Tyler Huntley Leads As Best Local College Quarterback Of 2019

Jan 16, 2020, 2:52 PM

Utah Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) looks for a receiver as Utah and UCLA play a college footba...

Utah Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) looks for a receiver as Utah and UCLA play a college football game in Salt Lake City at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The college football season has been in the books for a few weeks for the local teams. Now is the time to debate who had the best season. The best place to start? The quarterback position of course.

Pro Football Focus put out its final quarterback grades for the 2019 season and in instances like BYU, which played multiple quarterbacks, the website graded out all of the starters through the year which is why there is a trio listed for BYU.

  • No. 69 Jordan Love, Utah State
  • No. 46 Zach Wilson, Baylor Romney, and Jaren Hall, BYU
  • No. 9 Tyler Huntley, Utah

Is this an order everyone can agree with? Well, it depends on how the questions is asked. This list from PFF is from the 2019 year exclusively from the games they played and have no bearing on future success either in the pros or next year in college. These rankings also take into account the level of competition, which is likely one of many reasons Huntley is a top 10 quarterback.

Huntley Excelled Across The Board

On a pure numbers perspective for Huntley, he has to be considered one of the best in the country with him being a top-five quarterback in efficiency, yards per pass attempt, quarterback rating, and other metrics.

While Huntley did not have those gaudy touchdown numbers as his 19 were just above average and part of that was Utah’s offense with an elite ground game, but he was able to make the plays when the Utes needed him to this past year.

Those high-level numbers are why KSL Sports Alex Kirry is 100 percent behind Huntley being No. 9 overall.

“I think he totally earned a top 10 performance in the country this year, and especially the metrics that coaches like the most like how efficient you are, he is up there in the top four of five,” Kirry said. “Utah flopped at the end of the year with the last two games, but Tyler Huntley was as good a quarterback all year long.”

The bowl game and Pac-12 Championship game losses do ding Huntley some as he two of his worst games all year and threw two of his four interceptions against Oregon. KSL Sports Scott Mitchell strongly believes that if Huntley played how he did all year in those last two games he would have been a top-five quarterback.

“I think he would have been three or four if he would have finished off the season like he did all year,” Mitchell said. “One of the things that he is exceptional at that not many talk about, and it was how it was miraculous to see him escape some of those situations where people had him dead to rights. At the end of the day, the offensive line was suspect, and he made some plays that were just spectacular.”

It Didn’t Really Matter Who BYU Had Under Center

BYU’s injury at quarterback led to playing the trio in Baylor Romney, Zach Wilson, and Jaren Hall. That list was just above average in the FBS at No. 47. Rotating quarterbacks is never easy for the entire team but when taking a closer look at what the quarterback position accomplished for the Cougars, it was actually pretty good.

“BYU ended up being a top 25 passing team this year but it didn’t feel like it,” Kirry said.

That seems a bit high given how the season played out for BYU and with the different styles of play between Wilson, Hall, and Romney. However, there seemed to be no glaring difference when Wilson was not on the field.

“When you had Zach Wilson get hurt you did not have a drop off at quarterback play, you really didn’t,” Mitchell said. “In some regards, it might have even been a little bit better.”

Pointing to the Boise State win is a start for why there was no real difference at quarterback as Romney led the Cougars to victory. Romney ended up 3-0 defeating three bowl teams with Utah State and Liberty being the other two.

Low Ranking Has No Impact On Love’s Draft Status

NFL pro scouts see things differently than others when evaluating players. Even in players who seemingly struggled could end up being a high draft pick due to a specific skill set a player has. That is where Utah State quarterback Jordan Love fits in. He was ranked 69th by PFF.

Love’s 2018 year put him on the map with video game-type numbers but 2019 saw him come back down to have some very mediocre play which was mixed in with some eye-popping throws. While this ranking is not ideal but they really mean nothing to those evaluators at the pro level.

“The NFL scouts will take a really serious look at him from here up until the draft. This is when it is going to get really interesting for Jordan Love,” Mitchell said. “There is a lot of falling off with him and I would not be surprised if he did fall off. That is just how the NFL Draft is.

“He is a guy that really needs to go and show himself at bowl games and I am sure he will be at the combine and will have opportunities to throw for these teams,” Mitchell added. “He has to throw well because you hate to see a guy go from a great year as a sophomore to his junior year which was sketchy and that makes me a little bit nervous.”

Love will get his look at the NFL for sure. Him being a first-round pick could still be in the cards as the scouts will look at those amazing throws he had and point to the potential Love. Then it will be said with the right team and fit he should be considered to be the future of that franchise that drafts him. His end of season ranking just took a hit due to personnel loss, a new offense, and playing better teams in 2019 compared to 2018.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast. 

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Tyler Huntley Leads As Best Local College Quarterback Of 2019