The State of College Football: Predicting 2021's Breakout Quarterbacks
With just four weeks to go until the 2021 college football season, it’s time to start looking at who will be this year’s breakout players. Starting with the quarterbacks, these are the names you need to know now because everyone will be talking about them by season's end.
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Emory Jones, Junior RS, Florida
2020 saw Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts breakout for the Gators and this year I’m predicting a similar breakout season for Emory Jones. Jones has been sitting and learning Dan Mullen’s offense for three seasons but hasn’t had his opportunity to shine, yet, due to a crowded quarterback room. But there is no more quarterback competition and Jones will usher in a new era of Florida quarterback. With Jones’ A+ athleticism and big arm, head coach Dan Mullen will be able to open up his playbook and bring back more quarterback option to an already loaded offense.
Phil Jurkovec, Junior, Boston College
If not for Ian Book, Phil Jurkovec would already be a household name. Jurkovec lost the quarterback competition to Book while they were both at Notre Dame and Jurkovec transferred to Boston College. In the same mold as Josh Allen, Jurkovec has a huge arm, possibly the strongest in college football, and enough athleticism to keep opposing defenses honest.
Carson Strong, Junior, Nevada
Strong is one of my favorite quarterbacks in the 2022 draft class and will not only emerge as a great college player but also a great draft prospect - much like Baker Mayfield, Joe Burrow and Zach Wilson. Nevada runs an uptempo offense that can put up points on anyone and returns nearly all their starters from 2020. I look for Strong to build on his amazing 2020 season - where he threw for 300+ yards per game and had a 70% completion rate - and become one of the top quarterbacks in the Nation.
CJ Stroud, Freshman RS, Ohio State
The quarterback room at Ohio State is incredibly crowded. With CJ Stroud, Jack Miller and Kyle McCord already on campus, and five-star recruit Quinn Ewers to arrive in 2022, Ohio State is almost guaranteed to have elite level quarterback play for the next three to four seasons - or more. The leader in the clubhouse to win the starting job is CJ Stroud. Stroud has all the tools to emerge on his own but he also has one of the best supporting casts in the Nation and easily the best receiving corps. While I expect Stroud to be the emerging star, Jack Miller or Kyle McCord could also take this spot should they win the starting job.
DJ Uiagalelei, Sophomore, Clemson & Bryce Young, Sophomore, Alabama
Two names that everyone already knows are DJ Uiagalelei and Bryce Young so I’m not sure we can really label them “breakout” players. However, they are two players that have limited to no starting experience and will undoubtedly become Heisman Trophy contenders as soon as this season. The duo will be battling to not only be the 2021 Heisman winner but also already competing for the 2023 QB1 title.