Skip to main content

Analyst Ranks College Football's Top 5 Returning Quarterbacks

trevor lawrence celebrates during the national title game

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates his seventy-four yard touchdown throw during the third quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm and Jalen Hurts are all off to the NFL. But the college football ranks are still full of elite QBs who are expected to dominate the ranks in 2020.

With plenty of great signal callers set to come back, 247Sports analyst Brad Crawford has done his ranking of the top returning quarterbacks.

Here are his top five:

5. Brock Purdy, Iowa State

Iowa State Cyclones college football fans rush the field after an upset win against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Jack Trice Stadium.

(Photo by Reese Strickland/Getty Images)

Purdy broke most of the Iowa State single-season passing records in 2019. Though his strong numbers didn't translate to more than seven wins, big changes in the Big 12 should open the door for him to shine next season.

4. Sam Howell, North Carolina

UNC quarterback Sam Howell throws a pass.

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Howell quietly had about as strong of a year as any UNC quarterback in school history. But to put up the kind of numbers he posted as a freshman will certainly result in a lot of attention in Year 2.

He set the Tar Heels single-season passing touchdown mark, and posted the second-most passing yards in a season to boot. If he shows enough improvement, Howell and the Tar Heels could easily be in contention for the ACC Coastal crown in 2020.

3. Sam Ehlinger, Texas

Texas QB Sam Ehlinger celebrating.

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

An 8-5 season culminating in an Alamo Bowl win may have been enough for Ehlinger to call 2019 a success. But it certainly didn't leave him feeling ready to leave the Longhorns.

Ehlinger has set plenty of milestones as Texas' starting quarterback for the last few years, but a Big 12 title has eluded him. He'll have one more go at it in 2020 before presumably giving the NFL a chance.

2. Justin Fields, Ohio State

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields against Michigan State.

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

After a historic season for the Buckeyes and votes as a Heisman Trophy finalist, expectations will certainly be higher for Fields in 2020.

Fields and the Buckeyes fell two games short of national title last season, and could very well find themselves going up against mighty Clemson or Alabama if they plan to win one next year. Their success will depend on Fields' ability to grow and limit the mistakes that cost them dearly in the Fiesta Bowl.

1. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence warms up vs. LSU.

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

He's been the frontrunner to go No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft since 2018 - and maybe even before. After back-to-back trips to the College Football Playoff and a national title under his belt, Lawrence is a contender for just about every individual accolade under the sun.


Which of the top 5 returning quarterbacks will have the biggest impact in 2020?

You can view 247Sports' full list of returning QBs here.