In a college football world ruled by social media and pass-happy offenses, quarterbacks can become household names in a hurry with a strong start to the season.
Opening weekend for the 2015 season was no different. Young quarterbacks across the country showed off their potential as playmakers, including UCLA true freshman Josh Rosen, who looked like a veteran in his Bruins debut. While Rosen put himself squarely in the national spotlight with his performance, here are five stars in the making that could be next to earn widespread acclaim.
Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Jackson's first pass as a Cardinal was a poor decision that ended up in the hands of an Auburn defender. But as the game went on, it was easy to see why Louisville was excited about the Florida high school star's potential. He had more rushing yards (106) than passing yards (100), showing dual-threat ability that appears to have earned him a start next week against Houston. If Jackson adds improved accuracy (9-for-20) to the competitiveness that helped get his team within seven points of the Tigers in the fourth quarter, the ACC better watch out.
Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
After it was revealed that he would start shortly before game time last week, all Mahomes did was throw for an FBS-high 425 yards and four scores. Though the son of a former Minnesota Twins pitcher of the same name started four games as a true freshman last season, including a 598-yard performance against Baylor, look for him to really get into the national consciousness as he uses his elusiveness in the pocket and pitcher-like arm to stretch the field against Big 12 defenses this fall.
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
We saw a glimpse of what Rudolph could bring at the end of the 2014 season, as he ripped off his redshirt with three games remaining and put up big numbers (853 yards, six touchdowns). While Central Michigan gave the Cowboys a bit of a scare in front of their home fans in Week 1, Rudolph put together the sort of gutsy performance (23-of-32, 266 yards) that will pay dividends later in the year. Expect him to fight Baylor's Seth Russell and Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes for Big 12 honors in the near future.
Seth Russell, Baylor
Russell waited patiently for three years, as Nick Florence and Bryce Petty steered the Bears' offensive juggernaut. His debut as "the man" for Art Briles against in-state rival SMU went very well. Yes, he completed just half of his passes (15-for-30), but Russell showed off the arm to get the ball quickly to his excellent receivers in the flat as well as launch it down the field. He racked up 376 yards and five touchdowns through the air. He also covered 59 yards with his feet and scored once, showing dual-threat ability that will keep opposing defensive coordinators awake at night.