College Quarterbacks to Watch in 2019
Here is my list of college quarterbacks to watch in 2019. I’ve save you the obvious ones: Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm, Justin Herbert, Jacob Eason. All four of those guys are considered by scouts to be the best quarterbacks in college football and 2020 1st round NFL Draft picks. The purpose of this article is to highlight a few junior and senior signal-callers that are not being talked about with the same excitement and could have excellent seasons in 2019.
KJ Costello- Stanford
Costello could have declared for the 2019 NFL Draft but decided to stay in school, so he starts my list of college quarterbacks to watch in 2019. His numbers in two years as the QB for the Cardinal have been absolutely stellar. He has thrown for over 5000 yards and 43 touchdowns with an incredible career passer rating of 149.7. The returning 2nd Team All-Pac12 player and leader in nearly every conference passing category last season will look to put a lackluster bowl game behind him and become a star in 2019.
Feleipe Franks- Florida
Franks was highly recruited and has incredible talent, particularly with his big arm. As a freshman, he was thrown in for just one Hail Mary play because of that arm. His first full season as the starter was rough and had everyone questioning him. Last season, something seemed to click, as he was #3 in the SEC last season in touchdowns responsible for (24 passing, 7 rushing) and only threw 6 interceptions, while leading the Gators, out of nowhere, to a New Years’s Six bowl victory over a vaunted Michigan defense. His follow-up season could cause his draft stock to skyrocket, or, at the very least, provide even more intrigue for a senior season.
Jordan Love- Utah State
Playing for a program like Utah State, you’re sure to fly under the radar. But, the Aggies had a terrific 10-2 season last year, and Love’s breakout season was a huge part of it. In his second season as the starter, Love put up ridiculous numbers with over 3500 passing yards, 32 touchdowns (8th most in NCAA) and only 6 interceptions, good enough for top 3 in conference QB categories. He added 9 rushing touchdowns to all those accolades. With Gary Andersen replacing Matt Wells (Texas Tech) as head coach, it will be interesting to see how this offense changes. It is also worth noting that new offensive coordinator Mike Sanford has coached some explosive offenses in the past, so I’d expect Love to thrive.
Brian Lewerke- Michigan State
After a phenomenal 2017-18 season, Lewerke struggled in 2018-19. Much of this was due to a shoulder injury, which was painfully obvious to anyone who watched the team play. He simply could no long throw the ball. The offensive line struggled to block, and Lewerke looked scared out there. But, go back to that 2017-18 sophomore season, and you see signs of a star quarterback. In that season, Lewerke threw for 2793 yards and 20 touchdowns with a passer rating of 127.7. He also ran for over 500 yards and 5 touchdowns, which is an element not typically seen from Spartan qbs. He was named Honorable Mention to the Big Ten All-Conference team and led his team to a 10-3 record with a blowout bowl victory over Washington State. If Lewerke can remain healthy, he will have a chance to top that season.
Nate Stanley- Iowa
Overshadowed by some more recognizable names, Stanley has quietly been one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten for the past 2 seasons. Watching him play actually reminds me quite a bit of Ben Roethlisberger ( similar size and deceptive elusiveness and pocket presence). He’s got a knack for making plays with 52 touchdown passes as the starter (26 each year). He improved his completion percentage last year and came close to the 3000 passing yards mark. He’ll need some people to step up with the loss of both tight ends Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson, but I expect an impactful season from Stanley.
Steven Montez- Colorado
Montez is one of my favorite QBs to watch play in college. He’s a great athlete with terrific size at 6’4″ 230 lbs. A surprisingly dual threat QB with a strong, accurate arm and good instincts and recognition, he’s just a great athlete with an extremely calm confidence about him. While he could cut down on the interceptions, he puts up good numbers with yardage and completion percentage. You may even see him featured in other positions on the field, as he has 8 career running TDs and 9 career receiving. He doesn’t have all the career accolades of some, but I think the past couple seasons have been preparing him for a special senior season.
Shea Patterson- Michigan
Patterson is an intriguing player. In my opinion, he gets more pro hype than he really deserves, but is a good college quarterback. At Ole Miss, he hit the 3000 passing yard threshold in just 10 career games (between 2 seasons). That production didn’t quite carry over when he transferred to Michigan, possibly due to more commitment to running the ball. What always sticks out about him is his speed. That alone makes him fun to watch. A quarterback with speed always has the ability to extend plays outside the pocket and make something happen. Patterson is also the only returning All- Big Ten quarterback from last season, which could be a huge advantage. Michigan’s offenses have lacked explosiveness under Harbaugh, but new OC Josh Gattis has pieces to work with. Whether they find those pieces or not, Patterson will be entertaining.
Jake Bentley- South Carolina
Bentley is another polarizing player because of inconsistent play. Against Clemson’s historic defense last season, he had a career day throwing for 510 yards and 5 touchdowns with just 1 interception. That’s a phenomenal game and was against one of the best college defenses every assembled. Yet, he struggled in games against worse competition like Akron, Virginia, and Tennessee. His only other game that came close to Clemson was against FCS opponent Chattanooga. This is the conundrum with Bentley. Can he consistently put together great games or is it just once in a blue moon? if he can turn the switch, he’ll be a top college quarterback.
There you have it. These are my top college quarterbacks to watch in 2019. At least the ones not many people talk about. There are a few guys that just missed the list. I’m always on the lookout for discovering good players, so let me know if there’s someone I should watch.