For what it's worth. You're in a pretty good spot when your returning starting QB is ranked #13 in the nation, and he might be beaten out of the job! Incidentally, they ranked SCAR QB Jake Bentley #17.
From Sporting News' Bill Bender:
#13 Kelly Bryant
Bryant led Clemson to the College Football Playoff last season, and his calling card was his dual-threat play style and ability to play well on the road: Just look at big games at Louisville, Virginia Tech and N.C. State. Bryant scored 11 rushing touchdowns on the season, too. The competition with Trevor Lawrence will make headlines, but for now Bryant is the guy to lead Clemson in another ACC championship run.
#25 Trevor Lawrence
We can't help it — Lawrence hasn't played in a game yet but he completed 11 of 16 passes for 122 yards in the Tigers' spring game. That included a beautiful, 50-yard touchdown pass that perfectly captured the insane hype surrounding him. Dabo Swinney will control the hype for as long as possible, but this five-star freshman will get a chance to get contribute in 2018, and he's going to push incumbent Kelly Bryant for the starting job.Reply
Athlon ranked KB #20. They did not rank potential starting QB's. From Athlon's Steven Lassan:
25. Alex Hornibrook, Wisconsin
It’s no secret Wisconsin is going to ride its offensive line and running back Jonathan Taylor in an effort to win the Big Ten’s West Division again. However, the Badgers won’t be a one-dimensional offense in 2018. Hornibrook seems poised to elevate his performance a step higher after throwing for 2,644 yards and 25 scores last fall. The Pennsylvania native has to play better against some of the top teams in the Big Ten and must eliminate the turnovers (15 INTs). However, with a standout receiving corps in place, Hornibrook should take a step forward in his development.
24. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
Shurmur quietly finished 2017 ranked second among SEC quarterbacks with 26 touchdown tosses. Over 12 contests, Shurmur threw for 2,823 yards and connected on 57.9 percent of his throws. Shurmur also eclipsed 300 or more yards in three out of Vanderbilt’s last five games in 2017.
23. Eric Dungey, Syracuse
Syracuse has to retool its receiving corps after the departures of Steve Ishmael and Ervin Phillips, but the path to a bowl game hinges on keeping Dungey healthy. The Oregon native has missed the final three contests in each of the last three years due to injury. When healthy, Dungey is among the ACC’s top quarterbacks. In nine appearances last season, he threw for 2,495 yards and 14 scores and rushed for 595 yards and nine touchdowns. If Dungey is limited at any point in 2018, Syracuse will turn to intriguing redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito – a four-star recruit in the 2017 signing class.
22. Malcolm Perry, Navy
Perry opened the 2017 season at slot back but closed out the year as Navy’s starting quarterback for three out of the last five games. In Perry’s three starts, he accumulated 646 rushing yards (including 250 against Army) and recorded seven scores. The Tennessee native finished 2017 with 1,182 yards and 11 scores on the ground, while accumulating five passing yards. And here’s an interesting stat: Perry attempted only one pass in his three starts last year. He’s due for a breakout campaign as Navy’s No. 1 quarterback in 2018.
21. Justice Hansen, Arkansas State
Hansen led the way for Arkansas State’s top-ranked offense in the Sun Belt last season and is the league’s clear No. 1 quarterback headed into 2018. The Oklahoma native earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors after throwing for 3,967 yards and 37 touchdowns and rushing for 423 yards and seven scores. Hansen led all Sun Belt players by averaging 365.8 total yards a contest and connected on six passes of 50 or more yards. With Hansen leading the offense, the Red Wolves should be the heavy favorite to win the Sun Belt title in 2018.
20. Kelly Bryant, Clemson
Replacing Deshaun Watson was no easy task for Bryant, but he threw for 13 touchdowns and 2,802 yards and added 665 yards and 11 scores on the ground last season. However, with sophomore Hunter Johnson and five-star freshman Trevor Lawrence pushing for snaps, there’s no guarantee Bryant starts all year for Clemson in 2018. Both Johnson and Lawrence are better passers than Bryant, which is an area for the Tigers to improve upon after connecting on just four passes of 40 or more yards in ACC games in 2017.
19. Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech
High expectations surround Jackson going into the 2018 season. With Jerod Evans entrenched as the starter in 2016, Jackson took a redshirt year in his first season on campus. Last fall, Jackson emerged as the team’s No. 1 quarterback in offseason practices and guided the Hokies to a 9-4 record. The Michigan native started all 13 games, throwing for 2,991 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushing for 324 yards and six scores last fall. With another offseason to work under coach Justin Fuente, look for Jackson to take another step forward in his development and challenge for All-ACC honors.
18. Brent Stockstill, MTSU
Injuries have derailed Stockstill in back-to-back years, but the senior is still among the top Group of 5 players in the nation. Stockstill was limited to eight games due to a shoulder injury last season, yet still ended the year with 1,672 passing yards and 16 touchdowns. The Tennessee native has passed for 8,951 yards and 77 scores over the last three-plus seasons.
17. Brett Rypien, Boise State
With Rypien leading the way, Boise State is the early favorite to be the top Group of 5 team in 2018. The Washington native has assembled a prolific resume through his first three years on campus and will look to cap his career with another Mountain West title and a trip to a New Year’s Six Bowl. Rypien has earned all-conference honors in all three years on campus and has passed for 9,876 yards and 60 touchdowns in that span. Additionally, Rypien has eclipsed over 60 percent in completion percentage in all three seasons at the controls.
16. Mason Fine, North Texas
The Mean Green showed marked improvement in coach Seth Littrell’s second season and are likely to begin 2018 as the favorite to win Conference USA’s West Division once again. Led by Fine, a high-powered offense was a big reason why North Texas claimed the division title last year. Fine started all 14 games for the Mean Green, throwing for 4,052 yards and 31 touchdowns. The Oklahoma native’s 4,052 yards and 31 passing scores set new single-season records for the program. The huge statistical year also allowed Fine to earn first-team All-Conference USA honors.
15. Shea Patterson, Michigan
Michigan’s 2018 Big Ten title hopes received a boost when Patterson was granted immediate eligibility. The Louisiana native ranked as a five-star recruit in the 2016 signing class and was pressed into action after Chad Kelly suffered a season-ending injury that year. Patterson started the final three games for the Rebels and threw for 880 yards and six scores, while adding 169 yards on 41 carries. High expectations surrounded Patterson in his first year as a full-time starter, but he was limited to seven games due to injury last fall. Despite the injury-shortened season, Patterson threw for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns and completed 63.8 percent of his passes. The junior has to do a better job of limiting the mistakes after tossing nine picks on 260 attempts in 2017. Patterson should be an impact addition for Michigan this fall.
14. Jake Bentley, South Carolina
New play-caller Bryan McClendon is tasked with helping Bentley elevate his play after South Carolina’s offense averaged only 24.2 points a game last fall. More up-tempo looks are in the works for McClendon, which is a good fit for an offense featuring one of the SEC’s top receiving corps. Bentley showed promise in a late stint as South Carolina’s starter in 2016 and threw for 2,794 yards and 18 scores last fall. Entering his junior year, Bentley looks poised to take the next step in his development.
13. Ryan Finley, NC State
Finley has posted back-to-back 3,000-yard seasons and should easily reach three in a row in 2018. The Arizona native threw for 3,200 yards and 16 scores and connected on 65.1 percent of his throws in 2017. Additionally, he recorded nine passing plays of 40 yards or more and did not throw an interception in NC State’s first seven games. Finley’ has completed 63 percent of his passes since coming to Raleigh, which ranks second in school history behind Philip Rivers. Finley has one of the ACC’s top receiving corps at his disposal, which should allow him to have a strong senior year and make a case to be one of the first quarterbacks off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft.
12. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
Lewerke’s emergence was a big reason why Michigan State improved its win total by seven games from 2016 to ’17. After playing in four games (and two starts) in 2016, Lewerke threw for 2,793 yards and 20 touchdowns and ranked second on the team with 559 rushing yards and five scores last fall. The Arizona native is the only quarterback in school history to throw for more than 400 yards in back-to-back games.
11. Jake Fromm, Georgia
Fromm ranks as the No. 5 quarterback on this list, but he could easily rank a few spots higher. The gap between the league’s top signal-callers in 2018 is small, and Fromm still has to contend with incoming freshman Justin Fields. Fromm was one of college football’s top freshmen last season, as he replaced Jacob Eason as Georgia’s No. 1 quarterback following an injury in the opener against Appalachian State. Fromm threw for 2,615 yards and 24 touchdowns, while his 62.2 completion percentage tied for second in the SEC last fall.
10. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
Fitzgerald was limited in the spring due to a leg injury suffered in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss. However, the Georgia native is on track to return to full strength for the fall and should thrive under new coach Joe Moorhead. In his second year as the starter, Fitzgerald threw for 1,782 yards and 15 touchdowns and added 984 yards and 14 scores on the ground. The senior is still developing as a passer, but Moorhead should help him take a step forward in his final year in Starkville.
9. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Running back Kerryon Johnson will be missed, but Auburn's offense is set behind Stidham and one of the league's top receiving corps for 2018. After all, Stidham’s 3,158 passing yards in his first year on campus ranked second for a single season in program history. He also tossed 18 touchdowns and added 153 yards and four scores on the ground. Stidham’s 10 passing plays of 50 yards or more ranked fifth nationally among FBS quarterbacks last season.
8. Justin Herbert, Oregon
Herbert was poised for a monster 2017 season but a collarbone injury in late September forced him to miss five games. The Oregon native returned for the final three contests and ended the year with 1,983 passing yards and 15 touchdowns. If Herbert can stay healthy, challenging for first-team All-Pac-12 and All-America honors is within reach for 2018. And with running back Royce Freeman off to the NFL, Herbert will be the focal point of Oregon's offense this fall.
7. Jake Browning, Washington
Washington’s passing game missed John Ross’ big-play ability at receiver last season, but Browning still threw for 2,719 yards and 19 touchdowns over 13 games. Additionally, Browning tossed just five interceptions and his 68.5 completion percentage ranked second among FBS quarterbacks. The senior ranks second in school history in career passing yards (9,104) and owns the program record for most career passing scores (78).
6. Drew Lock, Missouri
Lock earned first-team All-SEC honors after throwing for 3,964 yards and 44 touchdowns last season. The Missouri native was instrumental in the Tigers’ late-season surge, guiding the offense to an average of 51.3 points in the team’s six games prior to the Texas Bowl. Lock’s 44 touchdowns were the most of any FBS quarterback last fall, while his 521 passing yards in the opener against Missouri State set a new school record.
5. McKenzie Milton, UCF
Milton was the catalyst behind UCF’s high-powered offense last season and is expected to push for All-America honors in 2018. In 13 games in 2017, Milton threw for 4,037 yards (a school record for a single season) and 37 touchdowns. He also finished second on the team with 613 rushing yards and eight scores. Milton posted two appearances of more than 400 passing yards and also led all AAC quarterbacks by completing 67.1 percent of his throws. New coach Josh Heupel should keep UCF’s offense performing at a high level, allowing Milton an opportunity to match or exceed last year’s totals.
4. Khalil Tate, Arizona
Tate emerged as one of college football’s most dynamic playmakers last season and should thrive under the tutelage of new coach Kevin Sumlin and coordinator Noel Mazzone. The junior is among the leading candidates to win the Heisman Trophy in 2018 after accumulating 3,002 total yards and 26 overall scores last fall.
3. Trace McSorley, Penn State
With Saquan Barkley off to the NFL, Penn State’s Big Ten title and CFB Playoff hopes rest with McSorley. The Virginia native has posted back-to-back prolific seasons as Penn State’s starter and is among the top candidates to win the Heisman Trophy in 2018. McSorley has accounted for 7,184 passing yards and 57 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Additionally, he’s rushed for 856 yards and 18 scores on the ground in that span. McSorley’s 77 career touchdowns are the most by any Penn State player in program history.
2. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Yes, ranking Tagovailoa is a projection and requires the sophomore holding off Jalen Hurts for the starting job. And sure, he’s got some developing to do and has to prove the second-half performance against Georgia can be counted on for a full year. However, it’s no secret Tagovailoa – a five-star prospect and the No. 32 overall player in the 2017 247Sports Composite – might be the most-talented quarterback signed by Nick Saban since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007. In nine games last year, Tagovailoa threw for 636 yards and 11 touchdowns on 49 completions and added 133 yards and two scores on the ground. The Hawaii native has all of the talent needed to rank among the nation’s best at quarterback by the end of 2018. How soon will he reach his potential under new coordinator Mike Locksley and quarterbacks coach Dan Enos?
1. Will Grier, West Virginia
The Big 12’s unquestioned No. 1 quarterback resides in Morgantown this season. Grier – a Heisman candidate and a likely All-America pick – is at the controls of one of the nation’s top offenses. After sitting out 2016 due to transfer rules, Grier threw for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns in 11 appearances for West Virginia last fall. Additionally, the North Carolina native’s eight completions of 60 yards or more ranked third nationally among all FBS quarterbacks. Grier missed two full games due to a finger injury suffered against Texas on Nov. 18 but will be back at full strength for 2018.