Building the Ideal College Football Quarterback for 2014

Adam Kramer@kegsneggsNational College Football Lead WriterJune 6, 2014

Science has prevailed. A company—which has chosen to remain nameless—has discovered a way to genetically engineer the perfect quarterback. 

The price of said quarterback is $100 million, although they’re currently offering QBs for the reasonable price of $95 million thanks to the “We’re Open For Business” sale. (Also, the list of boosters already on the waiting list is alarming; please call a friend with wealth ASAP if interested.)

While the process to build such a domination machine is far too valuable to reveal, think of it in terms you understand, like constructing your dream margarita: It’s not just the tequila. It’s also the lime, the Cointreau and, of course, the salt that can join together and create supreme liquid superiority. 

That’s what we’ve set out to do. Only, our ingredients are physical attributes and abilities from some of the elite college football quarterbacks in the country. The nameless company has decided not to include NFL quarterbacks for one very appropriate reason: The main scientist is a huge Alabama fan. 

With an elite group of players to choose from, tough decisions were made en route to building our dream QB. Here is our creation.


The Arm Strength of Penn State Quarterback Christian Hackenberg

He isn’t the complete package yet—he will be, likely sooner than later—although his development doesn’t impact this exercise one iota. We’re taking Christian Hackenberg’s arm strength in the name of science, even after seeing it for only one season.

Penn State’s star commitment started every game in 2013 as a freshman, and he would have been Uncle Rico’s favorite player out of the gate. Even the simplest out pattern has a special feel to it coming out of his hand, the kind of pace that simply cannot be taught.

I could talk endlessly about how far he could heave a Nerf Vortex, or why he was tabbed the arm strength component over players such as Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota—both of which would serve as fine selections in this department—but let’s allow Hackenberg’s arm to do the convincing.

Behold a meaningless spring practice completion. Even though it is absent from all box scores, it still should be hung on your living room wall, right next to that photo from your wedding.

There’s really not much else to add after that throw; he’s our guy.


The Strength (and Size) of Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston

It is difficult to tackle a human tank. I don’t know this firsthand, but this all became far too obvious while watching a slew of ACC defenders attempt to bring down Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with an arm tackle.

Do not do this. It will not end well.

It’s for that reason we’re taking the size and strength—doubling up, if you will—of the Heisman winner for our little genetic experiment. Winston is listed at 6’4" and 235 pounds on his official Seminoles bio, although he plays even bigger than that.

When things break down, you need a quarterback capable of pushing off a hopeful tackler. Few dismiss large individuals with the casual bravado of Winston, something he showcased often in 2013. While there is a deep catalog to sort through to showcase this trait, no moment highlights what he is capable of more than the final play of the first half against Boston College in 2013.

The arm strength isn’t too shabby, either. Neither is the full package.


The Legs of Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota

In the open field, he is a gazelle with a turbo engine and a full tank of nitrous strapped to his back. No player in the country looks more dangerous when healthy in space, although Oregon would be content with Marcus Mariota sliding as frequently as possible moving forward.

This is, without question, the most loaded category to pick from: Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall would also serve as wonderful selections for our non-FDA approved genetic creation. 

But with Mariota, his enormous Colin Kaepernick-esque gait is simply too tantalizing to leave out. A bum knee impacted this beauty a season ago, although don’t let that fool you. When all systems are a go, Mariota has the ability to outrun every mortal chasing after him.

His 57-yard touchdown scamper against Washington last season is one of many plays in his still-blossoming collegiate career in which he got to the second level and made the rest look far too easy.

Take your pick in this category. I’ll take Mariota (and maybe some of those masterful throwing genes will sneak in, too).


The Accuracy of Baylor Quarterback Bryce Petty

He plays in an offense and for a head coach that could propel you (yes, you) to a 250-yard performance against Kansas. But don’t let that simplify Bryce Petty’s football-throwing excellence. He’s a marksman back there.

The No. 2-rated passer in the country last season also averaged more than 10 yards per attempt, one of only three quarterbacks in the country to hit such threshold.

It’s the little things with Petty: the screen passes at the numbers, the slants that catch a wideout in stride and the intermediate tosses that often go unnoticed. It’s why Baylor can operate the way it does, scoring 35 points in halves without breaking a sweat.

While you might be able to throw for 250 yards against Kansas, chances are you wouldn’t throw for 430 like Petty did in 2013. There’s an even bigger chance you wouldn’t deliver such output on only 20 completions.

Now is the time to turn away, Jayhawk fans.

Not simply a run-after-the-catch coordinator, Petty also has a lovely assortment of deep balls in his arsenal. He’s not quite on the Chris Leak-spiral level, although his ball placement is exactly what our quarterback needs.


The Mind (and Mentality) of Utah State Quarterback Chuckie Keeton

We have our car. Now we just need the engine.

While his game may not be celebrated as much as some of the other outstanding players included in our makeup, there’s something spectacular about the way Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton operates.

Like when he's able to make something out of nothing and pick up first downs with only one shoe.

He has the “it” factor we’d love to add to our genetic creation. It’s more than that, though. Keeton isn’t the game’s best improve artist; he’s a giant operating in a 200-pound body.

As much as his electricity is discussed, he simply is not given enough credit as a passer. In 777 career throws, Keeton has been intercepted only 13 total times. And over his first three seasons—the latest being cut in half because of a knee injury—Keeton has found the end zone 70 times.

He is intelligent and just reckless enough—and this is what we want within reason—to give our elite athlete a mind-set that he can score on every play.

Given the physical tools that this mentality will be paired with, perhaps that’s not as crazy as it seems.  


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