College Football Teams Who Wouldn't Trade Their QB for Jameis Winston
When you're Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, the reigning Heisman winner and former 5-star prospect, most college football teams would take you in a moment's notice if they could.
The key word, of course, is most. Even without a national championship or a Heisman in the trophy cases, there are several programs who are more than happy with their current quarterback situation. Some of these quarterbacks could even be among the first taken in next year's NFL draft—along with Winston.
Hypothetical trades are fun and all, and it's interesting imagining Winston playing for Oregon, but the Ducks are one team who are perfectly content with their signal-caller.
Which college football teams wouldn't trade their quarterback for Winston, even if they had the chance?
In his first season as Auburn's starting quarterback, Nick Marshall helped lead the Tigers to a BCS championship appearance—against Winston and Florida State, of all teams.
Though Auburn came up short in a 34-31 loss, Marshall was a huge part of the team's success in 2013. He's a perfect fit for head coach Gus Malzahn's offense, totaling just more than 3,000 yards of total offense and accounting for 26 touchdowns.
Now in his second year in Malzahn's scheme, Marshall becomes an even bigger threat to opposing defenses, writes B/R's Barrett Sallee.
"We think we can be quite a bit faster," Malzahn told Phillip Marshall of AuburnTigers.com. "Last year we had a lot of new people out there, a lot of moving parts. As you get more comfortable, the faster you can get."
That's terrifying to think about, and Marshall is the right man to captain it. Who knows? It could be Marshall holding up the Heisman Trophy next season.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty finished the 2013-14 season fourth in the nation with a cool (and exact) 4,200 passing yards. He also led the team with 14 rushing touchdowns, giving him 46 total scores on the year rushing and passing.
With just three interceptions on the year, Petty showed he was a good decision-maker. Though 2013 was his first year as a starter, Petty ran Baylor's offense like a seasoned veteran. That's a tribute to the three years he sat behind Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence.
Petty could have left early for the NFL draft, but instead he chose to return for his final year of eligibility as a redshirt senior. Here's betting Bears fans wouldn't want any other quarterback playing for their team.
Yes, believe it or not, Marshall is perfectly happy with its quarterback, Rakeem Cato. In case you missed it, B/R's Adam Kramer wrote that he's the most underrated player in college football.
In 2013, he led the Thundering Herd to a 10-win season. Heading into this year, Marshall could be one of the sleeper teams worthy of playoff-buster status. Cato could also make some noise as a dark-horse Heisman candidate.
Over the past two seasons, Cato has amassed 83 touchdowns—he's also thrown a touchdown pass in 32 straight games—to go along with more than 8,100 yards. Listed at 6'0" and 188 pounds, he doesn't have the prototypical size for a quarterback, but he can flat-out play.
In fact, there would probably be more than a few BCS-level programs who would take Cato as their starting quarterback in a heartbeat.
Ohio State's Braxton Miller enters 2014 as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country.
As a starter, Miller is 24-8 for his career and set a school record in 2012 with 3,310 yards of total offense. He also finished fifth in the Heisman voting that year.
Staying healthy has been Miller's biggest obstacle, but when he is, he's deadly in the open field as a runner. He also has a cannon for an arm. If you need to get the offense down the field quickly, Miller is your guy.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has coached several noteworthy dual-threat quarterbacks in his career, from Alex Smith at Utah to Tim Tebow at Florida. Miller is a perfect fit for what Meyer wants to do offensively and is one of the most gifted runners in the college game.
Before Jameis Winston won the Heisman last December, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was considered one of the front-runners, if not the outright favorite, to win the award.
However, a knee injury in the second half of the season began to derail those hopes, as the Ducks dropped two of their final five games. Still, Mariota finished the season with more than 3,600 yards passing and 40 total touchdowns. He didn't throw his first interception until a 42-16 loss to Arizona on Nov. 23.
Mariota could have declared for the NFL draft this year and perhaps been one of the top quarterback picks. Instead, he'll return for another year in Oregon's high-powered offense. Obviously, Ducks fans are happy about that. There's no doubt he'll be on the early list of preseason Heisman candidates.
Mariota is a tremendous quarterback who just so happens to be an excellent runner. But he's accurate and, when asked, can throw a beautiful deep ball.
Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg isn't as established as many of the other quarterbacks on this list. That said, he looks like he's part of the next generation of great quarterbacks in college football.
As a freshman for the Nittany Lions, Hackenberg threw for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns. He still has a lot of improving to do as he grows into the position, but there's no denying his ability.
At 6'4" and 220 pounds, he already has great size and tangibles. Hackenberg has a great arm and shown exceptional touch at times. ESPN Big Ten writer Adam Rittenberg was able to capture Hackenberg throwing a beautiful pass to Penn State wideout Richy Anderson this spring.
First-year coach James Franklin has a great player to work with to run his new offense.
Like other quarterbacks on this list, UCLA's Brett Hundley could have opted to go pro if he wanted. Instead, he's back for another season and coach Jim Mora, not to mention Bruins fans, couldn't be happier.
Hundley should be on preseason Heisman lists after leading the team in passing (24) and rushing (11) touchdowns a year ago. He also led the team in rushing with 748 yards. Similar to Mariota or Petty, Hundley isn't a great athlete playing quarterback; he's a top quarterback who happens to be a great athlete.
That can be a tough combination to find, and there's no way UCLA would want any other quarterback leading their team. Though Hundley has been inconsistent against teams like Oregon and Stanford, accounting for three touchdowns and six interceptions in four combined losses—he's been money in most other games.
If Hundley can improve against the Cardinal and Ducks this year—and he'll have that opportunity—it will be the icing on what has otherwise been an exciting career.
Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports Composite rankings.
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