This is the time of year when the “lists” of college football come out. College football fans will always like to debate who has the best offense, defense, secondary, or offensive line. Following in that line of debate I will put out the list of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12. However, my list is not going to include all quarterbacks due to the fact that we don’t know who will be taking snaps with all the Pac-12 teams.
Top 5 Quarterbacks
- Sam Darnold: I’ve heard some people say he isn’t the best quarterback in the conference. I am obviously taking a different point of view on this. Ever since Darnold was put into the starting lineup he has shown why he’ll be considered the top returning quarterback in the Pac-12 in 2017. Over the course of the 2016 season, Sam Darnold proved his worth with ability to win close games when the lights are the brightest. He led his Trojans to a win at Washington, he helped the Trojans beat down Notre Dame, and finally helped USC win one of the most memorable Rose Bowl’s ever. The footwork he has in the pocket, his pocket awareness, his calm demeanor, and the ability of Darnold to drive the ball down the field make him the best returning quarterback for the Pac-12.
- Jake Browning: Browning still has questions about his arm strength. He doesn’t drive the ball down field like Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen, but the bottom line for Browning is that he did get the job done for the Huskies. He led his team to the Conference Championship, a spot in the College football playoff, and was in the Heisman talk during the season. Browning also set a NCAA record by passing for a touchdown on 12.2% of his passes. People may question his ability to win the big game, but the two big games he ran into were a USC team that arguably was playing like a top five team and then ran into the buzz saw known as Alabama. Browning is a top-tier quarterback make no mistake about it.
- Josh Rosen: This was a tough one for me only because it’s tough to know how well Rosen is going to heal from his shoulder injury. With the injury there was also some nerve damage evidently. When your shoulder goes and there is nerve damage there really is no coming back from that. However, there is no doubt about Rosen’s talent has a quarterback. He has good footwork in the pocket, will try and extend plays with his feet, has a first round arm, and makes all the throws an NFL type of quarterback needs to. Now, the question is if he can stay healthy. If Rosen comes back and throws for 3,668 yards, 23 touchdowns, and has a game average of 282 yards like he did as a freshman then the Bruins will be a force in the Pac-12 in 2017.
- Luke Falk: Luke Falk is probably the best quarterback that people tend to forget about or don’t even know about. I’ve seen this guy in person and he can make all the throws that are required at this level and beyond. Some may say that he is “system quarterback” and while that may play a part in Falk’s success, he still has to make the correct reads and decisions during a game. Falk threw for 4,204 yards, 37 touchdowns, and has 10,624 yards for his career. His statistics speak volumes for him because there are many quarterbacks in college football that would die for those stats. The one thing Luke Falk has to do is win the big game. Get his team to a bowl of significance or win the conference championship. It’s time to go next level for Luke Falk.
- Justin Herbert: Really? Justin Herbert in the five spot? Yeah, I believe this kid is the quarterback for the next few years at Oregon. After a couple of years of trolling in the graduate-transfer waters in Eugene, the Mark Helfrich coaching staff may have given the Willie Taggart staff a gift with Herbert. After seeing him live, I was completely convinced he’s the guy for the Ducks. Herbert can get out and extend plays with his feet. He has the height at 6’6” to see downfield easily and has the arm to get the ball downfield as well. Just ask California about his ability to get the ball downfield. With any young quarterback you have some growing pains and those pains will continue with a new system being installed with Taggart regime. Bottom line is that the Ducks have the quarterback of the future, so let’s sit back and hopefully he can develop into the quarterback I think he can be.