Photo Essays  


Published: June 3, 2016 at 02:06 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2016 at 12:31 p.m.

16 for '16: College football’s most accurate QBs

» Complete 16 for '16 series

College Football 24/7's "16 for '16" series continues with a look at 16 of the most accurate passers in college football. It can be tough to judge a QB's accuracy relative to others without getting the QBs together at once for an evaluation, as college coaches can attest -- the top two players on our list are former walk-ons. Each QB on the list had a completion percentage of 60 percent or better last season.

16 Photos Total

  • 16. Nick Mullens, Southern Miss 16

    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    16. Nick Mullens, Southern Miss

    Southern Miss’ new head coach, Jay Hopson, had an up-close look at Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich as an assistant coach at Marshall from 1996-2000. Hopson says Mullens throws the ball as well as any QB he’s been around. Mullens, who completed 63.5 percent of his passes last season, hit receiver Casey Martin in stride for a pair of touchdowns at Nebraska last year, where he threw for a career-high 447 yards.

  • 15. Brett Rypien, Boise State 15

    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    15. Brett Rypien, Boise State

    Rypien was expected to redshirt last season as a true freshman. Instead, he quickly put himself on the radar of NFL scouts thanks, in part, to his accuracy as a passer (63.5 percent). The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder was the Mountain West Freshman of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection. The arrow is pointing way up on the promising nephew of Super Bowl XXVI MVP Mark Rypien. Have a look at his ball placement against Hawaii’s beleaguered defense.

  • 14. Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee State 14

    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    14. Brent Stockstill, Middle Tennessee State

    Stockstill doesn’t have prototypical size (6-0, 192), but there’s no doubt about his ability to place the ball after a historic redshirt freshman season. He set an NCAA record for completions by a freshman with 327 and was just 53 yards short of breaking Jameis Winston’s record for freshman passing yards (4,057). He ranked 14th in the FBS with a 66.7 percent completion rate, finishing just behind 2016 draft picks Paxton Lynch and Cody Kessler.

  • 13. Cooper Rush, Central Michigan 13

    Al Goldis/Associated Press

    13. Cooper Rush, Central Michigan

    Last season Akron coach Terry Bowden said Rush and Tom Brady probably are the two most accurate quarterbacks in football. We won’t be making any Rush-Brady comparisons, but Rush’s accuracy grabs the attention of the opposition. Yes, luck was on the Chippewas’ side here, but we won't soon forget this play from the 2014 Bahamas Bowl, which started with a heave from Rush.

  • 12. Zach Terrell, Western Michigan 12

    Stew Milne/Associated Press

    12. Zach Terrell, Western Michigan

    Terrell doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he’s smart and puts the ball in the right spots. He ranked 10th in the FBS in completion percentage in 2015 (67) and led the Broncos to their first bowl win in team history. In windy conditions against Miami (Ohio) last season, Terrell completed 25 of 32 passes for 278 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.

  • 11. Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati 11

    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    11. Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati

    Kiel has made some history in his career thanks to his strong arm and precise passing. He had the most attempts without an incomplete pass in the last 20 years in the FBS when he completed all 15 of his passes for 319 yards and five touchdowns last season against UCF. The senior QB had an accuracy rate of 65.2 percent last season (18th in FBS).

  • 10. Brad Kaaya, Miami 10

    Joe Skipper/Associated Press

    10. Brad Kaaya, Miami

    The junior QB is one of the top talents in college football. An ACC head coach recently told ESPN Kaaya is "probably the best pure passer in the ACC. He threw a fade against us that (the cornerback) has great coverage but he threw it to that outside shoulder and it was the perfect fade throw against a pretty good corner. He's got great accuracy and a feel for the game." Watch him put the ball in the right spot in a win over Nebraska last season.

  • 9. C.J. Beathard, Iowa 9

    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    9. C.J. Beathard, Iowa

    Beathard went 155 passes without being intercepted last season before Michigan State picked him off on a deflected throw in the Big Ten championship game. He hasn’t posted stats as gaudy as others on this list, but he led the Big Ten with a 63 percent completion rate on throws of third-and-10 yards or more, per the Cedar Rapids Gazette (his overall completion rate was 61.6). Offensive coordinator Greg Davis has challenged him to improve his accuracy on deep passes this season. He was on the money with this bomb against MSU, though.

  • 8. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State 8

    Ric Tapia/Associated Press

    8. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State

    Barrett doesn't have a cannon for an arm like former teammate Cardale Jones, but he eventually replaced Jones as the Buckeyes’ starter in 2015 because of his accuracy. He has a career completion percentage of 64.2. He gave WR Michael Thomas, a 2016 second-round pick of the Saints, a chance to make this great grab against Northern Illinois last season, and the beauty of Barrett's throws have made at least one former NFL QB scream with delight.

  • 7. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech 7

    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    7. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech

    Only Washington State's Luke Falk (645) had more pass attempts than Mahomes (573) last season, and Mahomes completed 63.5 percent of his throws (27th in FBS). The son of a former big-league pitcher, Mahomes has thrown 52 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in his 17 career starts. He doesn’t even need to be looking at his target to connect with him; Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury posted video of Mahomes' no-look passes this spring.

  • 6. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State 6

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    6. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

    Rudolph completed 62.3 percent of his passes last season, and he wasn’t dinking and dunking; he ranked seventh among Power Five QBs in average pass distance (10.9 yards), according to ESPN. Watch him put the ball in the right placefive times for touchdowns against TCU last season. He finds his man, whether it’s a receiver down the field or a guy on a jet ski.

  • 5. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss 5

    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    5. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss

    Kelly's accuracy caught Nick Saban’s eye before Kelly helped lead Ole Miss to an upset of Saban’s Crimson Tide last season. He ranked 19th in the FBS in completion percentage in 2015 (65.1), and also finished in the top 20 in completions per game (22.9) and yards per pass attempt (8.83).

  • 4. Deshaun Watson, Clemson 4

    Ric Tapia/Associated Press

    4. Deshaun Watson, Clemson

    The 2015 Heisman finalist’s accuracy and touch was on display when he took college football's biggest stage in the national championship game against Alabama. Have a look at this pretty throw to Hunter Renfrow for a touchdown. He ranked fifth in the FBS with a completion percentage of 67.8. After watching him in that title game, NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks wrote "(Watson) capably picks apart opponents with pinpoint passes from inside the pocket."

  • 3. Josh Rosen, UCLA 3

    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    3. Josh Rosen, UCLA

    As Rosen's freshman season neared its conclusion, NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah called him the most gifted QB in college football. UCLA head coach Jim Mora recently said he believes Rosen would have been the first pick of the 2016 NFL Draft had he been eligible. The scary thing for Pac-12 defenses? He’s already that good, and he could keep getting better. He went 245 passes without throwing a pick last season (a school record), and had perfect placement on this touchdown pass vs. Utah.

  • 2. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma 2

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    2. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

    Mayfield, a former walk-on, ranked fourth in the FBS with a completion percentage of 68.1 last season, when he finished fourth in the Heisman voting. Only Sam Bradford has had a more accurate passing season for the Sooners. The fiery QB's accuracy was on display against Kansas State in 2015, when he carved up the Wildcats for a career-high five touchdown passes. And, after reconsidering its initial decision, the Big 12 granted Mayfield another year of eligibility. Enjoy that, Big 12 defenses.

  • 1. Luke Falk, Washington State 1

    Young Kwak/Associated Press

    1. Luke Falk, Washington State

    Falk was second only to Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty in completion percentage among FBS QBs last season (69.5), and he led the nation with 380.5 passing yards per game in Mike Leach's Air Raid offense. Falk threw for 38 touchdowns (a school single-season record) and just eight8 interceptions. Like Mayfield, Falk is a former walk-on, and college coaches will be kicking themselves for failing to see performances like this one (six TDs in the first half) in Falk’s future.

Discuss ()