College Football's Top 30 Quarterbacks For the 2013 Season
In 2012, Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel led a field of stars at his position to win the Heisman Trophy. Manziel claimed the most coveted award in college Football with over 5,100 total yards of offense.
Manziel wasn't on anyone's short list for the Heisman in the 2012 preseason. However, Johnny Football returns this year at or very near the top of every prognosticator's quarterback list.
Also joining the party are a number of talented new-comers, both up from high school and others who've been waiting their turn.
The following is a ranking of the top 30 college football quarterbacks for 2013. To increase the accuracy, analysis was conducted using more detailed information on each player. This included not only the athlete's past performance but surrounding cast, coaching and scheduled opponents for 2013 as well.
Tie #28 - #30 Tyler Russell, #17 Senior, Mississippi State Bulldogs - 6'4", 220 lb. Eight of Russell's 10 total interceptions were thrown in the season's final two games last year. Mississippi State had an inexperienced offensive line that just wore down late in the year. As a result, Russell took a lot of hits and threw under duress.
This season, four starters return. They are a year bigger, stronger and most importantly, wiser in working together. Russell will have a big senior year.
Tie #28 - #30 Logan Thomas, #3 Senior, Virginia Tech Hokies - 6'6", 260 lb. After Tech suffered their worst record in 20 years (7-6) Frank Beamer decided to make fundamental changes to the offense. Jeff Grimes is the new line coach, Aaron Moorehead is the new receivers coach and new offensive coordinator is Scot Loeffler.
Expect the changes to make a difference this year as Frank Beamer gets help from the surrounding cast for his high-caliber senior quarterback.
Tie #28 - #30 David Ash, #14 Junior,Texas Longhorns, 6'3", 223 lb. The talented Ash will be running a different offense this season. Gone is the more pro-style attack of the past four years. Back in is the spread, much like Texas ran from 04 through 09 and went to four BCS bowls with.
The new offense is being installed by Major Applewhite, a familiar name to Texas fans. Applewhite plans on running up-tempo as well. With a new play being ran every 15 seconds.
Tie #25 - #27 Devin Gardner, #12 Senior, Michigan Wolverines, 6'4", 203 lb. Brady Hoke has finally accumulated enough of the right type players to run his offense full time. Look for Gardner to have a big year.
Tie #25 - #27 Jeff Driskel, #6 Junior, Florida Gators. 6'4", 237 lb. Five specific things have improved to help Driskel this year: 1). Though still very difficult, the Gators schedule isn't quite as bad as 2012. 2). The offensive line could not hold pass blocking long enough last year. This season it is bigger, stronger and more experienced in that area. 3). In 2012, Florida's receivers simply did not get open--or stay open--as well as they needed to help their quarterback. Overall, there is some improvement in receiving talent but more is needed. 4). Driskel is a year more experienced. This makes a huge difference in ability to recognize defenses and get the ball away—to the correct person—more quickly. 5). Offensive Coordinator Brent Pease, is in his second year at Florida. He likely didn't get to do everything he wanted in year one due to time and personnel. That will change this year.
Expect the cumulative effect of all this to be a great improvement overall for Driskel.
Tie #25 - #27 Cody Fajardo, #17 Junior, Nevada Wolf Pack - 6'2", 205 lb. Fajardo may have been ranked even better if not for the head coaching change and the loss of three starting linemen. However, last season's offensive coordinator, Nick Rolovich is returning. So, expect the offense to run exactly as it did last season.
Tie #22 - #24 Keith Price, #17 Senior, Washington Huskies, 6'1", 202 lb.
Price's stats and QB rating took a dramatic down-turn last year from his sophomore season. For instance, in 2011 he threw 33 TD's vs. 11 int. for over 3,000 yards and his QB Rating was about 40 points higher than his 122.4 in 2012.
To get the senior back to performing up to his talent level several things are being done. A new QB coach / tutor was brought in to work with him on mechanics and the offense will be sped up considerably, going no-huddle next season. Also, four of five of the starting linemen return from last season.
Look for these changes—along with the additional maturity of being a senior—to pay off in big numbers for Price next season.
Chelf may get the early nod as starter since the senior finished the year with the MVP award in the Heart of Dallas Bowl after directing the Cowboy's 58-14 beat-down of Purdue.
Barring injury, either QB will post incredible numbers if they play the majority of the snaps next season.
Tie #22 - #24 Terrance Broadway, #8 Junior, Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns. 6'2", 205 lb. He enters the year with five of the top seven receivers returning, along with three of the top four rushers. In addition, the line returns three of last season's starters, along with a high quality junior college transfer.
Head Coach Mark Hudspeth has lead the Cajuns to back-to-back 9-4 seasons. Offensively, they ranked 24th nationally, averaging 35.5 points per game. There is plenty of evidence to suggest the offense can be even more potent this year, based primarily on the number of returning veteran skill players.