Another week of college football, another week of top performances from top 2024 NFL quarterback prospects.
Despite the great performance, there are still questions surrounding the quarterback position past this season.
One of the better ways to mitigate those questions is to find your guy in the draft next April.
The only problem is that this week’s performances from top draft prospects were not necessarily noteworthy. There were a few disappointing performances from top names.
There were also some players who saw their stock rise with much-needed solid to great showings.
Having that fact coincide with arguably Kirk’s best game as a Viking will make things difficult as we inch closer to a pivotal decision at the most important position in the sport.
But we will take a deeper look into the performances from this last weekend of the top 2024 NFL draft prospects.
Washington State QB Cam Ward
A player that needed a bounce-back game more than anybody was Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward. He had two back-to-back games where he looked pedestrian at best, not even cracking 200 yards passing.
He made up for it on Saturday. While his team still ended up losing 38-24, Ward was back to putting up his usual numbers. He went 34-of-48 for 438 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he was sacked six times in this game, but he still made some awesome throws that reminded you why he was a top prospect to begin with.
This dime to Kyle Williams while on the run encapsulates everything you like about Ward. The creativity to get out of the pocket, the off-platform throw and the ball placement where Williams doesn’t even break stride. It’s a work of art.
Oregon QB Bo Nix
On the other sideline, Bo Nix became the most experienced quarterback in NCAA history with his 54th start. And he showed out.
Nix went 18-for-25 for 293 yards and two touchdowns on the day. An effortlessly efficient performance from the veteran quarterback.
He currently leads the country in completion percentage with an insane mark of 78.4%. He gets that moniker of game manager, but he manages the game so well, it feels like much more than that.
He’s a reliable, dependable quarterback that doesn’t make mistakes, which is the complete opposite of what he was at Auburn during his tenure there. It is impressive seeing him improve at the rate that he has.
I guess that’s what experience does for you.
And if that’s not enough to sell you, the guy can get it done on special teams for you, too.
Bo Nix with a perfect punt inside the 5. He can do it all 🤌 pic.twitter.com/PBJaur6Qrs
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) October 21, 2023
LSU QB Jayden Daniels
We need to have a serious discussion about LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels.
Ever since dropping the opening game against FSU, Daniels has been playing on another level.
He is averaging 318 yards through the air, adding 65 more on the ground, has 24 touchdowns to only two interceptions and added five more rushing touchdowns from week two until now.
He has firmly supplanted himself into the Heisman discussion and LSU has thrived alongside with it. They have been 6-1 with the lone loss being a 55-49 overtime shootout with a red-hot Ole Miss team. In six of these games, they’ve scored 40 or more points.
Daniels is doing everything he can to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with as 2024 quarterbacks go. I mean, look at this dime to Brian Thomas, Jr. against Army.
— MK🎃 (@mknovaa2) October 22, 2023
He flicks this ball 30 yards downfield and perfectly in the waiting arms of Thomas. This is video game stuff that this guy is doing and it needs to be appreciated more.
North Carolina QB Drake Maye
North Carolina was on the wrong end of a historic upset this weekend and their quarterback Drake Maye played like it.
Maye went 24-of-48 for 247 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. And it was sloppier than you would expect from this UNC offense.
Because of his talent, he still made some sensational throws, but he did miss some throws and his receivers had some key drops.
Overall, it was a disjointed effort from the North Carolina offense and they were still able to put up 27 points. It’s never a great feeling to lose a game that you think you’re supposed to win, especially when it’s the first loss of a special season. But this North Carolina offense can still find their way to a New Years Six bowl and possibly an ACC championship off the backs o
the Drake Maye to Tez Walker connection continues to thrive pic.twitter.com/l9MMmaHyfr
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) October 21, 2023
Florida State QB Jordan Travis
FSU started slow yet again but when this offense gets rolling, it is tough to stop. Duke found that on Saturday as they fell to Florida State 38-20 after allowing 21 unanswered points in the second half.
Duke quarterback Riley Leonard left in the third quarter after reaggravating his ankle injury and FSU smelled blood in the water. Florida State and quarterback Jordan Travis gained 204 of their 420 yards in their final three drives, all ending in touchdowns.
Travis ended the day 27-of-36 for 268 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He was able to get going later but these slow starts are going to be the death of this team’s National Championship hopes.
The pick-six that Travis threw to have Duke go up by ten points early was brutal. Against teams that don’t have a hobbled starting quarterback, this could be a mistake that they won’t be able to recover from.
Then, Travis will make nuanced throws like this one to Keon Coleman and remind you why this team is in contention for the College Football Playoff.
Idk how Jordan Travis fit that one in to Keon Coleman pic.twitter.com/cX6QrV2uLx
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) October 22, 2023
It’s a frustrating watch seeing the capabilities of Travis and just hoping that it is more consistent than what it has been. Hopefully, with this stretch of very winnable games, they can work on getting into an offensive rhythm quicker than they have been.
Washington QB Michael Penix
Michael Penix, Jr. struggling as mightily as he did against Arizona State was not on my bingo card this weekend, but here we are.
Penix went 27-of-42 for 275 yards with no touchdowns, two interceptions and a lost fumble. That’s three turnovers in a game where their offense did not score a single point.
This was the number-one offense in the nation coming into this week and they did not score a single point. The lone touchdown came from an 89-yard Ro Torrence pick-six that put Washington up for good early in the fourth-quarter.
Every top prospect this season has had to have their wake-up call, Maye just had his this week. Caleb Williams has had a couple of weeks to think about some things. This is just one of those days.
This does mean that the Heisman conversation has re-opened and there is a brand new name at the top.
Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy
Sun Tzu stated that “what the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins but excels in winning with ease.”
Michigan is winning with ease every week and one of the main reasons why is the play of quarterback J.J. McCarthy.
Against Michigan State, McCarthy was 21-of-27 for 287 yards and four touchdowns before being pulled to give reps to senior Jack Tuttle.
His ability to extend plays and get out of the pocket is exceptional and one of the reasons he is The Athletic’s Dane Brugler QB3 in the upcoming draft.
#Michigan QB JJ McCarthy was my QB3 entering the season and he has absolutely lived up to that so far. Eager to see him vs. Penn St and Ohio St defenses in a few weeks.
56.0% of his pass attempts in 2023 have resulted in a 1st down or TD, which ranks No. 1 in the FBS. pic.twitter.com/0MYlCU9RH5
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 23, 2023
He continues to take care of business as necessary and gets a well-deserved bye week before having to face both Penn State and Ohio State in the next four weeks to close out the season.