Don’s Top 10 Quarterbacks: 2019 Midseason College Football Rankings

On July 23, 2019, I released my preseason rankings for QB’s here and now I’m back with an updated ranking. We’re seeing four new faces, and a little shifting up and down the list. This list is based off stats, team performance, and my opinion. Let’s get into it.

Honorable Mention: Dillion Gabriel, UCF; Kaleb Barker, Troy; Chris Robinson, Florida Atlantic; Cole McDonald, Hawaii; Jacob Eason, Washington

10. Jamie Newman, Wake Forest


via Andrew Dye,

Starting off this list is the man leading the UNDEFEATED #19 Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Jamie Newman currently has 1,521 passing yards, 14 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. Along with this, Newman is a top dual-threat QB with 262 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on 78 rushes. Wake Forest is not only making themselves a name in the ACC, but also nationally. After defeating Utah State week 1, and North Carolina week 3, Jamie Newman will continue his push for the Heisman along into Wake Forest’s big game against Clemson November 16th.

9. Justin Herbert, Oregon

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Justin Herbert was my 3rd ranked QB entering the season and has not impressed me thus far. The Ducks suffered a hard loss to Auburn week 1 and since then, Oregon has not been able to put together a good offensive performance (excluding Nevada). Herbert looks great on the stat sheet with 1,341 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, and 1 interception. However, I would like to see Herbert be able to dominate the Pac-12 and compete for a national title, but that loss to Auburn and the games against Stanford and Cal were a little to close for comfort for Herbert, who is a top QB prospect in the upcoming 2020 NFL draft. Herbert has a chance to prove me wrong with the games against Washington and Washington State approaching in a few weeks.

8. Anthony Gordon, Washington State

anthony gordon

via Michael Wyke, AP

At number 8 is my top Pac-12 QB, Anthony Gordon. Gordon takes over the Washington State offense after Gardner Minshew being taken in the 6th round by the Jacksonville Jaguars. I rank Gordon above Herbert because of how explosive WSU’s offense is. They do have losses to UCLA and Utah, but they are putting up 45 points per game. Gordon himself has 2,146 passing yards (most in NCAA), 22 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. As mentioned before, Washington State is going to Oregon for a big Pac-12 matchup which should be a great game to see how well Gordon and Herbert compare to one another.

7. Sam Ehlinger, Texas

sam ehlinger

via Joe Robbins, Getty Images

Texas football is back? Sam Ehlinger thinks so and I do as well. Ehlinger is leading the 4-1 Texas Longhorns with 1,448 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. As Jamie Newman was mentioned to be a dual-threat, Ehlinger is also with 236 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on 51 carries. The Longhorns only loss is to LSU, which was one of the best games of the season this far. Texas has a big game against Oklahoma this weekend, which will be a true testament of who is the best team in the Big-12.

6. Jake Fromm, Georgia

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via 24/7 Sports

The first of the three SEC quarterbacks comes in a #6 with Jake Fromm. Fromm is in his junior season now with the Georgia Bulldogs, who are in contention for a National Championship. Fromm has thrown for 1,076 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Fromm was able to beat Notre Dame two weeks ago which was his only close call this season. At this rate, an interesting matchup between Alabama and Georgia for the SEC title is setup for the end of the season. Before that, Georgia must take care of Florida and Auburn, two teams that are going to test Fromm and the Bulldogs.

5. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

trevor lawrence

via CBS Sports

Five games in and Trevor Lawrence has been incredibly underwhelming for people, myself included, who believed he was the best quarterback in the nation. Lawrence is sitting at 1,131 passing yards, 8 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. Furthermore, Clemson is coming off a narrow victory against North Carolina a week ago. I still believe Trevor Lawrence is one, if not the most, talented QB in the nation. Look for him to shine as the season goes on and Clemson makes their way to another College Football Playoff.

4. Justin Fields, Ohio State

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via Kevin Allen, USA Today

I mentioned in my initial rankings that I’d expect Justin Fields to make this list come mid season and here he is in the top 5. After transferring from Georgia and not being able to beat out Jake Fromm as the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs, Fields is leading a Buckeyes team that looks to be the best team in the country. Fields is at 1,293 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, 1 interception, 283 rushing yards, and 8 touchdowns. Incredible numbers as the first year starter is leading the undefeated, #3 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes who are almost a certain team to reach the playoffs. Fields is coming up against the top teams in the B1G-10 with Wisconsin, Penn State, and Michigan all left on their schedule. If Fields is able to keep this up, look for him to rise on my rankings at the end of the season.

3. Joe Burrow, LSU

Northwestern State v LSU

via Brody Miller, The Athletic

Joe Burrow has shocked the nation after leading an LSU team that most thought would be centered around their defense. Burrow led the Tigers past their win against Texas, while averaging 55 points a game. Burrow has thrown for 1,864 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions in 2019. LSU still has Florida, Auburn, and Alabama left on their schedule. We have witnessed what Auburn’s defense is able to do, as they defeated Justin Herbert and the Oregon Ducks week 1. Alabama is the number one team in the country. If LSU gets through this schedule undefeated, Joe Burrow has a chance to lead this team to a national championship.

2. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma

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Jalen Hurts is another shock to the country, but not as much as Burrow considering how we saw him lead Alabama as a freshman. After losing his job to Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts stayed on Alabama for a year before transferring to the team that sent consecutive #1 overall draft pick QB’s to the NFL. Jalen Hurts is considered as the front runner for the Heisman trophy, which will also be the third Oklahoma QB to win the Heisman in the third consecutive year. Jalen Hurts is sitting at 1,523 passing yards, 499 rushing yards, 21 total touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Hurts is leading an Oklahoma team that is battling against Texas for the B1G-12 title, as well as also competing for a national championship. Just as I said with Ehlinger, the Texas/Oklahoma game will be crucial for both teams to reach the College Football Playoff.

1. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama



Just as I ranked him in the preseason, Tua Tagovailoa is still the number one QB in the nation. Tua has been near perfect with a 76.4% completion rate, 1,718 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Alabama has the top receiving group in the nation and Tua is making great use. As of now, he is the top QB prospect in college while also leading the Heisman race. As Alabama begins the tail end of the season, they will be looking forward to showcasing their talent against the likes of LSU and Auburn along with a possible SEC championship game against Georgia. It is a criticism of Alabama that they play a weak schedule, however, they have to overcome great teams to reach the National Championship game once again.


Talent Disparity in College Football: Inner Monologue Vol.6

As we make our way into the 2019 season of college football, the CFP rankings currently sit as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, LSU, and Oklahoma. Familiar teams continue their dominance, most notably Alabama and Clemson. This goes all the way back to when the College Football Playoff began in the 2014-15 season. Alabama has played in the playoffs every year. Clemson missed the inaugural playoff, but has made every playoff after. Oklahoma has made the playoff 3 of the 5 years. These three teams are seemingly dominating their respected conferences and schedules with relative ease. Sure, they may have a game each year that goes to the last few minutes or OT, but they always prevail. Then you have the likes of Ohio State and Georgia who always get so close, yet OSU has made the trip twice and Georgia once. So what gives?

If you go back and look at who has been dominating the recruiting game, it’s easy to guess. From 2016 to 2019, Alabama has 58 Five Star recruits, Georgia has 47, Clemson has 26, Ohio State has 34. Now if you look at a team like Michigan, they have 12. Notre Dame has 2. Florida has 8. The drop off is incredible. Now, people like to come back with the argument of having four and three star recruits. Sure, let’s have that argument.

                      2019 2018
  5-Stars 4-Stars 3-Stars 5-Stars 4-Stars 3-Stars
Alabama 11 58 13 12 51 18
Ohio State 13 47 25 11 55 17
Georgia 14 45 25 14 47 24
Clemson 7 33 33 9 37 24
Michigan 4 36 38 4 40 39
Florida 1 39 35 2 33 43
Notre Dame 1 46 35 1 43 38

The disparity is clear. Then the question becomes, why is this happening? Well, as I mentioned before, who has been competing for National Championships? Kids want to win rings, and they are going to the schools that are giving them the best chance to. With a four team playoff, there are not many teams to pick from. As you can see, Alabama and Georgia are the top teams in the SEC, Ohio State is the best team in the B1G 10, and Clemson is a sure winner of the ACC.

Then we look at which teams are putting players in the NFL. In the 2019 NFL Draft, Alabama led the country with 10 players drafted, Ohio State being second with 9 players, and fifth being Georgia with 7. As far as conferences go, SEC is dominating recruiting, which in turn, the SEC is dominating the draft year in and out with 64 players being drafted last year alone. The numbers speak for themselves.

Is there a problem with this? Alabama has created a dynasty. Clemson may be creating a dynasty. Georgia is giving Bama a run for their money. Ohio State looks like the best team in the country, and has been the best team in the B1G 10 the last few years. Oklahoma has nobody keeping up with them in the B1G 12. With these trends continuing, I don’t see much of these teams dropping out of the playoff race. Rather, I think they will just continue to grow putting themselves into a whole other tier of college football, leaving the “have-nots” playing for nothing. Is this discouraging? Sure. Is it fair? I don’t see what’s wrong with the principles of this. This is the consequence of giving the people what they wanted, the college football playoff.

If there was to be a solution to this, it would have to be an expansion in the college football playoff. Moving to 8 teams would allow for recruits to have a better chance of getting their ring, while being on a team that they have an immediate impact. These five star recruits are waiting an extra year or two to see the field because the five star recruits at their position from the year’s prior are in their spot. Some people have been proposing that expanding to a 12 or 16 team playoff would be even better, but then it becomes teams are playing that don’t belong. If the playoffs were to start today, would people really want to see a game between #1 Alabama vs #16 Boise State. I mean, let’s be honest, the spread would be about 31 points. With an 8 team system, we would be looking at #1 Alabama playing against #8 Wisconsin (Jonathan Taylor). That would be far more interesting, especially seeing how JT handles himself against a stout Alabama defense.

My case is that disparity in college football is a reality. These broadcasters and analysts that are saying that the amount of 5-star recruits a team has compared to another doesn’t matter are absolute idiotic. The same teams are landing the big name recruits, and these same teams are playing in January. I just want to bring to light that recruiting is a big factor in how teams are playing, coaching aside. It’s easier to go out on the field on Saturday with a 5-star team than it is coaching up a team of 3-star players. Of course not all five stars pan out, but I’m not considering the outliers because, well, they are outliers. The college football system is among the most exciting brand of sports, but the disparity is making the game predictable and repetitive.

Don’s Top 10 Defensive Players: 2019 College Football Rankings

It would have been easier to rank each defensive group individually, however, I’m on a time crunch so I figured I would just group them all together and as the season progresses, I will separate each position. It’s not fair nor possible to compare a safety to an edge rusher because they’re different. I decided to put this list together based on talent and how much impact I think each player has on a game. Enjoy!

Honorable Mention: Xavier Thomas, DE, Clemson; Joe Bachie, LB, Michigan State; Raekwon Davis, DE, Alabama; Alohi Gilman, S, Notre Dame

10. Dylan Moses, LB, Alabama

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Dylan Moses is the player to watch on this Alabama defense. Formerly a 5-star recruit, Moses will be playing as an interior linebacker for this Alabama group. Alabama has been notorious for having a very good linebacker group, specifically in the middle of the field. This will be Moses’ first season being the sole contributor at the Mike, so expect to hear his name quite often while watching the Tide in the fall.

9. Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern

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via Northwestern Athletics

Paddy Fisher is the best run-stopping linebacker in college. His ability to fill the gap and make a tackle is fun to watch. I would like to see Fisher to be higher on this list, but I want to see Fisher show off some pass rushing ability. If he can develop a knack for rushing the QB, then expect Fisher to fly up NFL big boards.

8. Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State

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via 24/7 Sports

Gross-Matos took the 2018 season by storm by racking up 8 sacks with 20 tackles for loss. He’s the type of player that coaches game-plan against, but no matter what you do, he will make the play. If you run inside of him, he’s hitting you in the mouth. If you run outside of him, he’s chasing you down and grabbing you for a loss. Stay in the pocket to long? Sack. The DE’s in the Big 10 are absolutely incredible, because four of the ten players on this list are DE’s in the Big 10.

7. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia

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via Virginia Sports

Bryce Hall terrorized receivers in 2018, leading the nation in pass breakups and passes defended. Hall allowed on 34 completions in 13 games. He is the definition of a no fly zone. Now entering his senior year, this Virginia defense has the ability to really make some noise with Hall leading the helm. If Hall continues his play, look for him being the number one corner entering the 2020 NFL draft.

6. Derrick Brown, DT, Aurburn

All-SEC DL Derrick Brown returning to Auburn for senior season

via  Todd Van Emst/ Auburn Athletics

SEC coaches were not happy to here that Derrick Brown was returning to Auburn for his senior season. Why? Because he was already projected to be a first rounder in the 2019 NFL draft, but he is returning to the 2019 season after being selected to the all-SEC team. Brown is looking to show scouts his ability to rush the passer, after accumulating 4.5 sacks last season. I’m excited to see how Brown attacks QB Justin Herbert week 1 when Oregon comes down to meet Auburn.

5. Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State

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via Michigan State Athletics

Kenny Willekes will be coming off a leg injury that occurred at the end of last season, but he is expected to be at full strength. Over the last two years, Willekes has 15.5 sacks and 35 tackles for loss. The dynamic between Willekes and Bachie is one that is to be feared by opposing offenses. The problem lies to MSU’s offense, which is hoping to have a bounce back season.

4. Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, Clemson

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via 24/7 Sports

The safety/linebacker hybrid, Isaiah Simmons, is now the leader of the Clemson defense. After losing nearly their entire defensive line, Simmons is expected to pick up some of the lost pieces. Entering his junior season, Simmons was the tackle leader last year for Clemson with 97 total tackles. With that, 9 of them were for a loss. Simmons had one interception, which he ran back for a touchdown. He was listed as a safety last season, but I’m expecting him to put some weight on and become a powerhouse linebacker.

3. A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa

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via Hawkeye Sports

The story line this season will be Epenesa vs Young. Unfortunately, we will not see the two play. What we will see is Epenesa play Gross-Matos, which is another of the four Big 10 DE’s. Regardless, an argument can be made to have Epenesa at the top of this list. He is already projected by some to be the number one selected Edge to be taken in 2020, and is drawing comparisons to the Bosa brothers. In 2018, Epenesa totaled 37 tackles with 16.5 of them being for loss and 10.5 of them being sacks. Look for another big season from Epenesa as he makes a push towards the 2020 NFL Draft.

2. Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

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via USA Today

Rounding out the Edge rushers is Chase Young, the predecessor to the Bosa brothers reign of OSU anchors. It’s a tough task to replace such talent, but Chase Young is looking to be even better than the Bosa’s were. His stats are comparable to Epenesa, 33 tackles (14.5 being for loss) and 9.5 sacks. I’m predicting Young to have a better season than Epenesa this year, and with OSU having a tougher schedule, I think he will be entering the 2020 draft as the premiere Edge rusher.

1. Grant Delpit, S, LSU

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via 24/7 Sports

Just to establish credibility, in 2016, I had Jamal Adams as the top player in college. In 2017, I had Derwin James as the top defensive player in college. In 2018, I had Quinnen Williams, who although is unproven in the NFL, I’m still holding a great track record. Grant Delpit is set to have a HISTORIC season. Last year, Delpit had 74 tackles, 9 being for a loss, 5 were sacks, and he had 5 interceptions. Incredible numbers, and I truly believe he is going to do so much more. I’m hoping LSU pulls their offense together because with Delpit being the best defensive player in college, they have a chance to pull off a run for the title. I expect the other nine here on this list to move up and down, but Grant Delpit is most likely going to sit at the top spot all year.