Bill's Combine Research: Quarterbacks

The 16 quarterbacks at the Combine feature some outstanding production both on and off the field. Collin Klein was a finalist, Geno Smith was a prime candidate, Matt Barkley, Zac Dysert and Landry Jones put up monster numbers and Colby Cameron set a record for most passes without an interception.

A total of 333 players will be at the Scouting Combine, which begins Feb. 20 in Indianapolis. We're sharing our homework as we get ready for the big week. In Part 6, here are the 16 quarterbacks.

Matt Barkley, USC: Barkley (6-2, 230) won the Wuerffel Trophy as the quarterback who best combines athletic excellence, academic achievement and community service. Barkley owns 20 USC career, season and game records, 10 of which are Pac-12 marks. He is the Pac-12 career record holder for total offense (12,214), passing yards (12,327), completions (1,001), touchdown passes (116) and rushing/passing TDs (122) and is the only player in league history to have four years of 2,500 yards of total offense. He has a 3.21 grade point average, joined teammates in building homes in Haiti this past spring and Christmas break in 2010 working in Nigeria. He was one of 15 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes.

Tyler Bray, Tennessee: Early entrant. Bray (6-6, 215) started the final five games at quarterback as a freshman in 2010 and never left the starting lineup, other than a five-game stint on the sideline with a broken thumb in 2011. Starting 12 games in 2012, he completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 3,612 yards with 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His 530 yards against Troy broke Peyton Manning's school record. He was benched in a 41-18 loss at Vanderbilt. In November, he famously told reporters that, "I'm paid to win football games." He quickly spun that into saying he's paid with his scholarship. In July 2012, he was accused of throwing beer bottles at parked cars (he was not charged) and for "playing chicken" while on jet skis (he took a plea deal).

Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech: Cameron (6-2, 205) was named the WAC Player of the Year, won the Sammy Baugh Award as the nation's top quarterback and the state of Louisiana's top offensive player. Cameron led an offense that was ranked No. 1 in scoring and No. 2 in total offense. He completed 359-of-522 passes for 4,147 yards with 31 touchdowns and five interceptions, and set an NCAA record with 428 consecutive passes without an interception. He didn't break into the starting lineup until halfway through his junior season, when true freshman Nick Isham injured his shoulder.

Zac Dysert, Miami (Ohio): Dysert (6-3, 224 at Senior Bowl) injured his hamstring during training and will not perform at the Combine, he announced on Thursday. Dysert, the school's first three-time captain, led the conference with 3,483 passing yards. His 12,016 passing yards broke Ben Roethlisberger's school record, rank third in MAC history and 20th all-time. His numbers would have been even better if not for missing a few games with a lacerated spleen in 2010. At Ada (Ohio) High, he threw for 3,714 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior despite missing three-and-a-half games with a broken thumb. Rather than watch from the sideline, he played receiver and linebacker. At one point in high school, Dysert quit football to play hockey.

Mike Glennon, North Carolina State: Glennon (6-7, 220 at Senior Bowl) started his final two seasons, upon replacing Russell Wilson. As a senior, he completed 58.5 percent for 4,031 yards with 31 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Before the Music City Bowl, Glennon earned his master's degree in liberal studies. Against Vanderbilt — quarterbacked by Jordan Rodgers, the brother of Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers — he threw for 383 yards but tossed three interceptions. On the other hand, he rallied the team to a 17-16 win against Florida State by throwing for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter with three fourth-down conversions on the winning drive. He statistically was better as a junior, with 62.5 percent, 31 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He didn't miss a snap in his two seasons due to injury. He led NC State from a 27-point deficit in the second half to stun Maryland. His brother, Sean, was a former starting quarterback at Virginia Tech.

MarQueis Gray, Minnesota: Gray (6-4, 250) had a nomadic time at Minnesota. He was a receiver and quarterback as a freshman, made seven starts as a receiver as a sophomore and started 10 games as a quarterback as a junior. As a senior, he started at quarterback for the first three games before being sidelined by a high-ankle sprain. That forced him to receiver, where he caught 12 passes for 121 yards. At the Teas vs. the Nation All-Star Game, Gray lined up at tight end. For his career, he threw for 2,053 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and completed 50.8 percent, and rushed for 1,731 yards and six scores.

Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Jones (6-4, 221 at Senior Bowl) replaced Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick of the draft of the 2009 draft, and wound up winning the Sammy Baugh Award as the nation's top quarterback in 2010. In 50 career starts, he left Oklahoma as the Big 12's career leader with 16,646 passing yards. He completed 63.6 percent, with 123 touchdowns and 52 interceptions. Among his school records are marks in yards, touchdowns and completions. He was a finalist for Senior CLASS Award, as he led teammates on a trip to hurricane-ravaged Haiti. As a freshman, Jones figured he would unseat Bradford. When he didn't, he said he turned to drinking and "just wanted to die."

Collin Klein, Kansas State: Klein (6-5, 226) led the Wildcats to an unlikely Big 12 championship as an unlikely finalist for the Heisman Trophy. The Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm winner passed for 2,641 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 920 yards and 23 touchdowns. That last figure is second-best in school history behind his 27 rushing scores in 2011. The "Tim Tebow of the Midwest" He got on the national radar with four touchdowns and two incompletions against Miami. Klein, a three-time captain and Senior CLASS finalist, started his college career at receiver. Klein's brother is a wide receiver at Kansas State. His father-in-law is Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer Gary Spani.

E.J. Manuel, Florida State: Manuel (6-4, 237 at Senior Bowl) almost signed on to play for Chip Kelly at Oregon before choosing Florida State. In two seasons as a full-time starter, Manuel threw for 6,058 yards, 41 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. In a big early-season showdown against Clemson, he threw for 380 yards and ran for 102, the first FSU quarterback to go for 300/100 since Charlie Ward in 1992. He went 3-0 in his bowl starts and played extensively in place of an injured Christian Ponder in a fourth bowl win. West Virginia's Pat White is the only other quarterback to win four bowl games. Manuel's excellent senior season is remarkable: His mother was receiving chemotherapy throughout the year to battle breast cancer.

Ryan Nassib, Syracuse: Nassib (6-2, 223 at Senior Bowl) threw for 9,190 yards with 70 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. As a senior, he had career highs of 62.4 percent, 3,749 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. No quarterback in school history had even thrown for 3,000 yards, directing a no-huddle scheme that was put in place just two weeks before the start of the season. Nassib, who graduated with two degrees in May and was a four-time all-Big East academics selection, was one of 15 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes and named the Big East's scholar-athlete of the year on Thursday.

Sean Renfree, Duke: Renfree (6-5, 225) led Duke to its first bowl game since 1994 by completing 67.3 percent with 3,113 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The bowl game didn't end well, though: On his final collegiate pass, he was hit, threw an interception and sustained a torn right pectoral muscle that required surgery. His single-season and career (64.8) completion rates set school records, and in ACC history he ranks third in completions, fourth in 300-yard passing games, sixth in completion percentage and seventh in passing yardage (9,465). He won the Pop Warner College Football Award and was a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, with his 3.81 GPA as he pursues a graduate degree in humanities. He was one of 15 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes.

Matt Scott, Arizona: Scott (6-3, 196) piled up big numbers in new coach Rich Rodriguez's read-option scheme. The second-team all-Pac-12 selection threw for 3,620 yards with 27 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and 60.3 percent accuracy, plus rushed for 506 yards and six scores. In his final game, the New Mexico Bowl against Nevada, the Wildcats trailed by 13 when taking possession at their 25-yard line with 1:48 to go. They won. Scott, a finalist for the Joe Montana Award given to the nation's top high school quarterback while at Centennial High in Corona, Calif., beat out Nick Foles to be the starter in 2009 but was yanked in favor of Foles in the third game against Iowa. Foles served as the backup in 2009 and 2010 and redshirted in 2011.

Geno Smith, West Virginia: Smith (6-3, 220), a three-year starter, finished his career with school records of 11,658 passing yards and 98 touchdowns, including 4,356 yards and 42 touchdowns as a senior. He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Through the first four games of the season, he had thrown 20 touchdown passes and 25 incompletions. In a 70-63 win over Baylor, he threw for 656 yard and eight touchdowns. He's not just gifted athletically. An uncle, who studied Tom Brady, began teaching Smith the proper quarterbacking mechanics when he was 9.

Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah: Sorensen (6-5, 230) was named the FCS Elite Quarterback by the College Football Performance Awards as a senior. He finished his three-year career at SUU with 9,445 passing yards and 61 touchdowns, including 3,139 yards and 23 TDs in 2012. He was second-team all-Big Sky as a senior and was the Great West Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a junior. Sorensen played soccer, baseball and basketball growing up before trying football as a high school freshman. After high school, he served a LDS mission in Spain from 2007 through 2009 before redshirting at BYU in 2009. He was one of five boys in his family, with three others playing college football.

James Vandenberg, Iowa: Vandenberg (6-3, 212) started all 25 games over his final two seasons and ranks among Iowa's top seven quarterbacks in career completions, attempts, passing yards, passing touchdowns and total offense. As a senior, he threw for 2,249 yards with seven touchdowns, eight interceptions and 57.3 percent accuracy. He threw for 3,022 yards in 2011. He was a two-year team captain. Vandenberg was the first native Iowan to start at quarterback for the Hawkeyes since Kyle McCann in 2001. He left Keokuk as Iowa's Player of the Year and the owner of 12 state records, including passing yards (7,709) and touchdown passes (93).

Tyler Wilson, Arkansas: Wilson (6-2, 218 at the Senior Bowl) threw for 3,387 yards as a senior and broke Ryan Mallett's career passing record with 7,765 yards. It was a year of upheaval for Wilson, with coach Bobby Petrino's firing in April sending the program reeling. Wilson went from 24 touchdowns, six interceptions and first-team all-SEC accolades in 2011 to 21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and no all-conference honors in 2012. Wilson is a legend in his small hometown of Greenwood, Ark. A stud pitcher who would have been an early draft pick, baseball was supposed to be his athletic pass until the led "The Drive."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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