Quarterbacks of the 2017 Schedule

Here's the final part of an unintended 3-part series on QB stats. Previously I looked at 1st-year Gamecock quarterbacks of the past 25 years and then 1st-year rival quarterbacks of the past decade. I figured I would close out this detailed look at QB stats by examining the 2016 performance of every quarterback South Carolina will likely face during the upcoming season. So, 'why all these statistics on quarterbacks' you ask? Well, the reasons are varied. The position is obviously the most important in the game, and as such generates a lot of stats with which to play around. Defensive line would be fun to look at, but there's just not that much information about those guys readily available. Most importantly, however, is the fact that I pretty much make spreadsheets for a living, and can therefore easily disguise putting this stuff together as actual work while at the office. Nobody over here even knows what a quarterback is. So, without further ado I present the 2016 stats for Jake Bentley and the most likely QBs the Gamecocks will face this season:

As you'd expect, there's a wide range of experience here. Some guys guys are returning from a season (or more) of solid performance, while there's a lot of teams that will likely end up playing 1st-year players in the position. Some comments:

  • Only 7 of the QBs listed played full seasons of football last year. Of these Missouri's Drew Lock is the most experienced, having played in 24 games in the SEC.
  • 4 QBs attempted less than 89 passes last year: Brandon Goodson, J'Mar Smith, Quinten Dormady, and Kelly Bryant.
  • As indicated in the footnote of the table, there is some uncertainty as to whether 4 of the QBs listed will end up being their team's starting QB for the duration of the season. Hubenak, Dormady, Del Rio, and Bryant could be unseated by talented newcomers. Some of these new guys could end up being really good, but at this moment they are complete unknowns.
  • If you extend Jake Bentley's stats by 6 games, his full-season numbers would be most similar to those of Ryan Finley, the QB for N.C. State. Of course it's unlikely that a true Freshman that joined the team in August would have been able to contribute at such a high level, but it's interesting to make such an assumption for the sake of comparison.

Here's some of the data organized in a bubble chart:

Adjusted Yards / Attempt vs Completion %. Bubble size is relative to Yards / Game.

Some distinct groups are evident here:

  • The Eason-Shurmur-Del Rio trio had completion percentage near 55% and low efficiency.
  • Lock and Johnson completed a similar % of passes, but had much more success on the their completions.
  • The other group includes Hubenak, Allen, and Finley, all with completion percentage around 60% and similar efficiency to Lock-Johnson.
  • Bentley has good efficiency and the best completion % among the significant contributors.

I'd expect the upperclassmen returning starters such as Finley, Allen, and Johnson, along with an experienced underclassman like Lock to have stats for the 2017 season that are relatively consistent with their 2016 numbers. Less experienced underclassmen like Bentley and Eason, however, should show an overall improvement in performance this year. As to which of the two will end up having better seasons, I'd put my money on Bentley, as the word on the Athen's street is that Eason has become a big fan of the nightlife this summer. With improvement Jake Bentley has the opportunity to be the best quarterback on the field in any of the 12 regular season games this season.