Rivals National columnist Mike Farrell is here with some thoughts on some starting quarterback decisions, the non-QB MVP for every Pac-12 team, and the Mount Rushmore of Kentucky football since 1980.
1. EXPLANATION OF RECENT START DECISIONS BY QB
As we enter Week 1 of the college football season, some major decisions have been made regarding starting quarterbacks for several Power Five teams. While some of these choices seem good, others are downright puzzling.
Joe Milton, Tennessee – This one surprises me a bit, as we saw how much Milton struggled in Michigan and the great recruit Harrison Bailey showed flashes last season. Hendon Hooker is also there, so someone is leaving, right?
Hudson Card, Texas – Card won a close fight with Casey Thompson and both could see the time, but based on what I heard early from Texas sources, Card fit in Steve Sarkisian‘s violation immediately.
Cade McNamara, Michigan — His experience from last year helps and he showed some good signs, but a quick hook could be there if he struggles.
Haynes King, Texas A&M — This is the right choice for me because he can expand the game better than Zach Calzada and that may be needed early on.
CJ Stroud, Ohio State – No thrills here as I think he won the track in the spring and will have a season that could push for the Heisman.
Will Levis, Kentucky — The arm talent is there and he could put down solid numbers in the new offensive system. Beating Joey Gatewood wasn’t that hard.
Hunter Johnson, Northwest — Ryan Hilinski was considered the favorite, so Johnson must have really impressed and wants to live up to that one-time five-star status.
Jack Coan, Notre Dame — Coan is no surprise as he is the most experienced pick, but he is not a man who will make big moves if his team falls behind.
Charlie Brewer, Utah — I like Brewer and his toughness and leadership, but I’m worried about another concussion.
Anthony Brown, Oregon — He’s much, much better than people think and he could be having a monster season.
2. NON-QB MVPS IN THE PAC-12
I am closing my non-QB MVP series with the Pac-12 teams.
Arizona – Isaiah Mays – Mays will have to do a lot for the Wildcats from the safety position because there isn’t much talent for him. He is one of the top in the conference in that position, and should be able to thrive in Don Brown‘s defensive scheme that turned guys like Jabrill Peppers into stars.
Arizona State – Rachaad White – An absolute back burner, white is a big game waiting to happen. The Sun Devils would be smart to find a way to get their hands on the ball more often.
Cal Cameron Goode historical, Justin WilcoxThe squad’s defense had excellent linebackers as unit leaders, and this year it’s Goode’s turn to be the man. He will be the No. 1 edge rusher for the Golden Bears, but he’s also athletic enough to fall back into cover and not give up a ton.
Colorado – Mekhi Blackmon – Blackmon, a corner that can play outside or in the slot, is the epitome of the versatility more teams desire in their DBs. He is excellent in pressman and last season took PFF’s second highest mark in CFB.
Oregon – Kayvon Thibodeaux – Thibodeaux is arguably the best defensive player in the country, threatening to make or fire a TFL with every down. He is the cornerstone of the Ducks defense and if he lives up to his potential Oregon could be on his way to the playoff.
Oregon State – Avery Roberts – The off-ball linebacker has great range and playing ability, and will be among the top in the conference in total tackles this season.
Stanford – Thomas Booker – Booker, an unappreciated true nose tackle, is one of the best running defenders in the conference. He plugs up all the holes so the Stanford linebackers can clean up the mess.
UCLA – Quentin Lake – Lake is arguably the best safety in the conference and can play with the best of midfield and hide mistakes from them. The Bruins’ offense will rack up yards and points this year, and it will be up to Lake and that defense to take them to the next level.
USC – Brand Tuipolotu – Tuipolotu, a disruptor on the inside of the defense line, will help suck up blockers so Drake Jackson, Nick Figueroa and Korey Foreman can wreak havoc in opposing backfields.
Utah-Devin Lloyd- Lloyd, one of the top linebackers in the conference, excels at pass coverage, against the run and as a blitzer. He will be among the top lenders in the country by the end of the year.
Washington – Trent McDuffie – The next big Huskies DB, McDuffie, has solidified himself as the top corner in the conference. He is a phenomenal tackler in that position, with just two missed tackles in two seasons, and is equally excellent at both man and zone coverage. An All-American wink is not out of the question for him this season.
Washington State – Max Borghi – One of the top running backs in the conference, Borghi is extremely talented as both a runner and a pass catcher. If the Cougars’ attack gets underway this season, it will be because Borghi is hitting the ball a lot.
3. KENTUCKY FOOTBALL MOUNTAIN RUSHMORE
Finally, we’ve had the Mount Rushmore for the Kentucky Wildcats since 1980.
Tim Couch – The first pick in the 1999 NFL draft may have been a league failure, but he was a very special collegiate-level player. In two seasons as a starter, he racked up more than 8,000 air yards and 73 touchdowns, becoming a first-team All-American in 1998 as a junior. When he finished in Kentucky, he held NCAA records for most season completions and career completion percentage, as well as the SEC record for total offense and passing yards in a season (4,275), set only in Joe’s season. Burrow was broken in 2019 (and needed four more games for that).
Lynn Bowden Jr. Bowden, a 2019 first-team All-American, was the most versatile offensive player. Bowden led the Wildcats in passing, rushing and receiving, achieving a feat no one else ever had. Bowden was an All-SEC performer at wide receiver as a sophomore for that breakthrough junior season, but Bowden was also a dynamic kick and punt returner.
Josh Allen – Allen, the 2018 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, was an absolute threat as a pass rusher. During his time at Lexington, he set school records in sacks and tackles for a loss. A unanimous All-American, Bednarik and Nagurski Trophy Winner as a senior, he was the best defensive player to ever wear the Wildcats uniform.
Randall Cobb – A man whose numbers don’t quite tell the full story, Cobb was one of the most electric offensive players of the past 20 years. A two-time first-team All-SEC roster, Cobb also garnered a first-team All-American nod in 2010, after having over 1,400 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns, to go along with three touchdown- passes, and 955 total return yards and one more touchdown. Initially a quarterback, when Cobb made the transition to a general offensive weapon, his skills were fully unlocked and he was able to make a weekly impact like few other players before or after.
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