Jackson, Prukop lead ranking of top 10 QBs in college football
Through three weeks of college football, it’s hard to argue that there has been a more spectacular player than Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is sitting atop many Heisman lists following his demolition of a very talented Florida State defense in Week 3.
He also finds himself once again at the head of PFF’s weekly ranking of the best quarterbacks in college football.
Here is the top 10:
1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals
Jackson has been nearly unstoppable as a runner, averaging 10.3 yards per carry, including an absurd 5.87 yards per rush after contact, forcing 16 missed tackles and scoring 10 touchdowns. But what’s most impressive is Jackson’s improvement as a passer – he currently ranks 18th in passing grade after ranking 130th of 157 last year. He has been most effective on throws between 10 and 19 yards downfield, completing 14 of 18 for 289 yards.
2. Dakota Prukop, Oregon Ducks
The nation’s leader in passing grade through three weeks, Prukop wasn’t to blame for the Ducks’ loss to Nebraska this past weekend. He currently ranks second in the nation in adjusted completion rate at 78.5, behind only Washington State’s Luke Falk. He has excelled despite being under pressure on 37 percent of his dropbacks (10th-highest rate in the country), earning an even higher adjusted completion rate on those throws at 78.9 percent.
3. Davis Webb, California Golden Bears
The Texas Tech currently ranks behind only Prukop in passing grade among Power-5 QBs. He came up huge in the Bears’ upset win over Texas, throwing for four touchdowns and zero interceptions and grading out very well. He has been most effective when getting the ball out quickly, earning the second-highest QB rating in the nation on throws where he releases the ball in 2.5 seconds or less.
4. Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech Red Raiders
He has been extremely prolific through three weeks, grading as one of the top QBs in the country and leading the nation in passer rating at 128.8. He is nearly perfect on play-action throws, with a rating of 155.5. One of the most elusive running QBs in the country, he has been particularly good at creating when the initial play breaks down, performing very well on throws that take place 2.6 seconds or longer after the snap.
5. Deshaun Watson, Clemson Tigers
Watson has gotten off to a bit of a slow start, but he merits being on this last based on his outstanding 2015 performance in which he earned the top rushing grade among Power-5 QBs and one of the best adjusted completion percentages in the entire country. He is getting the ball out quickly this season, with a 2.28-second time-to-throw that is ninth-fastest in the country, but has also been on target with his deep ball with an adjusted completion rate of 47.8 percent on throws of 20-plus yards.
6. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma Sooners
The owner of the highest 2015 grade among returning Power-5 QBs this season, Mayfield and his Sooners have dropped two of their first three games. Both losses have come against very tough opponents, however, in Houston and Ohio State, and Mayfield earned positive grades in both outings and is currently PFF’s No. 12 passer. He is the owner of the nation’s ninth-highest adjusted completion rate on both throws under pressure (68.8 percent) and throws of 20-plus yards (47.1).
7. Seth Russell, Baylor Bears
He ranks eighth in PFF’s QB grades after a monster performance in Baylor’s win over Rice. He has been having success on the ground, and as a passer has excelled when getting the ball out quickly, with the third-fastest time-to-throw in the country at 1.94 seconds. 67 percent of his throws have come off of play-action, the highest rate in the nation.
8. Deshone Kizer, Notre Dame Fighting Irish
It has been a rough start to the 2015 season for the Irish, dropping their opener versus Texas and getting blown out by Michigan State last week. But Kizer played well in both losses, and ranks ninth in the country in passing grade through three weeks. He has actually earned a better passer rating when facing pressure than he has from a clean pocket, completing nine of his 16 attempts for three touchdowns and zero interceptions on such dropbacks.
9. Luke Falk, Washington State Cougars
Falk ranks tied for fifth in PFF passing grade through three weeks, and is No. 1 in adjusted completion rate, even as the Cougars have stumbled to a 1-2 start. They’ll look to get back on track the first three weekends in October, facing Oregon at home, Stanford on the road and UCLA at home in consecutive weeks.
10. Shane Buechele, Texas Longhorns
Buechele barely hangs onto this list after a poor performance in Texas’ loss to Cal in which he earned a negative grade and completed just 19 of 34 passes. But we’ll keep him on here based off of his impressive performances his first two weeks. His adjusted completion rate of 77.8 ranks fourth in the country, and he is doing a good job of getting the ball out quickly, with a time-to-throw of 2.17 seconds that ranks fifth nationally.