2014’s Top Rated College QBs athleticism is key

According to ESPN’s QBR rating the top 5 quarterbacks are:

Blake Sims
Marcus Mariota
Deshawn Watson
Nick Marshall
Taysom Hill

What’s interesting about this list is all five of college football’s top rated quarterbacks have high school track and field backgrounds and four have high school basketball experience.  Typically the quarterback position is not one defined by athletes with sprinting and jumping backgrounds but this list changes that somewhat.  Additionally, only one of the players on this list, Clemson’s Deshawn Watson, was an ESPN RISE Elite 11 camper.  Perhaps this is an indication that high school players can develop once in college and acquire the requisite skills necessary to excel in college as quarterbacks? 

Regardless it is hard to dispute the overall speed and athleticism each of these players possess and show based on their high school track and field performances and multi-sport backgrounds.  For example:

Blake Sims ran a 10.84/100 meters, 21.84/200 meters, ran leg on 400 relay (42.26) and 21’05” long jumper.  In addition Sims played basketball too.

Marcus Mariota was a state track qualifier in Hawaii in the long jump (20’06”) and 400 relay (42.83).  Additionally Mariota ran the 100 meters 11.63 and 200 meters 23.41.

Deshawn Watson was a varsity basketball player in high school and had a background in the high jump with a best approaching 6’04”. 

Nick Marshall was a varsity basketball player and 6’04” high jumper in high school.  He even attended UGA as a defensive back for a while before moving on to Auburn. 

Taysom Hill was an outstanding high school long jumper 22’04” and 200 meter (22.79) sprinter for an athlete his size. Hill also played high school basketball.  Unfortunately he suffered a terrible leg injury earlier this season but still ranks as one of college’s best quarterbacks. 

Adding to this list of top rated QBs is TCU’s Trevone Boykin and Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas.  Boykin is arguably playing the position better than anyone in the country right now and Thomas has helped Georgia Tech to a 6-2 record in addition to a top ten QBR rating.  But what stands out for these two is that both of these quarterbacks were outstanding high school sprinters. 

Boykin ran on his high school 400 relay team (41.98), a blistering 800 relay team (1:27.08) and he long jumped 21’01” .  He’s fast!!  And it shows on the field. 

Thomas was a 10.79 100 meter sprinter and he played high school basketball and baseball too. 

It is a stretch to suggest that we should start looking at sprinters to find the next great collegiate quarterbacks. However the recent uptick in speed and overall athleticism in college quarterbacks is certainly something to keep an eye on.