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Just The Sports: An Unheralded Quarterback

Just The Sports

Thursday, November 23, 2006

An Unheralded Quarterback

When Lavell Edwards retired from head coaching duties at Brigham Young University in 2000 as sixth in all-time victories, BYU must have also ended their football program as well. At least, that is the only possible explanation for why Quarterback U.'s latest star quarterback, senior John Beck, is not getting nearly the national recognition he deserves. This is a slight I take personally because Beck's exploits have largely gone unnoticed since all of the quarterback spotlight has been taken up by the media's obsession with Brady Quinn and Troy Smith. Admittedly, this blog has been obsessed with those two as well, but still realizes there are other quarterbacks who play college football and play it well.

The first step in providing John Beck with the notoriety he deserves was made when I compared his junior and senior seasons to other notable senior college quarterbacks: Drew Stanton of Michigan State, Brady Quinn of Notre Dame, Drew Tate of Iowa, Troy Smith of Ohio State, and Chris Leak of Florida. I chose the junior and senior seasons because I believe those two seasons are the most important in deciding which quarterback will make the best NFL player. To keep this post from being needlessly tedious, I will not provide all the numbers for the quarterbacks, but I will say that John Beck compares favorably to all of these, his more heralded brethren.

Beck has thrown more completions per game, attempts per game, and passing yards per game than all of the listed quarterbacks except for Brady Quinn. He has a significantly better completion percentage over the last two years than Drew Stanton (67.1% to 64.0%, Drew Tate (67.1% to 60.8%, Chris Leak (67.1% to 63.4%), and Troy Smith (67.1% to 63.4%). Of Beck's five quarterback colleagues, there is no one who is significantly better than him in any passing category. There are better runners in the group than he, but not one better passer. The college quarterback his numbers are most like is Brady Quinn of Notre Dame since neither has a significant advantage or disadvantage in any of the statistical categories I looked at. If Brady Quinn is a top NFL prospect, then I must submit that John Beck should also be considered as a top prospect.

The second step in giving John Beck his due was to compare him to a present-day starting quarterback. I decided on Drew Brees because the two possessed similar characteristics while matriculating in college. Both came from predominantly passing offenses where the ball is kept in the air throughout the game and neither quarterback would ever be considered a giant physically among his peers, although Beck is a couple inches taller. This time, though, I compared the entirety of their college careers to each other. As it turned out, the only advantage Brees had over Beck was in the number of passes he threw per game (43.8 attempts per game to 37.0 attempts per game). Other than that, there is no true separation between the two quarterbacks. Of course, this does not necessarily indicate Beck will be a good NFL quarterback, but a lot must be said for an accurate quarterback who is used to throwing a lot of passes in college.



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