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USC vs. UCLA, 11-19-22: Photo Gallery

The USC Trojans, led by quarterback Caleb Williams, overcame a 14-point first quarter deficit to win a shootout in the battle of Los Angeles Saturday night.

Williams passed for a career-high 470 yards with two touchdowns and also added another 33 yards (TD) on the ground. His counterpart, UCLA star quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, accounted for six touchdowns (4 PASS, 2 RUSH) but also had four turnovers in the team’s hard-fought 48-45 defeat.

The Trojans (10-1) kept themselves relevant in the race for a potential CFP playoff berth with a huge game coming up against Notre Dame next week.

Just in the Nick of time

There has to be a place for Appalachian State’s Nick Hampton on the next level.

If there is a play to be made, the Mountaineer will find a way to make it. In 2022, he changed his number from 31 to nine. There has been no subtraction from his steady four-year run of production.

Over the course of the last four seasons (through 10-2-22), Hampton has tallied 36 tackles for losses. That total includes 24.5 quarterback sacks.

Not bad for a 6-foot-2, 225-pounder.

Nick Hampton OLB Appalachian State
There are few defenders who have been productive as Mountaineers OLB Nick Hampton.

So how does he consistently win rushing the passer?

Although relatively high in his two-point stance, he can turn the corner when running the hoop. Hampton uses his 81-inch wingspan to keep blockers off of his frame when twisting from the outside-in on stunts (3rd and 9, 3rd QTR, ECU ’21).

Cleaning up the false step that he has getting out of his two-point stance at either outside linebacker spot could be a focus. Even with it, he transfers speed-to-power on occasion versus much bigger offensive tackles.

Nick Hampton lines up on the kickoff team
Nick Hampton has made a number of plays on the team’s kickoff team during the course of his career.

Team have to prepare for the work he puts forth on the kick coverage units as well, where his skill at dislodging from blockers has paid dividends in the past (see 1st QTR, ECU ’21).

In 2022, Hampton has gotten off to another fast start after finishing second in the Sun Belt Conference with 11 quarterback sacks as a junior.

The former Westside High School (S.C.) product puts up amazing numbers in the weight room (600-lb sumo deadlift according to Appalachian State’s website-https://appstatesports.com/sports/football/roster/nick-hampton/7624) and matches them with similar production on the field. He should impress with his testing numbers whenever he declares for the draft.

However, it is the numbers he puts up on the field that continue to draw praise from opposing teams.

Want proof?

Check out his miles per hour when chasing some of college football’s fastest players (runs down ECU RB Keaton Mitchell, 3rd QTR, ECU ’21).

Mitchell hit 22.6 miles per hour on an 81-yard touchdown run against Old Dominion in 2022. This is this fastest time recorded in college football this season.

So how fast is Hampton?

He gets to most of his destinations in just the Nick of time.

JARED

In today’s world of college football, freshmen are often tasked with making an immediate impact. How many can get it done in a variety of ways from a mental perspective?

Quarterback Grayson McCall returned from a late injury against Georgia State the week prior to not only lead the Chanticleers to a 34-30 back-and-forth victory over Georgia Southern, but he did it to the tune of 335 yards passing with 34 more yards on the ground.

Grayson McCall rolling to his right vs. Georgia State in 2022
Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall is asked to run a spread triple option attack which features RPO slants/posts and outside the numbers throws.

For his efforts, McCall was named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week. With just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, McCall threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Tyler Roberts on a post route in-between two defenders to cut Georgia Southern’s lead to 24-21.

So who else was he throwing the ball to?

Enter Jared Brown. His 61-yard touchdown reception versus the Eagles put the Chanticleers 28-27 in the fourth quarter. It was the team’s first lead since the beginning of the first quarter. Needless to say, Head Coach Jamey Chadwell was not surprised.

“He (McCall) pumped to the right, they covered a couple of guys there to the right…he found Jared, we had great protection,” Chadwell explained. “He had a huge pocket that was very clean, and he put that throw right over there and then JB (Jared Brown) has some speed. He outran all those guys.”
——Coach Chadwell Radio Show (October 5, 2022)

Brown came into the season perhaps lightly regarded with the addition of Georgia State transfer Sam Pinckney, who has been no slouch either in his teal and black debut season (28 receptions for 377 yards, 13.5 YPR, TD).

But teams preparing for the Chanticleers have to take notice of the ever-emerging redshirt freshman, currently ranked fourth in the conference in yards per reception through five weeks (20.63).

Why?

Jared Brown goes in motion for the Chanticleers
Jared Brown (No. 14 pictured) is often brought in motion for the Chanticleers or lines up in the backfield as part of their triple option spread attack.

You don’t know where Jared Brown will line up. On the first play of the Georgia State contest (9-22-22), he lined up at an offset position (shotgun) in the backfield and scored on a 50-yard wheel route reception from McCall up the left sidelines. Later, he outpaced the Panthers defense after receiving a forward pitch from McCall on a 53-yard touchdown reception that was originally scheduled to be a pitch on a triple option.

Two 50-yard plus touchdown receptions in one quarter.

They bring him in motion as part of the team’s triple option spread attack as the pitch element. He comes in speed motion to provide eye dirt for linebackers when they’re running their speed inside zone reads. He lines up outside or in the slot.

Remember that part when we talked about him being a redshirt freshman.

At this point, he is shining in a myriad of roles.

That glow is reminiscent of Jared.

You know, the jewelry.

So far, he’s been a gift for the Chanticleers.

Avila continues to flash voracity

The TCU running game has been on fire this year and part of the reason revolves around the team’s interior offensive line. Led by Esteban Avila (6’4 339) and SMU transfer Alan Ali (6’5, 300), there are a number of possibilities down-to-down with their inside run schemes.

Look no further than TCU’s fourth quarter goal line touchdown against SMU two weeks ago. The Mustangs aligned in a three-man front with two stacked linebackers. Ali (6’3, 300) sat on zero-or-one-technique nose guard Terrance Newman early in the down, allowing Avila to quickly climb to SMU linebacker and Oregon transfer Isaac Slade-Matautia. After left tackle Brandon Coleman controlled defensive end DeVere Levelston, it provided a walk-in touchdown for running back Emari Demercado.

Earlier in the third quarter, Avila flashed an adequate ability to get out in front for Demercado on a screen pass that netted a big gain for the Horned Frogs. On the play, Avila hit a moving target in space (LB Shanon Reid) to open up hidden yardage for Demercado.

Both of these plays occurred while Avila manned the left guard spot.

When Ali left the game briefly in the third quarter due to injury, Avila slid over to the center position. This is the spot he started at during his second-team All-Big 12 campaign as a junior. As a left-handed snapper, he is most comfortable in pass protection going left, but his overall awareness remains more than satisfactory at the position.

TCU Steve Avila practicing center snap vs. SMU in 2022
TCU offensive lineman Steve Avila, pictured, has started at all of the three interior line spots for the Horned Frogs. He moved to center for a couple of snaps against SMU when starter Alan Ali went down to injury.

The question for NFL teams will inevitably revolve around his projection in zone-based run schemes. The Horned Frogs All-Big 12 lineman most likely projects in a man blocking scheme due to a few hiccups reaching opponents laterally on a consistent basis. With that said he started at all three interior line spots as a sophomore in 2020. The theme has continued thus far in 2022.

The four-year starter gobbles up defenders half or equal to his size and -once he gets his hands on the opposition- can be tough to dislodge from down-to-down. The quick hands alternate when punching while sitting down to anchor. His trunk strength and bulk frequently wins for him in the elevator battles without having to jump around to catch his opponents.

As is typical of most Horned Frogs, Avila showcases voracity on the field.

Here’s Johnny

The Florida State Seminoles (4-1) lost a hard-fought 31-21 contest to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-1) last weekend, but it did not take away from the early season performance of wide receiver Johnny Wilson (6’7 235). The Pacoima, California native and Arizona State transfer had limited productivity for the Sun Devils due to a 2021 hamstring injury.

Wilson’s touches go back-and-forth depending on the team’s game plans from week-to-week. What doesn’t get noticed is the blocking downfield that has been at least adequate through five games. This provides him with possibilities as an F or H-back-type for the next level.

It has not all been perfect.

FSU WR Johnny Wilson versus LSU in Week 1 of the 2022 campaign
Wilson (No. 14 pictured) is often required to use his 6-foot-7, 235-pound frame to block opponents in the run game.

In some of those cases, Wilson has overrun crack block opportunities versus safeties (see vs. Burns, 3rd QTR, LSU ’22). In addition, the former Sun Devil was unable to corral a potential slant-and-go touchdown grab in the end zone versus the cornerback when LSU safety Jay Ward knocked the ball out of his hand (3rd QTR, LSU ’22).

Those missed chances do not erase the numerous pass interference penalties he has drawn versus quick, fluid cornerbacks (see Clark, Louisville ’22). The stride length (five yards in first three steps) presents different pictures for cornerbacks. Wilson tallied nearly 150 yards in this contest (7 receptions, 149 yards, TD vs. Louisville ’22). He turned around Cardinals safety Kenderick Duncan, Jr. on a post route that led to a 69-yard catch-and-run. His full extension high-point touchdown grab in the fourth quarter versus cornerback Jarvis Brownlee, Jr. was artistic. All three of his touchdowns this season have come in the fourth quarter.

There are still some high-level opponents for him to overcome the rest of the year. NC State’s defense should provide one-on-one opportunities if they commit to stopping FSU’s powerful ground game. Can they shut down the Seminoles three-headed monster of running backs Treshaun Ward, Trey Benson and Lawrance Toafili? The trio has combined for nine rushing touchdowns. Conversely, the Wolfpack defense is allowing a measly 3.4 yards per carry and ranks 15th nationally in rushing defense (as of 10-3-22).

If so, then Wilson’s size and catch radius have to win in isolation on the outside for the Seminoles. Perhaps surprisingly, FSU ranks 35th nationally in passing offense (278 YPG) thus far in 2022. This represents nearly a 77-yard improvement over last season’s final totals. Wilson’s 18.8 yards per reception (19 catches) certainly ranks as a big part of the team’s sudden resurgence through the air.

Tomorrow’s performance could bring more spotlight for the budding star in Tallahassee.

Here’s Johnny.

RedHawk transfers paying dividends for Jayhawks, Bearcats

Through the season’s first month, two former Miami (Ohio) stars have helped take their new teams to the next level. The MAC’s leading tackler from a season ago, Ivan Pace, Jr., joined his younger brother, Deshawn (20 tackles, QB sack, 3 TFLs, INT-TD, PBU and one blocked kick), in the Cincinnati linebacking corps. The chemistry has been palpable for the nation’s 22nd-ranked defense. Ivan leads the nation with 13.5 tackles for loss entering Week 6, and he also has six quarterback sacks with two forced fumbles.

While at Miami (Ohio), he displayed a knack for reading the action instinctively and always flashed a short-area burst to reach the quarterback. Pace has often been far too much for running backs to handle in blitz pickup at various stages (2nd QTR/6:40, Ohio ’21).

Ivan Pace LB Cincinnati in the 2021 Frisco Football Classic
Pace, Jr. (No. 0 pictured for Miami in 2021) transferred to Cincinnati in 2022 and currently leads the nation with 13.5 tackles for losses (through five games).

On Ohio’s next drive during that game, Pace, Jr. forced a fumble (2nd QTR, Ohio ’21).

Never a threat to pass the eye test, teams around the AAC have their sights fixated on Pace, Jr. when they turn on Cincinnati’s game film. He began the year with 12 tackles, one quarterback sack and three-and-a-half tackles for loss against Arkansas on the road. He has posted four double-digit tackle performances and is currently tied for fifth nationally in that category (56 tackles).

Prior to the 2020 campaign, Pace, Jr. changed his number from 23 to zero for the Redhawks. And he’s responded by averaging nearly 10 tackles per game over that time span.

Statistically, there have been none better than the Bearcats’ latest star.

In Lawrence, Kansas (5-0) also got a boost from a former RedHawk with the addition of Phelps. He is the same explosive player who nearly decapitated two blockers in kickoff coverage during the 2021 Frisco Classic Bowl. That type of intensity is nothing new for Phelps, who plays the game with an attitude that tips the scales of angry play. His kickoff cover prowess was evident during the 2021 season at various points (tackle, 3rd QTR/8:26, Ohio ’21).

He’s strong with his hands and can win at the point of attack. Phelps has posted sacks in each of his last two outings after starting the year with a dominant three-sack performance against Tennessee Tech. The Big 12 Conference named him the Defensive Player of the Week after the performance (9-5-22).

Nine-and-a-half of his 30 tackles in 2021 went for quarterback sacks, but it was the manner in which he finished those which catches the eyes of opponents.

Lonnie Phelps in the 2021 Frisco Football Classic
Phelps, pictured, led Miami (Ohio) with 13.5 tackles for losses in 2021. He already has five quarterback sacks in 2022 for the Jayhawks.

The team faces its biggest test of the year this week against TCU. The Jayhawks are counting on Phelps, a redshirt junior, to continue his torrid pace. The Horned Frogs rushing attack ranks second in the Big 12 and sixth nationally at 252 yards per game. One of Phelps’ strengths is suddenness. His hands have to be ready for combat due to the size of TCU offensive tackles Brandon Coleman (6’6, 325) and Andrew Coker (6’7, 315). Coleman is a former guard who moves bodies in the run game and Coker’s size often engulfs opponents.

Kansas, however, ranks 39th in the country in rushing defense and allowed just 26 yards on the ground to Iowa State (3-2) in last week’s 14-11 victory.

2021 CSJ Bahamas Bowl Preview: Shafer’s Three-fers

The 2021 CSJ Bahamas Bowl features a number of healthy individual storylines, but perhaps none more so than a three-fers approach for one of the nation’s top defenses. Injuries and improved play have been a theme for both teams heading into the contest. Toledo (7-5), led by first-year starting quarterback DeQuan Finn, reeled off victories in four of its last five games. Middle Tennessee (6-6) rebounded from a 2-4 start by winning four of its final six contests to achieve bowl eligibility. The Blue Raiders eventually settled on freshman quarterback Nicholas Vattiato, a Plantation, Florida native, in its last four games. Today, however, we spotlight one of the game’s top defensive minds and a philosophy that has led to eye-popping results.

MTSU Defensive coordinator Scott Shafer’s three-fers

Shafer, the former Syracuse head coach, is one of the more creative defensive minds in all of college football. Shafer-led defenses are known for producing turnovers and touchdowns, and they do so on a regular basis. In 2021, his unit has forced a whopping 18 fumbles (T-2nd nationally), recovered 15 fumbles (T-1st nationally) and picked off 16 passes (314 yards, 3 TDs). For good measure, the team has also returned three fumbles for scores. Their six defensive touchdowns are tied for first in all of FBS football with Nevada and Ohio State. One of the reasons? Shafer’s recruiting philosophy. He talks about recruiting three-fers. Three-fers are high school athletes who play three different positions (in football) and three different sports.

So which players on MTSU’s explosive defense have contributed to his unique philosophy?

12 Reed Blankenship 6’1 200 FS-Senior MTSU

The first-team All-C-USA safety was a star quarterback at West Limestone High School (Ala.), where he rushed for over 3,000 yards, passed for over 1,000 yards and tallied 1,004 receiving yards. The former state championship basketball player is the unquestioned leader of the defense, combining a coach’s intelligence with positive movement skills. After back-to-back injury-plagued seasons, Blankenship has largely returned to his 2018 form, when he picked off four passes and returned one of the interceptions 100 yards for a score. His angles have been hit-or-miss at times as a tackler, but he typically posts at least one highlight film play per game. Blankenship was forced to miss over 40 days of summer workouts in 2020 due to quarantine for COVID-19, but never tested positive. That absence gave him an even stronger appetite to be around both teammates and coaches, whom he steadily gives credit to both on and off the field.

“It starts off just listening to the coaches,” Blankenship said when asked about his long run of big plays at the school. “It’s all about your teammates on the plays you make.”

Reed Blankenship S-MTSU 2022 NFL Draft
Blankenship was named an all-conference performer in 2021 after notching a career-high 10 tackles for loss.

He finished third on the team in 2021 with 10 tackles for loss, returned a fumble 90 yards for a score and forced two fumbles. The respect he has for those around him is definitely reciprocal.

“He has a high football IQ. Good vision. Patience. Very good football player,” Shafer said of Blankenship. “There’s a comfort factor there.”

Blankenship recently received an invite to the 2022 East-West Shrine All-Star Game in Las Vegas, Nevada.

3 Quincy Riley 6’0 181 CB-R-Freshman MTSU

The next of Shafer’s three-fers who stood out in 2021 was Riley, a former A.C. Flora High School (S.C.) product with blazing recovery speed.

Want proof?

Riley won the South Carolina Class 4A state track and field championship with a blazing 10.48 100-meter time back in 2019. His confidence on the field allows for him to jump routes early in the down, as UTSA quarterback Frank Harris discovered early in 2021 when trying to throw an out pattern to Riley’s side that he picked and nearly took back the distance.

Injuries have been a bit of a hiccup for Riley, who missed four games in 2021. Technically, he is eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft after having played in three games back in 2019, his first year on campus. During that season, a season-ending injury also thwarted his charge. In fact, the first-team All-C-USA freshman corner posted five interceptions for 153 yards (TD) in just eight games this season. In 2020, prior to injury, he picked off two passes (77 yards) in an All-C-USA freshman campaign.

First-team All-C-USA CB Quincy Riley (pictured in press) finished tied for second in the nation with five interceptions (153 yds, TD).

So what other sport made him one of the three-fers?

“He was a great basketball player in high school,” Shafer said.

Yes. Another player who fits the bill. And in football, he stood out playing wide receiver at the prep level, notching over 300 yards receiving as a senior with six special teams scores.

91 Jordan Ferguson 6’2 262 DL-Junior MTSU

The permanent team captain rounds out our list on Shafer’s philosophy, although the defense is littered with players who fit the bill. Ferguson is actually tied with another of the three-fers, safety Gregory Grate (5’11, 197, JR), for the team lead in forced fumbles (three). The Cartersville High School (Ga.) product plays a variety of roles for the team, as he aligns at defensive tackle, defensive end and rush outside linebacker. In fact, he has seen time as a personal protector on the punt team.

In high school he was a star tight end, racking up 15 touchdowns as a junior alone. Shafer found him somewhere else.

“He played high school basketball as a kid,” Shafer said. “Great leader. He is capable of playing inside or outside (on the defensive line). Ran practices for the team when we weren’t there.”

The second-team All-C-USA performer certainly was there for the team in 2021, when he notched career-highs in sacks (eight), tackles for loss (16.5), forced fumbles (three) and quarterback hurries (14). In the team’s bowl-clinching win versus Florida Atlantic, he took a fumble return back 71 yards for a score.

The three-fers don’t stop with those three, no pun intended, as second-team All-C-USA linebacker DQ Thomas (80 tackles, 5 QB sacks, 14.5 TFLs, FF, 2 INTs (43 yds, TD), 2 PBUs) was a powerlifter at the prep level. Versus Virginia Tech, he ran down quarterback Braxton Burmeister for a sack and was in on several pressures. The Oxford, Mississippi native is the school’s all-time leader in tackles for loss (51.5) heading into his final career game.

But it all goes back to the former collegiate quarterback drawing up the defenses and his own unique recruiting philosophy. Shafer’s mix of pre-snap defensive movement (involving safeties and linebackers), zone blitzes, six-man pressures, five-man fire zones and multiple looks leads to confusion for opposing offenses.

MTSU defensive coordinator Scott Shafer gives Marshall a unique defensive pre-snap look back in 2019.

He credits MTSU head coach Rick Stockstill for being open to his various suggestions during games.

“He’s open to thoughts before, during and after games,” the longtime defensive coordinator said.

And with three head coaches on one coaching staff (Stockstill, Shafer and former Clemson HC Tommy West), perhaps they meet the three-fers philosophy on their own.

After all, as Shafer put it, “there’s nothing we’re afraid to communicate.”

Ryan Bowman DL-Senior Washington Huskies

Over the course of Washington Huskies defensive lineman Ryan Bowman’s career, he’s been a versatile, intense playmaker. As his play has proven, average size is only part of his story. The unique combination of savvy and power often allowed him to out-muscle the competition, if you will. We look inside his game in our breakdown on the former Husky and give a sneak preview of our scouting report.

Washington Huskies DL Ryan Bowman (No. 55 pictured on the tackle) often out-worked opponents in school. Some of his opponents in practice were NFL-caliber.

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Football player! Former walk-on who made himself a factor in the Pac-12. Has played LB, DE and OLB. Sudden on line spikes to beat OGs from the RDE spot (four-technique, QBH, 2nd QTR, BYU ’19). Wins on these types of spikes from the stand-up two-point LOLB spot due to quickness (tackle vs. Holani, 4th QTR, Las Vegas Bowl ’19). Sinks his hips and got around the OG vs. BYU in 2019 to force a QB sack (FF, FR-TD). Times snap counts and will crease the backfield (TFL, Colorado ’18). From the OLB spot, he displays some LB-like ability to capture contain vs. speed sweeps to force the ball back inside (2nd QTR, Las Vegas Bowl ’19). Uses spin/roll moves when OTs set high against him to his outside hip (Oregon State ’19). As an interior DL, he spins out of blocks to make tackles inside (UCLA ’18). In these moments, he extends his inside hand as he makes the move. Deft roll moves elude OTs (tackle, third down, 3rd QTR, USC ’19).

Nevada Wolf Pack 2022 NFL Draft: Pros and cons

The Nevada Wolf Pack have a host of NFL prospects in this year’s draft class. Prior to its 2021 Quick Lane Bowl matchup versus the Western Michigan Broncos, we dive into the team’s prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft.

12 Carson Strong 6’4 220 (E) QB-Junior

Nevada junior QB Carson Strong, pictured, completed 70% of his nearly 44 passing attempts per game in 2021.


* Football IQ/Howitzer/Toughness
* Attacks all 53 1/2 yards of the field
* Carson Palmer-type
* Creativity?

7 Romeo Doubs 6’2 200 WR-Senior

* Carries pads/Creates panic for the DB
* Positive deep ball tracker
* Aligns at multiple spots/North-south punt returner
* Concentration lapses


35 Toa Taua 5’10 210 RB-Senior

* Low center of gravity
* Excellent hand-eye coordination (catch vs. Purdue, 4th QTR, 2019)
* Bounces off tacklers
* Ball security (left too many footballs on the turf)

19 Cole Turner 6’6 240 TE/H-back-Senior

* Comfortable working in-between hash marks
* Catch radius/Red Zone threat
* Mike Gesicki-type/Positive space blocker
* In-line blocking question marks/Bulk?

99 Dom Peterson 6’0 295 DL-Senior

Nevada DL Dom Peterson (No. 99 pictured) heads into the team’s bowl game with 42.5 career tackles for losses.

  • Leverage/lateral quickness/productivity (21 career QB sacks)
  • Moves around the front
  • Length? Where will he play?

Frost is one of the better run blocking tackles in the Mountain West Conference.

65 Aaron Frost 6’4 305 RT-Senior

* Nasty/Finish/Tone-setter
* Run blocking prowess
* Can he play center?

95 Tristan Nichols 6’4 245 DE-Junior

* Wheels arm to turn corner/Long-arms opponents
* Special teams upside on the FG block unit
* One-year wonder

11 Daiyan Henley 6’2 225 LB-Senior

* Coverage upside/Ball skills (4 INTs, TD in 2021)
* Improving mirroring in-between the C-gaps
* Inconsistent block destroyer

6 Tyson Williams 5’9 200 S-Senior

* Experienced/Attacks the action/Instinctive
* Takes some gambles in coverage (KSU ’21)
* Size question marks

2018 Recruiting Recap: Quarterbacks

The 2018 recruiting class at quarterback was a star-studded group that has already had two of its quarterbacks, Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars, 2021 NFL Draft, 1st Round, 1st overall) and Justin Fields (Chicago Bears, 2021 NFL Draft, 1st Round, 11th overall), hear their names called in the NFL Draft. Today, we take a look at the trajectory of the rest of the group. For the purposes of being fair in compiling our Top 10 lists by position group, we continue to use aggregate rankings from three of the top recruiting services (Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN). We also used the most prevalent designation for each quarterback (pro-style or dual-threat) when they came out of high school.

Trevor Lawrence (Pro) Clemson: Ranked #1 by 247Sports, Rivals, & ESPN
Consensus No. 1 recruit coming out of high school who exceeded the many expectations that were placed upon him. Lawrence showed ultimate poise as a true freshman going undefeated and winning the national championship with 347 yards passing and three touchdowns. He won various awards during his time at Clemson, finishing his career with a 34-2 record. Lawrence was taken first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft (Jacksonville Jaguars) and he was widely regarded as the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck in 2012 (Indianapolis Colts).

Justin Fields (Dual) Ohio State: Ranked #1 by 247Sports, Rivals, & ESPN
Fields committed to the Bulldogs and played in 12 of 14 games as a freshman. However, with Jake Fromm being set as the starter, he decided to transfer to Columbus. Fields became the third Buckeye QB in the last 50 seasons to win his first 13 starts. He threw for over 3,000 yards in his first season as a full-time starter with a 41-to-3 touchdown-to- interception ratio. He added over 1,000 rushing yards with 19 touchdowns in his career. Consistency was a concern for many when it came to Fields at the next level, and he ended up going 11th overall in the first round to the Chicago Bears. Many seem to have forgotten when he was a supposed 1A to Trevor Lawrence. I haven’t.

JT Daniels (Pro) USC Trojans: Ranked #2 by 247Sports & Rivals, #3 by ESPN
Daniels enrolled at USC in 2018 and started every game he played. He showed some promise, however a knee injury in the 2019 season opener ended his campaign prematurely. Kedon Slovis took over and played exceptionally well, causing Daniels to transfer to Georgia. He finally got his opportunity late in the year, starting the final four games, all wins for the Bulldogs. In those contests, he threw for over 1,000 yards with 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Daniels returned to Georgia for the 2021 season and, if he can build on last year’s momentum, may very well set up his pathway into the NFL.

Tanner McKee (Pro) Stanford: Ranked #3 by 247Sports, #4 by Rivals, & #5 by ESPN
McKee spent most of the last two years in Brazil as a missionary. He made his collegiate debut in 2020, but appeared in just one game. The highly-touted 6-foot-6, 228-pounder will look to solidify his collegiate career in 2021 as a first-time starter. To do so, he will have to fend off senior Jack West.

Justin Rogers QB UNLV
Rogers, pictured, completed 14-of-22 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown for UNLV in 2020. Most of those yards came against an impressive San Jose State defense.

Justin Rogers (Dual) TCU: Ranked #2 by 247Sports & Rivals, #4 by ESPN
Rogers entered the Horned Frogs program as the highest rated recruit of the Gary Patterson-era. However, a devastating injury suffered as a senior in high school never really opened an opportunity at TCU. He threw just one pass for Texas Christian and -after seeing no game action in 2019- Rogers transferred to UNLV. He appeared in two games last season and will look to compete for the starting job in 2021. Standing in Rogers’ way is left-handed 6-foot-5 sophomore Doug Brumfield.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson QB UCLA
Thompson-Robinson -a three-year starter- has already accounted for 47 total touchdowns heading into 2021.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson (Dual) UCLA: Ranked #3 by 247Sports, #2 by Rivals & ESPN
Thompson-Robinson has seen consistent action in all three seasons for the Bruins. In 2020, he was named second-team All-Pac-12 after completing 65% of his passes with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions in five contests. DTR also displayed his dual-threat rushing capability by accounting for over 300 yards and three touchdowns on 55 attempts. Facing a brutal schedule in 2021, the strong-armed veteran has a legitimate chance to become the high-riser of the 2022 NFL Draft’s quarterback class. Thompson-Robinson has first-round talent.


Jarren Williams QB-USF
Williams, pictured, was more than capable in 2019 for the Hurricanes but is now entrenched in a quarterback battle at USF.

Jarren Williams (Dual) Miami: Ranked #4 by 247Sports, #8 by Rivals, & #6 by ESPN
Williams saw brief action as a freshman, with most of his playing time coming in 2019. He completed 61% of his passes with 19 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. However, Miami finished the year 6-7 and put out a futile effort in their bowl game (2019 Independence Bowl). Williams transferred to Garden City CC following the year and their season was cancelled due to COVID-19. He then enrolled at USF, where the former U.S. Army All-American is entrenched in a four-way battle for playing time amongst four contenders. The list includes former UNC quarterback Cade Fortin.

Matt Corral (Pro) Ole Miss: Ranked #5 by 247Sports, #3 by Rivals, & #6 by ESPN
Corral took over as the Rebels starting QB last season following limited action in his first two years. He finished the year completing nearly 71% of his passes with 29 touchdowns, while also adding over 500 rushing yards and four more scores to his season totals. Corral displayed his ability as a big-time thrower of the football in 2020. He passed for at least 300 yards in seven of 10 games, but he needs to cut down the turnovers (14 INTs, 4 fumbles-3 lost).

Tyler Shough QB-Texas Tech
Shough transferred to Texas Tech for the 2021 campaign despite compiling a 13:6 TD/INT ratio for the Ducks in 2020. Shough also had two games with over 80 yards on the ground.

Tyler Shough (Pro) Oregon: Ranked #6 by 247Sports & Rivals, #15 by ESPN
Shough appeared in five games as a redshirt freshman in 2019. In 2020, he took over as the team’s full-time starter, completing nearly 65% of his passes with 13 touchdowns in seven games. Following a disappointing end to the season, Shough decided to transfer to Texas Tech, where he’ll look to help turn a program around and build his draft stock over the next few years.

Phil Jurkovec (Dual) Notre Dame: Ranked #5 by 247Sports & Rivals, #9 by ESPN
Jurkovec saw minimal snaps during his first two seasons with the Fighting Irish due to a depth chart that included 30-game winner Ian Book. He transferred to Boston College and became the team’ starting QB in 2020. He threw for over 2,500 yards with 17 passing touchdowns and added another three rushing scores on the ground. Another impressive campaign in 2021 could land him as a mid-round selection in next year’s draft. He has certain characteristics that attract evaluators at the next level, including an ability to fit the ball into tight windows.