College Position Battles: Quarterbacks (2021 Devy Fantasy Football)
The fantasy off-season means we are preparing our rosters for the 2021 season and getting our draft boards ready for our upcoming drafts. This is an exciting time for dynasty and devy players because we get to dig into our film and analytics research to try to find those hidden gems in our drafts in order to set up our teams based on whichever strategy we have chosen.
Maybe you are the “win-now” player and are ready to make a run at that ‘ship. Maybe you are the “contender” and have a solid mix of veteran players and rookies, or maybe you are the “rebuilder” and are having a fire sale with your roster to set yourself up for the future. This series will dive into the positional battles of college programs for the 2021 college football season to help you make those decisions. Hopefully, the information here will help you prepare for your devy drafts so you can get a leg up on the competition. First up… quarterbacks!
Alabama Crimson Tide
Paul Tyson vs. Bryce Young
Paul Tyson may not have the last name, but he certainly has that Bama legacy. His great-grandfather was the seven-time national championship-winning coach of the Tide, Paul “Bear” Bryant, who was also one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history. Heck, even the Tide’s stadium is named after him! Tyson was not a highly touted recruit like Bryce Young was, as Tyson was the 19th ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation in 2019. Tyson is a 6’5″, 228-pound redshirt sophomore who did not take a snap in 2020. He is entering his third year for the Tide and has been working very hard on his footwork and accuracy. He has shown a powerful and accurate arm thus far in practice and could challenge to be the starter come September. Especially considering his familiarity with the offense.
Bryce Young is a five-star recruit from California who was the #1 overall dual-threat quarterback and #2 overall recruit in the 2020 class. At 5’11”, 197 lbs., he will need to bulk up to withstand those big, strong defensive players in the SEC, but he is quick and shifty and can maneuver in and out of the pocket with ease. Some analysts have compared his playing style to that of Russell Wilson. His deep ball will need the most work, but overall, he looks ready to lead the Tide. He appeared in seven games for the Tide in 2020 but did not set the world on fire, going 13 for 22, with 156 passing yards and one touchdown. It is just not fair to judge him based on that minimal sample size.
I believe people think that Bryce Young starting is a given, but it will all depend on who new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien feels fits his scheme properly. Even though Bryce Young may have the same skillset as O’Brien’s former NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson, Alabama just proved you do not need a mobile quarterback to go undefeated and win the National Championship as they rode Mac Jones to the title. Reports from practice say Tyson is even more mobile than Jones and has a stronger arm, so the Alabama Spring Game scheduled for April 17, 2021, will lend us a more accurate outlook of who will take that first snap for the Tide in 2021.
Ohio State Buckeyes
C.J. Stroud vs. Jack Miller III
Justin Fields just finished a stellar two-year run as the quarterback for the Buckeyes following his transfer from the shadows of Jake Fromm and the Georgia Bulldogs. He led the Buckeyes to two Big Ten titles, two CFP appearances, and the 2020 National Title Game. He leaves some big shoes to fill. CJ Stroud looks to be the first to have a crack at the job. Stroud is 6’2″, 194 lbs, and was a 4-star recruit out of California who was also the #2 dual-threat quarterback in the 2020 class. He has a rocket of an arm and has great touch on his deep passes. Interestingly, he did not get on to his high school varsity team until his junior year but subsequently threw for 6,221 yards and 66 touchdowns in just two seasons as the starter. This season, he did not throw a pass for the Buckeyes but did have one rush, which ended up going for a 48-yard touchdown against Michigan State.
Jack Miller III was also a 4-star recruit who came out of Arizona as the 13th ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2020 class. He has great quarterback size being 6’4′, 210 lbs. He also saw minimal playing time in 2020 for the Buckeyes as he had 2 rushes for 23 yards and a touchdown. Miller did have a longer high school career than Stroud. He was a four-year starter in Scottsdale, Arizona, who amassed 9,440 passing yards and 115 touchdowns. After his high school sophomore season, he was the #2 ranked quarterback in the nation and was even mentored by college football legend Tim Tebow, a friend of Miller’s father. Not a bad resource to have at your disposal! Unfortunately, due to a back injury between his junior year and senior year, he took a huge dive in the recruit rankings and could not compete in the Elite 11 Finals, which hurt his stock. He eventually worked his way back up and had offers from Alabama and Auburn, among many others. He landed at Ohio State after being personally recruited by head coach Ryan Day.
I think this could be another case where even though on the surface it looks like there is a clear-cut starter, the spring practice and the spring game could ultimately decide who starts at quarterback for the Buckeyes. Miller will certainly give the coaching staff a tough decision to make. Oh yeah, there is also 5-star recruit Kyle McCord, who is the 3rd ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2021 class, just to throw a wrench into this whole thing. The Ohio State Spring Game has not been officially scheduled but look for it to be sometime in mid-April.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Jack Coan vs Tyler Buchner
Notre Dame’s quarterback Ian Book will be heading off to the NFL in 2021 after an amazing 30 wins as a starter in 35 games played for the Irish. He put up solid numbers and, from a statistics standpoint, could be argued as one of the best quarterbacks in Notre Dame history. Many of you may remember the name Jack Coan as he transferred last month from Wisconsin. The 6’3″, 221 lb quarterback was the Badgers’ starter in 2019, leading them to the Big Ten Championship Game and the 2020 Rose Bowl Game. He finished 2019 with a record of 10-4 while throwing for 2,727 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, and had five interceptions. He led the Big Ten in completion percentage (69.6%) and had the 5th most passing yards and the 6th most touchdowns in the conference. He comes to Notre Dame after breaking his foot in 2020 and not taking a snap. He was quickly replaced by the 2019 3rd ranked pro-style quarterback in the nation, Graham Mertz, and it did not look like Coan would get his job back in 2021, so off to the portal he went.
Coan brings experience to the Notre Dame locker room, which is always a good thing to have after a seasoned veteran like Book makes his exit. But it is no shoo-in that Coan will take the reigns. Notre Dame signed a 4-star recruit and the 3rd ranked dual-threat quarterback in the nation in the 2021 class, Tyler Buchner. Scouts have said that Buchner has a rapid release, is accurate with his short to medium range passes, and has some amazing athleticism. As a junior, Buchner was unstoppable. The 6’2″, 220 lb quarterback from California threw for 4,474 yards, rushed for 1,610 yards, and had a total of 81 touchdowns. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of California canceled his senior season. Buchner is a very raw prospect but has the upside to be the long-term starter for the Irish in the years to come.
The one thing about playing for the Irish is the pressure. The standard for excellence is well-known, and if Coan does end up starting and does not produce, I would imagine head coach Brian Kelly making a change very quickly to appease the critics, the fanbase, and the Irish boosters, especially if Buchner shines during the spring. The Irish Spring Game is set for April 18th, 2021, so we should get a good look at both of these quarterbacks.
Thanks for reading my article. Check back soon when I analyze the key positional battles for running backs in the 2021 college football season!
Find more Devy Fantasy Football coverage:
- Early 2021 Devy Fantasy Football Rankings
- Devy Fantasy Football: Sleepers in the SEC
- Devy Fantasy Football Conference Breakdowns: SEC
Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with Starting Your Own Fantasy Football League or head to more advanced strategy – like What is the Right Amount of Risk to Absorb on Draft Day? – to learn more.