Ten College Quarterbacks You'd Want Leading Your Team With The Game On The Line
Everyone knows the big names of college football.
Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Mallett are big-name quarterbacks thanks to their big arms, frames, and ceilings. In fact, some might go as far as saying they are the best quarterbacks in the country.
However, depending on how you tackle that issue, you may be proven wrong. What makes a great college quarterback?
A great college quarterback knows how to win and will his team to victory. A great college quarterback is one who can get it done on his own, but can also depend on the others around him to make the plays while leading them to the end zone.
Don't get me wrong—Mallett and Pryor are very special talents. In fact, they very well may be the best talented quarterbacks out there.
However, when the game is on the line, an experienced leader with the intangibles is going to be picked over a star player every time by a winning head football coach.
When the clock is clicking away and your team is down, who would you lean on to bring your team to victory?
1) Greg McElroy, Alabama
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Without posting numbers that will send NFL scouts running to Birmingham, he still has made his name off of his success and will to win football games. In fact, he did just that in winning a national championship in 2009.
Many will say that he benefits from the rest of the talent on his team. After all, he is the quarterback of the No. 1 team in college football that fields bigger names such as Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Julio Jones.
But, in response to that, McElroy is the best at what he does, and that's winning.
His leadership skills on this team sends them over and beyond the opponents, not only because they have bigger and better talent, but because they have the perfect chemistry. And that chemistry starts and grows from under center.
There may be bigger, better, faster, and quicker quarterbacks around the country, but none, in terms of winning, leadership, and clutchness, come close to McElroy.
2) Kellen Moore, Boise State
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images
He may be a more winning quarterback than McElroy, but Moore barely gets beaten out due to the competition difference.
Playing a soft schedule sprinkled with a few big games, Moore knows how to manage it. In fact, he knows how to win every football game on a schedule as evidenced in the past.
The only question on him, and his Boise State team, is whether he could do it against the top-tier competition. In Week 1, he did just that by leading his team to a last-minute victory over then-top 10 Virginia Tech.
Moore not only gets it done with his leadership, but his arm as well. His numbers are startling and seem to come straight out of the 360.
Not only does he throw for a massive amount of touchdowns, but his passer rating and interceptions are what stands out the most when looking at his stat sheet.
It may be unfair to him, but until he gets the chance to play in a national championship and takes home a ring, he will remain No. 2 in this category thanks to McElroy.
3) Andy Dalton, TCU
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
If it weren't for McElroy, Dalton would be crowned the king of doing more with less.
At first look, you wouldn't expect him to be a top-flight quarterback. But in fact, he is a top-flight quarterback, and the quarterback of one of the best programs in the country.
After a magical campaign in 2009, Dalton is picking up right where he left off as he showed in the Week 1 victory over Oregon State.
He then followed that victory up with blowout wins over the likes of Baylor and Southern Methodist.
The real question is, what can't this kid do? He doesn't have the numbers by any means to be a Heisman winner, or maybe even an NFL quarterback for that matter. But what he does have is some of the best intangibles in the game.
When you watch Dalton take the field, he plays hard-nosed, emotional football. He won't let his team get down and he certainty won't let them lose.
If I had my choice of a quarterback that could will me to victory at the end of a close game, Dalton may be the first overall pick.
4) Cameron Newton, Auburn
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Newton is the real deal.
After transferring to Auburn and being proclaimed the savior of the program, he has stepped in from day one and made a huge mark, even with all of the pressure in the world on his young shoulders.
Not only has his production been fantastic (182 passer rating, nine touchdowns) but he has willed his team to victory, and Auburn now sits at a perfect 4-0 heading into the toughest part of its schedule.
The previous three victories have included three-point wins vs. Mississippi State and Clemson, and a close win vs. a very tough South Carolina team.
If he can keep his mindset where it's been thus far, the Tigers are going to have a very successful season in 2010.
Newton already has shown he has the tangibles to be a great college quarterback.
Only a transfer-junior, expect big things out of him in the future, and expect plenty of game-winning drives to be generated on his back.
5) Andrew Luck, Stanford
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Now being mentioned as a potential No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Luck has made his way to the forefront of the nation's quarterbacks.
Behind his accurate arm and exceptional leadership skills, Luck is someone you want on the field to lead your team to victory. The kid is a winner and a leader, on and off the field.
With an extremely high passer rating and yards through the air being racked up by the minute, Luck and his Cardinal are going to make some noise on the national level this year.
Last week, I had the chance to witness first-hand how easy he imposed his will on the Notre Dame defense and was extremely impressed despite his two interceptions.
Luck may know how to lead a football team better than anyone in the country.
6) Denard Robinson, Michigan
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
He may be young, but boy, is he quick. And boy, can he win.
Leading his team to a perfect start solely behind his star-legs, Robinson has not only brought Michigan into the top 25, but has made his way into the Heisman discussion already thanks to his completely dominating performances.
He may not have the arm to lead his team back, but his legs allow him to do so much with the football. Because of the threat he is on the ground, receivers are usually wide open when he does decide to put the ball in the air.
If he decides to tuck the ball and run with it, you can forget it. He is going to score and bring his team the victory in the final minute.
Robinson is the definition of a game-changer and a playmaker...the exact thing you want in your quarterback when the game is on the line.
7) Nick Foles, Arizona
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Foles is clearly a fantastic leader, bringing Arizona back on the national scene. The Wildcats, ranked No. 14 in the latest polls, are making noise behind their quarterback and playmakers.
With a frame of a future NFL signal-caller, Foles is an impressive young man. Again, he may not have the stats that will have you saying, "I want him!", but he is going to get the job done.
Just last week, throwing a go-ahead touchdown pass with a minute left against Cal, Foles brought his team from behind to win a huge game for the Wildcats.
Only a junior, he has a very bright future ahead of him. And as long as he is under center for the up-and-coming Arizona team, they will keep winning plenty of football games under the guidance of Foles.
8) Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Everyone remembers the magic of the Hawkeyes in 2009. Most of that magic came from the arm of Stanzi before he went down with an injury.
Now in 2010, Stanzi is imposing his will on teams just as much. But different than some of the other names on this list, he isn't the most talented quarterback in the nation.
He is, however, a true winner. With numbers that won't blow your mind, he has leadership that NFL scouts will drool over when the time comes.
His maturity and ownership of his team are a big reason why Iowa is so clutch in close games, especially in big ones.
With their only loss to a very good Arizona team (and another quarterback on this list), Stanzi will have his team bounce back without question.
Whether it's a two-minute drill or in overtime, any team would feel confident with Stanzi under center.
9) Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M
Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images
The classic, athletic form of a quarterback, Johnson has both the arms and legs to lead his team to victory.
Even though he is a senior, he is still learning and becoming the quarterback he was supposed to be when he came to A&M. With a frame that NFL scouts would die for, he is going to be a project at the next level.
But the thing is, Johnson does have leadership skills that can't be taught. These skills can only be attained off the field, and luckily for him, their quarterback has what it takes to win football games.
Even after throwing for four interceptions against a lowly Florida International team in Week 3, Johnson willed his team to victory.
Being a leader isn't always about getting the job done by yourself, but rather overcoming the struggles of an individual and pulling it out as a team.
Many of you will say that Johnson nearly lost them the game, but in hindsight, he kept it together enough to manage a comeback victory.
10) Russell Wilson, NC State
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
He may play at a smaller-name school at NC State, but there is no denying Wilson's special talents on the field or under center.
Leading his team to a fantastic 4-0 mark thus far, he has beaten the likes of both Cincinnati and Georgia Tech just four weeks in. With a little more time, there's no telling what this junior can do.
With so much pressure on him to carry his team to victory, Wilson hasn't taken any steps back since last year. Although it isn't fair to say it, he carries his team game by game on his own shoulders.
If I was looking for a steady quarterback to lead my team back in the fourth quarter, Wilson would be near the top of my list thanks to his cannon of an arm and perfect passer rating.