Follow along as we go through a position by position projection of the nations top college players. As a defensive minded guy, I must begrudgingly begin with the ” Most Important Position on the Field”. Those pretty boy ticket sellers, the Quarterbacks. To avoid any potential bias I will give one guy from each Power 5 Conference at each position. After all, these kids work their tails off and deserve some recognition.
Trevor Lawrence- Clemson :
He captured the hearts of Clemson fans early last season. He wowed and plowed through the entire ACC and then the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide to end it. Coming into 2019 he has all the momentum to win the Heisman Trophy and the weight of expectation upon his shoulders. A good thing for Tiger fans, at 6’5″ the young gunslinger has some pretty broad shoulders.
As a freshman, Lawrence racked up 3,280 yards through the air with 30 TDs. He didn’t start until week 4 to emphasize the impact of these numbers. He saved his best for the postseason, compiling insane statistics against Notre Dame and the vaunted Crimson Tide defense of Alabama. This is the guy most would pencil in as the preliminary favorite to take home the Heisman in 2019.
Shea Patterson-Michigan :
After turning heads in the SEC at Ole Miss, Patterson transferred to Michigan and the BIG 10 after NCAA sanctions drove the Rebels into obscurity. His decision brought question to his character, not his talent, however. In his first year as a Wolverine, he passed for 2,600 yards and 22 scores to only 7 picks. He added 273 yards and 2 TDs with his legs to help Michigan to arguably their best season under Harbaugh yet.
This season could be a breakout year for Patterson. New offensive coordinator Josh Gattis brings in an up-tempo spread style offense that will showcase Patterson’s skill set. The receiving corp in Ann Arbor is one of the best in the nation, so look for the guys in Maize and Blue to run wild over OSU!
Jalen Hurts-Oklahoma :
What else can be said about Hurts that hasn’t already been said? He was 26-2 as a starter at Alabama and was benched at halftime of the national championship game against Georgia. Determined, he stayed at Alabama despite losing his starting job and endured a limited role in 2018. Never once complained and kept on working. Against those same Bulldogs, he got his shot at redemption a year later. Entering the SEC Championship game for an injured Tua Tagovailoa down two scores, Hurts showed he still has what it takes. Bringing the Crimson Tide back in an epic 4th quarter comeback his dedication paid off.
All that is history though. This is about 2019. Lincoln Riley has taken 2 transfer QBs and turned them into back to back Heisman winning number 1 overall NFL Draft selections. Hurts has all the intangibles needed to succeed in Oklahoma’s offense and the character to lead the locker room without doubt. The Sooners have a gift in Hurts.
Tua Tagovailoa-Alabama :
Coming off a stellar sophomore campaign that ended in an unfathomable manner, the Samoan Sensation looks to redeem himself. Setting single-season school records for yards passing and TDs responsible for (3,966 yds and 43 TDs) in 2018 the man known simply as Tua is now the unquestioned starter. Completing 69% of his 355 attempts and tossing only 6 interceptions was quite a feat. He has the best receiving group in the nation returning this year as well as some of the nations top tailbacks behind him. Tua is the biggest preseason challenger for the Heisman Trophy to Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence if not a slight favorite.
One thing we can all count on is Nick Saban to come out and show his critics and doubters he is far from finished or washed up. With a veteran QB under center possessing the level of talent Tua does, a receiving group that some NFL teams can’t match and a host of other five star recruits, Alabama and Tagovailoa will be a team to watch.
Justin Herbert-Oregon :
Surprising more than a few by returning for his senior year, the Ducks signal caller is back to take care of unfinished business. He has dealt with injuries throughout his career in Eugene, OR but last year managed to stay healthy. Coming off his first full season as a starter he piled up 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns through the air while adding 166 yards and 2 scores on the ground. He will need some help from his unproven, as of yet, receivers to reach his full potential. Look for Mario Cristobal and Herbert to light up scoreboards this season if the pieces fall in place. Herbert could even be an early round draft choice in 2020.
Honorable Mentions (non-Power 5)
There are some incredibly talented guys at schools not represented by a Power 5 conference as well. Ian Book at Notre Dame as well as Mackenzie Milton if he can return to UCF are a couple of guys who could make a lot of noise. Stay tuned to Ambush Sports Network as we head into the rest of the offensive powerhouse players in the upcoming 2019 season. FORGE ON!
*All photos in this piece are not the property of Ambush Sports Network or myself and are owned by and credit to their original photographer or licensee.