As we hit the 6 week mark today in the countdown to the 1st college football Saturday, we will continue our lists and previews today with the top 10 returning quarterbacks in college football. This list is based on how good these QBs are in the college game, not on NFL Draft potential. There are quite a few guys that just missed the cut on this list, like UNCs Bryn Renner, Derek Carr of Fresno State, and Connor Shaw of South Carolina.
10). David Fales - Fales is probably the least recognizable name on the list, but Fales led San Jose State to an 11-2 record last season, including a near upset in Palo Alto against Stanford. He threw for almost 4200 yards at a 72.5% completion rate. His 170.8 QB rating was only surpassed by AJ McCarron and Aaron Murray.
9). Taylor Martinez - A 4 year starter, Martinez has progressed nicely each season as the Cornhuskers signal caller. Always a threat with his legs, Martinez could easily top 3,000 passing yards and 1,000
rushing yards in 2013 and have the Huskers once again in the Big 10 title hunt.
8). Jordan Lynch - Lynch was the most dominating player in the MAC last year, throwing for over 3,000 yards and rushing for over 1,800 and accounting for 44 TDs. While he struggled in the Orange Bowl against FSU, he remains a deadly dual-threat QB that should have his way with MAC defenses again this year.
7). Marcus Mariota - Mariota was spectacular as a freshman, helping lead Oregon to a 12-1 season and a Fiesta Bowl win. Oregon was once again close to getting into the BCS title game and were unbeaten in regulation (Les Miles was impressed). The explosive Mariota averaged over 7 yards per rush, tallying over 700 yards on the ground while passing for 2,700 yards and 32 TDs to just 6 INTs.
6). Aaron Murray - A 4 year starter, Murray had the Dawgs within a few yards of a BCS title game appearance. Murray has a shot at 4,000 passing yards this year with his entire OL back and a strong group of receivers. He was the nations 2nd rated passer in 2012 and is on the brink of several SEC career records.
5). Tahj Boyd - While putting up 3,800+ passing yards in each of the past 2 seasons, Boyd has become the clear cut top QB in the ACC. He has a chance to be remembered as one of the Tigers all time greats if he can accomplish 2 things. Win the ACC and finally knock off the hated a Gamecocks.
4). AJ McCarron - Amazing that a 2 time national champion QB fails to make the top 3 on this list, especially when McCarron led the nation in passer rating last season. Throwing for almost 3,000 yards with 30 TDs to only 3 INTs, McCarron has an excellent chance to make a run at a 3-Peat this season.
3). Teddy Bridgewater - The possible #1 overall pick in next years NFL Draft (sorry JaDeveon), Bridgewater has the great size and arm strength that scouts love. And, he happens to also be a terrific college quarterback for the Louisville Cardinals. Playing with a broken wrist and a sprained ankle for long stretches last season, Bridgewater still managed to lead the Cards to a BCS win and Big East title, throwing for 3,700 yards and 27 TDs.
2). Braxton Miller - Miller led the Buckeyes to an unbeaten season last year, and now that they are bowl eligible, we can possibly see Miller on some bigger stages. A perfect fit for an Urban Meyer team, Miller really improved as a passer last season, topping 2,000 passing yards to go along with 1,200 on the ground. He is expected to once again carry the load, so expect Ohio State's season successes and failures to fall on Miller.
1). Johnny Manziel - The top of the list heading into 2013 is the reigning Heisman winner, Johnny Football. While he started 2012 with decent numbers in a loss to Florida, the redshirt freshman only improved throughout the season. His Heisman moment came during the 1st half of the Alabama game, when he torched the Tide defense en route to the A&M victory. He was even more dominant in the Cotton Bowl, ripping the Oklahoma defense to shreds in a blowout win. Manziel finished his epic 2012 campaign with 1,400 rushing yards and threw for 3,700, accounting for a remarkable 47 TDs.