College Football Predictions: Andrew Luck and the Top 15 Throwing QBs for 2011
This list is meant to honor the greatest gunslingers in college football. The quarterbacks who beat defenses with their arms, rather than their legs.
A pure pocket passer is something that is rare these days, but the quarterbacks on this list are the closest things to it.
Some of the players on this list are Heisman candidates. While others, are simply system quarterbacks with padded statistics.
The following are the top 15 throwing quarterbacks in college football.
15. Bryant Moniz (Hawaii)
Bryant Moniz is not an overwhelming talent or even an NFL prospect, but he did post the best passing statistics in the nation last season.
Moniz threw for 5,040 yards and 39 touchdowns, both are the best in the nation. On paper, Moniz is the top dog.
However, his statistics are enhanced largely because of the system he plays in. Hawaii passes just about every play, giving Moniz numerous chances to get big plays.
Regardless of his system, stats these crazy are too amazing to not give credit.
14. Tyler Wilson (Arkansas)
As Ryan Mallett leaves Arkansas to go to the NFL, the door is left wide open for Tyler Wilson to take his place.
Wilson is a superstar in the making. He has had little playing time throughout his career, but looks promising.
After Mallett was injured early in a game against Auburn last season, Wilson replaced him. He threw for an impressive 332 yards and four touchdowns in a losing effort against the eventual National Champions.
With playmakers like wide receiver Greg Childs and running back Knile Davis around him, Wilson has the tools to become an elite quarterback.
13. Danny O’Brien (Maryland)
Danny O’Brien had one of the best freshman seasons in the country in 2011.
He threw for 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns en route to leading his team to an impressive nine win season. Unfortunately for O’Brien, most of his receivers from last season have graduated.
In 2011, he must prove that he can carry a team. With a new cast of wide receivers, the offense will rely heavily on O’Brien.
He has a golden opportunity to prove himself as an elite guy over the next few seasons.
12. Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M)
Ryan Tannehill is one this list because he does one thing: win.
He was not the starter entering the 2010 season, but took over when Jerrod Johnson was injured in week seven. Tannehill then proceeded to lead the Aggies to a perfect end to an otherwise disappointing regular season.
In just seven total games last season, Tannehill threw for 1,706 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Tannehill already has a couple quality wins under his belt, against Oklahoma and Nebraska, and looks to build off his 2010 success. If he can, Tannehill’s Aggies could be playing in a BCS bowl next January.
11. Nick Foles (Arizona)
Nick Foles is a very good quarterback, but he is not elite. He will consistently play well for his team, but does not take over big games.
Foles’s numbers didn’t improve drastically from the 2009 season to the 2010 season, so don’t expect much improvement next year.
Last season, Foles threw for 3,191 yards with 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
The bad news for Foles is that his entire offensive line from a season ago is graduating. He better hope his entirely new offensive front can protect him in 2011.
The good news for Foles is that his favorite target at receiver, Juron Crinor, is returning.
10. Ryan Lindley (San Diego State)
If you don’t know who Ryan Lindley is yet, then you need to. He had a breakout season in 2011 in which he threw 3,830 yards and 28 touchdowns.
He and his San Diego State Aztecs are a mid-major school that can make some noise next season. Their four losses came by a combined total of just 15 points.
A senior in 2011, Lindley has improved in each of his seasons at San Diego State. Expect him to throw for around 4,00 yards and 30 touchdowns next season.
9. Case Keenum (Houston)
I bet you forgot about him. Case Keenum was actually a senior last season, but tore his ACL early in the season and was granted a sixth year of eligibility. Prior to that injury, Keenum was one of the best quarterbacks in college football.
In 2008 and 2009, he had consecutive seasons with more than 5,000 passing yards and had 44 touchdowns in each.
Keenum is one of those players that makes you wonder how the big programs could have missed him. He has a cannon, is exceptionally accurate and makes good decisions.
Hopefully his injury will not slow him up and he can be just as effective as he was in previous years.
8. Kirk Cousins (Michigan State)
Kirk Cousins is similar to Nick Foles in that he is always consistent, but not quite an elite quarterback. However unlike Foles, Cousins proved last season that he can lead his team to a lot of wins.
Cousins is a good decision maker with a strong arm and pinpoint accuracy. The only knock on Cousins is his speed, or lack of therefore.
It might be tough for Cousins and his Spartans to repeat the success they had in 2011, going 11-2 and winning a share of the Big Ten. Although, you can almost guarantee Cousins will throw for around 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.
7. Darron Thomas (Oregon)
Darron Thomas has the reputation of being a running quarterback because he plays at Oregon. But, Thomas is a much different player than the quarterbacks who started before him: Jeremiah Masoli and Dennis Dixon.
Thomas only carried the ball more than eight times in just three games last season. Most of his finest work is actually done in the pocket.
The underrated passer threw for 2,881 yards and 20 touchdowns last season as he led the most prolific offense in the nation.
Thomas is as good of a leader as he is a passer. He is expected to lead one of the most complicated offenses in football history at the fastest pace possible.
6. Aaron Murray (Georgia)
The Georgia Bulldogs had an extremely disappointing 6-7 season in 2010, but they did discover a freshman phenom in Aaron Murray.
Murray is a big reason why many preseason polls expect Georgia to have a bounce back year in 2011.
In his first season, Murray threw for 3,049 yards, 24 touchdowns and had a passer rating of 154.48.
Murray is a future Heisman candidate, he just needs another year or two under his belt. Next season could be tough for Murray, because he is losing All-American wide receiver A.J. Green.
We will find out what Murray is made of next year. He will need to carry the Bulldogs offense.
5. Matt Barkley (USC)
Matt Barkley was one of the most hyped quarterback prospects off all-time out of high school, but has been somewhat of a disappointment.
Barkley showed flashes of brilliance in 2010. He threw for 2,791 yards and 26 touchdowns for the Trojans.
Entering his junior season, I believe that Barkley is about to have his breakout season. He has all the tools to be great.
Once he finally puts the pieces together, it will be bad news for the rest of the Pac-12. A consistent Barkley equals a scary USC.
4. Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State)
As a first year starter in 2010, Brandon Weeden threw for 4,277 yards and 24 touchdowns last season.
A lot of his success was overshadowed by star wide receiver Justin Blackmon, but Weeden deserves plenty of credit. He is a dark horse for the Heisman trophy in 2011.
His Oklahoma State Cowboys are one of the most hyped teams in the country. He returns his entire offensive line from a season ago, and most of his key weapons (like Blackmon).
The 2011 season could be a year to remember for Brandon Weeden and Oklahoma State fans. If only their defense was anywhere near as good as their offense.
3. Kellen Moore (Boise State)
Now for a quarterback from one of my least favorite teams in college football.
Kellen Moore has been just about as close to perfect as a quarterback can be during his career at Boise State. The 2011 season might have been his best yet.
He threw for 3,845 yards, 36 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
If his Broncos could have pulled out a victory in week 11 against Nevada, they would have probably played in a BCS bowl. Fortunately for Moore, it appears that Boise State will find their way back to being a BCS buster.
If he can lead his team to victory in a midseason matchup against TCU, Moore and the Broncos will be just fine.
2. Landry Jones (Oklahoma)
It is more common to hear a running back be described as a workhorse. However, nobody is more deserving of the description as Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones.
He led the nation in pass attempts with 617 and led his Sooners to a Fiesta Bowl victory. Jones threw for a total of 4,718 passing yards and 38 touchdowns last season.
Coming into the 2010 season, Jones was the guy taking over for Sam Bradford. Now, he is a legitimate Heisman candidate and his team is the favorite to win the 2011 BCS title.
With wide receiver Ryan Broyles as his top target, there is no reasons to doubt those aspirations.
1. Andrew Luck (Stanford)
Is this really even a question?
Andrew Luck is almost too perfect.
He is the favorite to win the Heisman trophy, expected to be the top overall pick when he decides to come out and is already the biggest star in college football.
He can throw the ball a mile, yet may be the most accurate passer in the nation. He has underrated speed and has even been known to make bone shattering tackles.
What is not to like about Andrew Luck?