Seven quarterbacks who were five-star recruits coming out of high school are still active in college football. Last year’s Heisman Trophy finalist, DeShaun Watson, has certainly lived up to that billing, but the jury is still out for many of his five-star contemporaries.
See how the five-star signal callers still active at college football have fared over the course of their careers. The list below is in chronological order.
Career Stats: 439-of-706 (62.2%) for 6,031 yards, 50 touchdowns, 24 interceptions in 23 career games.
Current Status: Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville announced on Aug. 22 that sophomore Hayden Moore had beaten out Kiel for the starting quarterback position. Kiel is now battling redshirt freshman Ross Trail for the back-up job.
Commentary: From his high school recruitment to his college transfer, Kiel appeared intent on submarining his own career before it even started. In high school, Kiel committed to Indiana, de-committed and chose LSU, but left Baton Rouge just days after arriving to start second semester classes. He would enroll early at Notre Dame but transferred to Cincinnati after redshirting his freshman season in South bend. It looked like he had gotten back on track after starting 13 games in 2014, but injuries slowed his momentum in 2015 and now, as a fifth year senior, Kiel has lost his starting job.
What We Said: “Kiel has an unconventional throwing motion, but his release is quick and he gets excellent velocity on his throws. Kiel never looks rushed and is always in control of his mechanics. He has an easily repetitive motion that consistently puts the ball on its mark. His movements from snap to throw are efficient and he is far ahead of most quarterbacks his age in the little aspects that are necessary to achieve greatness at the position." - Josh Helmholdt, Rivals.com Midwest analyst
MORE CINCINNATI: BearcatReport.com
Career Stats: 11-of-19 (57.9%) for 143 yards and no touchdowns in 9 games.
Current Status: After battling redshirt freshman Sam Darnold for the opportunity to replace Cody Kessler as USC’s starting quarterback throughout fall camp, Browne was named the starter by head coach Clay Helton on Aug. 20.
Commentary: Despite entering USC a semester early, Browne redshirted his freshman season and then spent the next two years as Kessler’s back-up, seeing action in just nine games. With Kessler now graduated, Browne’s opportunity finally presented itself, but he was challenged competitively for the job by Darnold in both the spring and summer. Now that the starting position is finally his, Browne will have two seasons of eligibility left to deliver on the potential that earned him a five-star rating in the 2013 class.
What We Said: “The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder has some work to do as every other high school quarterback does, but his feel for the game, vision and his efficiency with the ball are as good as anyone at the high school level in years.” - Mike Farrell, Rivals.com National Recruiting Director
Career Stats: 278-of-475 (58.5%) for 3,532 yards, 33 touchdowns, 14 interceptions in 20 games.
Current Status: Allen is sitting out the 2016 season after transferring to Houston from Texas A&M following his sophomore season.
Commentary: Allen appeared well on his way to living up to his five-star billing after taking over the starting quarterback job at Texas A&M midway through his freshman season, then going on to be the Aggies' bowl game MVP that year. He began the 2015 season as their starter but was in competition for that spot on a near-weekly basis with true freshman Kyler Murray. The fall out from that battle resulted in an 8-5 season for Texas A&M and both Allen and Murray transferring. Allen ended up at Houston, where he will be eligible to play again in the 2017 season with two remaining years of eligibility.
What We Said: "Allen is a smooth customer and he doesn't seem to get rattled under pressure. He can move the pocket well and he has a feel for the rush so he can step up. He's accurate and he has the confidence of a winner.” - Farrell
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Career Stats: 426-of-628 (67.8%) for 5,570 yards, 49 touchdowns, 15 interceptions passing; 270 carries for 1,305 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing in 23 games.
Current Status: Watson is entering his third, and possibly final, season of college football as Clemson’s starting quarterback.
Commentary: If Watson does not play another down of football he will have already lived up to his five-star billing after just two years in college. He ascended to the starting quarterback role just four games into his college career and had a remarkable freshman season despite suffering a broken hand and torn ACL that curtailed his impact. He produced one of the greatest seasons in Clemson history as a sophomore, finishing third in the Heisman Trophy balloting and leading Clemson to a 14-1 record and a spot in the national championship game.
What We Said: "DeShaun Watson has everything you look for in a dual-threat quarterback. Not only is he capable of making a big play with his legs, but he's just as capable of making big plays down the field with his arm. He plays on a high school team that isn't exactly loaded with talent, yet he still put up some of the best numbers in the history of the state of Georgia while leading his team to a state championship. He's a cool customer, regardless of the situation, which contributes to his leadership skills." - Woody Wommack, Rivals.com Southeast analyst
Career Stats: 292-of-487 (60%) for 3,668 yards, 23 touchdowns, 11 interceptions in 13 games.
Current Status: Rosen is entering his second season as UCLA’s starting quarterback.
Commentary: Any doubts about Rosen’s five-star ability were quickly erased by a record-setting true freshman campaign in which he started all 13 games. Rosen was named the Sporting News’ Freshman of the Year in college football after setting numerous UCLA records, including most consecutive passes without an interception (245) and most pass attempts in a game (57). Rosen has been named to the Davey O’Brien and Walter Camp watch lists heading into year two at UCLA, but he will be working in a new offense under first year coordinator Kennedy Polamalu.
What We Said: “Rosen is the best pure passer with the best natural feel for the game I have scouted in person and on film over the years.” –Farrell
Career Stats: N/A
Current Status: Patterson enters his first season in Oxford with a good shot to be the primary backup behind starter Chad Kelly.
Commentary: Patterson was an early enrollee at Ole Miss and participated in spring football with the Rebels, where head coach Hugh Freeze said of his true freshman, “He has a really good football IQ and understanding of what we’re trying to do.” With senior and Sugar Bowl MVP Chad Kelly returning for his final season at Ole Miss, Patterson was never expected to legitimately contend for the starting job in year one. He entered fall camp in competition with redshirt freshman Jason Pellerin for the primary backup job to Kelly, but as camp has worn on it has been Patterson seeing more time with the second team and emerging as Kelly’s likely backup.
What We Said: “When you put everything together -- his ability to prolong the play, his arm strength and mechanics and the way he throws receivers open, I could go on and on -- he just has that 'it' factor you look for in a quarterback." - Farrell
Career Stats: N/A
Commentary: The question of whether Eason can really be the opening day starter for Georgia may be answered in the affirmative very soon. As fall camp has progressed, Eason has seen more and more time with the first team offense while the Georgia coaches see how the true freshman handles that responsibility. While Kirby Smart has not declared him the starter for Georgia’s opener against North Carolina, at this point Eason appears the most likely of the three in competition to get the nod. He will certainly play this season, but how much and in what capacity will be determined by early season performance.
What We Said: “Eason will likely be Georgia's starter as a freshman and that means the success of the team will mostly be determined by his play. There are a ton of playmakers on that Georgia roster so Eason should have a lot of success as long as he can get them the ball and play within the system. Many people see him as a potential first overall draft pick just like former Bulldogs quarterback Matthew Stafford.” – Adam Friedman, Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic analyst