of fact, if Tebow and Manziel got together for a trip to Sunday School, the Internet might self-destruct.
Contrary to popular belief among some football fans, Manziel, Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota and A.J. McCarron are not the only quarterbacks in the nation.
There are several quarterbacks who are flying under the radar, and you can take a quick peek at a few of them here.
Derek Carr, Fresno State
Yep, that would be the little brother of David, formerly of the Houston Texans. And Derek is not just a guy tossing up ridiculous trick shots during the offseason.
Carr plays for Fresno State, true. However, the Bulldogs transitioned out of the WAC to the MWC last season, which has consistently been a tough conference for years, and still posted monster numbers. He completed 67.3 percent of his passes last season and threw 37 touchdown passes to only seven interceptions. He racked up an incredible 4,104 yards through the air.
NFL experts have high opinions of the raw talent Carr possesses, and if he can polish that up a bit this season, he may make a legit run at the Heisman.
David Fales at San Jose State seems to draw more attention than Carr, but not everyone thinks Fales will be the better quarterback this season.
Which MWC QB you guys like better??? David Fales or Derek Carr? I'm taking Carr! Worried about Fales' arm slot and throwing motion— NFL Draft Geek (@NFLDraftGeek) July 30, 2013
His two leading receivers, Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse, are returning and Carr should put up monster numbers again this season. He should force himself into the national conversation as Fresno State makes a run at busting the BCS.
David Fales, San Jose State
It wasn't A.J. McCarron who finished last season with the highest completion percentage in football.
Nor was it Geno Smith, Aaron Murray, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota or Landry Jones.
Not even the indomitable Matt Saracen of Friday Night Lights fame beat out David Fales in that department last season. He finished with a 72.5 percent completion percentage in 2012. That included the first game of the season against Stanford, in which Fales completed nearly 70 percent of his attempts, and fell just short of knocking off the Cardinal.
While some might scoff at the idea of two quarterbacks from non-BCS conferences west of the Mississippi competing with the SEC quarterback leaders, others want to see as much of them as they can.
Fales has an excellent arm, enough athleticism to help extend plays and doesn't make bad decisions. Give the man some love.
As an analyst who appreciates strong QB play, I wish I had more opportunities to watch Derek Carr (Fresno St) and David Fales (San Jose St)— Todd Blackledge (@Todd_Blackledge) August 1, 2013
Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Just kidding. If there is much more press covering this guy, heads are going to start exploding and Tim Tebow is going to start getting jealous.
Rakeem Cato, Marshall
This guy gets nowhere near enough attention, primarily because the rest of the Thundering Herd's talent level is not quite on par with what Cato is capable of.
He finished 2012 among the top four quarterbacks in the nation in regards to completion percentage, hitting on 69.5 percent of his attempts. As a sophomore last year, Cato finished with 37 touchdowns and 4,201 yards in the air.
Cato is something special, and folks are taking notice. He's on just about every preseason award watch list, and has already been picked as the C-USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
He's going into his third year as quarterback and should make even bigger strides this season. His play this season should force his Marshal into national discussion.
His ability to make throws on the run is second to none, including Manziel and Mariota, and his arm strength is impressive.
So, while Marshall football has not been "must-see TV" in recent seasons, Cato will make it so this fall, and he deserves to be recognized.
Stephen Morris, Miami
Last, but certainly not least of the guys on this list, is the quarterback head coach Al Golden has tabbed to lead the Miami Hurricanes in 2013.
Stephen Morris has plenty of experience, as he's heading into his senior season. His career has been up and down, as he fought with Jacory Harris, among others, for starting time over the course of his first two seasons in the program.
Now, after a solid 2012, he is poised to make a huge leap in the right direction. As a matter of fact, his offseason performance in the spring, and then at Manning Passing Academy, earned some high praise.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com stated in his piece summarizing Morris' experience:
"Stephen Morris might be the most talented quarterback in college football. I say that even while fully aware of the gifted passers across the college football landscape. The Miami signal-caller's natural talents made him stand out above the rest of his peers at the throwing exhibition at the Manning Passing Academy. Morris spins the ball with exceptional velocity and zip while showing a deft touch on intermediate and deep passes. Most impressively, he is deadly accurate, capable of making pinpoint throws to every area of the field. This was evident not only when Morris won the air-it-out competition by hitting a variety of moving targets, but also when he connected with receivers on a number of intermediate throws, particularly on deep comebacks and digs."
But Brooks wasn't the only one high on Morris coming out of the camp:
For comparison, think of Robert Griffin III's deep ball accuracy, and his ability to hit receivers in stride all over the field. If Morris can bring his completion percentage up a bit this season from where it sat at (58.2 percent) last year, Miami has an excellent shot at winning the ACC. Morris may even have a chance to sneak into the Heisman race.
Before scoffing at the names on this list and their lack of media attention, remember that last season at this time, nobody was talking about Johnny Manziel outside of College Station, TX.
Now, we can't get away from him.
A similar explosion in popularity is going to happen for at least one, if not more than one of these quarterbacks.
College football can't get here soon enough.