Brady Quinn: The Notre Dame Senior has earned some lofty praise this off season, and why not? He is the preseason Heisman favorite for many after having completed 64.9% of his passes last year for 3919 yards and an amazing 32:7 TD-INT ratio. His superior field vision, accuracy, and pass rush elusion ability makes him the best QB in America and a future Top 5 draft choice. With WR duo supreme Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight back (not to mention Head Coach Charlie Weis) Quinn looks ready to lead one of the nation's premier pass attacks in the county.
Trent Edwards: The Senior Quarterback out of Stanford leads the high powered Cardinal attack which looks to mature into one of the best the Pac-10 will field this year. While Edwards went 168-268 (63.1%) last season with 1934 yards and a 17:7 TD-INT ratio, he was nevertheless bothered by several nagging injuries and without his premier target Evan Moore (who suffered a hip injury in the opener with Navy). Traditionally Walt Harris QB's have a boatload of success in their senior year, and an excellent Spring Game (203 yards, 3 TDs, 85% completion) could be the most improved QB in the country. With a fully healthy cast including Mark Badford (2 games out last year) Edwards could cause havoc for the Navy secondary.
Paul Smith: In a league with Houston's Kevin Kolb and UTEP's Jordon Palmer, Tulsa's Junior Quarterback Paul Smith is usually overlooked. That's not to take away what he accomplished last year however, as he lead the Golden Hurricane to the Conference-USA Title and a victory in the Liberty Bowl over Fresno State. A 62.4 completion percentage for 2847 yards and a 20:6 TD-INT ratio was all that Smith put up as a sophomore, and looks ready further improve his play. There is one big problem however, as the talent of WR's Garret Mills (1235 yards) and Ashlan Davis (35 rec, 5 TDs) depart, which could slow down Tulsa's air attack and give Navy a good shot at winning this game.
Shuan Carney: Some readers may question this pick, but to be honest I nearly considered ranking Carney ahead of Paul Smith. Why? Because when it's all said and done Carney may be the best QB the Air Force Academy has ever scene. While he has been inconsistent over his first two seasons, the junior out Cleveland, Ohio still managed to put up some 1300 pass yards last year (64.2 %, 7:7 ratio) along with 832 rushing yards (11 TDs). At 5-10 he's not a big guy but has (at least for an option oriented offense) a surprisingly big arm. While he's thrown some fairly crappy passes (Keenan Little's end zone pick) he's still fairly young, and Air Force's rushing attack often allows him to spot one-on-one matchups on the outside. With a decent arm and great athleticism, Carney gives an inferior Air Force team the chance to win any day, including Oct. 7th against Navy.
Matt "Bones" Bonislawski/DJ Hernandez: These two QBs split time last year at Connecticut after the departure of Dan Orlovsky. Both of these QBs have talent, and "Bones" showed amazing toughness last year playing with a broken clavicle behind a rather poor offensive line. He has a big arm (50.6 %, 836 yards, 6:7 ratio) and good mobility (239 yards, 3 TDs) but could be challenged by the sophomore Hernandez. In relief of "Bones" last year, the athletic Sophomore dropped 3 TDs and 255 yards against Louisville (51.1%, 515 yards, 6:1 ratio for the year). He lacks the arm of Bonislawski, but is an excellent runner and could give the Navy defense plenty to worry about.
James Pinkney: All right, the ECU fans can calm back down, I didn't forget Skip Holtz's Senior QB. Pinkney was something of a welcomed surprise last year, going 222-366 (60.7%) for 2773 yards and a 14:8 ratio. ECU runs a spread offense which was among the leader's In NCAA passing last year but was plagued by turnovers and inefficient red zone operation. Pinkey is fairly mobile, but not an overly intimidating passer. He's a product of the system, which most ECU fans think will upend Navy on Sep. 2nd. Yea, right, not a chance...
Mike Teel: If the Sophomore out of Rutgers can learn on the fly and fix an interception problem, (2-10 ratio last year) Rutgers might just become the surprise team of the country for the second consecutive year. The 6-4 220 ponder worked with former NFL great Phil Simms over the summer, and saw a good deal of action last year in relief work for the departed Ryan Hart. He hit 50.5% of his passes for 683 yards, and brings a live arm and decent mobility to a potent Rutgers offense. He has plenty of targets, including AA candidate TE Clark Harris, but because of his inexperience and INT problems, finds himself in the middle of our list.
Tyler Jones: The E. Michigan Sophomore shined in his only performance last year, going 19-26 for 245 yards (2:1 ratio) and rushing for 107 yards in a narrow loss against Miami of Ohio. He's an athletic quarterback with an accurate arm, but to judge one performance against a shaky MAC defense as an accurate indication of his abilities might be stretch. In other words Jones may do well and improve the Eagles this year, but his play shouldn't dazzle the Navy defense.
Zach Asack: Last year was a trying experience for the Duke Sophomore, who completed 50% of his passes for 966 yards and 5:8 ratio. Considering this came against a tough slat of ACC teams, I'm not going to sit here and say he's completely inept as a QB, but he certainly has a good deal of learning to do. He wasn't abysmal in his first start against the Midshipmen (16-27, 152 yards), but isn't exactly surrounded by a talented group of players. Still, Duke is not as bad as a lot of people think (mostly because of their schedule), and while the Mids should hold the Blue Devil attack at bay, look for improved play out of Mr. Asack.
David Pevoto: This will be the first year starting for Army's Junior QB, and at 6-5 229 he sure looks to have the size up a big-time QB. Because of his lack of experience, it's hard to put an exact ranking on Pevoto, who in his only action last year went 6-12 for 68. If he can't deliver, it could be a very trying year for the Black Knights.
Shane Kelly/Colin Clancy: One of these Temple Sophomores will take over for the departed Mike McGann, who somehow managed to pass for 3:13 TD-INT ratio with a 48.8 completion percentage. It's tough to automatically put Temple QB's at the bottom, since the team plays one of the most difficult schedules in the country and is so inept offensively, but this group is so inexperienced that little should be expected of them. Clancy went 10-19 last year for 121 yards and a TD, but Kelly has the biggest arm. If neither Kelly nor Clancy can pull out a win (and against Buffalo and Kent State there will be an opportunity) then look out for Freshmen Jarrett Dunston. The Hargrave product is mobile and has a good arm, and could start against navy if Temple has (and will have) nothing to lose.
You may have noticed that there was no assessment of the QB situation over at UMASS, Navy's only I-AA opponent this year. For ranking purposes, i felt it was best to leave the I-AA QB's out of the equation, but check back later this month for a preseason preview of UMAAS.