College Football: 5 Greatest Undersized Quarterbacks of All Time

Martin Sondermann@@GamedayreporterAnalyst IIOctober 3, 2011

College Football: 5 Greatest Undersized Quarterbacks of All Time

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    Over the years there have been some amazing quarterbacks in college football that have been, or are, labeled as "undersized."  To put it another way, they are perhaps "vertically challenged."

    Yet, despite any shortcomings, there are those young men who find a way to step up to the challenge and rise to the level of greatness that few can achieve.  The group of five that I am about to present to you are some of the best examples of this.

    While they may lack height, none of them lacks depth in his ability to play the game.  Each one of these individuals plays with the heart and passion of a giant.

    So let's get started with my short list—I mean, small list—I mean, list of the five greatest undersized college quarterbacks of all time. 

No. 5: Dee Dowis from the Air Force Academy

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    For those of you who are old enough to remember the 1980s you might recall Michael "Dee" Dowis.  He was the Air Force quarterback from 1986 to 1989.  

    Dowis set an NCAA D-1 career record for rushing yards by a quarterback (3,612) and became the fifth player in D-1 history to pass and run for a 1,000 yards in a single season.  He was the WAC offensive player of the year once and broke various WAC records at quarterback. 

    Dowis is probably most famous for his 1989 season, where he finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting.  You might know the name of the guy he finished in front of that year: Emmitt Smith. 

    Over all, Dowis was a shifty and elusive quarterback.  He was quick and crafty.  He made some incredible throws on the run and some incredible runs when he couldn't throw. 

    At 5'8" and 153 pounds, he is the smallest of the group, but nothing was small about the way he played football. 

No. 4: Drew Brees from Purdue

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    What can I say about Drew Brees?  Too much and not enough.  As a college quarterback Brees lit it up, not only on the field, but in the classroom as well.  As a senior he was named the Academic All-American Player of the Year.  Brees also won the Leonard Wilson Award for unselfishness and dedication at Purdue. 

    On the field, Brees was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist (1999, 2000).  Over his career he was named MVP in the Outback Bowl, the Alamo Bowl and the Big Ten MVP in 2000.  He set Purdue school records in passing, total offensive yards, total pass completion and attempts and touchdown passes.  

    Brees won the Maxwell award as the nation's outstanding college football player in 2000 and took his team to the Rose Bowl in 2001.

    If you had the privilege of watching him play you know how amazing he was on the field.  Of course, he has translated that success into the NFL.  He currently leads the New Orleans Saints, and in the 2009 season led his team to a Super Bowl championship.  He was also named the game's MVP. 

    He is listed at 6' even and 209 pounds, but some say he is actually about 5'11".  Either way, he is considered "undersized," but I would never say that about his heart or his talent.   

No. 3: Michael Vick from Virginia Tech

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    Michael Vick is the best athlete on this list.  However, he only ranks No. 3 because his college career was so short—no pun intended.  If Vick had stuck around and played a couple more years, who known how many records he would have broken?  As it is, he still rates as my No. 3 "undersized " college quarterback of all time. 

    Six feet tall and about 190 pounds is what they say Vick is.  Well, he plays much bigger than that.  As I mentioned before, he only played two years of football in college for Virginia Tech (1999, 2000).  In that time he led his team to a perfect regular season and an appearance in the national championship game.  It was game the Hokies lost to Florida State, but Vick still gave a stellar performance.

    His numbers speak for themselves.  As a freshman Vick set a record for pass efficiency at 180.4, and passed for a total of 1,840 yards.  He also rushed for 580 yards his freshman season and scored eight touchdowns on the ground.  In 2000 he continued his success, piling up 636 yards on the ground and 1,439 though the air.  Vick also won the Archie Griffin Award for the being the most valuable player in college football and finished third in Heisman votes that same year.  

    He was electric on Saturdays, which is why he left college after his sophomore year and became a first-round draft pick in the NFL.  He has been equally electric on Sundays.  

    Though some legal trouble derailed his career, Vick has bounced back and seems to be doing all the right things on and off the field.   

No. 2 2: Kellen Moore from Boise State

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    The only active college player on my list is Kellen Moore.  At 6'0 and 190 pounds, Moore is certainly not going to scare opposing defenses with his stature.  Instead, it is his accuracy and decision-making that intimidate the competition.

    Moore has been nothing but spectacular for Boise State since starting as a freshman.  In that year (2008)  he threw for 3,486 yards and 25 touchdowns.  He followed that up with a sophomore season that included another 3,536 yards and 39 touchdowns.  His junior year he upped his yard total to 3,845 and still managed 35 TDs.  So far this season he is on pace to throw 42 touchdowns and another 3,400 plus yards.  

    He finished fourth in the 2010 Heisman voting and has led his team to victories in the Las Vegas Bowl of 2010 and the BCS Fiesta Bowl against TCU after the 2009 season.  He is a two-time All-American selection and has won so many other awards that I am not going to sit here and list them all. 

    He is 42-2 as a starting quarterback and is on pace to break Colt McCoy's all-time record of 46 wins for a D-1 college quarterback.  If his Broncos finish out the regular season undefeated, Moore will have 50 wins, and that doesn't include a bowl game.  

No. 1: Doug Flutie from Boston College

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    When the name Doug Flutie is mentioned, any college football fan over the age of 40 smiles.  Unless that fan is also a Miami fan.

    Flutie is responsible for one of the greatest plays in college football history.  The "Hail Mary" against the University of Miami in 1984 to give his Boston College squad the victory is legendary.  The game was seen by millions of viewers, and it was the talk of the season.  

    Flutie was the model of a college quarterback.  He was a Rhodes Scholar candidate and finalist.  He was energetic, inspiring and team-oriented. 

    Flutie went on to win the Heisman Trophy in 1984 and the Davey O'Brien Award, but was overlooked by NFL teams at draft time.  He subsequently played for the USFL and Canadian Football Leagues.  He eventually played in the NFL, only to have his career interrupted by the NFL strike.  However, he later returned to play for the Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots.  

    While at the helm for Boston College, Flutie had an outstanding career and was an inspiration to many smaller athletes. At 5'10"—and some say more like 5'9"—and 180 pounds, Flutie never let his stature affect the heights that he could take his career. 

    Flutie is a legend.  He is No. 1 on this list because he was an inspiration to a generation.  His influence cannot be underestimated.  If you ask many smaller quarterbacks playing in college and the NFL today, many of them still list Flutie as one of their heroes. 

    Flutie never gave up, even when others told him he was too small, not fast enough and he just didn't have the arm strength to play at a higher level.  Instead, Flutie used those words to rise higher and higher. 

    Doug Flutie, my No. 1 all-time "undersized" college quarterback. 


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