Ya'll know I love my QB research. I feel like this year's hype from the main sports media streams is leaving out some serious QB play. I am a numbers guy at heart, and there are some current numbers that need to be considered more than the preseason hype of some players.
First of all, I want to talk about some guys that are not on my list. I started following Spencer Rattler when he was in high school. He was the #1 QB in his graduating class and chose to follow Baker, Kyler, and Jalen at Oklahoma. I was excited to see a top guy choose somewhere outside of Alabama and Clemson. I had high expectations. He red shirted, which is always a good idea, and then got the job last season as Jalen Hurts went on to the NFL. He wasn't terrible last season, but definitely not at the level of the last three big Oklahoma QBs. Coming into this season, he needed to a strong start. He has not had that.
The Sooners are 4-0 but have had nail biters with unranked Tulane, Nebraska, and West Virginia. Offensive production was minimal in the last two games. He's got a long way to go to reach the potential #1 Pick status that some analysts were throwing around before the season.
Sam Howell had a great season last year, throwing for 30 TDs to only 7 INTs and knocking off 3/4 ranked opponents during the regular season, then played tough in a hard Bowl Game loss to #5 Texas A&M. I am still big on Howell for the 2021 season, but he has not had an elite start like I expected him to against 4 mediocre opponents, throwing 4 picks and taking SEVENTEEN sacks. September was not great for the junior.
I am 100% excited about Ole Miss QB Matt Corral. He currently has 9 TDs to ZERO INTs and has led his team to a 3-0 start. The only reasons he is not on my list is because he has only played 3 games and is yet to play a SEC opponent.
I expect he will be on my October list.
I think it is too early to rank these guys 1-5 due to the fact they are all impressive for different reasons and the season is so young. I will make this list in order based off of their ESPN Passer Rating.
5. Sean Clifford Passer Rating: 171.4
While now a Top 10 team, Penn State started the season out as #18. In their first four games, they have beaten #22 Auburn and #12 Wisconsin, as well as Villanova and Ball State to get to a 4-0 start. He completed 87% of his passes and took ZERO sacks vs Auburn. He currently sits 14th in completion percentage and 16th in QBR. October will be a big test for Clifford. He takes on my Hoosiers this Saturday - I will be watching!
4. Jake Haener Passer Rating 180.8
Fresno State was 3-3 last year with Haener at the helm, despite playing no ranked opponents. This year, they are off to a 4-1 start, losing to now #3 Oregon and after beating then #13 UCLA. He has completed 73.1% of his passes, thrown 15 TDs to only 2 INTs, and currently sits #1 in Passing Yards with 1,842. He has also ran in 3 scores. Keep your eyes on this dude. He may not be big enough to be considered in the NFL, but he has the makings of a great college quarterback.
3. Tanner Mordecai Passer Rating: 187.4
After sitting behind Spencer Rattler last year (yet completing 80% of his passes when he did play), he transferred to SMU for this season. He is off to a hot start, leading the nation in TD passes with 20. He is also 9th in completions, 17th in completion percentage, and (my personal favorite) FIRST in sacks taken. This dude has thrown 139 passes and has not taken a single sack. ZERO SACKS. The schedule has been weak, so some of these numbers are expected. But leading the nation in two categories gets him on my list. He is making the most of his transfer in his home state. I am rooting for Tanner Mordecai.
2. Bryce Young Passer Rating 188.5
The last three starting quarterbacks are starters in the NFL.
Now we have 6'0", 195 lbs Bryce Young.
When my brother asked me what I thought about the Alabama vs Miami matchup in Week 1, I told him not to bet. I said Alabama just sent their whole team to the NFL and Bryce Young is nothing like their last three QBs. Miami is a turnover machine and its possible that Roll Tide slides to 0-1. I was big time wrong. Young has knocked down #14 Miami and #11 Florida with ease, completing 67% of his passes, throwing 7 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions between those two games. He currently sits 12th in completion percentage, 6th in QBR, and 2nd in TDs. I believe he will continue to have a great season.
Kenny Pickett Passer Rating 195.6
#2 in Passing Touchdowns
#2 in ESPN Passer Rating
#5 in Completion Percentage
#5 in QBR
#6 in Passing Yards
#9 in Completions
Only 1 INT and 2 Rushing Touchdowns.
Pittsburgh may not be the school look at in terms of grooming NFL QBs, but Pickett is 6'3" 220 and is playing as good as one can. The schedule has been weak, but I am excited to learn more about this dude moving forward.