May 24, 2024

The recent early signing period saw 20 ESPN 300 quarterbacks officially commit to Power 5 programs by signing their national letters of intent. It is crucial for these quarterbacks to make wise decisions that not only contribute to their personal success but also contribute to the future success of their chosen programs.

The key to success on the field lies in achieving a perfect balance between the quarterback’s skill set and the offensive scheme. A successful combination of attributes goes beyond just physical abilities and dynamic run/pass capabilities. Some of the most effective offenses in college football are characterized by intricate designs, high tempo, and the need for a skilled and well-trained facilitator at the quarterback position.

While the NCAA transfer portal offers a more accurate assessment of a player’s potential success by allowing coaches to evaluate them against college-level competition, it remains crucial for college programs to actively identify, recruit, and nurture their own high school prospects.

As we assess the 2024 class of quarterbacks, it’s important to examine how the top talents align with the offensive schemes of their respective colleges.

Julian Sayin

ESPN 300 rank: 3

Alabama Crimson Tide

Sayin’s proficiency in anticipating plays and making decisive reads is poised to inject the Tide’s offense with the Tua Tagovailoa/Bryce Young dynamic. His exceptional accuracy stands out as his greatest asset for Alabama. Under the guidance of offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, whose system thrives with a dynamic quarterback, Sayin is well-suited for the role. Although he may not possess the same level of running prowess as Jalen Milroe or Jalen Hurts, Sayin has the ability to extend plays outside the pocket and effectively gain yardage on designed runs. His mobility is more impressive than it might initially seem.

Dylan Raiola

ESPN 300 rank: 8

Nebraska Cornhuskers

With the Cornhuskers in desperate need of improved quarterback performance, Raiola’s decision to join Nebraska is a significant turning point. Although he may not initially have the same level of talent surrounding him as he would have at Georgia, the Huskers now have the opportunity to construct the entire offensive strategy around their standout quarterback. Raiola brings a traditional pro-style passing approach that aligns well with the pro-style scheme, showcasing notable size, balanced drop-back technique, and exceptional arm strength capable of executing all the throws in coordinator Marcus Satterfield’s offensive system.

D.J. Lagway

ESPN 300 rank: 17

Florida Gators

Despite being a freshman, it’s imperative for the Gators to field this player. Anticipate witnessing a comparable level of development as observed with Milroe at Alabama this past fall. Despite facing a challenging schedule, Coach Billy Napier can capitalize on Lagway’s arm and mobility for his growth. While they may encounter challenges, enduring these trials will ultimately contribute to their improvement in the future.

Air Noland

ESPN 300 rank: 31

Ohio State Buckeyes

The addition of Noland to the team gained added intrigue with Kyle McCord’s transfer to Syracuse. While Noland surpasses McCord in athleticism, he falls short of reaching the caliber of Justin Fields. Positioned as a more skilled version of JT Barrett, there’s potential for him to evolve in a manner reminiscent of C.J. Stroud. A key focus for Noland should be honing excellent ballhandling skills to enhance the effectiveness of the Buckeyes’ play-action game.

 

C.J. Carr

ESPN 300 rank: 38

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Carr possesses a significantly powerful arm compared to Sam Hartman. In the immediate future, the introduction of transfer QB Riley Leonard might prompt Notre Dame’s offense to shift towards emphasizing the quarterback’s running abilities. Nevertheless, this won’t apply to Carr. He aligns well with Notre Dame’s half-naked zone/boot scheme and quick passing game, but he doesn’t bring a dynamic quarterback style to the table.

Michael Van Buren

ESPN 300 rank: 58

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Van Buren resembles a right-handed Dillon Gabriel, and he has made a wise decision, considering the proven scheme that new Bulldogs coach Jeff Lebby brings to the table. Van Buren possesses the necessary skills to run, but his quick release aligns perfectly with the RPO (run-pass option) and quick-screen game. This pairing of player and scheme is a highly promising and well-suited combination.

Ethan Grunkemeyer

ESPN 300 rank: 85

Penn State Nittany Lions

Grunkemeyer represents a more athletically gifted iteration of former Penn State QB Sean Clifford, boasting a stronger arm and overall superior skills. His proficiency is expected to shine in a modernized and intricate RPO (run-pass option), play-action, and window-dressing offense led by the new offensive coordinator, Andy Kotelnicki. This alignment appears to be a mutually beneficial fit, with both the player and the offensive scheme complementing each other effectively.

Jake Merklinger

ESPN 300 rank: 110

Tennessee Volunteers

Merklinger excels as a prompt and accurate passer, ensuring timely deliveries of the ball, which aligns perfectly with the requirements of the Volunteers’ offense. The team operates seamlessly with a quarterback-friendly system that thrives when the signal-caller is in sync. Merklinger is expected to exhibit greater consistency and efficiency as a passer compared to Joe Milton III.

Walker White

ESPN 300 rank: 163

Auburn Tigers

White is intriguing because he can run and throw at a high level — he’s just the type of player this offense thrives under. He has a strong arm (like former Hugh Freeze QB Chad Kelly) and can be utilized as a designated runner given his 6-foot-4, 220-pound stature.

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