Over the past week I have done a conference by conference breakdown of the quarterbacks in the Power Five leagues. Those rankings are above.
Now lets pool all these signal callers together and come up with a national top ten, which is below. Keep in mind it's not just the starter that's measured but also the depth at the position for each team.
1) Ohio State
Projected Starter: Cardale Jones
QB Depth Chart: Jones, J.T. Barrett, Braxton Miller, Torrance Gibson
So who will guide the Buckeyes in 2015? Will it be Jones, who played exceptional football when things mattered the most in Columbus with the Big Ten Championship Game, their playoff game, or national title contest? Remember, Jones replaced an injured J.T. Barrett who replaced the injured Braxton Miller. Barrett was having a sensational season leading Ohio State. Poor Urban Meyer, as he has a major quarterback dilemma here that every coach in the nation envies. The Buckeyes are loaded and whoever gets the call here just has to manage the offense and limit mistakes. But these guys are all so talented. The starter could also be a Heisman Trophy front runner with a great chance of getting Ohio State back in the playoff. Miller is listed on this depth chart even though there have been persistent transfer rumors regarding him. Look for him to stay in Columbus and possibly move to wide receiver.
Projected Starter: Trevone Boykin
QB Depth Chart: Boykin, Zach Allen, Bram Kohlhausen, Kenny Hill
Boykin was sensational last season in 2014. After all, he accounted for over 4,600 yards of offense and 41 touchdowns. Another outburst like that and he will have TCU knocking on the playoff door once again and position himself to win some hardware along the way. Boykin is one of the pre-season Heisman Trophy favorites. It’s so fascinating to see this once defensive minded program under Gary Patterson explode on the other side of the ball. Former A&M star quarterback Kenny Hill has transferred to TCU and will sit out this season.
3) Michigan State
Projected Starter: Connor Cook
QB Depth Chart: Cook, Tyler O’Connor, Damion Terry, Colar Kuhns
Connor Cook is one of the top returning quarterbacks in college football and with another good fall campaign he could be seriously considered a potential first round draft pick. This is a quarterback that manages the game exceptionally well and doesn’t make many mistakes. He’s 23-3 as the Spartan starter. Last season he passed for 3,214 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Cook won’t be asked to carry their offense with his arm. It’s a balanced attack that he runs well in East Lansing. Look for Sparty and Michigan State to have another big season and a big reason why is Cook.
4) Mississippi State
Projected Starter: Dak Prescott
QB Depth Chart: Prescott, Damian Williams, Nick Fitzgerald
Prescott and his Bulldogs had a magical 2014 season and this terrific signal caller was a big reason as to why. He led Mississippi State and put up some terrific numbers along the way, passing for 3,449 yards, 27 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and rushing for 986 yards and 14 touchdowns. Prescott elected to return for his final season in Starkville in hopes of improving his draft stock and winning the West and possible SEC Championship. He’s also one of the top contenders to win the Heisman Trophy. Hands down Prescott is the best player at this position in the SEC.
Projected Starter: Cody Kessler
QB Depth Chart: Kessler, Max Browne, Ricky Town, Sam Darnold
Kessler has been good and productive over his Trojan career. This USC senior has thrown for 6,803 yards, 59 touchdowns and only a dozen interceptions. Last season Kessler completed nearly 70% of his passes for 3,826 yards, 39 touchdowns and five interceptions. Those are huge numbers. If he can duplicate or surpass those totals Southern Cal should have a big year and make a push towards the college football playoff. USC gets the nod over Cal at the top spot because of their better depth behind Kessler.
Projected Starter: Jared Goff
QB Depth Chart: Goff, Chase Forrest, Ross Bowers
Goff is a two-year starter that really had a breakout 2014 campaign in that high octane Bears offense. Just last season alone he set 15 team passing records. He completed 62% of his passes for 3,973 yards, 35 touchdowns, and only seven picks in 509 attempts. This is coming off a 3,500 yard plus freshman season. He’s poised for an absolutely monster year, especially considering the offensive weapons Cal has surrounded him with.
Projected Starter: Deshaun Watson
QB Depth Chart: Watson, Nick Schuessler, Tucker Israel, Kelly Bryant
Watson played in eight games and started five times in 2014 and was impressive. He finished with 1,466 yards, 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 330 snaps. Now it’s completely his show and barring injury I expect Watson to set the ACC on fire this season and beyond. I remember thinking when he committed to the Tigers in high school that Clemson/Watson couldn’t be a better fit and football marriage. He’s ideal for their offense in every way and I expect him to make a run at many school records before it’s all said and done. As you can tell, I think the world of Watson and his upside from here. I believe he will set himself apart from the ACC pack as the clear cut top quarterback in the league this fall.
8) Georgia Tech
Projected Starter: Justin Thomas
QB Depth Chart: Thomas, Chase Martenson, Matthew Jordan, Tim Byerly
For what Georgia Tech does offensively they may have the perfect quarterback for their system in Justin Thomas. He was absolutely terrific last fall, guiding the Yellow Jackets to the ACC title game. Thomas is a big time athlete who can whip a defense running that triple option attack. But where he’s scary [good] is his ability to throw the ball. Last season Thomas led the team in rushing with 1,086 yards and eight scores and passed for 1,719 yards, 18 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He and Georgia Tech should be better in 2015. It may surprise some to see him at No. 2 here but this kid is a terrific football player running a very unique offense in today’s game.
Projected Starter: Anu Solomon
QB Depth Chart: Solomon, Brandon Dawkins, Jerrard Randall, Zach Werlinger
I was blown away by Arizona’s freshman signal caller in 2014 in Anu Solomon. I thought he was absolutely fantastic in year one as a starter for Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcat offense. All he did was pass for 3,793 yards and 28 touchdowns and led Arizona to a 10-win season and a trip to the Pac 12 Championship Game. Hopefully Solomon avoids the sophomore jinx and continues to grow and develop as a quarterback. This program looks like it’s in terrific hands and has a bright future with this kid at the helm.
Projected Starter: Kevin Hogan
QB Depth Chart: Hogan, Keller Chryst, Ryan Burns
Hogan is a 5th year senior who returns for his final season in Palo Alto with a ton of experience and a lot of talent. He’s 24-8 as a starter. Last season Hogan started all 13 games, passing for 2,782 yards and 19 touchdown passes. The prior season he posted similar numbers – 2,630 passing yards and 20 touchdown passes. There is no reason whatsoever why Hogan shouldn't have another big year. This is a proven winner who has won big for the Cardinal.
Power Five QB Rankings
Big 10/ND Rankings
Big 12 Rankings
SEC RB Rankings
Big 10 and Notre Dame RB Rankings
Big 12 RB Rankings
Pac-12 RB Rankings
ACC RB Rankings
SEC WR Rankings
Big 10 WR Rankings
Big 12 WR Rankings
Pac-12 WR Rankings
ACC/Notre Dame WR Rankings