I set out to find the next Johnny Manziel or Jameis Winston, taking on such tasks with the bravado of an offseason scholar. Of course there’s another freshman poised for stardom and, in turn, a Heisman Trophy.
The last few years showed us this was very possible.
As I dove deep into the catalog of talented quarterbacks with lacking reps heading into spring, however, it dawned on me just how incredibly remarkable these last two years have been.
In consecutive seasons, the eventual Heisman winner entered his breakout year with no in-game experience and no box-score presence to speak of. The on-the-job processing necessary to turn a debut season into a Heisman season happened for both Manziel and Winston, each operating with vastly different styles.
Now, as a fresh batch of freshmen quarterbacks begin a similar crash course, it’s fair to wonder if the streak will continue. It’s fair to even wonder if we’ll ever see a streak like this again.
Perhaps the Manziel and Winston years will appear as outliers in time. Or, maybe this is just the start of a powerful youth movement at the most powerful position in all of sports.
If that is the case, it doesn’t hurt examining some potential—albeit unlikely—quarterback candidates poised to seize the baton. Using their likelihood to start, the weapons in place and the potential likelihood of a deep run fueled by these hopeful young stars, here are a few that could be the next big thing.