10 quarterbacks to watch from recruiting class of 2015
The recruiting class of 2015 is stocked with talented quarterbacks who have the potential to make major impacts at the college level. Some should have opportunities to compete for early playing time, while others may be forced to wait a year or two before cracking the starting lineup. Below are snapshots of 10 signal callers to know (listed alphabetically):
• Hometown: Folsom, Calif.
• Rivals.com rank: No. 84 (No. 3 pro-style QB)
• Committed to: Washington (early enrollee)
Cyler Miles will return next season after starting 12 games for the Huskies in 2014, but the rising redshirt junior was inconsistent at times and ranked ninth among Pac-12 quarterbacks with a 142.39 pass efficiency rating. Browning’s pedigree suggests he could at least compete with Miles and the other quarterbacks on the Huskies’ roster for playing time (it’s worth noting the announcement last month that redshirt freshman Troy Williams will transfer).
During his career at Folsom (Calif.) High, Browning set national records for career (229) and single-season (91) touchdown passes and amassed over 16,700 yards through the air. A two-time Gatorade player of the year in California and 2015 Parade first-team All-America honoree, Browning will have the opportunity to make an impression in spring drills after beginning classes last month.
• Hometown: Bradenton, Fla.
• Rivals.com rank: No. 39 (No. 1 dual-threat QB)
• Committed to: Florida State
The Seminoles’ 2015 recruiting class features three four-star prospects expected to play quarterback. One of them, De’Andre Johnson, was named Florida’s Mr. Football after finishing his college career with more than 11,000 passing yards and 150 total touchdowns. Another, Kai Locksley, is listed as an “athlete” by several major recruiting services and recently tweeted out a picture of Texas coaches accompanied with the words “now it’s decision making time!”
Whether or not Locksley sticks to his commitment, Francois looks like the strongest candidate of the three to compete for the starting job vacated by potential top-five draft pick Jameis Winston. Rated No. 1 among dual threat quarterbacks in the class of 2015, Francois played under former Seminoles standout Chris Weinke at IMG Academy (Fla.) as a senior after transferring from Olympia (Fla.) High.
• Hometown: Albuquerque, N.M.
• Rivals.com rank: No. 105 (No. 4 pro-style QB)
• Committed to: Michigan
Gentry had been committed to Texas since May but flipped to Michigan last month after Jim Harbaugh replaced Brady Hoke as the Wolverines’ head coach. The 6-foot-7, 230-pounder threw for nearly 3,000 yards and ran for over 1,000 during his senior season at Eldorado (N.M.) High.
Michigan is also adding another quarterback in this recruiting class, four-star Alex Malzone, but he committed to the Wolverines under former coach Brady Hoke. Unlike Malzone, Gentry won’t have the benefit of going through spring practice, which could set him back in a quarterback competition that will also include junior Shane Morris and redshirt freshman Wilton Speight (Russell Bellomy recently announced that he’s transferring). Still, Gentry could have a say in the matter considering no returning signal caller distinguished himself last season.
• Hometown: Plantation, Fla.
• Rivals.com rank: Not in top 250 (No. 15 dual-threat QB)
• Committed to: Ohio State
With Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones in the fold, Ohio State already boasts plenty of depth at quarterback. The Buckeyes could add to the group on Signing Day -- if Gibson sticks to his commitment. The No. 15 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2015 has visited multiple other schools over the past month, including Miami and Auburn.
Gibson is renowned for his athleticism and running ability, but he reportedly picked Ohio State with the understanding the school would allow him to play quarterback. Whereas sticking with the Buckeyes could hurt Gibson’s chances of getting on the field as an underclassmann, he may be able to compete for snaps right away at Auburn. According to AL.com, Tigers coach Gus Malzahn told Gibson last month that he was “his guy.”
• Hometown: Allen, Texas
• Rivals.com rank: No. 71 (No. 5 dual-threat QB)
• Committed to: Texas A&M
Murray’s recruitment created national headlines last month as speculation swirled over whether he would flip his commitment from Texas A&M to Texas. One of the reasons the move appeared to make sense is that it seemingly would have facilitated a faster path to playing time. Whereas the Aggies are led by former five-star recruit Kyle Allen, who will be a sophomore in the fall, the Longhorns’ quarterback situation is unsettled after no one at the position stepped up last season. The flip drama gained steam when Murray tweeted a photo of an orange-and-white Longhorns jersey while on an unofficial visit to Austin. All the speculation proved to be for naught when Murray reaffirmed his commitment last week to Texas A&M, where his dad was a two-time All-America selection.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder compiled a 43-0 record as a starter and won three state championships at Allen (Texas) High. He was recently named the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year and the Parade 2015 All-America Player of the Year.
• Hometown: Bellflower, Calif.
• Rivals.com rank: No. 2 (No. 1 pro-style QB)
• Committed to: UCLA (early enrollee)
Brett Hundley began his UCLA career with considerable expectations after shining at Chandler (Ariz.) High and being ranked No. 2 among dual-threat quarterbacks in his recruiting class. A few years later, Rosen will start his stint with the Bruins amid more hype than his predecessor, who is entering the upcoming NFL draft. During Rosen’s senior season at St. John Bosco (Calif.) High, the class of 2015’s top pro-style quarterback completed more than 63 percent of his passes for just under 3,200 yards and 29 touchdowns.
After shooting down speculation about a possible flip to Michigan, Rosen enrolled early at UCLA and is set to participate in spring workouts. Among the signal-callers Rosen will need to beat out to win the starting job is rising redshirt junior Jerry Neuheisel, who led the Bruins to a win over Texas at AT&T Stadium in September while Hundley battled an elbow injury.
• Hometown: Spokane, Wash.
• Rivals.com rank: No. 232 (No. 8 pro-style QB)
• Committed to: Boise State (early-enrollee)
Rypien became the highest-rated quarterback to commit to Boise State since at least 2002 -- the first year Rivals.com ranked prospects -- when he chose the Broncos in over scholarship offers from Mississippi State, Washington and Arizona State, among other programs. As a senior at Shadle Park (Wash.) High, Rypien threw for 50 touchdowns and set state records for single-season and career passing yards.
The 6-2, 185-pounder will be one of several signal-callers battling to replace Grant Hedrick, who ranked atop the Football Bowl Subdivision in completion percentage while leading the Broncos to a 12-2 record in 2014. Rypien, the nephew of former NFL quarterback and Super Bowl XXVI MVP Mark Rypien, will partake in spring workouts after arriving in Boise for the start of spring semester last month.
• Hometown: Stephenville, Texas
• Rivals.com rank: No. 97 (No. 6 dual-threat QB)
• Committed to: Baylor (early enrollee)
Among the quarterbacks who have piloted coach Art Briles high-powered attack since he became Baylor’s head coach for the 2008 season are ‘11 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and ‘13 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Bryce Petty. Yet neither of those quarterbacks or any other who has completed a pass during Briles’ tenure is as highly touted as Stidham, who excelled as a passer and runner during his career at Stephenville (Texas) High -- where Briles once coached.
Stidham signed a financial aid agreement with Texas Tech in August but reopened his recruitment in December and then committed to the Bears. While he should thrive in Briles’ offense, rising junior Seth Russell appears to be the favorite to replace Petty as the starter next season.
• Hometown: Anaheim, Calif.
• Rivals.com rank: No. 49 (No. 3 dual-threat QB)
• Committed to: Oregon (early enrollee)
The biggest question fore Oregon following the Ducks’ run to the national championship game is who will succeed Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota. Rising redshirt junior Jeff Lockie is the most experienced option, while Georgia Tech transfer Ty Griffin offers superior athleticism, and former four-star recruit Morgan Mahalak shouldn’t be discounted. There’s also the possibility that Oregon will add another quarterback to its rotation; Eastern Washington star Vernon Adams visited this past weekend and has said that the Ducks offered him a scholarship.
But Waller could play himself into the conversation if he shows well during spring practice. The class of 2015’s No. 3 dual-threat quarterback accounted for more than 2,500 all-purpose yards and 27 touchdowns during his senior season at Servite (Calif.) High.
• Hometown: Jersey City, N.J.
• Rivals.com rank: No. 60 (No. 4 dual-threat QB)
• Committed to: Notre Dame
Wimbush appeared set to become rising junior Christian Hackenberg successor at Penn State when he committed to the Nittany Lions in May. That changed after Wimbush visited South Bend in October and flipped his pledge less than a week later.
Wimbush, who was named the Gatorade New Jersey Football Player of the Year, is a promising prospect in large part because of his arm strength and ability to extend plays. His commitment switch helped the Fighting Irish offset four-star quarterback Blake Barnett’s June decommitment (Barnett, the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2015, later pledged to Alabama).
Even if Everett Golson decides to transfer away from Notre Dame, Wimbush probably won’t see the field as a true freshman because of rising junior Malik Zaire, who started Notre Dame’s win over LSU in the Music City Bowl.
All recruiting data from Rivals.com. All statistics from MaxPreps.