College Football's Most Dynamic Dual-Threat Quarterbacks for 2013

Amy DaughtersFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2013

College Football's Most Dynamic Dual-Threat Quarterbacks for 2013

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    Did you know that five of the past six quarterbacks to win the Heisman were dual-threat guys?

    Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford in 2008 is the only pro-style quarterback to have taken home the bronze statuette since USC’s Matt Leinart won in 2004.

    Since then, it’s been Troy Smith of Ohio State (2006), Tim Tebow of Florida (2007), Cam Newton of Auburn (2010), Robert Griffin III of Baylor (2011) and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M (2012), all dual-threat players.

    The rising trend of superstar dual-treat quarterbacks continues into this season with a deluge of talented guys who can get it done both ways.

    Those with the most potential for productivity are ranked here, with the starting criteria being at least 3,000 total yards in their last active season.

    Extra credit is given to dualists who have earned a higher percentage of their total yards by running the ball. This gives an advantage in the rankings to guys who aren’t just great passers but who manage to earn a few extra yards rushing on the side.

23. Devin Gardner, Michigan

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    Devin Gardner threw for 1,320 yards and rushed for 101 more in 2012, but it’s important to remember that he only played quarterback during the final five games of the season.

    Gardner was the No. 1-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2010 and has just as much athletic potential as anyone on the list.

    Throw in that his predecessor at Michigan, Denard Robinson, was one of the most prolific dual-threat guys from 2010 to 2012, and this season looks promising for Gardner.

22. Jake Waters, Kansas State

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    A JUCO transfer from Iowa Western Community College, Jake Waters threw for 3,501 yards and rushed for 256 on his way to leading the Reivers to a 6-0 mark in 2012.

    Waters’ rushing numbers should rise at Kansas State, where the offense has averaged a No. 29 ranking in rushing yards versus a No. 99 ranking in passing since Bill Snyder took back over the program in 2009.

21. Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion

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    Old Dominion is making the jump from the FCS Colonial Athletic Association to FBS independent in 2013, with further plans to join Conference USA in 2014.

    This all makes what Taylor Heinicke did as a sophomore in 2012 relevant to the FBS.

    Heinicke passed for a whopping 5,076 yards and ran for 470 more last season on his way to leading Old Dominion to a 10-1 mark.

    This was enough for Heinicke to capture the Walter Payton Award, which is awarded to the top offensive player in the FCS ranks each year.

    What remains to be seen is how Heinicke and his Monarchs will fare in 2013 with an FBS schedule that includes Maryland, Pitt and North Carolina.

20. Blake Bortles, UCF

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    Blake Bortles passed for 3,095 yards and rushed for 285 more as a sophomore at UCF in 2012, making him responsible for 59 percent of the team’s offense.

    Bortles was a first-year starter last season and helped the Knights earn a 10-4 record, including a Conference USA East division crown and a bowl victory.

    Bortles and UCF will move from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference (formerly the Big East) this season.

19. Brett Hundley, UCLA

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    UCLA’s Brett Hundley threw for 3,740 yards and rushed for 355 more as a freshman in 2012.

    Hundley accounted for 63 percent of the Bruins' yards last season, no small accomplishment given that UCLA finished the year ranked No. 24 nationally in yards per game.

    With four returning starters to the offensive line, Hundley has an opportunity to ramp up his statistical output even further in 2013.

18. Garrett Gilbert, SMU

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    The guy who relieved Texas’ Colt McCoy in the 2009-10 BCS National Championship versus Alabama, Garrett Gilbert has been the starting quarterback at SMU since 2010.

    Gilbert threw for 2,932 yards in 2012 and ran for an additional 346, but this output should be quantified by pointing out that he threw an equal number of touchdowns and interceptions (15).

    Despite this, Gilbert accounted for 69 percent of the Mustangs' offense in 2012, a contribution level above that of Ohio State’s Braxton Miller (65 percent) and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (66 percent).

    SMU will join UCF, Houston and Memphis in the move from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference (formerly the Big East) in 2013.

17. Chad Chalich, Idaho

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    As a redshirt freshman, Chad Chalich is set to take over an Idaho offense that ranked a dismal No. 123 in scoring last season.

    Chalich put up the type of numbers at Coeur d’Alene High School in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to make Vandals fans sleep a little better at night.

    As a senior in 2011, Chalich threw for 3,642 yards and rushed for 471 more.  His output of 4,112 yards is 366 more yards than Idaho’s entire offense pumped out in 2012.

    With the dissolution of the WAC, Idaho will be an independent this season before joining the Sun Belt in 2014.

16. Bo Wallace, Ole Miss

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    Bo Wallace threw for 2,994 yards and ran for 390 more as a sophomore and first-year starter in 2012.

    Wallace was labeled a pro-style quarterback when he transferred from East Mississippi Community College in 2012, but his numbers are as good as many dual-threat guys.

    The good news for Wallace and Ole Miss in 2013 is the return of four members of the offensive line along with the top three receivers from a year ago.

15. Tajh Boyd, Clemson

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    The No. 5 quarterback in the FBS in passer rating, Tajh Boyd not only pumped out more than 4,000 yards, but he also made fewer mistakes than most of the field.

    Boyd threw for 3,896 yards and ran for 514 more as a junior in 2012, accounting for 66 percent of Clemson’s offensive output.

    Notable is Boyd’s increase in rushing production from 218 yards in 2011 to 514 in 2012, making 2013 look pretty sweet indeed.

14. Kolton Browning, Louisiana-Monroe

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    One of the key components of Louisiana-Monroe’s historic run to ITS FIRST bowl game in 2012 was the play of its junior quarterback, Kolton Browning.

    Browning passed for 3,049 yards and ran for 488 more, making him responsible for 63 percent of the Warhawks' production last season.

    Browning signed in 2009 as a 2-star pro-style prospect out of Mabank, Texas, but is another guy who has proven he can get it done both through the air and on the ground.

13. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State

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    Taylor Kelly pumped out 3,040 yards passing and 520 yards rushing as a sophomore in 2012.

    What’s even more impressive than Kelly’s 59 percent contribution to Arizona State’s yardage bottom line is his 159.45 passer rating from last season.

    This mark made Kelly the No. 9 quarterback in the FBS in 2012 in passer rating.

    Though Kelly doesn't have the arm strength of other guys, his 66.9 percent completion rate last season was a school record and ranked No. 19 in the FBS.

12. Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

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    Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas threw for 2,976 yards as a junior last season and tacked on an additional 527 yards rushing.

    The biggest concern about Thomas is his propensity to throw interceptions.  He threw 16 in 2012 (versus 18 TDs) and 10 in 2011 (versus 19 TDs).

    The 16 interceptions in 2012 tied Thomas for the second most in the FBS.

    On the flip side is that Thomas accounted for 72 percent of the Hokies’ offense last season, the second-biggest number of any guy on the list.

11. Chuckie Keeton, Utah State

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    Chuckie Keeton racked up 3,373 passing yards and 619 rushing yards as a sophomore last season, making a huge contribution to Utah State’s historic 11-2 run.

    Keeton led the Aggies to a WAC crown (the first conference title since the 1997 Big West) and only the second bowl win in program history.

    Keeton was a 2-star recruit in the class of 2011 from Cypress Creek High School in Cypress, Texas.

    In 2013, he will lead Utah State in its debut season in the Mountain West Conference as members of the new Mountain division.

10. Jaquez Johnson, Florida Atlantic

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    A JUCO transfer from East Mississippi Community College, Jaquez Johnson should provide a much-needed spark to FAU’s No. 107-ranked scoring offense from a year ago.

    Johnson passed for 2,846 yards and ran for 540 more in 2012, a number that, if replicated in 2013, would account for 81 percent of FAU’s yards from last year.

9. Terrance Broadway, Louisiana-Lafayette

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    Kicking off the portion of the list that highlights guys who earned more than 20 percent of their total yards via rushing, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Terrance Broadway had a big season in 2012.

    Broadway passed for 2,842 yards and rushed for 769 more, accounting for 61 percent of the Ragin' Cajuns' yards last year.

    As a sophomore, Broadway led Louisiana-Lafayette to its second 9-4 mark in two years and its second-ever bowl victory with a 43-34 win over East Carolina in the New Orleans Bowl.

8. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

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    As a redshirt freshman, Marcus Mariota racked up 2,677 yards passing and 752 yards rushing, leading Oregon to a 12-1 finish, which included a Rose Bowl victory over Kansas State.

    Mariota and the Ducks fell just three points short (in the 17-14 loss to Stanford) of the national championship game last season.

    Mariota was a 3-star recruit in 2011 from Honolulu and was ranked No. 12 among dual-threat quarterbacks.

7. James Franklin, Missouri

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    James Franklin’s 1,562 yards of passing and 122 yards of rushing in 2012 need to be seen through the perspective of an injury-riddled junior season.

    What makes Franklin so dangerous—and why he is so high up in the rankings—are his stellar numbers in 2011.

    As a healthy sophomore, Franklin threw for 2,872 yards and rushed for 981 more, making him responsible for 62 percent of the Tigers’ 6,182 yards in 2011.

    How much the change from facing Big 12 defenses in 2011 to those of the SEC in 2012 contributed to the drop is unknown.  But, one way or the other, 2013 will prove whether the big numbers in 2011 were the real deal or not.

6. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska

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    Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez is the first of the six quarterbacks on the list who rushed for 1,000-plus yards in their most recent season as a starter.

    Martinez passed for 2,871 yards and rushed for 1,019 more as junior in 2012, both high-water marks during his career at Nebraska.

    The prospects for further statistical gains for Martinez in 2013 are favorable, especially given that the Cornhuskers return four members of the offensive line and the three top receivers from a year ago.

5. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

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    If he can find his way back onto the field, Johnny Manziel ought to continue to rip it up in 2013.

    Manziel threw for 3,706 yards as a freshman and rushed for 1,410 more, making him the second-most productive rusher on the list.

    Manziel’s output accounted for 70 percent of Texas A&M’s offense in 2012, the third highest on the list (behind Jordan Lynch from Northern Illinois with 75 percent and Logan Thomas from Virginia Tech with 72 percent).

    What hurts Manziel in these rankings is that 28 percent of his total yards came via rushing as opposed to higher marks from the guys in the top four.

    If Manziel does play a full season in 2013, it will be interesting to see how his numbers stack up with those in 2012, given that the element of surprise for opposing defenses will be gone.

4. Cody Fajardo, Nevada

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    With 2,786 yards passing and 1,121 yards rushing in 2012, Nevada’s Cody Fajardo was the least-recognized dual-threat guy last season.

    Fajardo and Nevada finished a disappointing 7-6 in 2012, a result that should be quantified by pointing out that last season was the Wolf Pack’s first year in the Mountain West after leaving the WAC.

    Fajardo was a 3-star recruit from Anaheim, Calif., in the class of 2010, where he ranked No. 35 among dual-threat quarterbacks.

3. Jameis Winston, Florida State

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    A guy who has yet to play a down in college ball—or officially be named the starter at Florida State—Jameis Winston’s talent may equal his hype.

    Winston threw for 2,424 yards and rushed for 1,062 more as a senior at Hueytown High in Hueytown, Ala., in 2011, making him look dangerous, at least on paper.

    Though it might be a bit bold to rank Winston this high on the list, his numbers speak for themselves. 

    Throw in the amount of talent he’ll have surrounding him at Florida State, and Winston and the Seminoles could create the perfect offensive storm in 2013.

2. Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois

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    Though it’s difficult to digest, Jordan Lynch’s 1,815 rushing yards as a junior in 2012 made him the No. 4 rusher (in total yards) in the FBS.

    Yes, Lynch finished behind only Arizona’s Ka’deem Carey (1,929 yards), Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson (1,883 yards) and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (1,830 yards).

    Keep in mind those three guys were all running backs and all carried the ball more times than Lynch.

    Add in his 3,138 passing yards and you have  a guy who finished with 163 fewer total yards than Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel did last season.

    Lynch earned 37 percent of his yards via rushing in 2012 and accounted for 75 percent of his team’s output, earning him the highest contribution level on the list.

1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State

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    With 38 percent of his yards coming via the run last season, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller is the truest dual-threat guy coming into 2013.

    All in all, Miller passed for 2,039 and ran for 1,271, giving him as close to an equal split between the two disciplines of any guy in the nation who pumped out more than 3,000 yards.

    Miller was responsible for 65 percent of the Buckeyes' yards in 2012, and in 2013, he’ll be helped along by the return of four starters at the offensive line and three of the top four receivers.