Preview 2010 - Pac 10 Quarterback Rankings
Stanford QB Andrew Luck
So, Jake Locker is the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and the best quarterback in the country, right? Possibly, but Stanford's Andrew Luck might have something to say about who the Pac 10's best QB is. Check out the CFN Preview 2010 Ranking of all the top quarterbacks.
Preview 2010 - Pac 10
The Top Quarterbacks
- Pac 10 Skill Position Rankings
1. Andrew Luck, Soph. Stanford
It took just one year for the 6-4, 234-pound sophomore to become one of the hottest commodities at quarterback … and not just in the Pac-10. If he builds on his debut, the NFL is going to tempt him with first round projections at some point in December. One of the signature recruits of the Jim Harbaugh era, he failed to disappoint as a rookie, leading the Pac-10 in passing efficiency and connecting on 162-of-288 passes for 2,573 yards, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions. And for a hurler with a next-level arm, he also flashed tremendous athletic ability, scrambling for 354 yards and two scores. The son of former pro quarterback Oliver Luck, he's the total package in terms of intangibles, sporting unparalleled poise and intelligence for such a young player. With RB Toby Gerhart now a Minnesota Viking, Luck is about to become the focal point of the Cardinal offense.
2. Jake Locker, Sr. Washington
When Locker decided to return for his senior, rather than declare for the NFL Draft, it represented one of the most important developments in the recent history of Husky football. He's a game-changer, who's good enough to elevate an entire program that's been floundering for a decade. At 6-3 and 226 pounds, he's uncommonly athletic, breaking containment and barreling into the defense with the force of a fullback and the quickness of a tailback. As a passer, the biggest concern before last season, he made a quantum leap in his first year under the guidance of head coach Steve Sarkisian and assistant Doug Nussmeier. There's more room for growth, but the strong-armed dual-threat looked like a different player, going 230-of-394 for 2,880 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 11 picks, adding 388 yards and seven scores on the ground.
3. Nick Foles, Jr. Arizona
It took longer than anyone expected, but Foles grabbed control in the battle to supplant Willie Tuitama in September and never looked back. The backup when the season began, he started the final 10 games, finishing 260-of-410 for 2,486 yards, 19 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He was also named honorable mention All-Pac-10, quite an ascent for the Michigan State transfer. He has the arm strength you'd expect from a 6-5, 235-pounder and is a student of the game, but needs to work on some mechanical issues and achieve a higher level of consistency. The Holiday Bowl loss to Nebraska was a reminder that there's ample room for growth in the next two seasons.
4. Matt Barkley, Soph. USC
After shocking everyone by becoming the first Trojan true freshman to start a season at quarterback, the 6-2, 230-pound Barkley is determined to elevate his overall game. Naturally, he mixed in some mistakes along with the flashes of brilliance, throwing a pick in each of the last nine games and finishing 211-of-352 for 2,735 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. However, few doubt that he has at least as much upside potential as any second-year quarterback in America. His arm strength, mechanics, and football IQ for such a young athlete are rare at this level. With a full season running the offense and dealing with the pressures of being the USC franchise, expect a much more polished product in 2010.
5. Kevin Riley, Sr. California
Is this the year? While Cal fans have waited patiently for 6-2, 223-pound Riley to evolve into an all-star, they've largely been disappointed. Sure, he's had his moments as the starter over the last two seasons, but not enough to be considered Jeff Tedford's next star pupil. He did take a baby step in the right direction a year ago, going 209-of-382 for 2,850 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He's also a good athlete at the position, avoiding the rush and picking up first downs with his feet. However, if he's going to finally put it all together, he has to improve his accuracy and find a way to achieve a higher degree of consistency.
6. Brock Osweiler, Soph. Arizona State
If Arizona State has any hope for reversing its recent trend of mediocrity, it'll need to fix its obvious problems at quarterback. And while the race to be the starter is far from over, 6-8, 245-pound sophomore has nudged ahead in a heated competition. He got a taste of action in his rookie year, going 24-of-55 for 249 yards, two touchdowns, and two picks in six games. Yes, he has the powerful right arm you'd expect from such a big hurler, but he's also an unexpectedly good athlete, turning down basketball offers from the likes of Gonzaga before settling down in Tempe. If he's going to remain in the pole position, he has to become more consistent and more comfortable as the young leader of the offense.
7. Kevin Prince, Soph. UCLA
Last year was the sticky part at quarterback. The next few seasons should be a whole lot more productive now that all the kids are a year older. More specifically, 6-2, 229-pound sophomore is ready to take flight now that he has a full season of work in the vault. As expected, he had an awkward debut, finishing 173-of-308 for 2,050 yards, eight touchdowns, and eight interceptions, but gained a ton of experience while showing glimpses of the future. He has the physical gifts, such as a strong arm, terrific mobility, and overall toughness, to be the program's best thing since Cade McNown more than a decade ago. Now he just needs to become more consistent and make better decisions.
8. Ryan Katz, Soph. Oregon State
Now that Sean Canfield has graduated, the baton is being passed to the 6-1, 209-pound sophomore, who was recruited for this moment. As the backup last season, he made brief appearances in four games, finishing 14-of-27 for 232 yards and a touchdown. While not very big, he gets a tight rotation on his passes and throws a nice deep ball. Accurate on the move, he brings a desired package of physical skills, and approached the offseason as if he's going to be a three-year starter. All he needs now are those valuable in-season reps under center.
9. Nate Costa, Sr. Oregon
For those who missed one of the biggest offseason stories, star QB Jeremiah Masoli has been suspended for the year, the result of stealing a laptop from a frat house. The subsequent battle to supplant him in 2011 will be one of the biggest stories of the summer. Costa rates an edge in experience … and perseverance. The 6-1, 210-pounder has had to overcome multiple knee surgeries to reach this point, showing a lot of heart and a great work ethic by refusing to pack it in. Once considered a perfect fit in this offense, he has an accurate arm and good feet, even if his mobility isn't quite what it used to be. Chip Kelly wants a game manager who can efficiently distribute the ball like a point guard, which might be the edge Costa needs to author a storybook ending to a disappointing career.
10. Jeff Tuel, Soph. Washington State
One of the few bright spots of the 2009 season was that the program got a head start on the Tuel in the Palouse. The 6-3, 211-pound sophomore was thrust into an impossible situation, faring better than expected and becoming the first true freshman to start a game at quarterback since Drew Bledsoe two decades earlier. Before suffering a season-ending knee injury, he went 71-of-121 for 789 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions. In the loss to Cal, he shredded a pretty good Bear secondary for 354 yards and two scores, showing the poise, touch on his passes, and mobility that portend a bright future.