College Football's Best Active QBs

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

A Closer Look at the Fifteen Best Quarterbacks of 2020 through Week 3!

Above: Senior Quarterback Brady White


Honorable Mentions: Alan Bowman, Texas Tech; Tyler Vitt, Texas State; Sam Hartman, Wake Forest; & Phil Jurkovec, Boston College


15. Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina

How's 2-for-2 against the Kansas Jayhawks? Granted Les Miles' rebuild at KU isn't the smashing success we had hoped, CCU is no slouch. In possibly the deepest year the Sun Belt has ever had, Coastal has shown they can hang with the big boys too. Thanks to McCall's big arm (22/34, 406yds, 5 TDs) the Chanticleers sit at 2-0. Expect a high scoring shootout when they face a formidable Arkansas State team October 3.


14. Grant Wells, Marshall

Freshmen phenom Grant Wells' Heisman campaign got off to a hot start as Marshall obliterated an over-matched Eastern Kentucky team in week one. Week two presented Wells with his first challenge as the Thundering Herd took on the reigning Sun Belt champs, #23 Appalachian State. A strong showing propelled Marshall past App State and into the AP top 25. If Wells can continue to compete at such a high level then Marshall will contend for the coveted Group of 5 New Year's Six Bowl slot.


13. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

Kenny Pickett has remained efficient enough to keep Pitt winning but pedestrian enough to remain under the radar. Nothing about his stats jump off the page, yet he leads a 2-0 Pitt team ranked #21 into an important ACC match up with #24 Louisville. Pickett is going to need to find some explosiveness if Pitt expects to keep up with Louisville's fast tempo. Look for Pitt to rely more heavily on Pickett's scrambling ability against a week Cardinals defense.


12. Brady White, Memphis

The Tiger's senior QB is an often overlooked player who deserves recognition for his stellar play over the past few years. The past two years have seen White pass for over 7,300 yards and 59 TDs, and with 280 yds and 4 TDs in his first game this season, he shows no signs of slowing down. Arkansas State proved to be a much tougher opponent than anyone realized, easing some concerns over Memphis' performance. With a match against SMU quickly approaching, White must replicate his past performances in order to keep the Tigers' New Year's Six/Playoff dreams alive.


11. Jarrett Doege, West Virginia

Doege, like Marshall's Grant Wells, took advantage of an over matched Eastern Kentucky team to have a career day (19/25, 228yds, 3 TDs). Doege showed why he was named starter over Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall with his lights out performance. WVU has a chance to shake up the Big 12 this season if it can maintain consistent quarterback play. An opportunity to throttle a reeling Oklahoma State team comes next week. Expect to see a ranked WVU afterwards.


10. Ian Book, Notre Dame

Is Ian Book a Heisman contender...no. Is Ian Book terribly efficient...no. Is Ian Book wowing anyone with his stats...no. So why is he in the top ten? Because he consistently finds ways for ND to win, whether through the air or on the ground. So far they have outcoached (surprisingly) Duke and shellacked a pitiful South Florida team but now face a solid Wake Forest team desperate for win #1. Book better bring his A game if they expect to win in Winston-Salem.


9. Malik Cunningham, Louisville

He's no Lamar Jackson but who is?? Cunningham has taken a major leap in development from last year, turning Louisville into a trendy sleeper for ACC contention. With 650 yds and 7 TDs through two games, Cunningham is on pace to far exceed his stats from last year. A trip to #21 Pittsburgh next week will introduce L'ville to one of the ACC's best defenses, if the Cardinals want to win then Cunningham must protect the ball and become more involved in the ground game.


8. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma

Will it be four, mark that, FOUR, Heisman winners/runners up in a row for Oklahoma? Rattler sure flashed his potential in a blowout win against Missouri State. Going 14/17 with 290 yds and 4 TDs meant Rattler wasn't in the game for long, but long enough to prove he is the real deal. A meeting with Kansas State next provides ample opportunity for Rattler to exhibit his skills against a fellow Big 12 foe. Lincoln Riley is going to run the score up in this one to preserve their top 5 position when the Big 10 rejoins.


7. Sam Howell, North Carolina

The Golden Child returns. Howell's 2020 debut was marred by several uncharacteristic interceptions that kept a bad Syracuse team around for far longer than they should have been. Whether this is a symptom of first game jitters or lack of adequate practice in the COVID world, Howell cannot afford to play sloppy moving forward. UNC is the darling of the ACC this year and Mack Brown's squad has serious potential to compete with Clemson for the ACC crown. But it all comes down to Sam Howell's performance, no pressure.


6. Dillon Gabriel, Central Florida

UCF clearly knows that Hawaii is the place to go looking for QBs. Dillon Gabriel has set the world on fire as he continues to fill in for injured vet McKenzie Milton. UCF dominated a Georgia Tech team coming off a win against Florida State. There remain question marks regarding UCF's defense but damn does their offense look good. Gabriel has a legitimate chance to lead UCF to the playoff promised land should they run the table, watch the Knights rise in the polls after a blowout of East Carolina this weekend.


5. Bailey Zappe, Houston Baptist

Who? The guy that has already thrown for 1,047 yards and 7 TDs in two games, that's who. Everyone wants to talk about North Dakota State's Trey Lance as the pride of the FCS but clearly people have been sleeping on Zappe. Houston Baptist is not a great team at all yet Zappe's herculean efforts have kept them competitive against both North Texas and Texas Tech this year, losing to TTU by a mere 2 points. Watch for Zappe to get his upset against Louisiana Tech this week.


4. D'Eriq King, Miami

The U is back! Well, they aren't painfully mediocre anymore at least, thanks to Houston transfer D'Eriq King. The onetime Heisman candidate is beginning to look more like that player once again, racking up 470 yds and 4 TDs through the air and an additional 92 yds with 1 TD on the ground so far. King brings the swag to a Miami team that has been trying to artificially produce it for years. Manhandling two solid teams in UAB and Louisville bodes well for the remainder of Miami's schedule. With Florida State coming to town this weekend, watch King put up his biggest numbers rushing yet.


3. Sam Ehlinger, Texas

C'mon Sam, this is the year. After a 10 win campaign two years ago, Texas regressed to a disappointing 8-5 last year that left much to be desired. Granted Texas was wracked with injuries last year, they are now poised to potentially win their first Big 12 title in ELEVEN years. Ehlinger is a senior now and must put this team on his back in order to cross the finish line. His massive stat line in game one came against possibly the worst D1 team I have ever seen, sorry UTEP, but don't expect a game two let down against Texas Tech. TTU gave up over 500 passing yards to Houston Baptist last week... Sam should have a field day.


2. Shane Buechele, Southern Methodist

Arguably the most underrrated quarterback in all of Division 1, Buechele was a stat machine last year with over 3,900 yards and 34 TDS. He is off to a hot start this year as well as SMU tries to replicate its' 10 win season last year. Buechele has faced two cupcakes in Texas State and North Texas thus far and that won't change this week with Stephen F. Austin coming to Dallas. Shane Buechele will continue to lead D1 in passing with another monster game this week and a potential breakout into the top 25.


1. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

With Justin Fields still sidelined there was no questioning who number one would be. Lawrence had little in the way of resistance from Wake Forest or The Citadel, putting up 519 yds and 4 TDs passing and 3 more TDs on the ground. Clemson faces a rebuilding Virginia next and should once again tee off on an unworthy opponent. Lawrence is building a strong resume for the Heisman and will continue to do so as league play begins in earnest.


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