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9 reasons the college QB hype is going to be huge in 2017

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A ton of big names are returning this season.

Ten quarterbacks were taken in the 2017 NFL Draft, capping off underwhelming classes for signal callers for the last two seasons. It’s now time to turn our attention to the QBs that will be entering the draft in 2018.

Next season’s group of quarterbacks is absolutely loaded, and there are a ton of big names that the NFL world will soon be accustomed to.

To give you a taste of how high the expectations are for next year’s class, SB Nation’s Dan Kadar called his first 2017 mock draft “the year of the quarterback.” It features four in the top 10 and six during the first 24 picks.

Sam Darnold, USC: Kadar has him going at No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns, and for good reason. Darnold shined in just his first season as the Trojans’ starter, and he’s the current favorite to win the Heisman, per Bovada. His Trojans won nine games in a row, including the Rose Bowl over Penn State. During that last win, his 473 total yards were the most ever by one player in a Rose Bowl, which topped Vince Young’s 467 from 2006.

Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual - USC v Penn State Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Josh Rosen, UCLA: Rosen’s 2016 was cut short, as he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. In his freshman season as a former five-star recruit and the nation’s No. 1 pro-style prospect, he accounted for 3,670 yards and 23 touchdowns. Kadar has him going No. 2 overall to the San Fransisco 49ers.

Josh Allen, Wyoming: Yes, you read that right — Wyoming! Allen earned the Cowboys’ starting job after his first game as a true freshman in 2015, but a season-ending injury sidelined him. Coming back from that injury, he led the Cowboys to their first-ever Mountain West Division title and their first bowl since 2011. This week, ESPN’s Todd McShay said the quarterback “may be the most physically gifted quarterback to come out in five years" on The Dan Patrick Show. Allen’s head coach, former North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl, recruited Carson Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick last year. Kadar lists him as the No. 3 overall pick to the New York Jets.

Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State: In back-to-back seasons, Rudolph put up impressive numbers. He also holds the Oklahoma State record for career passing yards and attempts, as well as the single game pass efficiency record.

Valero Alamo Bowl - Oklahoma State v Colorado Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

He enters 2017 third in OSU career passing yards, second in career passing yards per game career passing yards per attempts, third in career pass efficiency, and sixth in career touchdown-to-interception ratio. Kadar has him going at No. 8 to Washington.

Lamar Jackson, Louisville: We get another year of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, who dazzled us with both his arm and feet throughout his sophomore season. One of his many spectacular touchdowns from last year came when he hurdled this Syracuse defender.

He finished as the only FBS player ever with 3,300 yards passing and 1,500 yard rushing in a season, and he put up nine ACC season and game records, such as:

  • TDs responsible for in a season (51)
  • TDs responsible for in a game (eight vs. Charlotte, tied)
  • Total yards in a game (610 vs. Syracuse)
  • Total yards per game (410.7)
  • Rushing yards by a QB (1,538)

He finished second in the nation in total offense, averaging 443 yards per game. He threw for a total of just 153 yards in the Cardinals’ bowl game against LSU, but he’s poised for another big season.

Luke Falk, Washington State: Falk comes back poised for another big year in Mike Leach’s pass-heavy offense. His 4,468 passing yards last season were the third-most both in the country and in WSU single-season history, and he had back-to-back WSU single-season records of 38 touchdown passes. Kadar mocks Falk at No. 24 to the Buffalo Bills. Falk could follow in the footsteps of fellow air raid quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was selected No. 10 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Plenty of other QBs should have great seasons, including these three.

Trace McSorley, Penn State: As long as Nittany Lions have their quarterback, there’s a good chance for them to repeat as Big Ten champions. McSorley showcased his deep ball skills, leading the nation in passing yards per completion, averaging 16 yards per catch. He enters 2017 as one of five quarterbacks in Penn State history with multiple 300-yard passing games in a career. In last year’s season finale against USC in the Rose Bowl, he finished with 254 yards, four touchdowns, and three picks in the 52-49 loss.

Baker Mayfield: Despite Mayfield being arrested and charged for public drunkenness and fleeing this February, he’ll be a Heisman contender. As a finalist for the trophy last year, Mayfield posted the best passer rating by a qualifying QB in FBS history, and he led the Sooners back from a 1-2 start to win the Big 12 and later the Sugar Bowl.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Auburn v Oklahoma Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Mayfield had a chance to turn pro at the end of last season, but he opted to return. With one season left, he’s the only player in OU history with at least 5,000 passing yards (7,665) and at least 500 rushing yards (582) in a career.

Jake Browning, Washington: Another record-setting quarterback, who broke UW’s single-season passing touchdown record, throwing 43 last season, which also tied the Pac-12 record. He finished second in the FBS in touchdown passes and seventh in pass efficiency. Some of his school records include single-game touchdown passes (he threw six of them ... twice!), season touchdown passes, and touchdown passes per game.

Which of these guys will be drafted remains to be seen, as some of them can return for their senior seasons.

One thing for sure though, is that there won’t be any shortage of quarterback talent next season.