Utah Football: Ranking Opposing Quarterbacks Ahead Of 2021 Season

May 18, 2021, 12:06 PM
Jayden Daniels, ASU; Kedon Slovis, USC; Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA...
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah football always has a wide talent pool of quarterbacks in the Pac-12 that they have to face every season and 2021 is no different.

It’s a more top-heavy group of talented quarterbacks that Utah football will face in 2021, while other teams are still figuring out who will be their starter.

In Utah’s 12-game schedule, only four opponents have their QB’s solidified for the season. Other teams have talented quarterbacks that will battle for the starting job on their respective teams.

Here is the Crimson Corner’s opposing QB rankings ahead of Utah’s 2021 season.

12. Bronson Barron, Weber State

Barron started his first season for Weber State during the 2021 spring season. He came in as a true freshman after returning from a two-year church mission. The Wildcats went 5-1 during the shortened spring season. Barron completed 72 of his 130 pass attempts for 1,071 yards, 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in five games played.

The American Fork product has a promising future for a FCS powerhouse but shouldn’t be any match for Utah’s defense. But overall a really good quarterback that can take Weber State to the next level.

11. Lucas Johnson, Jalen Mayden or Jordon Brookshire, San Diego State

It looks like the Aztecs will have a three-quarterback battle during fall camp after their 2020 starter Carson Baker transferred to Western Kentucky. Now Brady Hoke’s program will have three guys battle it out. Lucas Johnson joined the Aztecs after transferring from Georgia Tech. Jordon Brookshire is a JUCO transfer from Laney College. Jalen Mayden is transfer from Mississippi State.

10. Gunner Cruz or Will Plummer, Arizona

A new coaching staff means a new offensive system for Arizona. Their 2020 starter Grant Gunnell left the program to play for Memphis. Will Plummer played in three games last season but that was under the old coaching staff. Plummer will need to show Jedd Fisch and his staff that he should be the starter. Arizona also received a QB via the transfer portal as Washington State’s Gunner Cruz, who is returning closer to his hometown of Gilbert, Arizona.

9. Jarrett Guarantano, Cammon Cooper or Jayden de Laura, Washington State

In year number two under Nick Rolovich, they have another quarterback battle on the horizon. Jayden de Laura started every game during the 2020 season but was suspended indefinitely during this past offseason. Former Lehi star Cammon Cooper decided to stay with the Cougars and compete for the starting job. Then Wazzu picked up a big time QB in the transfer portal in Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano. In 41 games played for the Volunteers over four seasons, Guarantano threw for 6,174 yards, 38 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He looks to be the front-runner to be the starter but don’t count out Cooper and possibly de Laura depending on how his suspension plays out.

8. Jaren Hall, Baylor Romney or Jacob Conover, BYU

Zach Wilson is off to the NFL and it will be hard to replace the skill he brought to Provo. Jaren Hall has some starting experience as does Baylor Romney. Jacob Conover was a highly-touted recruit out of high school and is coming off of a two-year mission. Whoever wins the job, will have big shoes to fill.

7. Tristan Gebbia or Chance Nolan, Oregon State

Both of Oregon State’s starters from 2020 are back in Chance Nolan and Tristan Gebbia. Gebbia started the first four games before suffering a season-ending injury before the final play of the game against Oregon. Nolan entered the game and ran in a one-yard TD to beat the Ducks. He went on to start the last three games of the season.

Gebbia completed 62 percent of his passes for 824 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. Nolan completed 50 percent of his passes for 537 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptiosn, while running the ball 30 times for 147 yards and one TD. In the loss to Utah, Nolan went 20-of-38 passing for 202 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

6. Ty Thompson or Anthony Brown, Oregon

Oregon’s 2020 starter Tyler Shough left the program and joined Texas Tech. While the Ducks have plenty of QB talent with Bradley Yaffe, Jay Butterfield and Robby Ashford, it sounds like the starting job will come down to Boston College transfer Anthony Brown and highly-touted recruit Ty Thompson.

Brown played in two games during the 2020 season, throwing for 164 yards and two touchdowns. He did most of the damage on the ground by running the ball seven times for 40 yards and two touchdowns. Thompson is a five-star recruit from Gilbert, Arizona, who was ranked the No. 2 dual threat QB in the country.

5. Sam Noyer, Colorado

Colorado’s 2020 starter Sam Noyer is back for another season but the Buffs have some talented signal callers on their team. Brendon Lewis showed some signs of being a really good QB in 2020 and Tennessee QB J.T. Shrout transferred to CU. Noyer might have some competition this fall but he has the most experience of those in the quarterback room under Karl Dorrell’s system.

Through five games last season, Noyer threw for 1,000 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions. He also ran for 191 yards and five TD’s. In their loss to Utah on December 12 in Boulder, Noyer threw for 258 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while rushing for 12 yards.

4. Jack West or Tanner McKee, Stanford

Davis Mills didn’t want to take advantage of the free eligibility year and went to the NFL. Air Force QB Isaiah Sanders transferred to Stanford for his sixth year of eligibility. Jack West and Dylan Plautz are also seniors, while the Cardinal have a young group as well with sophomores Beau Nelson and Tanner McKee, along with freshman Ari Patu.

Jack West was the backup to Mills last season with McKee as the No. 3 QB. Sanders will likely have a role within their running game with special packages. It feels like it is Jack West’s job to lose but McKee has some experience from last season. West played in one game in 2020, completing 68 percent of his passes for 154 yards. McKee also played in one game, completing 3 of his 7 pass attempts for 62 yards.

3. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

Thompson-Robinson decided to come back for one more season before making the jump to the NFL. Through his time at UCLA, he has improved every single season both in the passing and running game. He threw for 1,120 yards, 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, while rushing for 306 yards and 3 TD’s in five games.

DTR has shown the ability to be a threat in both the ground and the air and could provide some problems for opposing defenses this season as he prepares for the NFL.

2. Kedon Slovis, USC

Many would think that Slovis deserves to be No. 1 on this list but I feel like Slovis still has a lot of room to improve his game. Entering his third season at USC, the expectations have never been higher for Slovis. During a shortened 2020 season, he threw for 1,921 yards, 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

In the Pac-12 Championship, Slovis threw for 320 yards on 28-of-52 passing, throwing two touchdowns and three interceptions. If Slovis wants to take USC to the next level, while also trying to be a top 10 NFL Draft pick, he will need to perform in big games.

In their win over Utah on November 21, Slovis completed 24 of his 35 pass attempts for 264 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

1. Jayden Daniels, Arizona State

We didn’t get a chance to see a lot of Jayden Daniels as the Sun Devils played just four games due to getting hit with COVID-19 cases during the year. In four games played, Daniels threw for 701 yards, 5 touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for 223 yards and four touchdowns. Daniels has tremendous potential and makes Arizona State a contender in the Pac-12 South.

The Utes didn’t get to see the Sun Devils in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns surrounding the ASU program.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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