College football's top 25 quarterbacks for 2020: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields fight for top spot

Sporting News
  • College football's top 25 quarterbacks for 2020: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields fight for top spot

    Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State's Justin Fields have an ongoing competition that started at the Elite 11 in high school, resumed at the Fiesta Bowl last season and continues heading into the 2020 college football season.  

    Lawrence and Fields are the top two quarterbacks in the FBS, and they have the statistics and resumes to prove it. The Buckeyes and Tigers will be right back in the mix for a national championship because of it.  

    MORE: SN's Preseason Top 25 for 2020

    That does not mean another quarterback can't rise to the top. Sporting News had LSU's Joe Burrow ranked No. 14 last season before he enjoyed one of the greatest single seasons of all time.  

    Sporting News ranks the top 25 quarterbacks for 2020.  

  • 1 Bryce Young, Alabama

    Young hasn't taken a snap at the college level, but we're putting the five-star dual-threat quarterback from Mater Dei High School on here as an insurance policy. The talent is there to create an intriguing quarterback competition with incumbent Mac Jones, and Alabama coach Nick Saban will play the best option after missing the College Football Playoff last season.

  • 2 Myles Brennan, LSU

    Brennan has an impossible act to follow after Burrow, and passing game coordinator Joe Brady is gone. That said, the 6-4 quarterback still has enough around him — including Biletnikoff Award winner Ja'Marr Chase — to put up numbers in a program where he has spent three years waiting his turn. That should make the transition smoother.

  • 3 Sean Clifford, Penn State

    Clifford led the Nittany Lions to an 11-win campaign in his first season as a starter, and he did that with good decision-making that translated to 2,654 passing yards, 23 TDs and seven interceptions. Clifford needs to be more of a difference maker in games against ranked teams for Penn State to take the next step.

  • 4 Bo Nix, Auburn

    Nix was one of the most exciting freshman quarterbacks in the FBS last season, but his hit-or-miss-play came with a 57.6 completion percentage. Nix did get more than enough big-game baptisms in 2019, and he led the Tigers to victories against Oregon and Alabama. That experience should pay off as a sophomore.

  • 5 Charlie Brewer, Baylor

    Brewer improved as the season progressed and led Baylor to the Big 12 championship game and a berth in the Sugar Bowl last season. He finished with 21 TDs and seven interceptions, but it was the added versatility of 11 TDs rushing that helped him make the jump. He gives first-year coach Dave Aranda a reliable option at the most important position.

  • 6 KJ Costello, Mississippi State

    Mike Leach is coming to Mississippi State, and he is bringing an experienced quarterback in Costello with him. Costello transferred from Stanford, where he played in 29 games. He missed time with a concussion and thumb injury last season. Expect big numbers in the pass-happy offense.  

  • 7 Dillon Gabriel, UCF

    Josh Heupel's offense is quarterback friendly, and Gabriel's efficient play last season helped ease the loss of McKenzie Milton. Gabriel finished with 3,653 yards, 29 TDs and seven interceptions. He needs to be more of a running threat, but the potential for an even better season is there.

  • 8 Mac Jones, Alabama

    Jones must fight off Bryce Young for the starting job, but the veteran quarterback had four starts with three or more TDs when he took over for an injured Tua Tagovailoa last season. Jones spread the ball out effectively to Alabama's receivers, and he easily could be the starter in Week 1.

  • 9 Shane Buechele, SMU

    The fifth-year senior revived his career at SMU, where he passed for 3,929 yards, 34 TDs and 10 interceptions in the Mustangs' high-flying offense. SMU won 10 games last season, and with Buechele back they will be in the mix again for an American Athletic Conference championship.

  • 10 Brady White, Memphis

    White's also a fifth-year senior, and he led the Tigers to an AAC championship and berth in the Fiesta Bowl after passing for 4,014 yards, 33 TDs and 11 interceptions. White and first-year coach Ryan Silverfield have familiarity, and that should lead to more high-yield production.

  • 11 Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State

    Sanders flashed in the Cowboys' offense as a freshman with 2,065 passing yards, 628 rushing yards and 18 total TDs. He fits in an offense that also features Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace, and that will keep Oklahoma State in the hunt for a Big 12 championship.

  • 12 Kyle Trask, Florida

    Trask stepped in for Feleipe Franks and took hold of the job with the Gators. Trask is an efficient passer – he completed 66.9 percent of his passes with 25 TDs and seven interceptions. He'll have a chance to play at the next level if he builds on that success. Burrow was ranked No. 14 on our list last year. Is that a good omen?

  • 13 Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma

    We are trusting the Lincoln Riley touch here. Rattler had a year to learn behind Jalen Hurts, and the five-star recruit has more than enough talent to work with to keep the Sooners in line for yet another College Football Playoff berth. Will Rattler be the fourth consecutive Oklahoma quarterback to make the trip to New York?

  • 14 Kellen Mond, Texas A&M

    Mond is 17-9 as a starter with Jimbo Fisher the past two seasons, and the veteran quarterback has improved his completion percentage and rushing yardage with each season. Mond has generated NFL interest, and he can enhance that by winning a few more big games in the SEC West.

  • 15 D'Eriq King, Miami

    Miami's quarterback play didn't meet expectations last season, but the addition of King and new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee should lead to a much-needed restoration. King missed most of last season, but he's capable of putting up monster numbers.

  • 16 Jamie Newman, Georgia

    The Bulldogs found the replacement for Jake Fromm in Newman, who accounted for 2,868 passing yards, 574 rushing yards and 32 total TDs with the Demon Deacons last season. He'll work with former Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken in an effort to lead that long-awaited breakthrough at Georgia.

  • 17 Tanner Morgan, Minnesota

    Morgan passed for 3,523 yards, 30 TDs and seven interceptions. He fits in P.J. Fleck's offense, and favorite target Rashod Bateman returns. Morgan averaged 10.2 yards per attempt last season — a big number that shows ability to push the ball downfield. The 6-2, 215-pounder will try to lead a Big Ten West championship run.

  • 18 Brock Purdy, Iowa State

    Purdy continues to live up to the hype at Iowa State. He passed for 3,982 yards, 27 TDs and nine interceptions with the Cyclones, and he's mobile enough to keep defenses guessing with his legs. He has eight 300-yard games the past two seasons and should pile on more in the Big 12.

  • 19 Jayden Daniels, Arizona State

    Daniels impressed as a freshman with 2,943 yards, 17 TDs and two interceptions with the Sun Devils last season, and he added 355 yards on the ground. He also put up five 300-yard games. Daniels should continue that development as a sophomore, and that will give Arizona State a shot in the wide-open Pac-12 South.

  • 20 Kedon Slovis, USC

    Slovis solidified USC's quarterback position after stepping in for J.T. Daniels last season, and the freshman impressed with 3,502 yards, 30 TDs and nine interceptions. That included four games with 400 or more passing yards. Slovis has the talent to push the Trojans back into the Pac-12 South race and become the next NFL QB from Troy.

  • 21 Ian Book, Notre Dame

    Book opted to return for his senior season, and he will add to his total of 57 career touchdowns with the Irish. Book is 20-3 as a starter, a record that is underappreciated given the pressure of playing that position at Notre Dame under Brian Kelly.

  • 22 Sam Ehlinger, Texas

    Ehlinger returned for his senior season, and the high expectations return for Texas in 2020. Ehlinger has piled up 68 passing TDs and 25 rushing TDs the past two seasons. The 6-3, 230-pounder continues to improve, and the early-season tests against LSU and Oklahoma remain the same. Ehlinger has a chance to lead that long-awaited breakthrough.

  • 23 Sam Howell, North Carolina

    Howell set the true freshman record with 38 passing TDs last season, and a full offseason of preparation with offensive coordinator Phil Longo should lead to even better results as a sophomore. Howell had six 300-yard games last season. He is ahead of schedule in what should be a breakout year for the Tar Heels in the ACC Coastal.

  • 24 Justin Fields, Ohio State

    Fields was a Heisman Trophy finalist last season after passing for 41 TDs and just three interceptions in Ryan Day's offense. He added 484 yards and 10 TDs. Fields' command of the Buckeyes' offense was seamless after transferring, and that production should be even more efficient in his second season as a starter. That's a scary proposition for the rest of the Big Ten.

  • 25 Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

    Lawrence has led the Tigers to back-to-back appearances in the College Football Playoff championship game, and the Tigers will be ranked No. 1 in most preseason publications. Lawrence has passed for 66 TDs and 12 interceptions over the past two seasons and has rushed for 10 TDs. He is all but a lock to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Can he add the Heisman Trophy and a second national championship to the resume on the way out?

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