Preview 2010 - C-USA Quarterback Rankings
Houston QB Case Keenum
Houston's Case Keenum is about to set all the major NCAA passing records, but he's hardly Conference USA's only star. With several great new players like Tulsa's G.J. Kinne and SMU's Kyle Padron, along with some decent veterans, the offenses will be impressive. Check out the CFN Preview 2010 C-USA Quarterback Rankings.
Preview 2010 - C-USA
The Top Quarterbacks
- C-USA Skill Position Rankings
1. Case Keenum, Sr. Houston
After three prolific seasons as the rifleman for the high-powered Cougar offense, the 6-2, 210-pound Keenum is one healthy year away from smashing all kinds of NCAA passing marks. A reigning All-American, who joined Texas Tech's Graham Harrell as the only players to have multiple 5,000-yard seasons, he completed 492-of-700 passes for 5,671 yards, 44 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. An ideal fit for this Houston attack, he has a quick trigger, excellent feet, and a great feel for the pocket and the system. He did, however, finish the year by throwing nine interceptions in back-to-back losses to East Carolina and Air Force, which could linger in the minds of some national award voters.
2. G.J. Kinne, Jr. Tulsa
Even through the inconsistent stretches, the 6-2, 219-pound junior showed why he's the quarterback of the future at Tulsa. A versatile and athletic former transfer from Texas, he put up decent numbers in an offense ideally suited for the position. As a passer, he was up and down, finishing 210-of-345 for 2,732 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He throws well on the move, a job requirement playing behind the Hurricane line. As a runner, he was fearless, going for 399 yards and five touchdowns. If the game slows down and the blockers do a better job of protection, he has the skill set and supporting cast to really light it up in Year Two.
3. Austin Davis, Jr. Southern Miss
So who gets the ball from Larry Fedora at the start of the season? While not listed on the depth chart coming out of spring, the edge still belongs to the 6-2, 205-pound junior, who missed the second half of the year with a foot injury. Prior to that, the two-year starter had gone 108-of-156 for 1,165 yards, 10 touchdowns, and two picks, adding two scores on the ground. A multi-dimensional playmaker and a terrific leader, he makes a great fit for the system. Although not imposing coming off the bus, he's an accurate, clutch passer, with a penchant for raising the level of his play late in games. He's one of those quarterbacks, who can't be judged on numbers alone.
4. Kyle Padron, Soph. SMU
Timmy Chang. Colt Brennan. Kyle Padron? Yup, June Jones might already have his next record-breaking gunslinger to pilot his run-and-shoot offense. The 6-4, 210-pound sophomore had an auspicious debut as a Mustang, taking over midway through his rookie year and going 135-of-201 for 1,922 yards, 10 touchdowns, and four interceptions. Beyond the cumulative numbers, he also went 5-1 as the starter and blew up Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl, earning MVP honors by throwing for 460 yards and two scores. He sets up quickly in the pocket, throws an accurate ball on the underneath routes, and has the footwork to buy extra time.
5. Martevious Young, Sr. Southern Miss
Young stepped in when Austin Davis got hurt and was magnificent over the second half of last year completing 57% of his throws for 1,861 yards and 16 touchdowns with just three interceptions. However, two of those picks came in the bowl loss to Middle Tennessee. Not all that big at 6-1 and 188 pounds, and without a big arm, he makes plays on the move and is a dangerous runner netting 294 yards and a score. If he doesn't get the starting job now that Davis is back and healthy, he could see time just to add more mobility to the equation.
6. Trevor VIttatoe, Sr. UTEP
The quest of the 6-2, 220-pound senior to rebound from his worst season as a Miner is off to a rocky start. After being suspended for the first six practices of spring, he missed the tail end following minor shoulder surgery. UTEP needs to see the old Vittatoe from 2007 and 2008 rather than the one that sunk to 224-of-409 for 3,308 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. His numbers were inflated by a huge final game against Marshall that somewhat glossed over an otherwise inconsistent year. Usually accurate and poised in the pocket, he was too often erratic and missed a lot of open receivers.
7. Brian Anderson, Sr. Marshall
While a new wave of competition arrives in the summer, at least for now, the 6-3, 213-pound Anderson is the man to beat heading into summer. The incumbent, he played to mixed reviews, going 231-of-398 for 2,646 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. His experience over the past two seasons will be his biggest advantage, but will it be enough to hold off the competition? That'll be the looming question throughout August. He's not the type of hurler who'll wow you with his physical ability, leaning more on his know-how and savvy behind center.
8. Nick Fanuzzi, Jr. Rice
Unlike a year ago, Rice is expected to have better depth at quarterback—and a possible controversy. Although the 6-3, 220-pound junior is the incumbent and the favorite, he was in a tight race coming out of spring that could extend deep into the summer. The former Alabama transfer played in 10 games in his debut, finishing 162-of-270 for 1,598 yards, 11 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. A good athlete, with an accurate and strong arm, he returns with a much better grasp of the offense and his role within it.
9. Brad Wornick, Soph. East Carolina
The quarterback competition has begun to shake out with an unlikely contender poised to run the new "Air Raid" attack in Greenville. Wornick, who hadn't risen above the scout team since arriving as a walk-on, is the man to beat coming out of spring practice. The 6-2, 205-pounder won't wow you with his physical ability, but he's accurate with his throws, composed in the pocket, and showed a better grasp of the new system than his competitors.
10. David Isabelle, Soph. UAB
Though he's getting a challenge, the favorite to replace Joe Webb is the 6-3, 185-pound Isabelle. He's not Webb, but he does share a lot of similar qualities, such as the athleticism to hurt defenses with his feet. He's also ahead of Webb as a passer at similar stages of their careers and had the luxury of learning behind him the last two seasons. As the backup, he only went 6-of-14 for 39 yards and a touchdown, but was second on the team in rushing with 288 yards and a score on just 32 carries.
11. Ryan Griffin, Soph. Tulane
Griffin emerged midway through his first year and played well as the starter over the final six games. He finished completing 141-of-222 passes for 1,382 yards, nine touchdowns, and six interceptions, playing especially well in November. Although he looks the part at 6-5 and 215 pounds, he doesn't have a powerful, leaning instead on his ability to fit the ball into a tight window.
12. Taylor Cook, Soph. Rice
The Owls went the transfer route once again to provide competition for Nick Fanuzzi, plucking the 6-7, 240-pound sophomore away from Miami. Looking for a chance at more playing time, the Texas native returned back home with a new lease on his career. As expected, he gets maximum RPMs on his throws, but is surprisingly nimble and light on his feet for such a big player.