Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
College QB ranking undersells Razorbacks
Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel waits for the snap Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville.
It came via email.
A writer for the website Pro Football Focus named Cam Mellor recently ranked all 130 of the “starting” quarterbacks for Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
That is an ambitious undertaking.
It is also just one man’s opinion and leaves a ton of room for debate.
For instance, he ranked the University of Arkansas 102nd, and he included Ben Hicks/Nick Starkel.
Supposedly, the Razorbacks’ starter will be announced next week (expect it to be Hicks), but Starkel beat out Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond before Jimbo Fisher arrived. Fisher wanted a more mobile quarterback, and Mond is ranked No. 25 on this list.
Ty Storey, Arkansas’ quarterback last year who is now at Western Kentucky, ranked 100th in combination with Steven Duncan.
Cole Kelley was not ranked. He went to Southeastern Louisiana, which plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, not the FBS.
Yes, it was much simpler when the NCAA called its divisions I-A and I-AA.
Anyway, Arkansas State University quarterback Logan Bonner was ranked 126th.
Whoever starts for the Razorbacks against Portland State may not be the starter against Alabama.
Hicks started with a definitive advantage. He played for Coach Chad Morris and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock at SMU.
He knows the playbook and verbiage. He is supposed to be more agile.
Starkel started for the Aggies, so he is more familiar with the SEC and should be more comfortable playing against great teams. He has the stronger arm.
They are definitely much better than the No. 102 ranking suggests.
No. 1 Trevor Lawrence, the starting quarterback for defending national champion Clemson, was not a surprise. Nor was it that Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa was No. 2.
They are the early favorites to win the Heisman Trophy and to face off for the national championship again.
It should be noted that Tagovailoa appeared to play the second half of last season hurt. Not injured, but with some discomfort.
It would not have been a surprise if Jalen Hurts had been No. 3. After getting beat out by Tagovailoa at Alabama, Hurts transferred to Oklahoma and appears to be the starter, but he was ranked No. 11.
Look for Hurts also to be in the Heisman hunt. Reports are his passing has continued to improve under the watchful eye of Lincoln Riley, who has coached the last two Heisman winners.
Here are a few other notes of interest: Former Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson, who transferred to Michigan, came in No. 13; Justin Fields, who transferred from Georgia to Ohio State, was No. 16; Georgia’s Jake Fromm was No. 9; and LSU’s Joe Burrow was No. 17.
Arkansas’ duo was ranked last among all SEC quarterbacks.
The Razorback Nation will get one shot, Aug. 24, to decide who they like best at quarterback and if this team is significantly better than last year. The scrimmage is scheduled to be open to the public for an hour.
The next public viewing after that will be Aug. 31 against Portland State in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
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