Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields may have left for the NFL but the quarterbacks taking over college football in the 2021 season have plenty to offer.
A historic group of college football quarterbacks is now gone. We saw five quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, including Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson and Mac Jones. And that’s before we even get to the likes of Kyle Trask, Kellen Mond and even Ian Book. So there must be a talent void at the position throughout the country, right?
Not so much. While we may not be looking at a generational talent like Lawrence, there is a ton of talent at quarterback in the college football ranks, many of them primed to make their own names for themselves and vault into the NFL Draft equation as well.
We’re diving into the best quarterbacks in college football for the 2021 season, ranking the 20 best based on what we’ve seen, what we expect to see and so on. Shoutout to guys like McKenzie Milton of Florida State, Spencer Sanders of Oklahoma State and Dorian Thompson-Robinson of UCLA who just missed the cut, but we start our rankings with Scott Satterfield’s signal-caller.
20. Malik Cunningham, Louisville
Expectations for the Louisville Cardinals are a bit of a mixed bag coming into the 2021 season after Satterfield’s inaugural 8-5 campaign was followed up with a letdown 4-7 showing a year ago. However, the offense can feel confident in the fact that Malik Cunningham is leading them into battle for the third straight year now.
Cunningham filled up the stat sheet in 11 games last year, throwing for 2,617 yards with 20 touchdowns while also rushing for 609 yards and seven scores. He’s one of the most prolific running quarterbacks in the country, without question, routinely breaking off big gains with his legs either within or out of structure.
There is room for Cunningham to improve, without question. He showed a bit of improvement in terms of accuracy as a junior last season but threw a troubling 12 interceptions, seven more than he threw in 2019. The Louisville quarterback needs to reign that in if he wants to vault himself into the upper echelon at his position.
Even still, the threat he brings with his legs combined with improvement over every season to this point as a passer leads me to believe that Cunningham will be a big-time playmaker for the Cardinals and a deserving inclusion on the back-end of these rankings.