There is no more hopeful, yet frustrating situation than starting a young QB in college. Whether it's an oversized ego from a small town cult, bad high school coaching that needs ironed out, or just a new playbook that needs to be learned, there is no shortage for pitfalls for an underclassman signal caller. But with every overthrown pass comes a ray of hope, a reminder of the hype he got out of high school. Let's take a look at every teenage starting QB, (redshirt) freshman and true sophomores, and see how each future star is faring.
Fr Riley Arledge, Portland State, Pocket
Player Line: 40/80 (50%), 473 Yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs,
Losses: JMU, at SJSU, at Florida A&M
Rome's Hot Take: I could not find a Portland State depth chart and that sums up my take on Arledge. Could be a good FCS starter with a coach and some good recruiting around him.
So Jameson Beckwith, Northern Iowa, Pocket
Player Line: 43/85 (50.6%), 460 Yards, 3 TDs, 4 INTs, 1 Fumble
Losses: New Hampshire, at Tulane, at Harvard
Rome's Hot Take: Another coachless QB. Shows some promise, but such a low completion rate and yards/attempt for a pocket guy has be selling hard.
(Fr) Taylor Cook, TCU, Hybrid
Player Line: 49/87 (56.3%), 547 Yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 1 Fumble Lost
Wins: at Penn State, at Texas, Michigan State
Rome's Hot Take: Cook obviously has a fantastic team around him, but I'm not holding that against him with his stats. He's making freshman mistakes and the team around him is keeping them from mattering in the long run. Bright future ahead of him.
(Fr) Ryan Corbin III, Iowa, Hybrid
Player Line: 55/99 (55.6%), 644 Yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 5 Carries, 30 Yards, 1 TD
Wins: Western Kentucky, Iowa State
Losses: at Penn State
Rome's Hot Take: With an expected loss to PSU, where he threw 2 of his 3 INTs, Ryan is on the path Iowa's hoping for from him. His future will depend on the talent around him, but he could contend for that division.
(Fr) Lucas Elizondo, Nebraska, Scrambling
Player Line: 47/93 (50.5%), 429 Yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs, 10 Carries, 42 Yards
Losses: Auburn, at Texas Tech, Central Florida
Rome's Hot Take: Nebraska has a lot of problems this year, but Lucas is not helping in the slightest. A liability with his arm and seemingly toothless on the ground, I wouldn't be surprised to see Lucas's reign as starting QB cut short with a JuCo replacement in the next season or two. Maybe he makes a Kessler transition to try and make a pro practice squad.
(Fr) Jack Evans, South Alabama, Scrambling
Player Line: 23/49 (47%), 326 Yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs, 4 Carries, 0 Yards
Losses: at Virginia, Mississippi, at LSU
Rome's Hot Take: Evans has been coachless so far this season, so it's hard to blame him. But neither USA QB has shown any ability this season. Hard to judge until they start playing conference foes.
(Fr) Tausa'afia Faletolu, Nevada, Scrambling
Player Line: 57/101 (56.4%), 690 Yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 14 Carries, 91 Yards, 1 TD
Wins: Montana, Miami (OH)
Losses: at Clemson
Rome's Hot Take: Most of his impressive stats come from a battering of Montana. They struggled against Miami and Clemson otherwise. Potential is there, but he's struggling against actual competition.
(Fr) Grayson Gillette, Texas Tech, Pocket
Player Line: 57/87 (65.5%), 682 Yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT
Wins: Nebraska, Marshall, Kansas State
Rome's Hot Take: An impressive start for a new offense in Lubbock. Gillette has been in control so far this season, but the meat of his schedule is ahead of him. How Grayson reacts to making mistakes as the season goes on will tell us a lot about his future.
So Logan Hayes, Yale, Hybrid
Player Line: 39/83 (47%), 389 Yards, 2 TDs, 5 INTs, 2 Rushes, -1 Yard
Losses: North Dakota, at North Dakota State, at Wake Forest
Rome's Hot Take: I feel like bad or a lack of coaching plus poor performance can really snowball and ruin a players development. Hayes may start until he graduates, but he definitely won't lead them to many wins.
So Gabe Kerns, Georgia Southern, Hybrid
Player Line: 53/100 (53%), 537 Yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 2 Carries, 6 Yards, 1 TD
Wins: New Mexico State
Losses: at Minnesota, Wyoming
Rome's Hot Take: Gabe actually wasn't that bad against Minnesota, only turning it over once and grabbing two TDs. His lack of success otherwise is concerning and he's already reached his potential.
(Fr) Shane Kruse, Kansas State, Hybrid
Player Line: 78/136 (57.4%), 905 Yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs
Wins: at Air Force
Losses: California, at Texas Tech
Rome's Hot Take: Kruse has had a strong performance so far. I always expect young players to have lower completion rates due to lack of experience and chemistry, but throwing up almost 1k yards and 7 TDs in 3 games is strong. I'd like to see him win more and against P5 competition, but he's got 3.75 seasons for that.
Fr Finn Leonard, Utah, Pocket
Player Line: 64/115 (55.65%), 734 Yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs
Wins: Utah State
Losses: Southern Cal, Washington
Rome's Hot Take: Leonard has faced some strong competition and is on an offense that looks to need another season or two to mature, so I'm not concerned about the true freshman getting a rattled by USC and Washington.
(Fr) Thomas Maddox, Texas State, Scrambling
Player Line: 41/83 (49.4%), 435 Yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 1 Fumble Lost, 12 Rushes, 37 Yards
Losses: at Indiana, Charlotte, at UTSA
Rome's Hot Take: Not great so far. Only two players on the offense have a 3.5 skill or better, though, so hard to be that upset.
(Fr) Luca Maguire, NC State, Hybrid
Player Line: 67/109 (61.5%). 722 Yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs
Wins: at East Carolina, Wyoming
Losses: at Louisville
Rome's Hot Take: I like Maguire a lot. He had a pretty good game against Louisville and I think he can lead NC State to conference contention in 2-3 years.
So Zachary Mattson, Georgia State, Scrambling
Player Line: 51/90 (56.7%), 605 Yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 1 Fumble, 17 Carries, 105 Yards, 1 TD
Wins: UMass, at Middle Tennessee State
Losses: at Connecticut
Rome's Hot Take: Great numbers, but against what competition?
So Gavin Orr, Florida A&M, Pocket
Player Line: 46/90 (51.11%), 495 Yards, 3 TDs, 4 INTs, 1 Fumble Lost
Wins: Portland State
Losses: at Eastern Washington, at Florida
Rome's Hot Take: I don't think this kid has a future in FCS, let alone the Pros. He's a 2/2.5 now. He'll likely get replaced by AI recruiting in two seasons.
(Fr) Erik Parker, Ball State, Hybrid
Player Line: 54/80 (67.5%), 652 Yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT, 1 Fumble Lost, 7 Carries, 28 Yards, 1 TD
Losses: at UCLA, vs Indiana
Rome's Hot Take: Looked pretty good vs Indiana last week. With the coaching Ball State has, definitely see this kid being All-MAC at some point.
So Mario Pierre, Toledo, Scrambling
Player Line: 39/66 (59.1%), 440 Yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 7 Carries, 37 Yards, 2 TDs
Wins: at Kentucky, UNLV
Losses: Central Michigan
Rome's Hot Take: Definitely a dual threat to keep MAC defenses up at night. Losing to CMU is a bitch of a scratcher for Toledo, though. Growing pains?
(Fr) Jacob Ramsey, Georgia Tech, Pocket
Player Line: 61/111 (55%), 608 Yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs
Losses: Florida Atlantic, at Arkansas, Duke
Rome's Hot Take: Despite being 0-3, I think the kid has winning potential. The team around him needs to get better, but the Jackets have their QB.
(Fr) Omari Ricks-Hargrove, Rutgers, Scrambling
Player Line: 44/75 (58.7%), 512 Yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT, 13 Carries, 60 Yards
Wins: at Army, Miami (OH)
Rome's Hot Take: A QB who definitely isn't asked to throw much, but is effectively when he does. He wasn't that amazing vs Michigan, but the team still almost won. Will almost certainly beat Penn State a few times.
Fr Riley Sharpe, Southern Cal, Pocket
Player Line: 54/80 (67.5%), 656 Yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs,
Wins: Southern Miss, at Utah, SDSU
Rome's Hot Take: While RB Bowser is taking a lot of pressure off Riley, he's been sharp on his drop backs. A lot of potential for the kid and the coaches seem to be easing him into college play. Can he carry this team against a great run defense right now? Time will tell.
(Fr) Dominic Sherman, Auburn, Scrambling
Player Line: 51/91 (56%), 622 Yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 1 Fumble, 2 Carries, -3 Yards
Wins: at Nebraska
Losses: vs Oregon, LSU
Rome's Hot Take: Rough start. Has a lot of talent around him and a fantastic line, so it feels like he needs development or coaching is letting him down. Fans need to be patient, but failure can snowball.
(Fr) Max Walker, BYU, Pocket
Player Line: 76/130 (58.5%), 836 Yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs
Wins: Buffalo, New Mexico
Losses: at Iowa State
Rome's Hot Take: Walker is asked to pass the most out of the young QBs and he's succeed so far. His game at Iowa State isn't that great and suggests he'll struggle against good competition, but he's beat teams he should.
(Fr) Logan Wilson, Miami (FL), Hybrid
Player Line: 66/112 (59%), 815 Yards, 5 TDs, 3 INTs, 1 Fumble
Wins: Central Florida
Losses: Florida, at Missouri
Rome's Hot Take: Logan has showed potential so far, against strong competition. He wasn't as accurate on the road at Missouri, but he still threw 2 TDs. I like Wilson a lot and think he has a New York visit in his future.
This originally started at looking at only Fr and (Fr) starters, but I added in true Sophomores after I thought of the title. I'm a big champion of letting stars get playing time early and often, so I've been looking into this over the year. I may revisit this article towards the end of the season, but this should provide a lot of comparisons for teams and give others an idea of what to expect should they move to a young QB in the future.