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February 3, 2011

GBN In-Depth - how the top quarterbacks have fared

In Jeff Driskel, Florida signed the top overall rated quarterback in the Class of 2011. Now that National Signing Day is in our rear-view mirror, GatorBait.net is here to take a look at Rivals' success in ranking the top quarterback in each class.

We take a look at what each former top-ranked Rivals quarterback did in his first year and throughout his career to get a better idea of what Gators fans can expect from early enrollee Driskel.

OVERVIEW

From 2002 to 2005, each top quarterback in the Rivals rankings redshirted in his freshman season.

However, the trend since 2005 has been just the opposite. From 2006 to 2010, each quarterback that ranked atop the Rivals rankings has gone on to be the starter at some point in his freshman season.

Aside from Kyle Wright in 2003, each top Rivals quarterback has gone on to have a prolific college career, though it should be noted that Rhett Bomar (2004) was more successful at Sam Houston State than he was at Oklahoma.

So what can Gators fans realistically expect from top quarterback prospect Driskel (Four-star, No. 32 overall) during the 2011 season?

Based on past results for the top-ranked Rivals quarterbacks, it's safe to assume that Driskel will have a decent chance at competing for the starting job in 2011.

Whether he starts at some point will likely come down to how well John Brantley adjusts to the new offense and whether injuries take their toll on Brantley as the season progresses.

Two of the five quarterbacks who started as a freshman got their first opportunity to start as a result of the starter going down with an injury. In both cases, the freshman quarterback coming in played well enough to retain the starting job.

Below are brief biographies on how each former top-ranked Rivals quarterback fared in his first season and during his college career.

QUARTERBACK CAPSULES

2002 - VINCE YOUNG - TEXAS
Overall Rank: No. 1
Star Rank: 5-star
High School: Madison
Hometown: Houston, Texas

First Year: In his first year at Texas, Young took a redshirt season behind starter Chris Simms.

Summary: After taking the starting job full-time midway in 2004, Young went on to have one of the most prolific careers in Texas football history at the quarterback spot. He was named a two-time Rose Bowl MVP, an All-American, a Davey O'Brien and Maxwell Award winner, and a Heisman runner-up. During the 2005 season, he led the Longhorns to an undefeated season and a BCS National Championship.

2003 - KYLE WRIGHT - MIAMI
Overall Rank: No. 5
Star Rank: 5-star
High School: Monte Vista
Hometown: Danville, California

First Year: In his first year at Miami, Wright took a redshirt season behind starter Brock Berlin.

Summary: Wright took the starting job full-time in 2005, but struggled to play consistently over the course of his career at Miami. He never fully lived up to expectations despite finishing with nearly 6,000 career passing yards. He never seemed to fully grasp the decision-making aspect of the game, throwing 31 career interceptions to 38 touchdowns.

2004 - RHETT BOMAR - OKLAHOMA
Overall Rank: No. 4
Star Rank: 5-star
High School: Grand Prairie
Hometown: Grand Prairie, Texas

First Year: In his first year at Oklahoma, Bomar took a redshirt season behind starter Jason White.

Summary: Bomar won the starting job at Oklahoma in the second game of the 2005 season, improving steadily as the season progressed. However, he was dismissed from Oklahoma before the 2006 season for an off-the-field incident. Bomar headed to Sam Houston State, where he became the starter and the all-time leader in SHSU history with more than 6,000 passing yards. He was named a two-time All-Southland selection and finished as a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, given to the top FCS player annually.

2005 - MARK SANCHEZ - USC
Overall Rank: No. 7
Star Rank: 5-star
High School: Mission Viejo
Hometown: Mission Viejo, California

First Year: In his first year at USC, Sanchez took a redshirt season behind starter Matt Leinart.

Summary: Sanchez won the starting job midway through the 2007 season after an injury to John David Booty. He won the starting job full-time during the 2008 season and had one of the most prolific passing seasons in USC history. He finished his career with nearly 4,000 yards passing despite playing as a starter for a year and a half. His 34 passing touchdowns in 2008 were the second most in school history for a single season. He left early for the NFL Draft in 2009.

2006 - MATTHEW STAFFORD - GEORGIA
Overall Rank: No. 6
Star Rank: 5-star
High School: Highland Park
Hometown: Dallas, Texas

First Year: In his first year at Georgia, Stafford won the starting job after an injury to Joe Tereshinski III. He finished the season with nearly 1,750 yards passing and seven touchdowns to 13 interceptions.

Summary: Stafford was the starter at Georgia from 2006-08, where he led a high-powered Georgia passing attack. He finished his college career with more than 7,700 passing yards, 51 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. He was named an All-American and All-SEC selection in 2008 and went on to become the first pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

2007 - JIMMY CLAUSEN - NOTRE DAME
Overall Rank: No. 1
Star Rank: 5-star
High School: Oaks Christian
Hometown: Westlake Village, California

First Year: In his first year at Notre Dame, Clausen won the starting job in the second game. He finished his first season with 1,254 passing yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

Summary: Clausen was the starter at Georgia from 2007-09 and had some of the most prolific passing seasons in Notre Dame history. He threw for more than 3,000 passing yards in both 2008 and 2009, ending Notre Dame's nine-game bowl losing streak in the process. He was named a second-team All-American in the 2009 season before electing to leave school early for the 2010 NFL Draft.

2008 - TERRELLE PRYOR - OHIO STATE
Overall Rank: No. 1
Star Rank: 5-star
High School: Jeannette
Hometown: Jeannette, Pennsylvania

First Year: In his first year at Ohio State, Pryor started nine games and led the Buckeyes to a Fiesta Bowl appearance. He threw for more than 1,300 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Summary: Pryor was the starter at Ohio State from 2008-10, earning All-Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2008. He has thrown for more than 6,000 yards in his career at Ohio State with 57 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He was named an honorable mention Big Ten selection in both 2009 and 2010, while being named the runner-up for the 2010 Big Ten MVP.

2009 - MATT BARKLEY - USC
Overall Rank: No. 5
Star Rank: 5-star
High School: Mater Dei
Hometown: Santa Ana, California

First Year: In his first year at USC, Barkley won the starting job and started all but one game. He finished the year with 2,735 passing yards, 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Summary: Barkley has been the starter at USC for the past two years, throwing for more than 2,700 yards in each season. In his career so far, he has thrown for more than 5,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He is expected to be the starting quarterback for the Trojans again in 2011.

2010 - JAKE HEAPS - BYU
Overall Rank: No. 63
Star Rank: 4-star
High School: Skyline
Hometown: Sammamish, Washington

First Year: In his first year at BYU, Heaps became the starting quarterback in the fourth game of the season. He finished the season with 2,316 yards passing, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Summary: Heaps had a great freshman season, improving significantly in the second half of the year. He became the first freshman quarterback to start for BYU in 29 bowl games. During November and December, Heaps threw 13 touchdowns to just two interceptions. He was named the MVP of the New Mexico Bowl and is expected to be the starter for BYU again in 2011.


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