Excellent QB play has been a recurring theme this season in College Football. While Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel got all the hype coming into the season, Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota have been especially hot since. The two Pac 12 QBs have been impressing the scouts. Mariota has been leading Oregon to a powerful undefeated record, while Hundley has some scouts calling him the second best QB, behind Teddy Bridgewater. Both of these QBs face a glaring question, should they enter the 2014 NFL Drat or wait until 2015. Both QBs are redshirt sophomores. Let’s take a look at each QB individually and their situation:
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Hundley amazed everyone in his first two games against Nevada (4 total TDs) and most notably Nebraska. It was after the Nebraska game where scouts fell in love with Hundley. He moved the ball well all night long and made plays both with his arm and feet. He threw a beautiful TD pass to Shaq Evans and looked flawless finishing with 294 yards passing, going 16 for 24 with 3 TDs and 1 INT. He also rushed for 61 yards. It was after this game scouts declared him NFL ready. However, he has been up and down since. His next game was against New Mexico State. He threw 2 INTs in the redzone and made many bad throws despite playing against a horrible team. Still, he managed to throw 3 TDs and 280 total yards while rushing for 33 and destroying his opponent. The next game was a lot more nerve wracking. Against, Utah Hundley threw an unbelievable errant pick six, which times the game at 24 a piece in the 4th quarter. Later, he led the team to field goal, giving them the lead. Then he has an incredibly clutch drive where he capped it off a 36 yard TD run to seal it. He finished with two total TDs and an INT on 211 yards passing and 85 running. Then, his next game was an open field practice against Cal where he thre for 410 yards, 3 pass TDs, and 0 INTs. His last game vs Stanford was a melt down however. Stanford smothered him and completely took away his poise. It wasn’t just that he was struggling to find hid rhythm or he was losing due to a banged up OL and team, his decision making was immature and his confidence looked gone. Looking at the New Mexico State, Utah, and Stanford games combined, one wonders if he is ready for the NFL. Hundley is incredibly talented and it’s no question why scouts are interested in The 6-3, 227-pound quarterback, who is a smooth athlete with an easy throwing motion and a strong, accurate arm. The biggest knock on him and the basis of his struggles is simply inexperience. He has all the tools to be an elite franchise QB, but he may be better off staying another year and polishing his game before he goes into the NFL. Of course fans can always point at the Matt Barkley effect, but I think we can all agree this are two very different QBs, Hundley is much more talented.
My take: Stay
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Like Hundley, Mariota opened scouts eyes last season and has been completely dominant this season. He has been blowing out his opponents every game. Mariota recently stated that he’s going to wait until after the 2013 season to make his decision, and he wants to do what’s best for his family. Statistically, Mariota may be the best QB in the nation. So far this season he has 28 total TDs, 0 INTs, and 2544 total yards, while completing 63% of his passes. His QBR of 181.7 is good for fifth in the nation. However, it’s undeniable Oregon has an immense amount of talent outside of the QB position, specifically on offense, unlike UCLA. Sure, he hasn’t had De’Anthony Thomas for more than 3 games (he played damn well in those games though) or Colt Lyera this season, but Josh Huff has played great and Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner are really picking up the slack in the run game. Bralon Addison has been another weapon in the passing game and it seems Mariota always has someone open. Still, his talent is undeniable and it’s no fluke how he is shredding defense after defense. Oregon is currently ranked at #2, but if they manage to win the BCS game, Mariota has to declare. He’s currently mocked as a top 10 pick if he declares, however if he continues playing at this pace and wins the BCS game, he’d be a top 5 pick even with a QB stacked draft with guys like Boyd, Bridgewater, and Johnny Manziel. Mariota is most comparable to Colin Kaepernick, as is Hundley.
My Take: Declare
What is your opinion? Should they stay or declare? I find it very intriguing that both QBs are so similar and both come from the Pac 12. Next Saturday (10/26) is the date to save as Hundley and Mariota square up in a match up on ESPN. Leave discussion in the comments section!