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2020 Top Five Returning College Football Players By Position: Quarterbacks

Photo By: Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports

Written By: Ryan Lippert|@Lippert42

As we all know, the status of the 2020 college football season is unfortunately questionable at the moment. However, I am staying positive as of now and holding out hope that this season is going to happen in one way or another. With that in mind, I will be taking the next several weeks to highlight the top five returning college football players at each position. This week, I will start things off with arguably the most important position on the field, the quarterback.

1. Trevor Lawrence - Clemson

There is no debating who QB1 is when discussing the 2021 NFL Draft. While I’m not saying he is a flawless prospect by any means, I strongly believe that Lawrence could sit out this season if he wanted to and still be the top quarterback off the board. He has all the intangibles you could want in a quarterback with size, arm strength, solid accuracy, and the guy has proven that he can perform on the big stage. After having an incredible freshman year leading the Tigers to a National Championship, Lawrence continued to impress in his sophomore year. He threw for 3,665 yards, 36 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. Lawrence also showed that he can be a threat running the ball, rushing for 563 yards and nine touchdowns. Unfortunately, Lawrence ran into the beast that was the 2019 LSU Tigers in the National Championship. I fully expect him to come into the 2020 season on a mission and put himself right in the Heisman mix and lead the Tigers to another College Football Playoff if this season happens.

2. Justin Fields - Ohio State

The only player that I could see possibly making an argument for QB1 with an unbelievable season is Fields. His decision to transfer from Georgia to Ohio State as a sophomore paid off tremendously as he was able to display his true dual-threat talent to the country. He has an outstanding year statistically, throwing for 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns, and three interceptions along with 484 yards and ten touchdowns on the ground. With an impressive amount of talent surrounding him once again this season, there’s no reason not to believe that Fields will be right back in the Heisman discussion and shouldn’t be waiting very long to hear his name in the 2021 NFL Draft.

3. Sam Howell - North Carolina

At the third spot in my rankings, we have the first non-draft-eligible quarterback mentioned. Along with the newly hired legendary head coach, Mack Brown, Sam Howell was another key reason for North Carolina football coming back into the picture in 2019. Howell led the Tar Heels to bowl eligibility with a 7-6 record and ended the season with an impressive 55-13 Military Bowl victory over Temple. He finished the season with 3,641 passing yards, an FBS freshman record 38 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. This performance earned him ACC Rookie of the Year, FWAA Freshman All-American, and Third Team All-ACC honors. If we have a 2020 season, I have North Carolina as a dark horse team that could make the College Football Playoff and Howell is a big reason why. With two seasons left before he can go pro, the potential ceiling for Howell is looking very high.

4. Trey Lance - North Dakota State

Although he plays in the FCS, you could make an argument for Lance to be even higher on this list. Following the 2019 season, the Draft Twitter hype for Lance began. After watching his film, that hype is very real. He has incredible ability as a passer but also makes unreal plays on the run. As a sophomore, he led the Bison to an undefeated season, ending in an FCS National Championship. Lance finished the season with 2,786 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, and an impressive zero interceptions. On top of that, he rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. I fully expect Lance to dominate the FCS once again this season and lead the Bison to another National Championship. If he lives up to those expectations, he should enter the draft early and like former Bison, and now Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, be selected somewhere in the first round.

5. Kedon Slovis - USC

To wrap up my top five quarterbacks for the 2020 college football season, we have another quarterback who burst onto the scene as a true freshman. When the Trojans’ starting quarterback JT Daniels went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week One, things did not look promising. However, a true freshman quarterback came in and stole the show, cementing himself as the QB1 at USC, leading to Daniels transferring to Georgia. Slovis led the Trojans to an 8-5 record in a very impressive freshman year performance. He finished with 3,502 passing yards for 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions. When you turn on his film, Slovis has all the intangibles to become a franchise quarterback at the next level. The scary thing is, he still has at least two years to grow and develop until that time comes.

Honorable Mention: Jayden Daniels (Arizona State), Sam Ehlinger (Texas), Tanner Morgan (Minnesota), KJ Costello (Mississippi State), Kyle Trask (Florida), Jamie Newman/JT Daniels (Georgia)



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