Mizzou football: Power ranking every QB the Tigers will face in 2018
Yes, the Missouri Tigers will face some elite quarterbacks this season, but they can be confident that their own quarterback, Drew Lock, will be at the top of the list for nearly every other team they play.
Lock is on pace to set several school records this season, and if he picks up new OC Derek Dooley’s offense quickly, opposing defenses will have a tough time stopping him each week.
Therefore, Mizzou’s defense has a little bit of leeway when facing top quarterback talent, as it can count on the offense to put up plenty of points. Still, the schedule has some big-name quarterbacks on it, so the defense will need to play better after a somewhat disappointing 2017 campaign.
So, who are the best quarterbacks the Tigers will face this fall and who are the worst? We break it down here:
12. Dresser Winn, UT Martin
While backing up starter Troy Cook for most of last season, Winn threw for 744 yards and 5 touchdowns — solid numbers, but not exactly what an FCS team is going to need in order to compete with Lock and the Tigers.
Though Mizzou had its fair share of problems with Missouri State in Week 1 of last season, this year’s opening matchup should be a lot easier.
11. Tyler Vander Waal, Wyoming
The Cowboys face the problem of following up Josh Allen — a 2018 first-round pick and one of the best quarterbacks in program history. Vander Waal redshirted in 2017, so he’s a bit of an unknown, but he has impressed Craig Bohl and his staff this offseason, winning the Week 1 start.
Mizzou will be the first Power 5 team Vander Waal faces, though, so look for the Tigers to take advantage of some mistakes from the redshirt freshman when the Cowboys come to town in Week 2.
10. Brady White/David Moore, Memphis
Another nonconference foe, another question mark at the quarterback position. The Tigers, much like the Cowboys, are trying to replace a standout in Riley Ferguson.
The two players competing for the job are Arizona State graduate transfer Brady White and redshirt sophomore David Moore. They have been splitting first-team reps, and it doesn’t appear that coach Mike Norvell is going to rush a decision.
Expect whoever wins the job to put up some numbers during the homecoming game at Faurot Field as a product of Memphis’s fast-paced system, but this game would be a lot scarier if Ferguson was leading the Tigers into Columbia.
9. Terry Wilson/Gunnar Hoak, Kentucky
The Wildcats will be a handful for the Tigers’ defense, to be sure, but it will be because of star RB Benny Snell, not the quarterback.
Wilson seemingly gives Kentucky more of a dual-threat at the position, while Hoak is more of the traditional pocket passer. Both are intriguing options, but both are also probably a year from being real threats.
8. Jarrett Guarantano/Keller Chryst, Tennessee
Getting new Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt to say something interesting during a press conference is like pulling teeth, and the quarterback battle is no exception.
The decision will come down to Guarantano, who appeared in nine games for the Vols last season, and Chryst, a graduate transfer from Stanford. Guarantano threw 139 passes, completing 86, but only 4 went for touchdowns.
If he can’t do better than that this summer, the Vols will go with Chryst. But the fact that Chryst hasn’t convincingly won the job yet means Mizzou shouldn’t be too worried about whoever the Vols put under center.
7. Cole Kelley/Ty Storey, Arkansas
Kelley got some game action last season when Austin Allen was injured, so that already makes him more experienced than most of the other guys listed above. We still don’t know if he’ll beat out Storey under new head coach Chad Morris, though, so it’s a wait-and-see situation in Fayetteville.
However, I have the Arkansas quarterback this high simply because of Morris’ offensive track record. His teams put up numbers wherever he goes — Clemson, SMU, high school, etc. They probably won’t be quite as potent as Mizzou’s offense this year, but I’m more worried about Morris’s offense than some of the other offenses on the schedule.
6. Feleipe Franks/Kyle Trask, Florida
Franks has a cannon and can make an occasional play as a runner, too. He still has to beat out Trask, but his experience in 2017 will likely work in his favor.
Yes, he struggled last year, but if you’ll remember, Lock struggled in his first year with the Tigers, too. This isn’t to say that Franks will turn into Lock all of a sudden, but an improvement from last year wouldn’t be a big surprise.
5. David Blough/Elijah Sindelar, Purdue
Coach Jeff Brohm employed a two-quarterback system at Purdue for much of the 2017 season, including the Boilermakers’ 35-13 beatdown of the Tigers at Faurot Field.
This year, David Blough and Elijah Sindelar are back and competing for the starting job again, prompting questions about whether Brohm will use them both again. Blough threw for a touchdown and ran for another in last year’s game, and Sindelar also had a touchdown pass.
Both proved difficult for the Tigers to handle in 2017, so the defense will have to be on its game in Week 3 at Purdue to keep Mizzou competitive in its first tough matchup of the year.
4. Jake Bentley, South Carolina
I’m not as high on Bentley as a lot of analysts and fans are. That’s not to say I think he’s a bad quarterback — anyone would struggle after losing an elite receiver like Deebo Samuel.
However, Bentley’s 18-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio last year was far from elite, so he’ll need to show a lot more this fall before I buy back into the hype.
3. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
This isn’t me saying I think the Tigers will have trouble beating the Commodores, I just really like the way Shurmur plays the quarterback position. I think he is often overlooked because Vandy isn’t very relevant in the SEC, but Shurmur is a legit threat.
After all, it was Shurmur — not Jake Fromm, not Jake Bentley, not Jalen Hurts — who finished second in the SEC to Lock (albeit a distant second) in touchdown passes in 2017, throwing 26 to Lock’s 44.
Shurmur doesn’t have Ralph Webb in the backfield this fall, but it would still be a mistake to sleep on the Vanderbilt quarterback when the ’Dores come to town in Week 11.
2. Tua Tagovailoa/Jalen Hurts, Alabama
Whoever wins the starting job (probably Tua Tagovailoa) will provide a number of problems for Mizzou’s defense. Tagovailoa would feast on a Mizzou secondary that is replacing a couple of key starters; Jalen Hurts would stretch the Tigers with his legs.
Neither is an ideal matchup, and since the game is in Tuscaloosa, that just makes things even more difficult for coach Barry Odom and DC Ryan Walters.
1. Jake Fromm, Georgia
Georgia fans panicked when starting QB Jacob Eason went down with a leg injury in Week 1 last year. The Dawgs had to turn the offense over to a true freshman named Jake Fromm, and all he did was lead the team to the National Championship Game, very nearly winning a title.
Now, Eason is in Washington and Fromm is the entrenched starter. He returns plenty of offensive weapons, and coach Kirby Smart has another dynamic quarterback in freshman Justin Fields to deploy in certain situations, too.
The Georgia offense is probably the most potent offense Missouri will face in 2018, and Fromm is the guy who makes it all go. That’s why he earns the No. 1 spot on this list.