## College Quarterback Passing Stats From 2013

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that it’s 2014. With draft season now in full gear, I wanted to take a few minutes and look at the stats of the top college quarterbacks from last year. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. I couldn’t find a site that presented a full list of all college quarterback stats, including sacks, which is, of course, insane.

College football records sacks as rushing plays for the offense; as a result, knowing how many sacks Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater took last year is not that easy to find. So here’s what I did:

1) Using team game log data, I found the number of sacks for each defense in each game.

2) Next, I recorded the percentage of team pass attempts recorded by each quarterback for his offense in each game (usually close to 100%).

3) I synched up these two sets of data, and multiplied each quarterback’s percentage of team pass attempts by the number of sacks by his opponent’s defense in that game.

That provided me with some useful estimated sack data. From there, I calculated each quarterback’s Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt average, which is simply (Gross_passing_yards + 20*PassTDs – 45*INTs – Estimated_sack_yards_lost) / (Pass_attempts + Estimated_sacks). I did this for the 140 quarterbacks with the most pass attempts in the FBS (sorry, Jimmy Garoppolo fans) in 2013.

Since the number of pass attempts vary wildly at the college level, I also calculated a Value Over Average statistic. The 140 quarterbacks had an average ANY/A of 6.44, so the Value metric (which is what the table is sorted by) is simply (ANY/A – 6.44) * (Pass_attempts + Estimated_sacks). Here’s how to read Bridegwater’s line, the Louisville quarterback who many believe will be the first quarterback selected in the draft.

Bridgewater provided the 5th most passing value by this formula, completing 303 of 427 passes for 3,970 yards with 31 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He took 25.5 sacks and lost 185 yards, and had a sack rate of 6% (if I included the percent sign, the table would not sort correctly). Bridgewater also averaged 13.1 yards per completion and had a 9.34 ANY/A average, which combined with his number of dropbacks, means he added 1,310 adjusted net yards of value over average. By default, the table below only shows the top 25, but you can sort and/or search to find each of the 140 quarterbacks (and you can change the number of quarterbacks displayed via the dropdown box to the left).

RkQBTmCmpAttYdsTDINTSkSkYdSkRtYPCANY/AVALUE
1Bryce PettyBaylor250403420032320.51065.116.810.91871
2Jameis WinstonFlorida State2573844057401028.72027.515.810.21546
3Marcus MariotaOregon245386366531417.31074.5159.91400
4Derek CarrFresno State454659508350811711.711.28.41335
5Teddy BridgewaterLouisville303427397031425.5185613.19.31310
6Johnny ManzielTexas A&M3004294114371317135413.79.31261
7Keith WenningBall State319498414835715.71033.1138.61120
8Tajh BoydClemson2834133851341128.31786.813.68.71015
9Zach MettenbergerLSU192296308222820.31556.816.19.5969
10Blake BortlesUCF2593823581259211435.513.88.8937
11A.J. McCarronAlabama226336306328716.8116513.69919
12David FalesSan Jose State3124874189331320.61524.213.48.1842
13Connor ShawSouth Carolina180284244724119.11226.713.69.1807
14Matt JohnsonBowling Green237369346725738.822110.514.68.4804
15Aaron MurrayGeorgia225347307526912.5823.613.78.6792
16Rakeem CatoMarshall298499391639925.41795.113.17.8733
17Kevin HoganStanford1802952635201015.4925.214.68493
18Keith PriceWashington233352296621627.41817.812.77.7491
19Jake WatersKansas State159260246918921.61238.315.58.2487
20Sean MannionOregon State4006034662371524.1206411.77.2481
21Stephen MorrisMiami (Florida)1983443028211216.31444.715.37.7443
22Brendon KayCincinnati2603933289221214.41223.712.77.5442
23Tommy ReesNotre Dame224414325727137.3571.814.57.5441
24Shane CardenEast Carolina38754941393310291925.310.77.2433
25Braxton MillerOhio State162255209424720.61298.112.97.7354
26Brett HundleyUCLA248371307124935.12009.512.47.3330
28Cody KesslerUSC236362296720731.92078.812.67.2307
29Ross MethenySouth Alabama201324262215713.91264.3137.3304
30Chuckie KeetonUtah State13619613881828.9484.510.27.9290
31Nate SudfeldIndiana194322252321914.1954.4137.3278
32Jordan LynchNorthern Illinois253404289224810.7642.611.47.1276
34Corey RobinsonTroy285421321920916.51303.911.37265
35Davis WebbTexas Tech22636127182098.7672.4127.2264
36Connor CookMichigan State223380275522615.71214.112.47.1255
37Marquise WilliamsNorth Carolina12621716981566.8373.113.57.6249
38P.J. WalkerTemple152250208420820.91308.313.77.4249
39Nick MarshallAuburn142239197614616.61116.913.97.3228
40Joe SouthwickBoise State151208165412510574.8117.4208
41James FranklinMissouri198319242919623.51397.412.37193
42Grant HedrickBoise State167242182516515.1766.310.97.2188
43Devin GardnerMichigan2083452960211133.82609.814.26.9185
44Clint ChelfOklahoma State16429121731788.858313.37163
46Christian HackenbergPenn State2313922955201019.21164.912.86.8140
47Sean SchroederHawai'i2333762960281426.51627.112.76.8135
48Bo WallaceMississippi28343733461810241545.511.86.7132
49Joe LicataBuffalo233402282424818.81044.712.16.7129
50Quinn KaehlerSan Diego State232389300719925.21876.5136.7126
51Casey CochranConnecticut11117512931147.2444.111.67.1115
52C.J. BrownMaryland166282224213719.31376.813.56.8109
53Tyler TettletonOhio2303712851211216.31284.412.46.7108
54Brett SmithWyoming2934683375291126.71885.711.56.685
55Terrance OwensToledo19131822301896261.911.76.772
56Garrett GilbertSMU335504352821726.61525.310.56.663
57Taylor KellyArizona State3024843635281239.52238.2126.659
58Caleb HerringUNLV2564052718245241725.910.66.537
59Bryn RennerNorth Carolina152231176510514128611.66.634
61Blake BellOklahoma140233164812510.4824.411.86.513
62J.W. WalshOklahoma State1131901333955202.611.86.512
63Austyn Carta-SamuelsVanderbilt193281226811921.51267.611.86.58
64John O'KornHouston2594463117281025.61835.7126.56
65Jonathan PerryUAB92174137910614.7918.4156.52
66Derek ThompsonNorth Texas2513902896161310.8512.811.56.4-2
67Joel StaveWisconsin2083362494221315.3894.5126.4-3
68Chase RettigBoston College162263199517821.41478.112.36.4-4
70Maxwell SmithKentucky10518312769119.912410.912.26.3-20
71Austin BrownUAB9317811999311.2676.312.96.2-42
72Nathan ScheelhaaseIllinois2874303272211327.52176.411.46.3-58
73Jameill ShowersUTEP107188126311412.5836.611.86.1-72
74Dak PrescottMississippi State156267194010713.592512.46.2-74
75Jaquez JohnsonFlorida Atlantic149256186612816.7946.512.56.1-105
76Tyler JonesTexas State10016011308510.1786.311.35.8-109
77B.J. DenkerArizona233381251616715.9734.210.86.2-109
79Brandon DoughtyWestern Kentucky24637428571414181304.811.66.1-149
80Taylor HeinickeOld Dominion141224147910512.2855.510.55.8-153
81Tom SavagePittsburgh238389295821941.735210.712.46.1-154
82Eric SozaUTSA2363772719121116.4904.411.56-161
83Taylor McHargueRice169324234517835.219210.913.95.9-181
86Jake RudockIowa2043462383181313.4533.911.75.9-210
87Philip NelsonMinnesota9418613069617.91169.613.95.4-214
88Logan KilgoreMiddle Tennessee2163552507161313.9793.911.65.9-214
89Clint TrickettWest Virginia12323316057711.8695.1135.6-216
90Trevor SiemianNorthwestern177296214311921.21347.212.15.8-220
91Andrew McDonaldNew Mexico State2333502511151121.91406.310.85.9-220
92Brandon MitchellNorth Carolina State8615110117611.5687.611.85-234
93Paul MillardWest Virginia9216711196612.1697.212.25-254
94Darell GarretsonUtah State125207143610719.21199.311.55.3-255
95Justin WorleyTennessee10919612391087.2353.711.45.1-265
96Trevone BoykinTCU10517611987713.1727.411.45-267
97Anthony BooneDuke2063222260131310.9613.4115.6-271
98Kolton BrowningLouisiana-Monroe2003522179218221046.210.95.7-275
99Cody GreenTulsa1172111339784.319211.45.1-287
100Travis WilsonUtah1332371827161615.6896.613.75.3-289
101Baker MayfieldTexas Tech218340231512922.71456.710.65.5-332
102Jalen WhitlowKentucky9815910355516.811310.610.64.5-336
103Tyler BenzEastern Michigan129217149710920.71039.511.65-342
104Grant RohachIowa State11019112088714.8937.8114.7-366
105Jared GoffCalifornia3185293488181028.81735.4115.8-369
106Logan ThomasVirginia Tech2284032909161330.82297.712.85.6-380
107Cooper RushCentral Michigan1773122349151526.51738.513.35.3-380
108Sam RichardsonIowa State121220139711722.813010.411.54.8-392
109Colin ReardonKent State186317195712910783.210.55.2-393
110Gary NovaRutgers1653032159181425.41678.413.15.2-394
111Ronnie BellGeorgia State1883762573151128.71687.613.75.5-397
112Brandon AllenArkansas128258155213106.7632.612.14.9-406
113Tyler MurphyFlorida11218512166521.918711.810.94.5-409
115Taylor DavisIdaho9821213248717.21188.113.54.6-426
116Terrel HuntSyracuse167273163210812.2674.59.84.9-432
117Zach TerrellWestern Michigan13325116028816.81166.7124.8-439
118Scotty YoungLouisiana Tech87165733427.5524.58.43.9-440
119Rob HenryPurdue81152832469555.910.33.6-450
120Pete ThomasNorth Carolina State149247166749211198.511.24.6-504
121Mike WhiteSouth Florida9317510833910.4655.911.63.6-521
122Casey PachallTCU133236146861010.6924.5114.2-543
123Danny EtlingPurdue149267169010729.621111.111.34.6-547
124Taysom HillBYU2364382938191437.52298.612.45.2-604
125Jake MedlockFlorida International751599224624.415915.312.33.1-609
126Nick MontanaTulane1582961717141023.31257.910.94.5-635
127Kyle PohlAkron2254022438141023.61725.910.84.9-646
128Nick MullensSouthern Mississippi1362761776131423.31398.513.14.2-661
129Tyler Van TubbergenWestern Michigan821839304105362.711.32.8-687
130Case McCoyTexas1873291933111311.4633.510.34.4-688
131Tanner PriceWake Forest2063782233131021.11625.610.84.7-690
132A.J. DoyleMassachusetts128235127461110.4444.4103.5-726
133Austin BoucherMiami (Ohio)8918410367827.917715.211.63-726
134Connor HallidayWashington State44971445973422312354.310.25.4-748
135Allan BridgfordSouthern Mississippi112207113361112.6956.110.13-752
136Dane EvansTulsa841958984105572.610.72.4-818
137Paxton LynchMemphis2033492056910272067.710.14.2-842
138Ryan HigginsLouisiana Tech166281171561322.4156810.33.6-861
139Jake HeapsKansas128261141481022.51768.6113.3-878
140David WatfordVirginia244427220281520.21584.793.4-1352

If you believe in the power of internet mock drafts, the top quarterback prospects are Bridgewater, Manziel, and Blake Bortles, with Fresno State’s Derek Carr a bit behind that group. After Carr comes the SEC trio of Zach Mettenberger, A.J. McCarron, and Aaron Murray. How do those seven quarterbacks compare statistically? Each rank in the top 15, but they got there in very different ways.

The table below shows how each quarterback fared relative to this group of seven quarterbacks in each of the main passing statistics. For each quarterback I’ve included his percentage relative to the group of quarterbacks, which I calculated by dividing each passer’s rate for each statistic by the group average rate. In all cases, greater than 100% means more than average, so for interceptions and sacks, a higher percentage is a bad thing.

PasserCmpAttCmp%YardsTDINTSkSkYdSkRtYPCANY/A
Bridgewater110%104%106%111%98%50%168%175%138%96%105%
Bortles94%93%101%100%79%113%139%135%128%101%99%
Manziel109%105%104%115%117%163%112%127%94%100%105%
Carr166%161%103%142%159%100%73%67%40%82%95%
Mettenberger70%72%97%86%70%100%134%146%158%118%107%
McCarron82%82%100%86%89%88%111%109%117%100%101%
Murray82%85%97%86%83%113%83%77%85%100%97%

Bridgewater

Bridgewater fares really well in this analysis, which is to be expected. He had the best completion percentage and fared very well in most of the important categories. His interception rate was obviously outstanding, although we all know that interception rates are not particularly sticky. If there’s a knock on Bridgewater’s game, it’s that he does not have a great deep ball, and that’s reflected here by his below-average (for this group) yards per completion average. Of course, with all statistics, context is key, and Bridgewater’s numbers here (including the low YPC average) may simply reflect Louisville’s offensive philosophy, and not Bridgewater’s particular game. The other concern would be Bridgewater’s sack rate, which as pointed out by Dave Archie, the worst of this group. I haven’t heard any scouts bring up Bridgewater’s poor sack rate, but that is a potential red flag.

Bortles

While Bortles has an average ANY/A rate for this group, it’s not too hard to find some red flags if you’re looking for them. Despite playing in the American Conference, he threw just 25 touchdowns. Bortles did run for 6 himself and his running back Storm Johnson ran for 14 touchdowns, but that is still a pretty low number. Central Florida was a good but not great team in 2013 once you adjust for strength of schedule, and the Golden Knights ranked only 30th in points scored. This can be a function of conservative coaching, but it’s not as though Bortles was throwing for three touchdowns every week.

Borles also came in below average in the attempts department. He can’t control how often his team passes — especially when UCF usually had a lead and the team went 12-1 — but it’s not as though the other quarterbacks on this list were on bad teams. It just feels a little odd to me that he was not off the charts in either efficiency or attempts, which is usually what a quarterback from a non-power conference needs to do to get recognized. Perhaps the better way to look at this is to praise scouts for elevating a player who I think statistically would not be considered a top-five pick.

The other questionable area for Bortles is when it comes to taking sacks. A 5.5% sack rate is not unreasonably high, but when picking nits on the top quarterbacks, that stands out. One would expect a lower rate for a quarterback playing against weaker competition who generally played with the lead.

Johnny Football, with his shirt on (for now).

Manziel

The interception rate jumps out at you, although again, I’m not too concerned with one season of double-digit interceptions (one reason why: five of them bounced off his receiver’s hands). Manziel had a good sack rate and threw for a lot of yards: he ranked 6th in the country in ANY/A, but he jumps Mariota and Bridgewater and ranks 4th in plain old NY/A, which is the more predictive statistic. Despite the crazy highlights, Manziel was not a boom-or-bust quarterback, as evidenced by his 69.9% completion rate. He led the SEC in completion percentage in each of his two seasons, and his completion percentage last year was the 2nd best by any SEC quarterback since 2000 (although that may not be quite as impressive as it sounds). Finally, here’s a fun review of Manziel’s game by Matt Waldman.

Carr

Carr’s numbers are off the charts here, which serve as a good reminder for how different his situation was compared to the other passers. He played in a super high volume offense, which led to him finishing with the 2nd most pass attempts of any passer in college football in 2013. And he had the lowest sack rate of any of the 140 passers on the list, an incredibly impressive accomplishment… until you realize the circumstances. Carr was mostly dinking and dunking, as you can see by his low yards per completion average. He played an easy schedule, but then again, so did Bridgewater and Bortles. The scouts are not super high on Carr, and I think it’s understandable to take a lot of his insane numbers (50 touchdowns!) with a grain or two of salt. Honestly, I don’t really know what to do with his numbers, but I’m inclined to trust the skeptical scouts on this one.

Mettenberger

One thing immediately jumps out at you with Mettenberger: he averaged an incredible 16.0 yards per completion, a number only topped by Bryce Petty’s scorched-earth offense at Baylor. Mettenberger is your classic 1960s AFL quarterback: he’s 6’5, 230, and likes to throw deep. He’ll take some sacks because he’s going for the big play, but he’s a good fit for teams looking for a gun-slinger. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that his situation played into that impressive yards per completion average. LSU was a run-heavy team with a run-heavy reputation, which can make throwing deep a lot easier on the quarterback. Mettenberger had as many games with 30+ pass attempts (3) as games with fewer than 20 pass attempts.

McCarron

My thoughts on McCarron are summed up here.

Murray

Murray ranked as my top statistical quarterback of 2012 after adjusting for strength of schedule. If I have the time, I’ll do the same thing for the 2013 stats, which would presumably help Murray (and McCarron and Mettenberger) again. Murray has a good sack rate but doesn’t stand out as special anywhere else. Statistically he was stronger as a junior, but the knock on him is that he is not a special quarterback. He’s not an elite athlete, he’s short, and he’s not hyper-accurate. He’s intelligent and he’s experienced, but that’s not enough to be picked in the first three rounds. Like McCarron, Murray was not operating in a pass-first offense. As a result, some of their gross numbers underwhelm, but each passer did produce strong ANY/A numbers. Murray has the edge in sack rate, while McCarron has the better completion percentage and interception rate.

It should go without saying that stats for college quarterbacks don’t come close to telling the whole story. But they’re a part of the story, and they should at least be properly recorded and available for people to use as references.

Great stuff, Chase. Thank you!

• I know nothing at all about college sports, but I hope Storm Johnson is great, just for the name.

• The percent signs are weirding out the second table, at least for me.

On a more topical note, have you done any research into how these numbers translate to pro success, if at all? I tried to do something with college stats and their correlation to pro success, but I had trouble getting a lot of info from CFB…also Jamarcus Russell’s college stats just discouraged me.

• cur durt

Dangit I just got off youtube. You sent me right back. I always end up looking at something weird.

• davearchie (@davearchie)

First of all, thank you for doing God’s work and posting college QB sack rates, which is difficult to find.

Second, you note Bridgewater’s “low sack rate” in the writeup, but at 6% and 175% of average in a meh conference, this is actually kind poor, isn’t it? He took more sacks than Bortles (5.5%), who you call out for taking more sacks than you’d expect.

• Chase Stuart

You are completely right. My memory fails me, but I wonder if I got myself confused and thought the high percentage was a good thing.

So yes, 6% is not good, and I should have noted that it’s worse than Bortles. Thanks!

• Chase Stuart

Thanks again, Dave. I’ve updated the post. In light of all the illegitimate red flags you hear about Bridgewater, I’m curious why we haven’t heard more about this legit one.