Five veteran college football players prepare for a Kenny Beckett-like leap in the 2022 season

Kenny Beckett is the type of college football success story that has been around for decades but has become increasingly rare in recent years. He’s a quarterback who came to campus without much fanfare and didn’t light up the world despite getting a chance to play early. But he continued to play, continued to improve, and in 2021 everything came together. He led Beckett to the ACC title, was selected in the Heisman Final and ended up as the only QB selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

It’s a story that has been compared to what we’ve seen with Joe Burrow, and while there are similarities, there are also some major differences. First, Beckett was a three-star recruit and is considered the 738th best player in the recruiting category of 2017, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Burrow received four stars and was ranked the 280th player in the 2015 class. Second, while Beckett had a small role as a freshman in 2017, it was Pete’s sophomore season start. Burrow didn’t have a clear path to playing at Ohio State and moved to LSU, where he had a mediocre season in 2018 before breaking out in 2019.

Borough only threw 418 college passes before graduation season. Beckett entered the 2021 season with 1,177 pass attempts under his belt. Overall, you are what you are at that point, but Beckett took a giant step forward away from the point expected of him. It’s a success story that has caused many fan bases across the country to take a look at their QB depth chart and wonder if the next Kenny Beckett might be on their squad.

Odds are, it isn’t. These days, quarterbacks who end up in the Heisman Finals or in the first round on campus appear this way. They are five-star or four-star recruits who have been groomed right now since childhood. But this QB may be there, and she scoured the countryside to find it. Qualifications were easy enough. I wanted to find a veteran QB with a lot of experience in the game who’s been a little above average over his career – what we refer to in The Cover 3 Podcast as JAG+ – so the hack seemed to “come out of nowhere”. Also, I wanted to avoid highly recruited players outside of high school. Not necessarily just three stars, but not five stars or four stars high. What I ended up with was these five midfielders.

Which one will appear as the next Kenny Beckett?

Kidon Sloves, Pete

How cool would it be if Kenny Beckett was the player to replace Kenny Beckett? Slovis came on the scene in 2019 when he wasn’t supposed to. He was a three-star recruit out of high school who was supposed to be a backup to five-star recruit JT Daniels. Then Daniels suffered a knee injury, and Sloves entered the starting role, where he excelled. He threw for 3502 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions when he was a freshman. He played so well that Daniels chose to move rather than stay and try to get his job back. Maybe he does? Slovis has declined the past two seasons and moved to Pitt after a regime change at USC. While Mark Whipple left for Nebraska, Frank Signetti would direct the Panthers’ attack, and he had success at Boston College with Phil Gorkovich.

Sam Hartman, Wake Forest

Sam Hartman is the perfect Wake Forest quarterback because he’s been so good for a while now, but no one seems to notice. While I include him on this list, it’s fair to say that Hartmann did indeed have a breakout season. After throwing 33 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his first three seasons (22 games), Hartmann threw 39 touchdowns and 14 interceptions for deacons last year. Hartmann also set high hit rate, attempts and yards while dashing for an extra 364 yards and 11 touchdowns. If he cuts sales in 2022, he could make a Beckett-like leap. Also, if you’re wondering if I want to refer to it as Pickett’s Charge, I do a lot, but Pickett’s Charge didn’t go well in real life, and I don’t want to put those sentiments on any of these guys.

Sean Clifford, Penn State

When cooking up this idea, Clifford was the name that immediately crossed my mind. honest. He’s been a solid player at Penn State and has shown consistent improvement every season, but he did so when the Nittany Lions didn’t play well overall. He seems to bear the brunt of the blame from the fans. Some of it is deserved, but a lot of it is not. Last season, Clifford threw 109 more passes than any previous year and achieved his highest levels in completion rate (61%) and passing yards (3,107). He is entering his second season under offensive coordinator Mike Jurcic, and this is the first time in his career that he will work with the same caller in consecutive seasons. If he can fend off innovative youngster Drew Allar, Clifford may be on the verge of a meltdown in his fifth season.

Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma

While Hartmann and Clifford can be considered double threats, Sanders is the most dynamic on this list, providing him with another path to success. He rushed 1,565 yards in his three seasons in Oklahoma, but I have included him in his potential growth as a trans. Sanders threw the ball more in 2021 than in any other season and saw a decline in his efficiency. His completion rate dropped a bit, his yards per attempt dropped to 7.2, and he had the lowest proficiency rating of his career at 133.5. Of course, he also hit career highs in the yards and touchdowns and nearly led Oklahoma State to its first 12th title since 2011. I don’t know he’ll ever get to the point where he’s considered a first-round pick by NFL teams, but it’s not crazy. Believing Sanders could have the kind of season that gets Heisman hype if he improves as a lane to add to his ability to drive.

Tanner Morgan, Minnesota

In 2019, Tanner Morgan threw 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns while averaging 10.2 yards per attempt as the Gophers finished 11-2 and 10th in the AP Top 25. Morgan was so impressive that season that I Included in “Way Too Early” 2021 NFL Mock Draft As a possible first-round pick. Then everything collapsed. Minnesota offensive coordinator Kirk Ciaroca left for Pennsylvania, receiver Tyler Johnson left for the NFL, COVID eliminated Gopher’s depth chart during the 2020 season. The 2021 season wasn’t much better for Morgan, with Minnesota running the ball more than any team in the country Outside the three service academies. However, Morgan’s 59.6% completion rate was an improvement over 2020, and his yards per attempt rose to a respectable 8.2. Now, Ciarocca is back in Minnesota with the same offense as Morgan during the 2019 season. While Ciarocca didn’t bring Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman with him, we can see Morgan take another step forward and closer to the player he was in 2019.

Finally, these are the career numbers of our five candidates compared to Kenny Beckett’s career before 2021. You could argue that they were. very good.

Kenny Beckett

1177

60.4

6.78

3.3

2.1

124.1

Kidon sloves

953

68.4

7.95

6.1

2.5

150.2

Sam Hartman

1169

57.7

7.93

6.2

2.5

139.6

Sean Clifford

1005

60.4

7.80

6.2

2.4

141.5

Spencer Sanders

886

62.4

7.79

5.6

3.5

139.5

Tanner Morgan

903

61.4

8.94

6.2

3.0

150.9

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