As we survey the teams circling the College Football Playoff, it's clear the importance of landing the blue-chip quarterback in today's modern, offense-friendly football. Ohio State has Justin Fields, LSU has Joe Burrow, Clemson has Trevor Lawrence, Georgia has Jake Fromm, Oklahoma has Jalen Hurts and Alabama has been elevated by Tua Tagovailoa and will now be tested without him. Even run-heavy Utah is finally knocking on the playoff door thanks to the No. 5 quarterback in the country in efficiency, Tyler Huntley.
On Dec. 18, the early signing period in college football hits and the quarterback future of some of the top teams in college football will be set in motion for better or worse. In our continued lead-up to the consequential early signing period, here is a look at what you need to know about the quarterback landscape in the class of 2020.
The generational talents
D.J. Uiagalelei (Five star, committed to Clemson): The No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the country according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Uiagalelei will come to Clemson, sit as a true freshman behind Trevor Lawrence and then continue Dabo Swinney's remarkable streak of first-round talent under center. In terms of physical tools, Uiagalelei is former No. 1 pick Jamarcus Russell. He's massive, athletic and has an 80-yard arm. He's thrown for nearly 10,000 yards in his three years as a starter at national power St. John Bosco in southern California. He's the type of player that can elevate a team to national title contender. In the case of Clemson, he'll simply sustain what Lawrence and Deshaun Watson have already established.
Bryce Young (Five star, committed to Alabama): The No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the country according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, I don't expect Young to sit as a true freshman. He's better than Mac Jones ans Taulia Tagovailoa. He's a right-handed Tua. With nearly 13,000 career passing yards, Young has spent much of his high school career battling against Uiagalelei at national power Mater Dei. Unlike his 6-foot-5, 250-pound counterpart, Young isn't quite six feet tall and fits more in the Russell Wilson mold. He has remarkable instincts and feel and all kinds of horsepower from an arm talent standpoint. The one-time USC commit will enroll early and compete for the starting job right away. Young and Uiagalelei regularly compete against each other for state titles in high school. The two are likely to meet again for a national title.
CJ Stroud (Four star, considering Ohio State, Georgia, more): As a junior, Stroud flashed but didn't have the sustained dominance of some of the other elite quarterback prospects in the 2020 class. However, the skillset was there and he matured in front of our eyes at the Elite 11 Finals where he won the MVP. Now the wiry, big-armed, mobile passer is in the midst of a huge step forward as a senior. He completed 60% of his passes for 2,300 yards and 19 touchdowns a year ago. As a senior, Stroud has over 3,500 yards on 67% completions and 46 touchdowns. Consequently, he went from a sleeper to blue chipper. Stroud took an official visit to Georgia recently and has Ohio State, Oregon and Michigan trips ahead of him.
Malik Hornsby (Four star, considering Baylor, Texas A&M, more): A one-time North Carolina commit, Hornsby is a special athlete with a personal best of 10.7 seconds in the 100 meters. He's not a polished passer with just over 3000 yards through the air in the last two seasons combined, but he's thrown for 46 touchdowns and only two interceptions in those two years. He has also added over 1,000 yards rushing as a senior. Baylor has emerged as the leading contender for his commitment.
Chandler Morris (Four star, considering Oklahoma, Arkansas, more): The son of former Arkansas coach Chad Morris, Chandler was committed to finally give his father a quarterback in Fayetteville before Arkansas' disappointing 2019 season spoiled the reunion. Now Morris looks likely to join Lincoln Riley in Norman instead. Morris is undersized without an NFL arm, but he is one of the most productive and effective quarterbacks in the country. He had more than 3,700 yards passing and 62 combined touchdowns on the ground and through the air as a junior.
Evan Prater (Four star, committed to Cincinnati): Get ready for Cincinnati to become the next Group of Five powerhouse. Luke Fickell has already shown that he can put together a really strong defensive football team, but Prater is going to add the offensive juice that will make the Bearcats a bear out of the AAC. He's lost one game in three years and over that period and has accounted for 126 total touchdowns. As a local kid with a brother already on the roster, Prater is firm in his Cincinnati commitment and he's the type of athlete that can elevate and already ascending program.
Anthony Richardson (Four star, committed to Florida): Credit Dan Mullen for fitting his offense to the talent of his quarterbacks, but Richardson possesses the skillset that Mullen seems to be most comfortable utilizing. He's huge and rugged at 6-4, 225 pounds. He's athletic with a 4.6 40-yard dash and a slew of rushing yards to his credit. Before injury as a senior, Richardson had bumped his completion percentage up from 48% as a junior to 64%. He's got all the size and athleticism that Mullen loves, but the development that has Mullen so highly regarded as a developer is already well underway.
Chubba Purdy (Four star, committed to Louisville): There is real transformation taking place at Louisville in Year 1 under Scott Satterfield, but quarterback recruiting and development ultimately defines a program's ability to level up. In Purdy, Louisville could be getting that level up talent. He's the younger brother of Iowa State star Brock Purdy and he's big, strong and athletic with the ability to be a factor in Satterfield's offense that leans on the quarterback run. He's also shown tremendous productivity as a thrower with consecutive seasons of more than 3,000 yards passing. Louisville won a national recruiting battle to land him and he looks poised to win Satterfield some nationally relevant games.