One of the unfortunate themes of the 2019 college football season was injury at quarterback. Granted, it afflicted only one real national title contender (Alabama), but it struck throughout college football, from the SEC (Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri, etc.) to the Pac-12 (USC) and everywhere in between.
That's the negative way of looking at things, though. The positive way: We got a glimpse of the future in a lot of these places. We certainly got exposed to quite a few more true freshmen than we expected, anyway.
While plenty of the top QB recruits in the 2019 class -- Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler, Wisconsin's Graham Mertz, Washington's Dylan Morris, Clemson's Taisun Phommachanh, Nebraska's Luke McCaffrey, Alabama's Taulia Tagovailoa, LSU's Peter Parrish et al -- remained mostly on the sideline as planned, we got sustained, and often unplanned, looks at a lot of 2019's freshman signal-callers, 15 of whom logged at least 100 combined pass and rush attempts. Let's rank their performances.
15. Hayden Wolff, Old Dominion
• 2019 ESPN prospect ranking: No. 34 pocket passer
• Passing stats: 75-for-129, 737 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT; 39% passing success rate (including sacks), 4.6 ANY/A
• Rushing stats: 6 non-sack rushes, 15 yards (0% rushing success rate)
• Offensive SP+ ranking: 129th (98th in 2018)
Bobby Wilder needed quarterback stability in his make-or-break season as head coach, and instead he got a giant mess. Wolff was one of three players to throw at least 67 passes for the Monarchs, and while he didn't make things worse during his three-game, late-year audition, he didn't make things better, either.
14. Jack Zergiotis, UConn
• 2019 ESPN prospect ranking: not rated
• Passing stats: 150-for-260, 1,782 yards, 9 TD, 11 INT; 36% passing success rate, 4.8 ANY/A
• Rushing stats: 20 non-sack rushes, 75 yards (25% rushing success rate)
• Offensive SP+ ranking: 123rd (99th in 2018)
• Total QBR: 32.2 (116th among qualified QBs)
UConn cycled through signal-callers as well, but this freshman from Montreal took the lion's share of the snaps. While there were some high points -- 21-for-31 for 275 yards against Illinois, 21-for-37 for 418 against ECU -- there were a lot more lows, and the future of the Huskies' offense was as uncertain at the end of 2019 as it was at the beginning.
13. Evan Conley, Louisville
• 2019 ESPN prospect ranking: No. 55 pocket passer
• Passing stats: 40-for-71, 613 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT; 40% passing success rate, 6.1 ANY/A
• Rushing stats: 20 non-sack rushes, 149 yards (35% rushing success rate), 1 TD
• Offensive SP+ ranking: 32nd (102nd in 2018)
Louisville's QB situation was muddy in the middle of 2019, and Conley, a one-time Appalachian State commit who followed head coach Scott Satterfield to UL, got an audition before Micale Cunningham took over for the stretch run. He played a key role in the Cardinals' wild 62-59 win over Wake Forest but completed only 16 of 34 passes, with a pair of picks, thereafter.