The 2016 Quarterback Recruits

Bruce Matson

The 2016 quarterback class delivers a lot of promise and there’s a chance that a few of these players could be starting for an NFL team in the next few years. That being said, it’s good to get familiar with some of these quarterbacks now so we don’t have to play catch-up when they decide to come out for the draft.

There were two five-star recruits and 19 four-star recruits in the 2016 class. A fair amount of the prospects are starting for their respective teams and could rise up draft boards if they have a good season. It’s a talented class that could make a big impact at the NFL level.

By combing through each recruiting class by position, we get to view the college landscape from a different perspective. It’s also a deeper look because we get to analyze some of the less talked-about prospects.

I utilized 247Sports’ recruiting ranks to get the player ratings. From there, I researched and provided an assessment for each player who received either a five or four-star rating.

Below are my previous recruiting class reviews:

2016

2015

The deeper your devy leagues are, the more these evaluations will help. Hopefully, you get a good overview of the college landscape which will help you be more prepared for your future rookie drafts.

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PRO-STYLE QUARTERBACK

1. SHEA PATTERSON, QB MICHIGAN – FIVE STAR

Patterson started his journey with Ole Miss, where he passed for 3,139 yards and 23 touchdowns in his first two seasons. This spring, he decided to transfer to Michigan and he’s projected to start for the team immediately. He wanted to go to a school that could give him an opportunity to win a National Championship. Patterson will now hook up with Tarik Black and Donovan Peoples-Jones, two very talented wide receivers. There’s currently a lot of potential in Michigan’s offense and if he quickly acclimates to the offensive system, Patterson could be really impressive this year.

2. JACOB EASON, QB WASHINGTON – FIVE STAR

As a freshman, Eason threw for 2,430 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Georgia Bulldogs. His sophomore season was cut short by a knee injury and true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm successfully led the team for the rest of the year. Eason decided to transfer his talents to Washington in January which means he will sit out the 2018 season. He is projected to be the team’s starting quarterback in 2019.

At 6-foot-5 and 235-pounds, Eason is a big quarterback with a very impressive arm. There’s a lot of talent here and if he can get healthy and develop to his potential, he could be one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects.

3. KJ COSTELLO, QB STANFORD – FOUR STAR

As a redshirt freshman, Costello got the opportunity to start the final six games last year. The team had a 3-3 record with him as the starter. He had only two games with more than 200 yards passing. Costello will be the team’s starting quarterback this year and it will be interesting to see how much he has developed since last season.

4. MALIK HENRY, QB FLORIDA STATE – FOUR STAR

Henry was suspended by the Florida State Seminoles during his freshman season and due to that, he decided to transfer out to play JUCO ball. It’s highly unlikely that he will ever make an impact at the FBS level. At least he will get the chance to showcase his talents on Netflix’s Last Chance U.

5. FELEIPE FRANKS, QB FLORIDA – FOUR STAR

Franks started several games for the Gators last season. He was inconsistent but still flashed some talent. Florida has started 12 different quarterbacks since 2009 and that number could increase if Franks has another rocky season. He has plenty of weapons to work with considering Tyrie Cleveland is one of the best receivers in the nation and Van Jefferson is another talented wideout who just transferred from Ole Miss.

6. BRANDON PETERS, QB MICHIGAN – FOUR STAR

He will more than likely start the season as Shea Patterson’s backup. If Patterson leaves for the NFL Draft next year, Peters could be the teams starting quarterback in 2019.

7. DWAYNE HASKINS, QB OHIO STATE – FOUR STAR

Haskins will be the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes. We shouldn’t see much of a drop off in play from what we’re used to seeing from JT Barrett. I think he’s a better downfield passer than Barrett and he does a really good job of hitting tight windows. If he can develop and improve his game, the Buckeyes could win the Big Ten and make it to the College Football Playoff.

8. JACK ALLISON, QB WEST VIRGINIA – FOUR STAR

Allison originally signed his letter of intent with Miami, but he never gained any traction there. He transferred in the spring of 2017 to West Virginia. He had to sit out the entire 2017 season to please NCAA transfer regulations. He will be the Mountaineers’ backup quarterback for this year and is projected to be the team’s starting quarterback in 2019. Senior quarterback Will Grier has a death grip on the starting quarterback gig and it will take an injury or extremely poor play for him to relinquish his spot.

9. AUSTIN KENDALL, QB OKLAHOMA – FOUR STAR

He will be “competing” against Kyler Murray to be the Sooners’ starting quarterback. Murray is heavily favored to win the job and we might as well pencil him in the starting lineup for week one. I believe Kendall will be the backup quarterback as long as Murray is on the team. It might be a year or two before we see Kendall get his opportunity.

10. PATRICK O’BRIEN, QB – COLORADO – FOUR STAR

O’Brien will be transferring from Nebraska to Colorado this year. He will sit out the 2018 season and will compete to be the team’s starting quarterback the following year. Unfortunately, he didn’t fit the scheme at Nebraska and he needed to transfer to a school that could optimize his skill set.

11. MESSIAH deWEAVER, QB MICHIGAN STATE – FOUR STAR

The team is rolling with Brian Lewerke as their quarterback and he should be their guy for the next two years. Considering this, deWeaver made the decision to transfer out and play football at the JUCO level. We might see him again at the FBS level, but he’s more than likely going to trapped in purgatory for the rest of his career.

12. JAKE BENTLEY, QB SOUTH CAROLINA – FOUR STAR

He’s the team’s clear-cut starting quarterback. Bentley was originally redshirted during his freshman season, but the coaching staff removed the redshirt label and made him the starter for the last seven games of the season. The DLF Staff has him ranked 13th in their Devy Ranks and he has the potential to climb up the board with a solid season.

13. DEVON MODSTER, QB UCLA – FOUR STAR

Right now, he’s battling 52 other quarterbacks for the starting job. Ok, that was an exaggeration, but Chip Kelly is not shy when it comes to discussing the team’s open quarterback battle. Matt Lynch, former Michigan starting quarterback Wilton Speight, and highly-touted freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson are also trying to win the job.

I can definitely tell you that if he can’t beat out Speight for the starting job or even the backup role, then he doesn’t deserve to be on anyone’s devy radar. Chip Kelly is the x-factor here. It all depends on who wins the job and who he fits his scheme the best. UCLA is going to be an interesting team to monitor in the next few years.

14. DILLON STERLING-COLE, QB ARIZONA STATE – FOUR STAR

He is projected to be the backup to Manny Wilkins this year, but should be the team’s starter in 2019 and beyond. Sterling-Cole is a mobile quarterback who also has a gun for an arm. He can sling the rock and it’s going to be interesting to see how he develops going forward.

DUAL-THREAT QUARTERBACK

1. JARRETT GUARANTANO, QB TENNESSEE – FOUR STAR

Keller Chryst went 11-2 as a starter for Stanford in the last two seasons and he’s expected to take over as the team’s starting quarterback. When Guarantano got the opportunity to start last season the offense went 14 straight quarters without a touchdown. An injury caused him to relinquish his starting spot.

He has the potential to be the quarterback of the future for Tennessee. However, he needs to develop his game if he wants to be considered an NFL-caliber talent.

2. BRANDON MCLLWAIN, QB CALIFORNIA – FOUR STAR

He started his career at South Carolina, but decided to transfer to Cal after Jake Bentley took a stranglehold of the starting quarterback job. After sitting out the 2017 season, he is projected to backup Ross Bowers.

3. SHANE BUECHELE, QB TEXAS – FOUR STAR

Sam Ehlinger is projected to be the opening day starter for the Longhorns, but Buechele will still battle for the job. I wouldn’t be surprised if this quarterback controversy continues through the season like it did last year. It’s ok to look away here. Neither quarterback holds much value in devy leagues.

4. JALEN HURTS, QB ALABAMA – FOUR STAR

Tua Tagovailoa is the most talented passer on the team and the clear-cut starter. Hurts will need some luck to fall his way if he wants to be the team’s starting quarterback again. He recently said that he’s going to at least stay with the team through December. Look for him to transfer out to a new program if he doesn’t earn the starting quarterback job by the end of the year.

5. JAWON PASS, QB LOUISVILLE – FOUR STAR

Pass will be Lamar Jackson’s replacement. He’s not as fast as Jackson but he’s 6-foot-4 and weighs well over 230-pounds, making him very hard to tackle in the open field. One thing you will notice is that he has very good touch on the ball and he can fit passes into tight windows. It’s going to be interesting to see how the offense looks with Pass under center.

6. WOODY BARRETT, QB KENT STATE, FOUR STAR

Barrett started his collegiate career at Auburn, but he was unable to learn the playbook and struggled early on. He then transferred to the JUCO level where he received enough playing time to develop his game. Barrett signed with Kent State earlier this off-season and is expected to compete for the starting quarterback job immediately. He’s already the most talented passer on the team, making him the odds-on favorite to win the job.

7. ZERRICK COOPER, QB JACKSONVILLE STATE, FOUR STAR

He couldn’t gain traction at Clemson, so he decided to transfer his talents to Jacksonville State. By dropping down a division to the FCS level, Cooper will get the chance to play immediately for the Gamecocks.

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bruce matson
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