College Football’s 25 Best Quarterbacks for 2013
Top 25 College Football QBs for 2013
College football was filled with talented quarterbacks in 2012, and 2013 looks to be no different. We saw many spectacular quarterback performances like freshman Johnny Manziel leading the Texas A&M Aggies past the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide on the road.
Manziel went on to win the Heisman Trophy-- the first freshman to ever do so.
There were also many senior quarterbacks trying to make their case to NFL Draft scouts. Geno Smith of West Virginia had a solid season with over 4,000 passing yards and 40 touchdowns, however his team's defense couldn't keep the Mountaineers afloat. Smith could still very well be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Matt Barkley of USC failed to live up to expectations, finishing the season by missing his final two games because of a shoulder injury as the Trojans lost to Notre Dame and Georgia Tech to end the season.
As for young talent, college football is well-stocked. Looking at this list of top-25 quarterbacks for the 2013 season, a majority of them can realistically contend for the coveted Heisman Trophy.
The leading Heisman-favorite would easily have to be this year's winner and soon-to-be sophomore, Johnny Manziel.
If he is just a freshman and already a Heisman-winner, there should be no problem running away with next year's trophy, too, right? Wrong.
There are a plethora of quarterbacks that can win the trophy and if the winner of the 2013 Heisman Trophy doesn't come from the quarterback position, I'd be shocked.
Take a look at my list of college football's best quarterbacks for the 2013 season.
25. Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech
Logan Thomas came into the 2012 season as one of the ACC's top quarterbacks for Virginia Tech. Four months later he is still one of the conference's top quarterbacks but his inaccuracy and interceptions remain an issue. He has tossed 18 touchdowns this year with nearly 3,000 yards but also had 16 interceptions. With a little work on his throwing motion, he could be one of the best quarterbacks in the country.
24. J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State
Although it's not a guarantee that he will be Oklahoma State's starting quarterback next season, J.W. Walsh was one of the best freshman quarterbacks in the country. He passed for 1,564 yards and threw 13 touchdowns in his first collegiate season, even while seeing limited playing time because of an injury in the second half of the season. Watch out for this young quarterback.
23. Kolton Browning, Louisiana-Monroe
Kolton Browning had the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks tagged as the nation's unknown threat at the beginning of the season. They beat Arkansas to begin the 2012 campaign and then followed that win with two close losses against Auburn and Baylor. The junior quarterback threw for over 3,000 yards and had 29 touchdown tosses, marking the third straight season he has passed for over 2,400 yards. Imagine what he could do in his senior season.
22. Kain Colter, Northwestern
Kain Colter is one of those quarterbacks that cornerbacks love, but defenses as a whole hate. He is not much of a passing threat, but when he takes off running, he is awfully hard to stop. He split time at the quarterback position this season with Trevor Siemian and proved to be the team's leader and offensive weapon. He had over 800 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns while passing for 872 yards and eight touchdowns. He was accurate, too, completing 67 percent of his passes. If he continues to throw more, he will be one of the most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the country.
21. Tyler Russell, Mississippi State
Tyler Russell is one of those quarterbacks that you love because of his consistency. The junior quarterback passed for 2,896 yards and 24 touchdowns while leading Mississippi State to an 8-5 record this season in the SEC. He had just six interceptions in the regular season, but in the team's bowl loss to Northwestern, the signal-caller had four. Although he may be about as good as he can be, he will still be a name to look out for next year.
20. Stephen Morris, Miami
Stephen Morris is one of those guys you heard very little about because his team was not a factor when it came to BCS contenders. The Miami Hurricanes finished the season with a disappointing 7-5 record, turning down a bowl invite because of self-imposed sanctions. The junior quarterback, however, shined this season, passing for 3,345 yards and 21 touchdowns, but he failed to lead them to victory against the solid teams on their schedule.
19. Terrance Broadway, Louisiana-Lafayette
To think that Terrance Broadway is only a sophomore in mind-blowing. Louisiana-Lafayette has themselves a gem at quarterback and Broadway seems to be as big as his name. The sophomore had 2,842 yards passing and 19 touchdowns in his first season as the team's starter. Not to mention, he is a dual-threat that ran for over 700 yards and landed in the endzone nine times. With an offensive threat like him with two years left in college, the Ragin' Cajuns may be a sneaky team next year.
18. Cody Fajardo, Nevada
Nevada seems to churn out solid quarterbacks year after year and Cody Fajardo is next in line. Only a sophomore, Fajardo is already just seven yards shy of 4,500 for his career and has 26 touchdown passes. He is also a running quarterback, rushing for over 1,000 yards in 2012 with 12 touchdowns to go with it. The Wolf Pack will continue to be a threat next season with him behind center and look for Fajardo to break a plethora of school records.
17. Devin Gardner, Michigan
At the beginning of the 2012 season, Devin Gardner probably never thought he'd be on the list of the top quarterbacks for 2013, but here he is. He started the season as a wide receiver for Michigan, that is until Denard Robinson got hurt. He finished the final five games of the season as the team's starting quarterback and led them to a 3-2 record and a close bowl loss against South Carolina. At 6-foot-4, Gardner has the size that NFL scouts love and he can throw the ball a little, too. Although he is a junior, Gardner will likely be granted a medical redshirt for his freshman season and will be sticking around to haunt teams in the Big Ten for two more season. Joy.
16. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
Arizona State fans are ecstatic that Taylor Kelly is just a sophomore while the rest of the Pac 12 is not so happy. Although if he does well enough in his junior season, the Sun Devil quarterback will likely take his talents to the NFL. Kelly led the Sun Devils to an 8-5 record this season, including a bowl win over Navy, and passed for over 3,000 yards with 29 touchdowns. He is not particularly a strong runner, but can escape pressure and get the needed yardage when the time calls for such a play. Scary talent for such a young kid.
15. Bryn Renner, North Carolina
Although North Carolina is losing their top offensive threat to the NFL, running back Giovani Bernard, Bryn Renner is a nice consolation prize. The junior quarterback threw for 3,356 yards and 28 touchdowns while leading the Tar Heels to an 8-4 record, missing out on a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions. With two straight seasons of over 3,000 yards and a 60 percent completion percentage, his third year as a starter in 2013 looks to be his best yet.
14. Chuckie Keeton, Utah State
Sophomore Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton doesn't get enough praise for the job he did in his second season as starter. He led the Aggies to their best season in school history(11-2) while passing for 3,373 yards and 27 touchdowns with just nine interceptions. His completion percentage was above 67 and he looked dazzling all season long whether he was making a quick scramble, or passing in the pocket. With two seasons under his belt, he is the veteran quarterback that the Aggies need.
13. Connor Shaw, South Carolina
South Carolina's Connor Shaw may be the player that could come out of nowhere to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy with his potential. Head coach Steve Spurrier is really high on the junior quarterback even though he was limited to just 10 games this season because of injury. He passed for just under 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. The most impressive aspect about Shaw is his accuracy, which has been over 65 percent for his career.
12. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
Taylor Martinez has been getting progressively better with each season. The Nebraska quarterback has broken many of the school's passing and rushing quarterback records and continues to rise on the charts with the all-time Cornhusker greats. He threw for 2,871 yards this season to go along with 23 touchdowns. He also rushed for over 1,000 yards and had 10 rushing touchdowns. His accuracy was a pleasant surprise this season as it went up to 62 percent-- six percent higher than it was a year ago. Although his throwing motion may not be the prettiest, he still gets the job done and will be a Heisman candidate in 2013.
11. Everett Golson, Notre Dame
Notre Dame fans began the season as pessimistic as could be after watching Tommy Rees quarterback their team to mediocrity for years. Enter: Everett Golson. The sophomore quarterback was one of the least talked about names in college football when it came to quarterback threats. He has yet to reach his full potential passing-wise and his scrambling ability could use some work, but the Myrtle Beach-native led the Fighting Irish to a 12-0 record and a trip to the BCS National Championship game. Winning against Alabama will shoot him up from No. 11 to the top 10 and two more years could make him one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
10. Davis Fales, SJSU
Yet another successful Nevada-produced quarterback. David Fales decided to leave the Nevada program after just one season, then went to a junior college to hone his skills for a couple years before landing at San Jose State as the starting quarterback. San Jose State is not a typically a football program that receives attention for their solid play, but Fales led the Spartans to an 11-2 record this season by passing for 4,193 yards and 33 touchdowns. Oh, and did I mention his completion percentage was 72? Yeah, this kid is good, and with another year left in college, he could be a solid draft pick.
9. Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
Jordan Lynch engineered one of the best seasons a MAC school has ever had, leading the Northern Illinois Huskies to the Orange Bowl to face Florida State. Yes, I said the Orange Bowl-- a BCS bowl. It's not often you get a solid MAC school to compete on a national level like the Huskies did and they have junior quarterback Jordan Lynch to thank for that. He was remarkable this season, passing for over 3,100 yards and 25 touchdowns while rushing for over 1,700 yards and another 19 touchdowns. This kid is really good and will be even better in 2013.
8. Brett Hundley, UCLA
First-year head coach Jim Mora was looking for ways to get UCLA out of the gutter and into Pac 12 relevance. Well, why not make the solution an unproven redshirt freshman quarterback? He made a bold move by starting Brett Hundley to be the team's starter since game one and leading the team to a 9-5 record and a bowl birth. Hundley had a 66 completion percentage and threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns. Wait, he's only a freshman? Scary.
7. Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Yet another Pac 12 freshman quarterback that led his team to a solid season, Marcus Mariota made Chip Kelly look like a genius when he chose the Hawaii-native to start for the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks had one of the best offenses in the country to go along with one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Mariota. He passed for 2,677 yards and 32 touchdowns in his first collegiate season. He also completed 68 percent of his passes and had the Ducks in national title talks by the end of the season, leading them to a 12-1 record.
6. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Teddy Bridgewater is easily the best quarterback in the Big East. The sophomore passed for 3,718 yards this season to go along with 27 touchdowns. The second-year starter makes up for his lack of running ability with his rocket arm. He also completed 68 percent of his passes and started to look more and more like the next big college football star. Bridgewater will likely be a Heisman favorite in 2013 and Louisville will once again dominate the Big East.
5. A.J. McCarron, Alabama
AJ McCarron has easily become the most consistent college quarterback and although he doesn't put up extremely impressive numbers, he has led Alabama to greatness for two seasons. He has passed for over 2,600 yards for the second straight season and improved his touchdown number by 10 from 16 in 2011 to 26 in 2012. His completion percentage has hovered around 66 for the past two seasons while his interceptions have never been an issue, never throwing more than five in a season. McCarron has a chance to go down in the record books as one of Alabama's greatest quarterbacks if he wins the championship this year and helps them get back to that point next season.
4. Tajh Boyd, Clemson
It is unclear whether Clemson's star quarterback, Tajh Boyd, will be returning for his senior season at the school, but if he does he will be one of the top quarterbacks in college football. Boyd led the Tigers to an 11-2 season and threw for 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns. He also ran for over 500 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. The Tigers were one of the best offenses in the country this season and will be even better next season if Boyd decides to stick around.
3. Aaron Murray, Georgia
Aaron Murray has been talked about as a possible top draft pick if he left early for the NFL Draft, but by sticking around, the junior quarterback will be among the nation's best quarterback and Georgia hopes he will lead them to a national title in 2013. He passed for 3,893 yards this season with 36 touchdowns, eclipsing the career 10,000 yard mark in a timely fashion. A couple games into next season and the junior quarterback will have over 100 career touchdowns as well.
2. Braxton Miller, Ohio State
First-year Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer may have been the best thing to happen to the young and talented Braxton Miller. In his freshman season, Miller was a raw talent that needed direction and guidance. Under Urban Meyer, Miller became a Heisman candidate and became the second-most dangerous dual-threat quarterback in the country. The sophomore quarterback improved on seemingly every offensive number from 2011. He was one of few quarterbacks in the country to pass for over 2,000 yards and rush for an additional 1,000. Oh, by the way, he accounted for 28 touchdowns and would have had the Buckeyes in the title game if it weren't for their NCAA sanctions.
1. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Well, I know this isn't much of a shocker, but Johnny Manziel, or 'Johnny Football' as he is also known, is easily the best quarterback in the nation. The freshman quarterback capped off his Heisman-winning season with a Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma and looked good throughout. Just when we through we saw everything we could from Manziel, he passed for 287 yards and ran for 229 yards with four total touchdowns in their bowl win over the Sooners. He accumulated over 5,000 yards of total offense to go along with 47 total touchdowns. It's going to be very difficult to top the freshman in the Heisman race next season.