Who is the Real “QBU?“: Evaluating Which College Football Programs Have the Strongest NFL Draft Pipelines
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Baker Mayfield.
Once a year around draft time, each college boasts about how they have produced the best NFL talent at any given position.
A debate among all college sports fans on which school has groomed the best quarterbacks goes back decades. With pass-heavy offenses changing the game of football before our eyes, it’s time we re-evaluate which school is the real QBU.
When discussing which school is the “real QBU” there needs to be some parameters. As the game of football continues to be revamped every year with the introduction of analytics, I’m narrowing my discussion down to the last 10 years.
I’ll be evaluating each team based on the numbers they put up in college while still acknowledging how these quarterbacks have performed in the NFL to help determine the true QBU.
I went back and evaluated the stats for every college team since 2011, and there were four teams that really distanced themselves from the field.
#4, Ohio State Buckeyes
Notable Quarterbacks: Justin Fields, Dwayne Haskins, J.T. Barrett, Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones, Joe Burrow (Sorry, I had to.)
Ohio State quarterbacks have always had big-time success during their college tenure and have big-time stats to prove it.
The Buckeyes have attempted the fewest number of passes of the big four over the last decade, but there is no denying the success these notable quarterbacks had during their tenures.
Apart from J.T. Barrett, all the notable Buckeyes’ quarterbacks since 2011 have been drafted but have struggled mightily to adjust to the NFL speed.
Maybe Justin Fields can be the one who helps save this reputation, but for the time being, they’re sitting at the No. 4 spot in the rankings.
#3, Alabama Crimson Tide
Notable Quarterbacks: Mac Jones, Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts, AJ McCarron, Jake Coker
Alabama quarterbacks are trending upward more than maybe any school in the country.
After a rough stretch to begin the 2000s, the Tide have seen some of the top quarterbacks enter the program since Joe Namath in the 1960s.
Over the last decade, they’ve been extremely efficient and own the highest completion percentage of the bunch at 67.5%. They’ve averaged 9.3 yards per attempt and accounted for 296 touchdown passes to just 59 interceptions.
All of the notable quarterbacks above saw great college careers, but none of them have performed partially well in the NFL. Until we see some more production from Tua, Hurts, or Jones in the NFL, it’s tough for them to be named the real QBU.
#2, Clemson Tigers
Notable Quarterbacks: Trevor Lawrence, Deshaun Watson, Tajh Boyd
Clemson was never known as a quarterback school until Dabo Swinney overhauled the offense in 2011.
Since then, the Tigers have seen two premier quarterbacks in both Watson and Lawrence, who led the Tigers to National Championships.
We’ve seen the success Watson has had in the league, and the sky's the limit with Lawrence’s NFL career in Jacksonville.
We got a small sneak peek into what D.J. Uiagalelei can do against Notre Dame this past season, and the future looks bright for the Tigers at the quarterback position.
#1, Oklahoma Sooners
Notable Quarterbacks: Spencer Rattler, Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, Trevor Knight, Landry Jones.
Lincoln Riley has been appropriately coined the “Quarterback Whisperer” in the modern college game.
Every quarterback he has had since taking over as the offensive coordinator in 2015 has either won or been a finalist for the Heisman Trophy up until this past year. The proof is in the pudding, and the stats don’t lie.
Oklahoma quarterbacks have accounted for 306 touchdowns and just 86 interceptions over the last decade. Completing 66.2% of their pass attempts, they have accounted for an astounding 36,213 yards. They’ve tossed 306 touchdowns, and that doesn’t include the other 63 they rushed in themselves.
All of the quarterbacks Riley has had since 2015 have been successful thus far in the NFL, and Spencer Rattler expects to join that elite group after this year.
Oklahoma is undoubtedly the real QBU over the last 10 years, thanks to Riley’s innovative air-raid offense.