As the 2020 college football season slowly approaches, quarterbacks stake their claims as the ones to look out for this season.
This quarterback squad is one of the deepest. From National Championship MVP, to graduate transfers and savvy veterans, the 2020 class hopes to carry their teams to the College Football Playoffs.
1. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
There is no doubt Trevor Lawrence is the best QB and overall prospect coming into the 2020 season. Lawrence is the prototypical QB with a 6-6, 220-pound frame and rocket arm. His passing IQ is better than half of the NFL and he proved last season he has speed for his size. Lawrence has passed for 66 TDs and 12 interceptions over the last two seasons and has rushed for 10 TDs. Lawrence is seen as a can’t-miss prospect in the vein of John Elway, Peyton Manning, and Andrew Luck.
An underrated aspect of his game is his ability to avoid the rush after getting sacked 17 times last year. Although he lost his leading receiver in Tee Higgins to the NFL, Clemson brings back running back Travis Etienne and wide receiver Justyn Ross. Both players have first-round potential. Lawrence should have no problem eclipsing 3,500 passing yards again. He will have the national spotlight all year to prove he is worth the No. 1 overall pick.
2. Justin Fields, Ohio State
The transfer from Georgia led Ohio State to an appearance in the College Football Playoff. Last season, Fields threw for 3,273 yards and rushed for 484 yards. In total, he had 51 touchdowns. In today’s NFL, he is the perfect QB with the speed to run a spread offense. He’s in the mold of Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson. But, Field’s accuracy and decision-making set him apart from other QBs on the scene. Fields completed nearly 69% of his passes and 67% in his single season at Georgia.
Coming into the 2020 season, Fields is the only quarterback who could give Lawrence a run for No. 1 overall pick. Fields was a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, throwing just three interceptions in Ryan Day’s offense against NFL-style defenses and top-notch prospects in the Big Ten. He has great pocket presence and can make all the throws. He can run, escape the pocket to throw and keep his eyes downfield while making great decisions and big plays.
3. Jamie Newman, Georgia
Jamie Newman, a graduate transfer from Wake Forest, will take over the QB slot at Georgia. Last year, Newman threw for 2,868 passing yards, 574 yards, and 32 total TDs. He is now a graduate transfer at Georgia. Newman is similar in size to Cam Newton, another one-year QB who dominated the SEC. Newman will add a unique element to the Bulldogs’ offense. Georgia tends to run a traditional style offense and hasn’t had a threat to run an RPO style of offense.
Newman will make defenses think instead of attacking the QB in the pocket. Newman will work with former Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Monken’s experience should offer insights into what the dual-threat quarterback could be in the NFL. While Newman limits his interceptions, he lacks the big-play strike. Newman must move away from being a constructive QB and increase his passing compilation of 60%.
4. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
Kellen Mond is a four-year starter. In his career with the Aggies, he’s amassed 52 touchdowns to 24 interceptions. He seeks to increase that touchdown to interception under Jimbo Fisher for another year. Every year he’s improved his passing percentage. Last year was 62%.
In the rushing game, he had 501 rushing yards and eight TDs last season. The 6’3,” 217-pounder will be among the best second-tier quarterbacks on the board. His size helps him absorb sacks, but if he takes 31 sacks again this year, his ability to make smart plays and throw the ball away will come into question. Still, Mond could sneak into the first round similar to how Jordan Love did in 2020.
5. Sam Ehlinger, Texas
As a junior during the 2019 season, Sam Ehlinger lead Texas to an 8-5 overall record and 5-4 in the Big 12. The senior will benefit from another year in Texas, especially working under new play-caller Mike Yurcich. While he didn’t have the explosive season people thought, Ehlinger completed 63% for 3,663 yards and 32 touchdowns to only ten interceptions through 13 games. That 3-1 TD to INT is what’s catching many scout’s eyes.
The 6’3,” 230-pounder bruised opposing defenses with 163 carries for 663 yards (4.1 average) and seven touchdowns. In 2018, Ehlinger became the only player in the program’s history to throw for 25 touchdowns and rush for 15 in a single season. That’s a pace even Vince Young never reached. While Ehlinger does have happy feet in the pocket, he throws the downfield pass well. However, he must improve his intermediate passes to succeed in the NFL.