1- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
Luck has to be the early favorite to be the top QB off the board in the 2012 draft but being the top QB before the season starts almost seems to be a jinx at this point. It will be interesting to see how Luck handles all the pressure this year as the expectations for him personally, as well as Stanford, are at all-time highs.
2- Matt Barkley, QB, Southern Cal
I have been high on Barkley since before he had the starting job at USC, and have been watching him carefully ever since. This is a huge year for him and most people are expecting him to take a big step forward this season. He has the arm strength, the accuracy, the poise and the intelligence to be a very good quarterback. He just has to use all he has learned the past two seasons to put it all together this year. I am looking forward to seeing how he does.
3- Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State
Lindley caught my eye late last year and seems to be getting a lot of buzz heading into next season. Jon Gruden has mentioned him as a guy to watch, which probably resulted in a lot of people scrambling to figure out who he is. He is a very talented QB with a very strong arm. I look forward to seeing him play more next year. Right now he is my top ranked senior QB.
4- Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Landry Jones is someone that I have had every reason to doubt since he took over for Sam Bradford after Bradford’s injury. He plays in the same offense, makes the same reads and has put up some gaudy numbers just like Bradford did. However, the more I watch him and try to critique him, the harder I find it to grade him down on the way he plays. He’s a very good college quarterback, and I look forward to spending the rest of this year figuring out if I think he has the stuff to be good in the NFL. I really think he might though.
5- Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
I have been high on Cousins for about two years; I’ve been watching him since back when he was splitting time at quarterback with Keith Nichol as a sophomore. I think he has good arm strength, accuracy and impressive poise for a QB. I think that this could be his year to really emerge on the national stage if Michigan State can have another good season. I’d like to see him really take control of his team this year.
6- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
Tannehill was incredibly impressive to me in the bowl game against LSU, which was the first time I had ever seen him play extensively. For converting to QB so recently I was blown away by how good his mechanics and footwork were, and contrasted with Jerrod Johnson, he looked like Joe Montana dropping back to pass. That said, he will have to do it this year with teams game planning for him. As of right now he is my #3 ranked senior QB just based off of what I was able to see after he replaced Johnson. I was incredibly impressed with what he did last year, but now he has to do it for an entire season and still play consistent ball. I hope he is able to do just that.
7- Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
Foles it a tricky guy for me to evaluate. I like his arm strength, his size and he has some mobility, plus he has shown up late in games, but he just isn’t very consistent (or at least it seemed that way to me). I am looking for more consistency this year, but I am not sold on Foles yet. Some have him as a 1st rounder next year, but I just don’t see it. I will definitely be watching him closely this coming season.
8- Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
Wilson’s performance in relief of Ryan Mallett against Auburn definitely captured everyone’s attention, but it especially impressed me because he really gave his team a chance to win even though no one thought they would have a chance without Mallett. I think Arkansas is really ready to surprise this year because Wilson will have Knile Davis and possibly the best/most experienced group of wide receivers to throw to in the entire country this year. Greg Childs, Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, and Cobi Hamilton. There is going to be a ton of talent on that offense, and if Wilson can step in and sling it like he did against Auburn consistently (perhaps with fewer turnovers), then Arkansas’ offense could be just as explosive as it was last year.
9- B.J. Coleman, QB, Chattanooga
Coleman has been flying under the radar for a long time. He is a transfer from Tennessee and has been starting for the past two seasons and is closing in on a number of records for UTC (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga). He has a strong arm and impressive size, and he seems very likely to be one of the best small school prospects in the 2012 class, or at least of this QB class. I initially put Jordan Jefferson here in my original rankings, because I was swayed by his performance in their spring game.
10- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
Smith is being mentioned as a possible Heisman contender and I think that he has a shot at going after that, but just because you are a Heisman contender doesn’t mean you are the best fit for the next level. Smith has ability, but I want to see more velocity on his passes this season and I want to see how he does without defenses keying on other parts of their offense, namely Noel Devine in the backfield. The pressure will be on him to lead the team in my estimation, so I am interested to see how he does with more defensive attention and higher expectations.