CFB Future 100: Top 8 Quarterbacks in Class of 2016

Bleacher Report College Football StaffFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2015

CFB Future 100: Top 8 Quarterbacks in Class of 2016

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    5-star Washington QB Jacob Eason
    5-star Washington QB Jacob EasonB/R Media Lab

    After thorough study using specific scoring criteria, Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analysts Damon SaylesSanjay Kirpalani and Tyler Donohue have graded the top 100 players in the 247Sports composite rankings and provided in-depth analysis on each young athlete. Bleacher Report will run a position-by-position breakdown series of the best college football recruits in the class of 2016. Here we present the Top Quarterbacks.

    Other Positions 

    The 2016 quarterback class offers immense promise across the country and only a few prospects who've already determined their collegiate fate. An abundance of uncommitted recruits and outstanding talent warrants a vast spotlight on this position through next signing day.

    We broke down every passer rated among America's top 100 players in 247Sports' composite rankings, reviewing what makes them special and how their high-profile recruitments are shaping up. Players are listed in order of their appearance on that list and graded on elements of skill set that include accuracy, arm strength, mobility and pocket presence.

    *All prospects graded by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue.

8. 4-Star Jarrett Guarantano

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    247Sports.com

    Height/Weight: 6'4"/200 lbs

    High School: Bergen Catholic (Oradell, New Jersey) 

    247Sports Ranking: No. 6 pro-style quarterback; No. 99 overall

    Bleacher Report Score: 90/100

    Uncommitted: Offers include Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Rutgers and Oklahoma.

    Jarrett Guarantano is the son of former star Rutgers wide receiver James Guarantano, who is a member of the university's Hall of Fame. Multiple campus visits, including the most recent one in February, indicated he may be willing to follow in his father's footsteps.

    However, several powerhouse programs are also in pursuit, highlighted by Ohio State. He spent time in Columbus last season and received an in-person visit from Buckeyes staff members in January.

    Bleacher Report Analysis

    Guarantano, who claimed nearly 30 offers and just three varsity touchdown passes entering 2014, finally took over full-time starting duties last fall. He completed 58 percent of passes for 1,030 yards and nine scores, per MaxPreps, though a fractured wrist cost him several games.

    We're still waiting to see Guarantano lead a high school offensive attack throughout the season, from start to finish. As a result, much of our excitement about him is based on raw skills and camp performances.

    His throws produce serious spin, generating excellent power (19/20) that enable him to fit the football in tight spaces. Guarantano is still developing as a pocket passer, particularly from a footwork fundamentals standpoint, but it's important to remember he possesses the least varsity experience of any passer on this list.

    He could very well end up in dual-threat quarterback rankings, as his mobility (8/10) is arguably the best among top-tier "pro-style" prospects. Guarantano rushed for four scores last season and used his legs to evade pressure throughout a matchup we scouted last October.

7. 4-Star Dwayne Haskins

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height/Weight: 6'2"/185 lbs

    High School: The Bullis School (Potomac, Maryland)

    247Sports Ranking: No. 5 pro-style quarterback; No. 65 overall

    Bleacher Report Score: 94/100

    Uncommitted: Offers include Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, UCLA, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

    Dwayne Haskins is approaching 40 scholarship offers, presenting a serious competition for regional programs like Maryland, Penn State and Rutgers that have made significant early strides with him. His most recent opportunities have come from the SEC, with new offers from Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.

    Bleacher Report Analysis

    This prospect already has an incredible handle on anticipating where a play is headed. Haskins is a quick-trigger decision maker who identifies options in the open field and delivers strikes (25/25 score for accuracy).

    His consistent precision from inside the pocket or beyond is a direct result of squared shoulders and sustained footwork mechanics (9/10 pocket presence). He moves around well when pressure arrives and manages to direct traffic downfield while scrambling.

    Haskins, who threw for 3,066 yards and 36 touchdowns in his past 20 games, per MaxPreps, warrants 5-star consideration entering the spring camp circuit.

6. 4-Star Jawon Pass

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height/Weight: 6'5"/213 lbs

    High School: Carver (Columbus, Georgia)

    247Sports Ranking: No. 2 dual-threat quarterback; No. 49 overall

    Bleacher Report Score: 89/100

    Uncommitted: Offers include Louisville, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Auburn, Ole Miss and Alabama

    Jawon Pass announced a top three of UNC, Alabama and Louisville last season, per Ryan Bartow of 247Sports. His older brother, Khane, signed with the Cardinals as a 2015 defensive back, but SEC squads are already clamoring for this Peach State product.

    Bleacher Report Analysis

    In studying Pass' place among recent Georgia quarterback standouts, former Westlake High School standout Cam Newton may be the only prospect who commanded more respect as an all-around athlete. Nicknamed "Puma," he attacks opponents with true dual-threat talent that is enhanced by elite length and a hard-nosed rushing style (17/20 mobility).

    He warrants long looks from every program in the nation, due in large part to his potential at multiple positions. Pass, who broke out with 2,500 total yards and 34 scores as a sophomore, must still develop his unpolished passing technique that limits his range behind center (7/10 pocket presence).

    Pass made strides as a junior but must continue further down that path of progression to be considered a consensus top-five quarterback.

5. 4-Star K.J. Costello

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height/Weight: 6'4"/213 lbs

    High School: Santa Margarita Catholic (Rancho Santa Margarita, California)

    247Sports Ranking: No. 4 pro-style quarterback; No. 41 overall

    Bleacher Report Score: 93/100

    Uncommitted: Offers include Stanford, USC, Tennessee, Florida, Arizona and Michigan.

    Things heated up for K.J. Costello following his sophomore season at the perennial Southern California title contender. Offers arrived at rapid pace last spring and continue to pile up. Texas A&M extended a scholarship in late January, though Pac-12 rivals USC and Stanford are considered early favorites.

    Bleacher Report Analysis

    Costello's role within the Eagles offense greatly expanded in 2014, when his pass attempts nearly doubled. He handled the challenge well, completing 60 percent of throws for 3,123 yards and 23 touchdowns in 11 games, per MaxPreps.

    He already possesses prototypical size for a quarterback and may throw the best deep ball you'll find on the West Coast during this recruiting cycle (20/20 arm strength). Costello consistently leads receivers toward the end zone on downfield routes and shows enough touch to burn defensive backs over their helmets.

    Costello can't make many defenders miss as a runner, but he shows a good feel for how to handle himself in the backfield and steps up in the pocket as pressure swells. I'd like to see him step into throws with more aggressiveness, ultimately enhancing his velocity.

4. 4-Star Feleipe Franks

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height/Weight: 6'5"/220 lbs

    High School: Wakulla (Crawfordville, Florida)

    247Sports Ranking: No. 1 dual-threat quarterback; No. 40 overall

    Bleacher Report Score: 92/100

    Committed to LSU on June 1, 2014

    Tigers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron claimed his top target on the 2016 quarterback market less than two months after Feleipe Franks spent an unofficial visit at LSU. In the process, he spurned offers from a long list of SEC rivals that features Florida, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.

    Bleacher Report Analysis

    Franks predominantly operates out of a three-step drop, finding targets on quick-hitters that don't require significant survey of the field. However, he does display the ability to air things out when extending his range downfield, developing rapport with receivers on well-timed patterns (19/20 accuracy).

    He isn't the most dynamic rusher in this class—though only a foolish defensive coordinator would discount the threat of his legs—but possesses a high-end blend of mobility and passing technique (9/10 pocket presence).

    Many of this class' dual-threat quarterbacks can dash down the field but still don't understand how to consistently deliver darts. Franks, who tallied 2,674 total yards and 31 touchdowns in 2014, per MaxPreps, keeps opponents honest as a runner and maintains impressive fundamentals in the pocket.

3. 5-Star Shea Patterson

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height/Weight: 6'2"/195 lbs

    High School: Calvary Baptist Academy (Shreveport, Louisiana)

    247Sports Ranking: No. 3 pro-style quarterback; No. 17 overall

    Bleacher Report Score: 97/100

    Uncommitted: Offers include LSU, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, USC and Texas.

    Shea Patterson initially committed to Arizona as a freshman but eventually wavered on that verbal pact as several other offers arrived. He decommitted from the Wildcats last summer. His recent campus visits include Texas A&M and USC.

    Bleacher Report Analysis

    Patterson is more of a true "dual-threat quarterback" than several of the players listed in that category (8/10 mobility). He evades defenders to buy time behind the line of scrimmage and offers exciting improvisational abilities on every play, so receivers are always working to find space even when things break down.

    He's been steady throughout the past two seasons, completing 63 percent of passes for 5,083 yards and 72 touchdowns. Patterson's seven interceptions in 422 pass attempts illustrate his intelligence at the position.

    His ability to throw ropes while operating on the run is special (20/20 arm strength), and he exudes confidence that must be contagious with his teammates. Keep Patterson in the discussion as America's top quarterback prospect.

2. 5-Star Malik Henry

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    Credit: 247Sports

    Height/Weight: 6'3"/180 lbs

    High School: IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida)

    247Sports Ranking: No. 2 pro-style quarterback; No. 9 overall

    Bleacher Report Score: 95/100

    Committed to Florida State on Nov. 13, 2014

    Malik Henry is headed to IMG Academy after spending his junior season in Florida. He'll replace 2015 Seminoles signee Deondre Francois behind center and work under head coach Chris Weinke, who won a Heisman Trophy at quarterback in Tallahassee. Jimbo Fisher bested strong recruiting efforts from fellow finalists Notre Dame, UCLA and Ohio State.

     

    Bleacher Report Analysis

    Henry, who threw for 4,416 yards and 36 touchdowns during the past two seasons, zips passes in tight spaces with the best of any quarterback in this class (23/25 accuracy). He maintains excellent vision while operating in the pocket and doesn't allow his eyes to drift when the pressure arrives.

    His sturdy physical frame has room for significant growth, which will help in shedding tacklers in the open field. Henry is a serious rushing threat in the red zone (9/10 mobility) and could force opponents to assign a "spy" in certain situations, freeing up seams for him to exploit with a quick delivery.

    A strong sign of his college readiness is how he stands tall in the pocket and slings it as defenders encroach his sight line.

1. 5-Star Jacob Eason

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    Height/Weight: 6'5"/205 lbs

    High School: Lake Stevens (Lake Stevens, Washington)

    247Sports Ranking: No. 1 pro-style quarterback; No. 4 overall

    Bleacher Report Score: 97/100

    Committed to Georgia on July 19, 2014

    The Bulldogs lured America's top-ranked passer across the country, providing a pivotal foundation for Mark Richt's latest class. Despite his status as a potential Notre Dame legacy (father, Tony, played in South Bend), Jacob Eason joined Georgia's 2016 haul on the same day as 5-star offensive tackle Ben Cleveland.

    Bleacher Report Analysis

    Eason, who has thrown for 6,228 yards and 59 touchdowns through 25 high school games, per MaxPreps, has the size collegiate coaches covet at quarterback. His cannon of a right arm has also attracted plenty of attention, earning a perfect combined score for power and precision (45/45).

    Nobody in this group launches the ball downfield as effortlessly, and he should quickly remind Bulldogs fans of former Georgia gunslinger Matt Stafford. Eason displays excellent lower-body technique behind center, actively engaged from the feet up.

    You can make a strong case that Eason would've challenged as the top quarterback prospect if he were bumped up into the 2015 class. Expect coaches across the country to charge after the West Coast playmaker through next signing day.

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