Ranking the 30 best college football quarterbacks of the 21st Century, including Cam Newton, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Trevor Lawrence, and Joe Burrow.
In the spectrum of college football, no position allows you to be a star quite like the quarterback. While the college game may not necessitate a team having a great quarterback as the NFL does, there is no quicker path to becoming a college legend than to touch the ball on virtually every offensive play.
There’s a reason 12 of the last 14 winners of the Heisman Trophy have been quarterbacks. While the Heisman is certainly about awarding the best player in college football their due, there is also a great deal of narrative and stardom that goes into handing out the award. Thus, quarterbacks have a natural path to being considered.
Having said that, winning the Heisman Trophy doesn’t immediately put a college quarterback atop the list of the greatest of all time. Sure, it doesn’t hurt their candidacy but there is far more to consider. From memorability to team success to production to historical importance, these are all things that matter when you’re talking about the greatest college football quarterbacks of all time.
There’s no question that the 21st century has provided fans with a litany of unforgettable quarterbacks. So, rather than trying to put those players in the context of all of college football history, we’re instead going to look at them in their own regard, specifically only considering quarterbacks who starred in the 21st century.
Before we get into the rankings, it needs to be noted why certain players don’t appear on this list. This list is reserved for players who played more than half of their college football careers in 2000 or later. This most notably excludes both Michael Vick and 2001 Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch as each played just half their careers this century. On top of that, players that are still currently playing were not considered for this list, though the likes of Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence will surely earn their place soon enough.
Now that we’ve got some parameters and particulars out of the way, it’s time to look at the greats that did make these rankings. These are the 30 best college football quarterbacks of the 21st century. Let the debate begin.