A quarterback requires a rare mix of quick reaction times, incredible passing accuracy, strategic thinking, and preferably the ability to run the ball in a cinch. Nobody’s born a great QB; they’re made. Certain schools, in particular, consistently produce NFL-ready quarterbacks. The following schools are the best at this unique, QB-making skill.
University of Washington’s historic starting QB success
People call the top quarterback-producing school “Quarterback U.” And the University of Washington, which has sent 15 starting QBs to the NFL draft, earned this title. Some of the graduates of this elite program put in work with the CFL before catching the NFL’s attention.
Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon is the Huskies’ best-known alumnus. Playing 23 seasons of pro football through 2000 (including seven playoff appearances), his uniform number was eventually retired by the Tennessee Titans. These days, Moon still contributes to the game as QB Cam Newton’s mentor.
Selected eighth overall by the Titans in 2011, Jake Locker was the last Huskies QB to enter the NFL draft. Since then, the University of Washington’s Jake Browning has also entered the NFL. After a strong start to his college career, the quarterback required shoulder surgery, which affected his passing ability. The Minnesota Vikings picked him up as an undrafted free agent.
University of Southern California goes beyond “Tailback U”
The University of Southern California is the top Quarterback U of the modern era. When the Trojans see something in you as QB, there’s an extremely good chance the NFL will like what they see as well.
Carson Palmer is the biggest feather in USC’s cap. The 2003 first-round pick was a dependable force in the NFL for 15 seasons. He led the Cincinnati Bengals to their first winning season and playoff appearance in 15 years.
USC has sent 25 QBs to the NFL draft since 1937. Of those, 16 played in a regular-season NFL game. More recently, USC produced current New York Jets QB Sam Darnold, who made a strong impression in this year’s preseason debut. Even without Le’Veon Bell, the Darnold-led offense looked strong against the Giants.
Is Clemson the new Quarterback U?
Clemson has a three-for-three streak of national headline-making young phenoms. Since 1939, the Tigers are responsible for six QBs entering the NFL draft. Their modern run is what makes them notable.
It started with Deshaun Watson, who thrust Clemson onto the national stage with two CFP championship appearances, including a win in 2016. The Houston Texans selected him in the 2017 draft, and by 2018 he got his first Pro Bowl nod.
Then the Tigers netted the No. 1 QB prospect of 2018, Trevor Lawrence. He performed beyond the loftiest expectations, passing 3,200 yards and scoring 30 touchdowns in his freshmen season. A key force in Clemson’s 2019 championship win over Alabama, Lawrence’s path to the NFL seems assured, to the point that the XFL is considering taking advantage of his ineligibility for the NFL draft through 2021.
Lawrence has a couple of years to go, yet Clemson is already grooming their next great QB. Yet another No. 1 prospect, quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, has committed to playing for the Tigers. With all this talent, the university’s program could be the epicenter of developing quarterbacks through the 2020s.