Ranking Conference USA’s 2018 QBs
Conference USA had four QBs last year who are now in training camp with NFL teams this year. Those QBs include Alex McGough, Mike White, Dalton Sturm, and Chase Litton. Now whether those QBs actually make an NFL roster is up in the air, but the fact that four former CUSA QBs have a shot at this point to make a roster is an impressive feat and speaks well for the conference.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the current QBs in the conference by breaking them down into four tiers. One more thing to add, these rankings are not determined on how they could project at the NFL level, but simply how good they are within the conference. These rankings have everything to do with how they played last year and what we are projecting for this year.
Definitions of the Tiers
*Tier 1 – The best QBs in the league; without these guys under center, their teams would drop off a considerable amount. These guys will compete for the All CUSA Team.
*Tier 2 – A solid QB who has the potential to be in the top tier, but may not be fully developed or just not given the chance yet. Lack of taking care of the ball, accuracy, and experience are all examples of what keeps someone in tier 2 and not tier 1.
*Tier 3 – These guys have of shown glimpses of possessing what it takes to be a good QB, but for whatever reason they have not put it all together yet. Improvement is needed before being completely trusted.
*Tier 4 – Most in this category are new QBs or a QB that just really struggled last year. However, just because there is a new starting QB for a team, does not automatically mean that guy is in this category.
- Mason Fine, North Texas – Offensive player of the year in the CUSA last year who can absolutely sling it. Undersized QB at 5’ 11” makes it even more impressive and fun to watch. Their defense was one of the worst (if not the worst) in the conference last year and Fine still managed to lead them to the conference championship game and put up nine wins. Without Fine, it is possible UNT wouldn’t even make a bowl game.
- Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee – Going into his senior year and he is already the all-time leading passer in school history. Stockstill missed close to half the year last year and MTSU barely made a bowl game because of it. If Stockstill can stay healthy, look for him to put up big numbers and keep MTSU in contention for a conference title.
- AJ Erdely, UAB – Solid QB who transferred from Middle Tenn and was a first year starter last year on a surprisingly good UAB team. He takes care of the ball (only 4 INTS last year) and is a deceivingly good athlete that ended up with 13 rushing TD’s last year. If Erdely’s play is the exact same or even a tad better, UAB could make a run in the conference.
- J’Mar Smith, La Tech – Like Erdely, he was a first-year starter last year who surprised people with how good he played. He is a good athlete who had 6 TDS rushing and also took care of the ball with only 5 INTS. If he can improve his accuracy a bit and raise his completion percentage from 56 to 60 or so, that would mean he has taken a big step forward in his development.
- Alex Thomson, Marshall – He is a grad transfer from Wagner who is getting some hype due to his NFL size and arm. He has not started a game at this level, but Marshall is stacked this year and if they get average QB play they could be good. If Thomson is as good as the hype he is getting, Marshall could have a shot to win conference. Plus, Marshall always produces good QBs.
- FAU’s QB – There has not been a starter named here yet, but all 3 that are in contention have transferred from a power 5 school. Whoever ends up starting here should be good and could potentially progress to one of the best QBs in the conference. This is more of a projection ranking.
- Kwadra Griggs, Southern Miss – As of now he is still suspended so is not currently the “starter”, if he was not suspended I would probably have him in the tier 2 ranking. He is a good athlete who showed signs of being a good passer last year, threw 16 TDS to only 2 INTS. As of now, it is up in the air with the suspension.
- Steven Williams, Old Dominion – Started 7 games as true freshman last year. Struggled with turnovers (threw 11 INTs to only 6 TDS), but led the team in passing and is also a good runner. He should improve in his sophomore season and help ODU get back to a bowl.
- Jackson Tyner, Rice – The entire Rice offense last year struggled, but Tyner is their leading returning passer, has a big arm, and new HC Bloomgren should help him develop.
- UTEP, Ryan Metz and Kai Locksley – Metz started several games last year and Locksley transferred in. Whoever ends up starting should have improved numbers from last year’s group.
- UTSA, D.J. Gillins and Cordale Grundy – Two transfers who are competing for the starting job.
- Charlotte, Evan Shirreffs and Hasaan Klugh – Klugh was last year’s starter and struggled, Shirreffs transferred in from Miami, Fl. No starter named yet.
- Drew Eckels, WKU – Eckels is having to replace Mike White, but has some mop up duty experience and is a senior.
- FIU, Christian Alexander and James Morgan – Whoever wins this battle will have to replace Alex McGough, which will be a tough task. McGough leaves FIU as the 2nd all-time leading passer.
These are the rankings we have based off last year and how we feel it projects to the upcoming season. As in most cases, this list could look completely different by the end of season, but the top tier QBs in this league can really sling and could join White, Sturm, McGough, and Litton as future NFL QBs. Or at least be on the camp roster.