Ranking the top 3 quarterbacks in college football

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 26: Lamar Jackson /

With the start of the college football season just a few weeks away it’s about time to take a look at who will light it up in 2017. So where better to start than the most important position on the field; quarterback.

Despite the absence of recently drafted players such as Desean Watson and Deshone Kizer, the college football landscape is graced with a plethora of quarterback talent that could provide one of the best draft classes in memory come 2018.

Reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson set the standard in 2016. But, who will join him as the elite of the elite? Here are my top three quarterbacks for the 2017 season:

1. Sam Darnold

Darnold was astounding as a redshirt freshman, posting stellar numbers and leading USC to a Rose Bowl win. The 20-year-old finished the year with a quite astonishing run of nine straight wins whilst throwing for at least 200 yards and 2 TD’s. On top of that his completion rate was up at 62 percent or more in each of those games.

At 6’4, 225lbs, Darnold has the size, and the arm strength to kick on and become the clear-cut number one pick with another highlight reel filled season at SC. His ability to throw the ball down the field and into tight windows, along with his running prowess, make him a strong favourite for the Heisman and his team a near shoe in for a playoff spot.

A full pre season as the starter can only help and he will only get better with experience. A scary prospect for the rest of college football considering how good he was as a freshman.

Darnold is the clear-cut best signal caller in the college game and I fully expect him to put even more distance between himself and his fellow prospective draftees in 2017.

2. Lamar Jackson

Jackson took college football by storm in 2016, lighting up all comers with his jaw dropping athleticism. The Heisman trophy winner contributed 51 total TD’s including a stunning 21 rushing scores on his way to multiple mind-blowing stat lines.

His accomplishments included posting over 600 yards of total offense against Syracuse in week two. In week 3 Jackson ran in 4 scores, leading Louisville to a famous 63-20 win over Florida State. The junior also became the only player in the past 17 years to have over 3500 passing yards and 1500 rushing yards in a season.

Jackson is an athletic freak who cannot be stopped in the college game. He led the Cardinals to a 9-3 season that would’ve been better but for a late collapse and a shootout loss to eventual national champions Clemson.

Expect Louisville to once again be competitive on the back of Jackson’s play in 2017. Bobby Petrino will inevitably have developed this athletic phenom even further in the offseason so it would be no surprise to see some progression in his ever improving passing game.

Darnold might be the better all round quarterback. But, Jackson’s running ability is up there with the best the game has ever seen and this gives him a chance to join Archie Griffin as the only men to win back to back Heisman’s.

3. Baker Mayfield

Mayfield enters his Senior year in Norman on the back of two wildly entertaining, successful seasons. Each of his years as a starter have each seen him finish in the top four of Heisman voting. His gunslinger, alpha mentality make him a joy to watch and his stats back up all the hype.

3,965 yards and 40 TD to just 8 picks in 2016 with an incredible 70.9% completion rate highlights just how good Mayfield is as a passer. On top of this he also has the ability to hurt teams with his legs as demonstrated with 177 rushing yards and 6 scores last season.

The former Texas Tech signal caller posted the best QBR in college football history in 2016. His 196.4 rating was so good in fact, that only two players ( Russell Wilson (191.8) and Robert Griffin III (189.5) both in 2011) have been within 10 points of his rating and they both happen to be NFL Pro Bowlers.

Mayfield’s play has certainly contributed to stellar season’s for now pro receivers Sterling Shepard and Dede Westbrook. It will, however, be interesting to see how he manages without a bona fide star on the perimeter in 2017. Kentucky transfer Jeff Badet may help in this respect though.

The losses of Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine in the running game will certainly increase pressure on Mayfield. The Senior is a playmaker by nature though and expect him to carry this young team to a top 10 finish whilst posting Heisman type numbers for a third straight year and leave Norman a Sooner legend.

Honorable mentions: JT Barrett , Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Trace McSorley, Mason Rudolph, Jake Browning, Luke Falk.