Category Archives: Player Position Rankings

2020 NFL Draft: Top Rated Quarterbacks

By Staff Writer, Noah Walraven

Oregon Duck’s QB Justin Herbert is hoping to the the number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

**Updated Sept 28, 2019*

Justin Herbert, Senior, Oregon, 6’6”/237

Herbert was widely considered to a top five pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, if he had decide to come out after his junior year: some had him projected as going number one overall. Barring any unforeseen disaster, Herbert’s name should be on the tip of every draft-fan’s lips next April.

Herbert possesses prototypical size and is more an your old school pure pocket passer. In 2018 Justin threw for 3,151 yards with 29 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions. His 512 yards of total offense broke Bill Musgrave’s 1989 school record. In that same game, Herbert’s 489 yards passing matched Musgrave for the best in school history, as well.

Herbert also tied Marcus Mariota’s Oregon record for six touchdown passes in a single game. Herbert has a strong arm, good touch and stays relaxed and composed in the pocket. I do not expect Herbert to drop any lower than the fifth pick when he declares for the draft.

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Photo: The Knoxville Sentinel

Tua Tagovailoa, Junior, Alabama, 6’1”/218

Tua Tagovailoa has shined since replacing (the now-departed) Jalen Hurts as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback. But the road to glory wasn’t glamorous or quick. Tua had to ride the pine behind Hurts, who was 26-2 going into the 2018 National Championship game. During that season, Tua’s playing time was limited to mop-up duty in Alabama’s one-side victories.

Although, Tua was being pushed as a starter by then-Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffen, it was hard for Saban to justify replacing a starting quarterback who had only lost 2 games in 28 contest. .

It wasn’t until Hurts struggled in the National Championship game that Saban finally decided to let Tua take the team on his back. Tagovailoa looked a little rusty when he first stepped into the game; he threw a terrible looking interception; and took a sack with time running down late in the 4th quarter.

Then, in dramatic fashion, Tagovailoa threw a beautiful 41 yard dart to DeVonta Smith to win the National Championship in OT.

Since that moment, Tua has been one of the most prolific quarterbacks in Div I. Last year, Tua threw for 3,966 yards with 43 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He completed close to 70% of his passes – and still, unbelievably, failed to win the Heisman Trophy.

Tua shattered the Alabama single season pass yards record by nearly 500 yards. On three different occasions, Tua has thrown and tied the Alabama single game passing touchdown record with 5 touchdowns in a game. In his career, he is already just 6 touchdowns away from A.J. McCarron’s Alabama career passing touchdown record. Tua has fit in well with the Alabama offense and his numbers certainly show for it.

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Jalen Hurts, Senior, Oklahoma, 6’2”/219

While Hurts lost the starting job in Alabama to Tagovailoa, he has re-emerged at Oklahoma – taking over for the departed Heisman winner, Kyler Murray.

Hurts, my personal favorite quarterback, has put up steady numbers throughout his college career. Hurts threw 2,780 yards, 23 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 2016. In 2017, he had tossed 17 touchdowns with just 1 interception.

During that season, Hurts was working on making smarter decisions when throwing the ball. Known for his ability to scramble and turn broken plays into positive years, Hurts as rushed the ball for an impressive 29 touchdowns in his career. Hurts has done an incredible job at transitioning himself through college as overtime he has gone from a running quarterback to a pocket passer. Hurts has shown that he is confident and smart with the ball. He has taken it upon himself to work on his game and develop himself overtime as he continuously betters himself.

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Oct 27, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (11) throws the ball against the Florida Gators during the second half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Fromm, Junior, Georgia, 6’2”/220

Fromm entered his true freshman year at Georgia in 2017 as the backup to Jacob Eason. In the first game of the season, after Eason suffered an injury, Fromm replaced him and completed 10-of-15 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.

Later in that same year, he led Georgia from behind for a 20-19 victory over Notre Dame. In 2017 Fromm had thrown for 2,615 yards with 24 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while in 2018 he had thrown for 2,749 yards with 30 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Fromm is third on Georgia’s single season passing touchdown list. He has been reliable in the quarterback position of a run first offense for Georgia. Fromm’s numbers have not quite popped out to this point so staying for his senior year would not be a bad idea to help increase his draft stock.

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AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 07: Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers looks to pass in the fourth quarter against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 7, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Joe Burrow, Senior, LSU, 6’4”/216

Ex-Ohio State Buckey, Joe Burrow has really shined for the LSU Tigers in 2019. Just 4 games into this season and Burrow has already thrown for 1,520 yards with 17 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He played extremely well against the Texas Longhorns team as he threw 31/39 for over 450 yards to help pick up the win for the LSU team. Burrow is off to a hot start in his senior season attracting the attention of scouts heading into next year’s NFL Draft. Burrow has a calm stance as he can deliver the ball accurately at any range of the field and has been smart with the football in his hands.

College Football: Week 4 Notre Dame at Georgia

#7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0) vs #3 Georgia Bulldogs (3-0)

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NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH | INDEPENDENT

Coach: Brian Kelly

Notre Dame Players to watch

*Junior QB Ian Book (6-0/208)

Book is 11-1 since taking over as a starter. He has a 6-0 TD/INT ratio after the first two games of ’19. Last year, he proved to be a better runner than expects and this year, he is the team’s leading rusher with 23 carries of 127 yards. Book’s strength is his pocket presence. Notre Dame averages close to 40 points per game with Book under center. If his OL gives him time, he’ll test the Bulldogs’ secondary.

Senior MLB Asmar Bilal (6-2/227)

Bilal replaces the departed Dru Tranquill in the middle of the Notre Dame defense. Bilal bring an instinctual awareness to the position, along with a physicality desired by HC Brian Kelly. physical presence in the middle. Bilal is second on the team in tackles heading into the Georgia game.

Senior DE Julian Okwara (6-5/240)

There was a lot of talk this off-season about Okwara’s potential to break Justin Tucks season sack record of 13.5. However, Okwara and fellow DE Khalid Kareem are off to a slow start in 2019. Through two games, Okwara and Kareem have combined for just seven tackles, two tackles for a loss and one sack in two games.  If Okwara has dreams of being a first round draft pick, this is the game he needs to show his maple moxie.

*Junior RG Tommy Kraemer (5-11/200)

Kraemer moved over from right tackle to play inside at right guard. His ability to pass protect and keep Book on his feet will be one of the keys to his game. The line has 4 returning starters , with over 60 career starts. So, far the running game hasn’t gotten going, so opening some holes against this Georgia defense and eating up the clock will be part of a successful game plan.

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GEORGIA BULLDOGS | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Kirby Smart

Georgia Players to watch:

*Junior LT Andrew Thomas (6-5/320)

Should Thomas declare after his junior season, he’ll be considered can’t miss first round pick. His ability to keep opposing defensive ends off QB Jake Fromm is this strength. This Georgia OL is one of the best in the country and should make a push at the Joe Moore Award (Nation’s top OL).

*Junior QB Jake Fromm (6-2/220)

Fromm took over from an injured Jason Eason in 2017. The true frosh had a solid season. He played well enough that Eason transferred to Washington State. Last year, Fromm put up another solid season, but was overshadowed in by the emergence of Trevor Lawrence and stellar play of Tua Taguvailoa. Georgia has several tough games on their 2019 schedule, Fromm getting off to a strong start against #7 Notre Dame would be good news for Bulldog fans.

*Junior DE RB D’Andre Swift (5-9/215)

Swift has over 350 yards from scrimmage in his first three games. With the departure of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, Swift is Georgia’s bell-cow in 2019. Georgia coach Kirby Smart recently said of Swift, “I think his biggest skill-set is making sure that other people are buying into the principles and values of the organization. … When Swift does that, that has a huge impact on the confidence of our team.” 

Senior RS JR Reed (6-1/195)

Since transferring from Tulsa, Reed has started 32 consecutive games at safety, showing a nose for the football (four interceptions, two fumble returns for touchdowns) and a hard-hitting style that has made him one of the team’s leading tacklers each of the past three seasons.

His father, Jake Reed, played a dozen seasons in the NFL as a receiver for the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. He retired in 2002 with 450 receptions, 6,999 yards and 36 touchdowns.

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Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium – Grass
Sept 21 | Athens, Georgia

2020: Quarterbacks

Top Rated Senior Quarterbacks

Sep 22, 2018. Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert (10) participates in warm-ups before playing the Stanford Cardinal at Autzen Stadium.
Photo Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

**Updated Sept 14, 2019**

  1. Justin Herbert, Oregon, 6-6/233
  2. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma, 6-2/2019
  3. Joe Burrow, LSU, 6-4/216
  4. Anthony Gordon, Washington State, 6-3/205
  5. Nate Stanley, Iowa, 6-4/242
  6. Jake Bentley, So. Carolina, 6-4/224
  7. Bryce Perkins, Virginia, 6-3/210
  8. Steve Montez, Colorado, 6-5/230
  9. Elijah Sindelar, Purdue, 6-4/225
  10. Jon Wassink, Western Michigan, 6-2/200

College Football: Week 3 Eastern Michigan at Illinois

Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-1) vs Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0)

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EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES | MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Coach: Chris Creighton

Eastern Michigan Players to watch

Senior RB Shaq Vann (5-10/215)

Look for the senior running back to put up some decent numbers in 2019; he’s currently on pace for 750 rushing yards and 25 receptions out of the backfield. In 2018, Vann led all Eagles running backs with 590 yards on 135 carries and totaled five touchdowns. In 2019, Vann was named a team captain.

Senior QB Mike Glass (6-0/212)

HC Chris Creighton prefers mobile quarterbacks. Glass is currently the team’s number two rusher, behind Vann. Last year, Glass played in 8 games, throwing for just over 1,000 yards.

Senior DOG/CB/LB Brody Hoying (5-11/203)

Hoying is the tempo setter on this year’s Eagle’s defense. He leads the team in sacks, tackles-for-loss; he has a interception and a forced fumble. In 2018, Hoying earned MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete and Academic All-MAC recognition.

Senior ROV/CB Vince Calhoun (5-11/200)

Voted to several All-MAC teams last year, Calhoun started all 13 games, accumulated 84 tackles, 2.0 TFL, one sack, and three interceptions on the year; he also earned a season and career-high 12 tackles at Buffalo (Sept. 15). He is currently second on team in total tackles with 16.

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ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI | BIG10 CONFERENCE

Coach: Lovie Smith

Illinois Players to watch:

Senior RB Reggie Corbin (5-10/200)

Running back Reggie Corbin hasn’t played since the first half of a Week 1 win against Akron after suffering a hip pointer. He traveled to UConn last week, and was dressed, but didn’t play. He returns to action vs Eastern Michigan. Corbin, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, gives Illinois a big-play threat.

Senior QB Brandon Peters (6-5/220)

Peters, a Michigan grad-transfer, finally gives Lovie Smith a legitimate quarterback. Last week vs UConn, Peters completed 24 of his 35 pass attempts for 227 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. A good game this week will help him get prepare for a tougher test against conference-rival Nebraska next week.

Senior DE Oluwole Betiku (6-3/250)

Betiku is a grad-transfer from USC. He is off to a blazing start under HC/DC Lovie Smith. Betiku is leading the nation in sacks, he already has 5.0 sacks in only two games, along with 6.5 tackles-for-loss. “If you just look at his athletic ability, you assume he can rush the passer, too,” Lovie Smith said. “I’m anxious to see him take another step this week. The sky’s the limit.”

Senior RG Richie Petitbon (6-4/316)

Lovie also brought in Alabama grad-transfer, Richie Petitbon to bring some veteran leadership to the offensive line. The former Washington, D.C. prep standout, has helped Illinois average 380 yards per game so far in this young 2019 season.

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Memorial Stadium – FieldTurf
Sept 14 | Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

College Football: Week 3 Stanford at UCF

Stanford Cardinals (1-1) vs #17 University of Central Florida Knights (2-0)

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STANFORD CARDINALS | PAC-12 CONFERENCE

Coach: David Shaw

Stanford Players to watch

***Sophomore CB Paulson Adebo (6-1/189)

Stanford Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo (11) intercepts a pass intended for California Golden Bears wide receiver Vic Wharton III, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.
(AP Photo/John Hefti)

The redshirt sophomore from Mansfield, Texas, is one of the top DB’s in the nation. He is on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list; the Jim Thorpe Award watch list; the Bednarik Award watch list; the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list; and has been named to the Associated Press Preseason All-America first team.

Junior QB K.J. Costello (6-5/215)

Stanford has quite the track record of turning out NFL quality quarterbacks. Costello looked to be next in line; however, he’s been off to a slow start in 2019. The offense has only produced 17, and 20 points in the first two outings. Look for Costello to exploit UCF’s decimated backfield and get himself back on track by putting up big numbers.

Junior TE Colby Parkinson (6-7/250)

Parkinson should have himself a career year in both receptions and yardage. A big, physical, target for Costello that can sit down in the zone, or run up the seem. He was one of the nation’s top talent’s coming out of high school, this should be his year to live up to that billing.

Junior OT Walker Little (6-7/313)

It wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Little declare for the draft after his junior season, but he’s injured and out for the season. He was one of the highest rated left tackles in the college game, with size and agility. In 2017, Little was Stanford’s first true freshman to start at left tackle since 2000 (Kirk Chambers). In 2018, Little protected the blindside of QB K.J. Costello, who finished with second-most passing yards in a season in school history. The line won’t be the same without him.

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UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA | AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Coach: Josh Heupel

UFC Players to watch:

****Freshman QB Dillon Gabriel (6-0/185)

Through two weeks’ Dillon has thrown five touchdown passes and zero ints. “I thought for his first time out there, being a true freshman, he managed everything and handled everything really well,” HC Josh Heupel said. “He was a good decision-maker in some of our run-pass stuff and did a good job in the pass game. Overall, pleased with what he did.”

Senior LB Nate Evans (6-1/241)

A leader on the defense, Evans racked up 99 tackles as a junior, with 2.5 sacks. He was also named All-AAC last year. He highlighted his season by scoring his first collegiate points on a 94-yard fumble recovery at ECU. In year two with DC Randy Shannon, look for Evans to put up even bigger numbers this year.

Senior DE Brendon Hayes (6-3/293)

Brother Martin product Brendon Hayes has been a key part of UCF’s young defensive line. Last year, he made 44 total tackles with 23 solo; recovered one fumble and recorded three sacks for a loss of 20 total yards. He was also named All-AAC Second Team in 2018. Hayes already has two sacks in 2019.

Junior FS Richie Grant (6-0/184)

Grant was UCF’s interception leader last year, earning First Team All-AAC, along with senior CB Nevelle Clarke. Clarke has been suspended for the first six games of the year due to a failed drug test; and with the recent injury to CB Brandon Moore, Grant will be asked to step his game up to another level.

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Bright House Networks Stadium – Grass
Sept 14 | Orlando, Florida

College Football: Week 3 North Carolina at Wake Forest

North Carolina Tar Heels (2-0) vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-0)

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NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS | ATLANTIC COASTAL CONFERENCE

Coach: Mack Brown

North Carolina Players to watch

Senior LT Charlie Heck (6-8/310)

Heck started all 11 games at right tackle, blocking for an offense that averaged 442.1 yards per game (31st NCAA), including 193.0 rushing yards per contest. A tenacious left tackle, Heck led an offensive line that allowed just 0.91 sacks per game (10 sacks/7th NCAA/2nd ACC).

Senior TE Carl Tucker (6-2/255)

Tucker is entering his senior year with the Tar Heels, coming off a junior season in which he caught 16 receptions for 265 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games. He started 6 games in his junior season, providing a big target for UNC quarterbacks.

Senior NG Aaron Crawford (6-1/315)

In 2018, during spring ball, Crawford tore his PCL and sprained his MCL as he tried to shed a block against a teammate. He returns with high expectations this season. In 2017, Crawford, started all 12 games as a redshirt sophomore. He recorded 29 tackles, three sacks, five tackles for loss and recovered a fumble.

Senior CB Cam’ron Kelly (6-1/215)

The NCAA declared the Auburn transfer eligible in 2019 – great news for the Demon Deacons. UNC DB Coach Dre Bly said of Kelly, “He’s smart being an offensive player, so he can see a lot of things on the field. He’s very versatile as a player. The minute he gets cleared to play, I can see him … having a role … on this team.”

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WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS | ATLANTIC COASTAL CONFERENCE

Coach: Dave Clawson

Wake Forest Players to watch:

Junior QB Jamie Newman (6-4/235)

The Wake Forest quarterback finished the 2018 season with more than 1,000 yards passing in just four games. This season, he seems to be picking up where he left off; through two games, Newman has completed 55 of his 74 passing attempts for 713 yards, with six touchdowns and no INTs: that’s seventh in the country through Week 2.

***Sophomore WR Sage Surratt (6-3/220)

Surratt will be an All-Purpose threat, receiving punts and catching deep balls from Newman. Surratt is N.C. state’s career H.S. record holder in receptions (366), yards (5,926) and touchdown receptions (80). He was voted N.C.’s AP Offensive Player of the Year after catching 129 passes for 2,104 yards, both state records, and scoring 28 touchdowns in the fall.

Junior ROV Luke Masterson (6-2/220)

Masterson played 110 snaps the first five games last season and 472 the last eight mostly because of an injury to Jessie Bates, now with the Cincinnati Bengals. Masterson had 42 stops and four pass break-ups for a defense that recorded 106 tackles for losses.

Senior CB Essang Bassey (5-10/185)

Bassey, the senior cornerback and team captain, has already consistently been one of the Deacons’ best defensive players for the past two seasons. In that stretch, he has four interceptions and 31 pass break-ups. He was a second-team All-ACC pick last year. He landed on the preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player) and the Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back).

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BB&T Field – Field Turf
Sept 13 | Winston-Salem, NC

College Football: Week 2 LSU at Texas

#6 Louisiana State University (1-0) vs #9 Texas Longhorns (1-0)

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LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Ed Orgeron

LSU Players to watch

Freshman CB Derek Stingley (6-1/195)

Stingley was the top rated CB in the country in 2018.
Photo: The Advocate | AP Photo File

The former Dunham High School star from Baton Rouge gives LSU a big weapon returning punts. Head Coach Ed Oregon said that Stingley looked like the best cornerback on the team. That says a lot, when CB Kristian Fulton turned down the NFL to return to play his senior season. LSU has one of the best defensive backfields in the country.

Senior QB Joe Burrow (6-4/216)

Burrow remind me a lot of former Alabama QB AJ McCarron. His primary job isn’t to win the game; his primary job is to be fundamentally sound, don’t turn the ball over, and get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. He’s the quintessential game manager.

**Sophomore OLB/DE K’lavon Chaisson (6-4/238)

Eleven months ago, Chaisson tore his left ACL in the season opener against Miami. The electric pass rusher is back and in full form. Physically, he’s ripped. Chaisson has his eye on the school’s single-season sack record (12). “Him rushing off the edge,” safety Grant Delpit said, “we know we’ve got guaranteed pressure on that side.”

*Junior SS Grant Delpit (6-3/203)

Delpit was a finalist for the Nagurski Award as the top defender in college football in 2018; and claimed the 2018 Jack Tatum Award from the Columbus Ohio Touchdown Club as the top defensive back in college football. A tremendous all around safety that can make plays all over the field, Delpit would have been a first round draft pick had he been eligible. He was a first team All-American and a Thorpe finalist.

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TEXAS LONGHORNS | BIG 12 CONFERENCE

Coach: Tom Herman

Texas Players to watch:

Junior QB Sam Ehlinger (6-3/230)

Ehlinger set a Big 12 record with 308 passes without an Int.
Photo: The Advocate | AP Photo File

Ehlinger has more than proven himself as a passer in college, too — his 3,292 passing yards last season rank fifth in school history and he’ll likely move into third place for most career passing yards later this season. Ehlinger has played in 23 games with 20 starts and 36 career touchdown throws.

Senior WR Collin Johnson (6-6/220)

Johnson surprised people by returning to school for his senior season. At 6-6, Johnson is a big target with a wide catch radius. Johnson has played in 38 games with 22 starts. He was one of five Longhorns elected by their teammates as a captain for the 2019 season. He enters his senior season with 150 receptions (ninth-most in school history) for 2,065 yards (10th-most in school history) and 12 touchdowns.

Senior OC Zach Shackelford (6-4/305)

As a junior, Shackelford played in 11 games with 10 starts. He was named first team All-Big 12 by the AP and second team by the coaches. Shackelford anchors one of the better offensive lines in the country. He is a leading candidate for the 2019 Rimington Award.

***Sophomore SS Caden Sterns (6-1/210)

Sterns earned All-Big 12 honors last year and led the team with 4 ints. Just entering his sophomore season, Sterns has already been named to the Jim Thorpe Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch lists in the 2019 preseason.

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Darrell K Royal- Texas Memorial Stadium – Field Turf
Sept 7 | Austin, Texas

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