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Just The Sports: Stanton, Quinn, and Tate

Just The Sports

Monday, September 25, 2006

Stanton, Quinn, and Tate

Drew Stanton of Michigan State (5,416 passing yards), Brady Quinn of Notre Dame (9,386 passing yards), and Drew Tate of Iowa (6,244 passing yards) are three senior college quarterbacks who all look to be among the top quarterbacks taken in the next NFL draft so it is worth taking a look at their careers up to this point. When looking at their stats, I did not go exactly by how many games they appeared in or even how many games they started. Instead, I decided to only include games in which the quarterbacks either attempted the most passes or accumulated the most passing yards. After doing this, there were 23 such games for Stanton, 38 games for Quinn, and 26 games for Tate.

Of the three quarterbacks, Stanton has the highest completion percentage over his career (65.4%), the highest yards per passing attempt (8.1), the highest success rate of his passes (51.4% success rate) thanks in large part to his accuracy, and he has scored 11.7 points per game via passing and rushing touchdowns. If there is to be any indictment of Stanton, it is that his touchdown-to-interception ratio is only 37:22, which is not as high as one would expect from an elite quarterback, but his 12 rushing touchdowns do a good job of making up for that.

As I just alluded to, Stanton is not simply a pocket passer and is also a threat to tuck the ball and run with it as his 1,207 yards on 4.6 yards per carry with 59.9% success rate on rushes suggest. His rushing totals are even more impressive once you take into account that sacks in college count against a quarterback's rushing totals.

Most are already familiar with Brady Quinn's odyssey, but it is worth reviewing. He has the edge by far in games started, which is usually a good indicator of success on the NFL level. Since Quinn started as a freshman and went through a trial by fire period, his career completion percentage of 56.8% is not as high as the other two quarterbacks and neither is his 7.3 yards per passing attempt, but to Quinn's credit, he has improved in each of his three full seasons with the biggest overall improvement coming between his sophomore and junior seasons. His completion percentage jumped from 54.1% to 64.9%, his yards per passing attempt increased from 7.3 to 8.7, and his success rate on passes went from 44.0% to 53.1%, the largest improvement any of these three quarterbacks experienced from one year to the next. Quinn's career touchdown-to-interception ratio is 69:35, almost a 2:1 ratio.

This year, though, Quinn is struggling and has had a year so far that is between his sophomore and junior seasons, but it has only been one-third of the season so there is still time to match his junior totals.

One attribute of Quinn's that should not be understated is his durability. Since he took over the quarterbacking reins for Notre Dame, he has yet to miss a game due to injury of any kind.

Drew Tate has also been a successful starting college quarterback, amassing a 62.4% completion percentage with 7.7 yards per passing attempt. He has a 49.4% success rate on his passes, which again puts his career totals between Stanton and Quinn. Continuing with the theme of having a college career sandwiched between Stanton and Quinn, Tate has a 49:22 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Tate, or maybe it has been better play from the offensive line, has improved dramatically the rate at which he has been sacked. His first year as a starter he was sacked once every 10.4 pass attempts, in his second year he was sacked once only every 22.7 pass attempts, and so far this season he has been sacked once every 31 pass attempts so he has become more aware in the pocket.

All of these three quarterbacks have shown improvement over their playing careers and have had success, but it still remains to be seen how well they do once they get into the NFL and who ends up having the best NFL career.

Technical Note: The success rate for Drew Stanton does not include 2005 games against Ohio St. and Indiana. For Brady Quinn, the success rate does not include 2003 games against Navy and Brigham Young nor does it include 2005 games against Navy and Brigham Young. Lastly, the success rate for Drew Tate does not include the 2005 game against Indiana.


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