Where are top QBs going? What competition awaits in college?
In the past three years Georgia has signed a five-star quarterback who started as a freshman, a four-star quarterback who started as a freshman and led the Bulldogs to the national championship game and a five-star quarterback who is considered the best prospect of them all.
The first five-star has already transferred from Georgia.
As fans get giddy for the latest wave of blue-chip quarterbacks to enter college football it is important to remember, life moves fast. Who would have thought Jacob Eason would be old news in Athens by 2018 back on signing day 2016?
A look at where the top-10 quarterbacks as rated by 247 Sports’ composite rankings are headed, what kind of competition awaits and how the new arrival might affect the QBs already on the roster (year is eligibility in 2018).
Note: Tanner McKee, a four-star from California, was the only highly rated quarterback to enter signing day uncommitted. He committed to Stanford, but will do a two-year church mission before enrolling in school.
1. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson.
Depth chart: Kelly Bryant, senior; Hunter Johnson, sophomore.
Outlook: Bryant was very good in his first season as a starter and Johnson was last year’s five-star signee. Lawrence is a more highly touted prospect than either and he is already enrolled. He could pass both on the depth chart by the start of next season. Keeping Johnson and Lawrence in Death Valley beyond the 2018 season will be tricky for coach Dabo Swinney.
2. Justin Fields, Georgia
Depth chart: Jake Fromm, sophomore.
Outlook: Fromm was great but Fields gets Cam Newton comparisons. That doesn’t sound like the type of prospect who will be content sitting the bench for two years if he can’t wrestle the job from Fromm. And why would a quarterback who almost won a national championship want to be content as a backup? This could get interesting quickly.
3. J.T. Daniels, Southern California
Depth chart: Matt Fink, sophomore; Jack Sears, redshirt freshman.
Outlook: Who will be Sam Darnold’s replacement? Fink is a dual-threat, not your typical USC quarterback, who beat out Sears for the backup job last season. Daniels is a five-star who enters the mix after reclassifying to the class of 2018 and bypassing his senior high school season, a move that’s becoming increasingly common for quarterbacks.
4. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
Depth chart: Devon Modster, sophomore; K.J. Carta-Samuels; senior; Austin Burton, redshirt freshman; Matt Lynch, sophomore.
Outlook: Modster played five games and got two starts, filling in when Josh Rosen was injured last season. He went 51 for 79 for 671 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions, and will likely begin the first spring under Chip Kelly as the No. 1 quarterback. Carta-Samuels, a grad transfer from Washington, should get a legitimate shot to win the job. But Thompson-Robinson is the type of dual-threat that worked so well for the former Oregon coach in Eugene. He is the future and the future might not be far off.
5. Justin Rogers, TCU
Depth chart: Shawn Robinson, sophomore; Grayson Muehlstein, senior.
Outlook: Robinson got a start as a freshman last season. The running is fine (6.9 yards per carry). The passing needs improvement (48 percent completions). Rogers is the most-touted quarterback recruit coach Gary Patterson has ever signed, but he is also coming off a knee injury that cost him most of his senior high school season. Rogers’ health could be the biggest factor in how this plays out both short-term and long-term for the Horned Frogs.
6. Matt Corral, Mississippi
Depth chart: Jordan Ta’amu, senior; Jason Pellerin, junior.
Outlook: Shea Patterson’s departure via transfer leaves Ta’amu as the starter for this season and a pretty clear path for Corral, a four-star Californian who the Rebels’ lured away from USC, to step into a starting role in 2019.
7. Jarren Williams, Miami
Depth chart: Malik Rosier, senior; N’Kosi Perry, redshirt freshman; Cade Weldon, sophomore.
Outlook: Rosier capably held things down last season, but he will need to take a big step forward this spring to hold off Perry and maybe even Williams, who is already enrolled. Ideally, one of the young players emerges this offseason and locks the job down for a few years.
8. Phil Jurkovec, Notre Dame
Depth chart: Brandon Wimbush, senior; Ian Book, junior.
Outlook: Wimbush held the job most of last season, but Book came on in relief in the bowl victory against LSU. That leaves Notre Dame heading into the spring with a competition at quarterback. Jurkovec, though, is clearly the future and the future could arrive as soon as 2019.
9. Emory Jones, Florida
Depth chart: Feleipe Franks, sophomore; Kyle Trask, sophomore; Jake Allen, redshirt freshman.
Outlook: Franks is the most experienced and nominal No. 1, but with Dan Mullen taking over at coach don’t be surprised if Jones gets the opportunity to blow past the other players on the depth chart. That could lead to some departures from Gainesville as soon as this spring.
10. Colson Yankoff, Washington.
Depth chart: Jake Browning, senior; Daniel Bridge-Gadd, sophomore; Jake Haener, redshirt freshman.
Outlook: The day before signing day Washington made the transfer of Eason, who went to high school in the Seattle area, official. In addition to Yankoff, the Huskies also signed Jacob Sirmon, another four-star quarterback in the 2018 class. So ideally, Browning stays healthy and locks down this season; Eason plays in 2019, lights it up and turns pro; and the 2020 competition is between Yankoff and Sirmon.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25