I-A College Football
          === Dorm Report: Finding replacements for NFL-bound QBs ===
 By Brandon Lawrence, Associate College Football Editor
 Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - College football's turnover strikes
 When the NFL Draft begins on May 8, a number of college quarterbacks will be
 waiting for their selection. Once their name is called, it will officially shut
 the door on the player's collegiate career.
 Some quarterbacks in the 2014 draft class are more decorated than others - one
 is a multi-national championship-winning signal caller, one a Heisman Trophy
 winner, and the rest have helped their programs along for a number of years.
 But put things on an even playing field, and know that every single one of
 the programs with a quarterback eligible for the draft must replace their
 former starter under center.
 Some situations are easier to remedy than others. With every new draft class
 and handful of starting QBs moving on through the NFL or graduation, there's
 another new wave of underclassmen ready to take the field in the college game.
 Who knows, some underclassmen may be better than their predecessors.
 But filling the void left by a departing starter under center is always the
 biggest and most talked-about focal point of the offseason. This year is no
 The 2014 class of quarterbacks isn't necessarily as star-studded as the 2012
 draft (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson and Nick
 Foles), but it's certainly one of the better drafts in terms of quarterback
 depth. Big college football names like Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and
 A.J. McCarron are no longer members of Texas A&M, Louisville and Alabama,
 respectively. Those players have been embedded in their programs
 for years, and were allowed to cultivate and command their offenses.
 As they leave the college playing field forever, it'll be a hectic spring and
 summer for their former coaches to try to solve the burning question: who's
 next in line?
 Manziel, Bridgewater, McCarron, UCF's Blake Bortles and Fresno State's Derek
 Carr have all had their names mentioned in the top two rounds of NFL Draft
 mocks. With the increasing emphasis placed on the role of the quarterback, it's
 easy to say that a great deal of their respective team's success was due to
 their outstanding abilities.
 So what's next for them? Looking at such impactful names on that list of draft
 entries, it's hard to envision anyone coming in and duplicating the level of
 success those quarterbacks had in college. But, like all college programs
 across the nation, they must move on.
 Manziel might be the hardest to replace of the bunch. His style of play is so
 dynamic and unique. Texas A&M built its offense around the idea that Johnny
 Football would take off running every now and then, extend plays that were
 surely dead by escaping using his feet and make throws not many would dare to
 just because he had the guts.
 The Aggies had a crew of formidable players, but no one as critical as
 Manziel, the 2012 Heisman recipient. His top receiver, Mike Evans, followed him
 to the professional level, and top A&M tackle Jake Matthews could likely be
 drafted before Manziel.
 Texas A&M has a few options at quarterback moving forward. Senior-to-be Matt
 Joeckel saw the most action behind Manziel, though that doesn't mean it was
 anything substantial.
 Joeckel appeared in five games, completing 22-of-37 passes for 293 yards and
 two touchdowns, while current sophomore Kenny Hill saw action in four contests,
 completing 16-of-22 passing for 182 yards and a touchdown in 2013. Incoming
 freshman Kyle Allen is supposed to be the next great college quarterback, but
 he may need time to develop.
 It would appear Joeckel has the reins, but so much can change over the summer.
 Perhaps Allen will develop faster than originally thought.
 Even though McCarron almost entire certainty won't hear his name called on Day
 1 of the draft, he was just as implanted into Alabama's offense as any
 quarterback was at his school. Not only did he win multiple national
 championships with a Crimson Tide team that, for a while, simply could not
 lose, but he did so as not just as a quarterback, but a field general.
 Alabama has had a tough offseason when it comes to quarterbacks. Losing
 McCarron was one thing, but in mid-January Luke Del Rio, son of Denver Broncos
 defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, announced he was transferring out of
 Alabama. That leaves the Tide a bit thin under center, though Blake Sims, who
 was the only other Crimson Tide player in 2013 to attempt a pass, is still on
 the roster. Sims saw action in eight games last season, but only attempted 29
 Like Texas A&M, Alabama has a highly touted freshman recruit coming into camp.
 David Cornwell, a four-star recruit coming from a pro-style offense, could be
 the next big thing in Tuscaloosa. Coach Nick Saban didn't have any issues
 naming McCarron the starter when he was young, right?
 Bridgewater began the 2013 season as the favorite to garner the draft's top
 overall pick when all was said and done, performance permitting. He had an
 unbelievably strong campaign at Louisville, but didn't do anything eye-popping
 at the NFL Scouting Combine and was subpar at his pro day. He's still one of
 the top three quarterbacks in the draft, and (barring anything unforeseen) will
 almost certainly go on the first round in May.
 The Cardinals still have six quarterbacks on the roster entering the summer, so
 replacing Bridgewater might be more of a headache than a panic-induced
 The only other player to see action under center last season was redshirt
 sophomore Will Gardner, who played in seven games but went just 8-of-12 passing
 for 112 yards (though he did throw two touchdowns). Brett Nelson is the only
 listed senior quarterback, along with a slew of underclassmen. But with Gardner
 coming in last season and seeing time, albeit short, he could be the heir to
 the Louisville offense.
 Central Florida has a bit of a unique situation. Bortles helped the UCF
 program achieve noteworthy success during the 2013 regular season, while his
 name quickly shot up the draft boards. At the present time, it would appear
 he's the top quarterback available in the 2014 draft, although the top
 three players at the position have been battling back and forth like a photo-
 finish horse race.
 UCF was never really a national title contender last season, but without
 Bortles as the signal caller, the chances of Central Florida making any dent
 on the national stage diminish significantly next season.
 Justin Holman, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, saw minimal time at the quarterback
 position last season, playing in three games and completing 9-of-14 pass
 attempts for 75 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
 Considering a sophomore is the most experienced as it gets for the Knights in
 2014, there may be no harm, no foul in giving a freshman, either 6-1 Pete
 DiNovo or 6-4 Tyler Harris, a critical amount of time on the field. What's the
 worst that can happen?
 Whichever choice the coaching staff goes with this year, it will be a
 transitioning period following Bortles's spectacular season.
 Finally, it appears no player has fluctuated more in the draft rankings than
 Derek Carr, younger brother of former top overall selection and, to put it
 lightly, draft-bust David Carr. Derek Carr had his name mentioned in the top
 five picks for quite some time, but has since slipped, potentially out of the
 first round, and not because he's done anything to hurt his stock.
 The fact Bridgewater and Manziel have been associated with a bit of a decline
 in the draft actually affects Carr. The former senior QB at Fresno State will
 (more than likely) be the fourth quarterback chosen in this draft class, which
 means if Bridgewater and Manziel fall, he'll drop, too. But that shouldn't play
 down his talent.
 Carr may have the best arm strength in the entire draft of any quarterback,
 and his senior leadership counts for something as well. But for Fresno State,
 trying to replace the second Carr brother in about a decade will be a bit of a
 Brian Burrell saw time on the field in five games last season but only
 attempted 12 passes with seven completions for 51 yards. He's not much of
 a scrambler, either, rushing five times for 10 yards and a score. Still, the
 junior Burrell is likely the favorite to win the job over sophomore Myles Carr
 (no relation to the other Carr brothers) and redshirt freshman Zack Greenlee.
 Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter said the quarterback next season doesn't
 necessarily need to make the plays, but rather needs to get the ball to the
 other playmakers on offense. It's no guarantee for the job, however.
 Next year, the conversation will likely focus on Oregon, UCLA and Baylor as
 those programs try to replace quarterbacks likely going in the top round of the
 NFL Draft. The paradigm shift this upcoming season will be monumental,
 however, as some of the most recognized names in the college football move
 forward to playing on Sundays.
 04/09 05:55:27 ET

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