Thursday, November 18, 2010

QB Race for Freshman All-American

Now 11 weeks into the season, with Jake Heaps comfortably progressing as the starter for the Cougars, it is worth a look at how he and the team are doing compared to other teams with freshmen quarterbacks.  BYU has had a freshman all-american each of the last 7 years (see BYUs Freshmen AA), so it makes sense to see how Heaps stacks up in the race for the honor. 

Only 19 freshmen quarterbacks have more than 800 yards passing, all having played meaningful portions of at least five games.  Of those, only six have winning records in the games they have played (highlighted).  And of those six, only one has passed for more yardage than Heaps.

The numbers below only inlcude passing yardage and win/loss records, and I haven't seen most of these guys play, so this there are clearly other factors to consider as well.  However, at a minimum, you would expect a freshman all-american QB to have had a winning record in his games.  Here is the list:

Player, School                   G   Yds    Record
Aaron, Murray, Georgia       11   2580   (5-6) 
Pete Thomas, CSU             11  2565   (3-8)
Corey Robinson, Troy          9     2553   (5-4)
Kolton, Browning, ULM       10    2141   (4-6)
Matt Shilz, Bowling Green    9     1941   (2-7)
David Pilandy, Houston        6     1733   (2-4)   started last 6
Jake Heaps, BYU                 9     1593   (5-4)
Ryan Williams, Memphis      10    1575   (1-9)
Danny O'Brien, Maryland      7     1571   (5-2)   started last 7
Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois 10   1482   (5-5)
Robert Boldin, Penn St          7     1350   (4-3)   injured
Keith Wenning, Ball St         10    1349   (3-7)
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska    9    1328   (8-1)  957 yds, 12 TDs rushing
Tanner Price, Wake Forest   8    1125   (1-7)
Jordan Webb, Kansas          6     1114   (2-4)  no longer starting
Chas Dodd, Rutgers             6     986    (2-4)  started last 6
Tyler Bray, Tennessee          5     951    (2-3)  started last 5
Chase Rettig, BC                  5     855    (3-2)  started last 5
Terrance Owens, Toledo      5     808    (2-3)   started last 5

With two regular season games remaining for most teams and the bowl season, there is still a lot of ball to be played, but at this point it looks as if the honor will likely go to Taylor Marinez of Nebraska or Danny O'Brien of Maryland.  However, a couple of solid performances, and a six game win streak to cap the season, could still put Heaps in the mix for freshman all-american.

A couple of other thoughts in looking at the stats:
  • Either good teams don't start freshmen QB's or freshmen QB's haven't been able to carry their teams to vicory, but only about 30% of these teams have been able to get a winning record with the rookie QB. 
  • BYU fans can feel slightly better about their early season struggles in light of how others with inexperienced QBs have struggled as well.
  • I have not pulled out the redshirt freshmen from this group... it would be interesting to see how Heaps compares with just the true freshmen.


  1. Taylor Martinez is a lock for the Freshman AA QB.

    But, Heaps is making great progress and could end up AA in the future.

    I thought Heaps played in every game this year? Are you not counting the Air Force game? I think that game has to count. His Int was a pivitol moment of the game that helped send all the momentum to Air Force.

    Anyways, I think Kyle Van Noy will be BYU's Freshman All-American this year, and have said it repeatedly on my blog--BYU FOOTBALL TALK.

  2. That's true that Heaps played in all of the games so far this season, so fair point, but since games started were not readily available, I have only used stats from games where the players stats show a meaningful participation in the game. If another QB had only thrown 6 passes in a game, I would not have included it, so the AF game was left out in order to keep it apples to apples.

    PS. Nice work on your blog--I guess you could say we are sister blogs?