After another rough performance, Penn State finally made the move at quarterback, taking out Sean Clifford for Will Levis. While the stats weren’t all that impressive, Levis showed some promise for the offense, keeping plays alive with his legs and being more accurate than Clifford has been this season. Although James Franklin was mum after the game on naming a starter for this weekend’s content with Iowa, the expectation is that Levis will get the start — a big-time audition should he want the starting gig the rest of the year and into next season.
While Penn State figures out what it has in Levis, we’ll continue our search through the Group of Five schools for quarterbacks that could transfer this offseason.
Grayson McCall (6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Freshman), Coastal Carolina
Previous Game (Troy): Postponed
Season Stats (6 games): 94-of-135 (69.9%), 1,393 yards, 16 TDs, 1 INT; 271 rushing yards (4.8 YPC), 4 TDs
Folks, a college football Saturday without Grayson McCall is like a day without sunshine.
Carson Strong (6-foot-4 215 pounds, Sophomore), Nevada
Previous Game (New Mexico): 24-of-38 (63.2%), 336 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Season Stats (4 games): 120-of-169 (71%), 1,517 yards, 12 TDs, 1 INT
It was another ridiculous day for Strong. Unfortunately for Power Five programs, it’s becoming clearer-and-clearer that Strong’s next stop won’t be in the Pac 12 of Big 12 — it’ll be in the NFL.
Zac Thomas (6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Senior), App State
Previous Game (Georgia State): 16-of-22 (72.7%), 146 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Season Stats (7 games): 111-of-167 (66.5%), 1,285 yards, 12 TDs, 5 INTs
It was a below-average day for Zac Thomas, which says something considering he still had a completion percentage of 73%. That’s a by-product of the App State offense — it isn’t the sexiest offense, and for the most part, they aren’t opening things up to allow their QBs to get gaudy stats.
Unfortunately for Thomas, he was carted off the field after taking a late hit on the sidelines. While updates are still scarce, it seems like Thomas will be okay and it was just precautionary.
Thank you App Nation for all the love and support. I am doing good and ready to get back with the team. Super proud of @HuesmanJacob. Pure example of a true leader and teammate. #1-0— Zac Thomas (@Zac_Thomas14) November 15, 2020
Malik Willis (6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Junior), Liberty
Previous Game (Western Carolina): 14-of-19 (73.7%), 306 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 97 rushing yards (12.1 YPC), 2 TD
Season Stats (7 games): 122-of-180 (67.8%), 1,645 yards, 15 TDs, 1 INT; 700 rushing yards (7.1 YPC), 9 TDs
Western Carolina is an FCS school so no surprise that Willis torched them all day long, using both his arm and his legs.
Like I said last week, the Hugh Freeze aspect is what to watch here. If he leaves Liberty for a South Carolina or Auburn or any other SEC job that opens up, that could push Willis to leave Lynchburg — perhaps following Freeze in the process.
Desmond Ridder (6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Junior), Cincinnati
Previous Game (East Carolina): 24-of-31 (77.4%), 327 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs; 75 rushing yards (9.4 YPC), 1 TD
Season Stats (7 games): 122-of-183 (66.7%), 1,483 yards, 14 TDs, 6 INTs; 469 rushing yards (8.8 YPC), 9 TDs
Like the Freeze-Willis duo, I think something similar could be expected with Luke Fickell and Desmond Ridder. We’ll talk more about Fickell if that time were to come, but what he’s doing at Cincinnati can’t be poo-poo’d. The dude has done an A+ job.
Dustin Crum (6-foot-3, 201 pounds, Senior), Kent State
Previous Game (BGSU): 18-of-27 (66.7%), 271 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs; 25 rushing yards (2.5 YPC)
Season Stats (2 games): 39-of-56 (69.6%), 490 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT; 60 rushing yards (3.3 YPC), 1 TD
After an efficient but not sexy first game of the season, Crum put things together against Bowling Green by throwing for over 250 yards and adding in 4 TDs to no interceptions. But again, the worry with Crum isn’t his production — it’s his ceiling. I think you can look at a Carson Strong and see the future NFL talent. Even with McCall, in my mind, he’s a better pure athlete than Crum. But that’s going to be the catch 22 with the G5 —> P5 transfer market: unless you are Oklahoma or Ohio State, you likely aren’t getting the sure thing.
The other thing I’ll say about Crum: what would happen if you put Will Levis on Kent State next season? Or heck, even Sean Clifford? That’s where my trepidation comes from.
Kaleb Eleby (6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Sophomore), Western Michigan
Previous Game (Toledo): 20-of-29, 284 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
Season Stats (2 Games): 32-of-45 (71.1%), 546 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INTs
Taking the place of Ball State’s Drew Plitt is fellow MAC quarterback Kaleb Eleby, who is coming off a come-from-behind victory over the most talented MAC team, Toledo.
For some background on Eleby, he actually was a pretty talented recruit: he was rated an 86.96 247Sports Composite score which put him ahead of Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman, Iowa State’s Brock Purdy, BYU’s Zach Wilson, and Penn State’s Will Levis. And while he committed to Western Michigan six months after PJ Fleck and his staff left Kalamazoo, one would think that he and Kirk Ciarrocca crossed passed at some point.
Grant Wells (6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Redshirt Freshman) Marshall
Previous Game (MTSU): 25-of-37 (67.6%), 336 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs; 39 rushing yards (4.9 YPC)
Season Stats (7 Games): 126-of-192 (65.6%), 1,674 yards, 16 TDs, 4 INTs; 155 rushing yards (4.3 YPC), 2 TDs
Another new addition to the board, we have Marshall’s Grant Wells who put up a 5-TD performance against Middle Tennessee State.
The Thundering Herd move to 7-0 as Grant Wells had a career-high five passing TDs! pic.twitter.com/nPZJ90ynHS— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 14, 2020
Marshall and Doc Holliday have a history of productive quarterbacks: Chase Litton and Rakeem Cato, especially, put up some gaudy stats during their time with the Thundering Herd, so the case can be made that Wells is just a byproduct of the pass-happy system. But some of the throws that Wells makes, as a redshirt freshman, is something to keep an eye on.