Edwards: 2020 QB Rankings

1-Trevor Lawrence (Clemson): This one was easy. Lawrence is 24-1 in 25 starts, with 21 of those wins coming by 14 points or more. The loss and the three wins by single-digit margins came when the opposing QBs were Joe Burrow, Eric Dungey, Sam Howell and Justin Fields. As a true freshman, Lawrence threw for 3,280 yards with a 30/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio, leading the Tigers to their second national title during Dabo Swinney’s tenure. They beat Notre Dame and Alabama by a combined score of 74-19 in the College Football Playoff. As a sophomore, Lawrence connected on 65.8 percent of his throws for 3,665 yards with a 36/8 TD-INT ratio. He also produced 563 rushing yards and nine TDs, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He goes into his junior campaign without throwing an interception in eight consecutive contests.

2-Justin Fields (Ohio State): The five-star recruit bailed on Georgia after one season when it was clear he wasn’t going to unseat Jake Fromm. Fields lived up to the hype in his first season as a starter, sparking Ohio State to a 13-0 record and a Big Ten title. The Buckeyes allowed a double-digit lead to get away in their 29-23 loss to Clemson in the CFP semifinals. Fields garnered Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors and finished third in voting for the Heisman Trophy. He completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,273 yards with an incredible 41/3 TD-INT ratio. Fields also had 484 rushing yards and 10 TDs.

3-Sam Ehlinger (Texas): As the starting QB for most of his three seasons in Austin, Ehlinger has put up gaudy stats. His career numbers look like this:  8,874 passing yards, 68/22 TD-INT ratio, 1,526 rushing yards, 25 rushing TDs and nine receptions for 115 receiving yards. Ehlinger goes into his senior season ranked second in the program’s history in career passing yards, trailing only Colt McCoy (13,253).

4-Sam Howell (North Carolina): We aren’t expecting a sophomore slump from Howell, who had a 38/7 TD-INT ratio as a true freshman in 2019. Mack Brown went with Howell from the opening snap and was rewarded with a five-win turnaround. The Tar Heels had gone 2-9 in Larry Fedora’s final season, but they won seven in the first season of Brown’s second tour of duty at UNC. All six defeats were one-possession games, including a 34-31 loss to 19th-ranked Appalachian State, a 21-20 loss to second-ranked Clemson and a 43-41 loss at Virginia Tech in four overtimes. Howell connected on 61.4 percent of his throws for 3,641 yards. He had one rushing TD and a TD catch, too.

5-Tanner Morgan (Minnesota): With nine starters back on offense, Minnesota is going to have one of the nation’s premier offenses. Morgan was sensational in last season’s breakout campaign for himself and the program. He completed 66.0 percent of his passes for 3,253 yards with a 30/7 TD-INT ratio. Morgan led the Gophers to an 11-2 record and a 31-24 win over Auburn at the Outback Bowl. The fourth-year junior signal caller has one of the Big Ten’s best wideouts in Rashod Bateman, who had 60 receptions for 1,219 and 11 TDs as a sophomore in 2019.

6-Kedon Slovis (USC): If the Clay Helton Era is going to extend beyond the 2020 season, Slovis will have to duplicate – and perhaps exceed — his banner 2019 as a true freshman. He connected on 71.9 percent of his throws for 3,502 yards with a 30/9 TD-INT ratio. In the Trojans’ last three-regular season games, Slovis threw for 1,353 yards and 12 TDs compared to only one interception.

7-Kyle Trask (Florida): Trask had not started since his freshman year of high school (he was D’Eriq King’s backup at the prep level) when he took over for the injured Feleipe Franks in Week 3 of last season. You would’ve never known it, as he swiftly rallied Florida back from a double-digit deficit to win at Kentucky. Trask’s only losses came against Burrow and Fromm, as he helped the Gators go 11-2 and drop Virginia in the Orange Bowl. Trask plays with poise, is extremely accurate, stands tall in the pocket (he’s 6-foot-5) and moves well for his size. He completed 66.9 percent of his passes for 2,941 yards with a 25/7 TD-INT ratio. Trask also had four rushing TDs.

8-Jayden Daniels (Arizona State): Like Howell at North Carolina, Herm Edwards handed the keys to his offense to a true freshman from the start in 2019. Daniels rewarded his coach by completing 60.7 percent of his passes for 2,943 yards with a 17/2 TD-INT ratio. Daniels can make plays with his legs, too, rushing for 355 yards and three TDs. As double-digit home underdog vs. fifth-ranked Oregon, Daniels led ASU to a 31-28 win by connecting on 22-of-32 attempts for 408 yards and three TDs without an interception. He had nine TD passes without an interception in his last five games. Daniels went 8-4 as a starter, missing one game with an injury.

9-Ian Book (Notre Dame): Book is poised to eclipse Jimmy Clausen for second place in career passing yards at Notre Dame at some point in October. He has 6,118 career passing yards with a 57/17 TD-INT ratio. Book also has 1,032 career rushing yards and eight TDs. He led the Fighting Irish to an 11-2 record in 2019, producing 38 TDs and 3,580 yards from scrimmage.

10-D’Eriq King (Miami): I think King made a terrible decision in choosing Miami over several programs that are in much better position to be successful in 2020. The Hurricanes went 6-7 in Year 1 of Manny Diaz’s tenure. Diaz is a career defensive coordinator who is in his first head-coaching job. Miami’s offense was so bad last year that it was shut out by Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl even though the Bulldogs were without their best defensive player. King was sensational at Houston in 2018, throwing for 2,982 yards with a 36/6 TD-INT ratio. He also had 674 rushing yards, 14 TDs and a 6.1 YPC average. He has a 50/10 career TD-INT ratio, 28 rushing TDs, three TD catches and one kickoff return for a TD.

11-Brock Purdy (Iowa State): If he stays healthy, Purdy will likely become Iowa State’s all-time leader in career passing yards as a junior. In 2019, Purdy connected on 65.7 percent of his passes for 3,982 yards with a 27/9 TD-INT ratio. He also had 249 rushing yards and eight TDs. For his career, Purdy has a 43/16 TD-INT ratio with 13 rushing scores.

12-KJ Costello (Mississippi State): After an injury-plagued junior campaign, Costello opted to leave Stanford and David Shaw’s run-first offense to play his final collegiate season at Mississippi State in Mike Leach’s pass-happy Air Raid attack. Costello was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2018. For his career, he has completed 495-of-791 passes (62.6%) for 6,151 yards with a 49/18 TD-INT ratio.

13-Brady White (Memphis): The 6-foot-3, 215-pound signal caller has most of his weapons back in 2020, and that’s bad news for AAC defenses. White connected on 64.0 percent of his passes last year for 4,014 yards and a 33/11 TD-INT ratio. He also ran for four TDs. In two seasons as the starter at Memphis, White has thrown for 7,310 yards with a 59/20 TD-INT ratio.

14-Kellen Mond (Texas A&M): Texas A&M returns all of its top skill players. Mond has experience galore and two years in Jimbo Fisher’s system. He has 7,469 career passing yards with 52 TD passes compared to 24 interceptions. Mond is a dual-threat QB, producing 1,314 career rushing yards and 18 TDs.

15-Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma): We’re obviously projecting here, as the redshirt freshman appeared in only three games last season. The former five-star recruit completed 7-of-11 attempts (63.6%) for 81 yards and one TD without an interception. Rattler ran it three times for 23 yards. From Shane Carden during his offensive coordinator days at East Carolina to Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts at OU, Lincoln Riley has coached up his QB room better than anybody else in college football in recent years.

16-Zac Thomas (Appalachian State): Thomas has produced 67 TDs in two seasons as a starter for the Mountaineers, who are 23-3 in his 26 games under center. He has a 49/12 career TD-INT ratio with 17 rushing scores and one TD reception.

17-Mac Jones (Alabama): Jones showed his mental toughness by bouncing back from a pair of pick-sixes (one of which wasn’t on him) at Auburn to orchestrate TDs on the ensuing drives. He went 3-1 as a starter, losing the heartbreaker on The Plains when the Crimson Tide’s field-goal kicker missed a bunny that would’ve forced overtime. Jones has a 15/3 career TD-INT ratio.

18-Bo Nix (Auburn): He had his ups and downs as a true freshman, but that’s to be expected going against SEC-caliber defenses one year removed from high school. Nix helped Auburn go 9-4, throwing a game-winning TD pass in the final seconds of a season-opening win over Oregon. His accuracy needs to improve (57.6%), evidenced by the missed throw on the fourth-and-short play vs. Georgia at crunch time. However, Auburn’s future is bright with Nix, who had a 16/6 TD-INT ratio and seven rushing scores in 2019.

19-Charlie Brewer (Baylor): He has a 51/20 career TD-INT ratio with 18 rushing TDs. Brewer goes into his junior campaign ranked third at Baylor in career passing yards. If he stays healthy, Brewer should pass Robert Griffin III for tops in school history at some point in early November.

20-Jack Coan (Wisconsin): In his first full season as the starter, Coan threw for 2,727 yards with an 18/5 TD-INT ratio. He had the nation’s 19th-best QB Rating (151.07). Coan will have to hold off Graham Mertz, who was the country’s third-best pro-style QB in the 2019 recruiting class.

Honorable Mention: Jake Bentley (Utah), Dillon Gabriel (UCF), Sean Clifford (Penn State), Shane Buechele (SMU), Dustin Crum (Kent State), Levi Lewis (Louisiana) and Jamie Newman (Georgia).

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