College football is a unique sport. Regardless of how talented you are or where you go, it is almost impossible to start as a true freshman at the quarterback position. There’s too much that goes into playing the position well that has to be learned, and raw talent often isn’t enough to overcome that. Still, there have been plenty of stellar performances in the past by true freshman quarterbacks. Trevor Lawrence won the starting job after four games and carried his team to the national title.
Jalen Hurts won SEC Player of the Year as a true freshman. While he never started, Tua Tagovailoa gave fans the greatest moment in national championship history after stepping in as a true freshman against Georgia at halftime. For the first time ever, each CFP team’s starting quarterback is gone. We will see a new wave of talent, and these are the quarterbacks you need to keep an eye on this season. They are the future of college football.
Tyler Buchner, Notre Dame
Notre Dame is one of the four CFP teams without last year’s starting quarterback. Buchner is a four-star talent that seems to be the future for the Fighting Irish at the position. He impressed in the spring, and he has the traits necessary to win at the next level.
However, Jack Coan will almost certainly be the starting quarterback. The Wisconsin transfer came in specifically to start. If he struggles, Buchner could get a shot, but it’s Coan’s job to lose. Still, watch out for Buchner to flash if he ever sees the field.
Sam Huard, Washington
Washington hasn’t had solid quarterback play in recent years, but last season was a turn for the worst. The Huskies return last year’s starter, but he shouldn’t feel comfortable with the starting job. He has the most experience, but that won’t get him far with superstar Sam Huard on the roster. Huard will inevitably win the starting job. It’s just a question as to if he does it this year or after. Still, watch him to compete from the first day of training camp.
Preston Stone, SMU
From all names listed so far, Stone is easily the most likely guy to win the starting job. There’s plenty of reasons to believe Stone will start for SMU. For starters, he’s the highest-rated recruit in SMU history by a long shot. Also, the Mustangs will be without Shane Buechele this year. Buechele was a great option, and SMU got used to having solid quarterback play. Stone can bring that expectation back in 2021.
Stone was recruited by the best schools in the country, but he chose SMU. Don’t think he chose there to sit as a true freshman. SMU might not be in the CFP hunt, but Preston Stone should be fun to watch.
Jalen Milroe, Alabama
Don’t get your hopes up. Milroe won’t win the starting job in Tuscaloosa. That firmly belongs to Bryce Young. However, being Alabama’s backup quarterback has its perks. He will get plenty of reps in garbage time to show his skills, and fans will always be wanting to see what he can do.
Milroe is incredibly strong. He can squat more weight than most linebackers. He’s also got a cannon for an arm, and he’s athletic enough to manipulate the pocket. He was unable to play in the spring game, but expect him to be second in line behind Bryce Young for the Crimson Tide.
Alabama football has +240 odds to win the national championship again this season. They won’t do that with Milroe being the starter, but don’t be surprised if he starts for a championship game before his time in Tuscaloosa is done.
Brock Vandagriff, Georgia
The same goes for Vandagriff. He won’t be the starter for the Georgia Bulldogs. Still, he is clearly the future in Athens. He has great arm strength, and he has a clear path to being the starter when Daniels heads to the NFL. Also, Daniels has an injury history. It wouldn’t be shocking if he went down and Vandagriff had to take over this season. You never hope for that, but it is a legitimate possibility for the Bulldogs.
Kirby Smart has yet to make the quarterback situation work in Athens. He lost two great options to the transfer portal, saw another transfer opt out for his only season, and wasted Jake Fromm’s time in Athens. Daniels has the chance to turn things around, but Vandagriff could be the last high-level quarterback to come play for Smart if he doesn’t succeed. Too many talented names have failed for another one to come in with high hopes.