At last year’s NFL Draft, five quarterbacks were taken in the first round. It was the second-highest total in history proving that the 2017 college football season was indeed a “year of the quarterback.” The 2019 season could be the next one.
A number of stars, including Trevor Lawrence of the national champion Clemson Tigers, return in 2019. All but one – Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma – of the College Football Playoff quarterbacks return. A potential first-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft decided to return for his senior season. There are big-time signal-callers all around the country in 2019.
Herbert Says No Oregon’s Justin Herbert could have been the first quarterback taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. Instead, he will wait until 2020. The 6-foot-6-inch, 235-pound Herbert has the body and the skills to be the nation’s best. He will be included in the Heisman talk after a junior season in which he threw for 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns. More importantly, he led the Ducks to a 9-4 finish, which will make Oregon a contender for the 2019 Pac-12 title.
CFP QBs Lawrence, who became the first true freshman quarterback to lead his team to a national title since Jamelle Holieway in 1985, returns to lead Clemson which will once again be favored to win it all. Lawrence is another big body (6-6, 215) with a live arm and an uncanny poise.
Alabama will return Tua Tagovailoa who led the Crimson Tide to a national title in his freshman season. Last year, Tagovailoa and the Tide came up a game short. Still, Tagovailoa’s numbers speak for themselves – 3,966 yards passing, 43 touchdowns, and just six interceptions.
At Notre Dame, Ian Book is back after taking over the starting role early in the 2018 season. With Book under center, the Fighting Irish offense flourished. Despite his lackluster performance against Clemson in the national semifinal, Book was one of the most accurate (68.2 completion percentage) quarterbacks in the nation.
Don’t Worry Sooners Oklahoma did lose the dynamic Murray who will enter the NFL Draft after being selected No. 9 in last year’s Major League Baseball draft. He will have a tough decision to make. Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley will also have a tough decision to make. It looks as though he will have former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts in 2019. Hurts went 26-2 as the Tide’s starter and earned an SEC Offensive Player of the Year award. In addition to Hurts, Riley will have the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in high school last year, Spencer Rattler.
Transfers Galore Former Clemson QB Kelly Bryant, who lost his job to Lawrence early last season, will enroll at Missouri where he should do well in the Tigers high-flying offense. Jacob Eason, who lost his job at Georgia to Jake Fromm, should be the guy in Washington this season as the Huskies look to replace the four-year starter, Jake Browning.
If Justin Fields is granted a waiver, Ohio State will have its answer to replacing Dwayne Haskins who threw for an amazing 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns last season. Both totals led the nation. Fields, the nation’s top recruit a year ago, could plug right into the Buckeyes offense and not miss a beat.
The Best of the Rest Michigan’s Shea Patterson has a year under his belt in the Wolverines’ system. Stanford’s K.J. Costello threw for over 3,500 yards last year and has NFL talent. Don’t forget about Fromm who should lead Georgia to at least another SEC East title. Sam Ehlinger is back at Texas after throwing for 3,292 yards and leading the Longhorns to a 10-4 record. Mason Fine threw for 3,793 yards and 27 touchdowns at North Texas and Cole McDonald threw for over 3,800 at Hawaii. The best of them all might be Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez who threw for 2,617 yards, rushed for 629 and totaled 25 touchdowns. If he stays healthy, watch out.