College Football: Top 10 returning quarterbacks for 2019

John Fricke
March 05, 2019 - 2:14 pm

© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports



These are my rankings of the top players in CFB the pre-spring edition.

This list focuses on Quarterbacks. There are a number of quality signal-callers across the nation and a couple that could be major NFL stars.

The quality now is so good that (if Kyler Murray goes #1 overall in April's NFL Draft) it's likely QB's will go #1 overall in the draft for at least four straight years. Baker Mayfield in 2018 draft, Murray in 2019, Tagovailoa in 2020 (with Fromm going as high as 2nd overall) and Lawrence in 2021.

One name not on this list is UCF star McKenzie Milton. His brutal injury leaves his status up in the air at the moment. This list also does not include incoming freshmen since it's a list only of returning players.

The Top-10 Returning CFB Quarterbacks / Pre-Spring Ranking

1. Trevor Lawrence (Clemson): If what we saw last season was real (and we all think it is) Lawrence has a chance to be a back-to-back Heisman winner and the most sought after collegiate quarterback in the NFL since Peyton Manning went #1 to the Colts in 1998.

2. Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama): If not for Lawrence Tua would be the Heisman favorite this season. As it stands he is likely going to be projected as the #1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

3. Justin Fields (Ohio State): Fields could make UGA rue the day they did not do more to try to keep him happy. Limited playing time behind a proven star starter saw Fields throw for just 328 yards and 4 TDs in 2018 in Athens. He gets the reigns at the Big Ten favorite under new HC Ryan Day. Has all the tools for major college and NFL stardom. Big, strong, fast with a cannon arm. And now a chance to prove what he can really do.

4. Jake Fromm (Georgia): All Fromm has done is throw for 5,400 yards, 54 touchdowns and drive TWO 5-star quarterbacks out of town and off his roster (Fields and Jacob Eason). Tenacious and one of the smartest QBs in the game today, coaches praise his game management. 23-5 as a starter if he continues to grow he has a shot at being top-5 in the 2020 draft.

5. Shea Patterson (Michigan): Returning for his senior season was somewhat risky since he was thought to be in the mix of the top-5 QBs available in this year's draft. Was a major upgrade for Jim Harbaugh at the position and had his best year as a player (2,600 yds - 22 TDs) in Ann Arbor. 

6. Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma): It's not often (as in NEVER) that a QB with a record of 26-2 who just became a hero in a conference title game up and leaves for somewhere else. But that is the saga of Hurts. Has a shot to grow rapidly as a passer under Lincoln Riley. Already a proven winner and if he grows this season, could the Sooners really produce three straight Heisman winning QBs?

7. Adrian Martinez (Nebraska): Despite an early season injury and the Huskers disastrous 0-6 start, Martinez still combined for 3,246 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground and in the air. A tremendous fit in Scott Frost's offense and poised for a big Sophomore season. I think Martinez is already better than Tommy Armstrong or (new Bengals HC) Zac Taylor were in Lincoln and the best Huskers QB since Eric Crouch won the Heisman in 2001.

8. Kellen Mond (Texas A&M): Mond could break out in a Kyler Murray kind of way this season. Jimbo Fisher is expecting Mond to take that next big step towards legit Heisman contender. If he does A&M might be Bama's biggest threat in the SEC West. Has the makings of an NFL caliber player.

9. Sam Ehlinger (Texas): He's fought off challenges, failed at times to live up to his prep hype and still persevered to become a solid player on a team that could be poised to finally break through to the CFB Playoff.

10. Justin Herbert (Oregon): Has all the tools to be a major star and a high draft pick in 2020. A big arm, a lot of game reps and a HC in Mario Cristobal who seems to have the Ducks rising. Will have a lot of new and untested players around him to start this season.

Other transfers (Tate Martell, Miami - Austin Kendal, West Virginia - Jacob Eason, Washington. Hunter Johnson, Northwestern) have a shot to make major marks but will need to prove it on the field.

Other transfers have a body of work (Kelly Bryant, Missouri - Brandon Wimbush, UCF) but have to see how they fit in their new surroundings.