The racial bias that existed for decades proclaiming that black players were not fit to play the position of quarterback is long gone. In fact four of the NFL's most impressive signal-callers – Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, and Cam Newton – are black. While RGIII was the second quarterback taken in the 2012 NFL Draft, the first quarterback taken in 2013, was Florida State's E.J. Manuel, who is also black. The proliferation of the spread-option attack and the NFL’s current trend toward more athletic quarterbacks has helped open the game to more black quarterbacks, and Kaepernick, Wilson, and Griffin, who all took their teams to the playoffs last year, have demolished whatever remained of the absurd notion that black quarterbacks can’t win.
Heading into the 2013 college football season, there is a black quarterback on almost every major roster in the country. To provide a glimpse, here are five of the best that should be on everyone's radar to watch come Saturday's this fall.
Braxton Miller (Ohio State). Quick, which starting quarterback has the longest active winning streak in the country? B. Miller. Under his direction the Buckeyes went unblemished with a 12-0 record last year and have a chance to add 14 more consecutive victories this season if Miller continues his improvement in Urban Meyer's spread offense. The dual-threat junior has nearly 5,300 yards total offense in two seasons, with plenty more to come this year.
Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville). By most accounts, Bridgewater is top of the cream of the crop entering the 2014 NFL draft class, as he has all of the qualities teams look for in a pro passer. Teddy Ballgame has both the tangibles (accuracy, velocity, athletic ability) and the intangibles (great under pressure, physical toughness, leadership ability). With a weak schedule, it may be tough for Bridgewater to make a strong compelling case to content for the Heisman, however an undefeated season and big stats could possibly put him over the top.
Tajh Boyd (Clemson). The top senior QB in the nation, who turned down a shot to play on Sunday's for an opportunity at a national championship and a chance to increase his draft stock. Boyd's downfield passing ability is arguably the best in college football. He and the Tigers get Georgia and ACC rival Florida State in Death Valley, providing him with a platform to produce a body of work heading into November that could make him a Heisman front-runner.
Devin Gardner (Michigan). The Denard Robinson Era is finally over, and now the keys to the car belong to the 6'4 dual-threat who has world-class ability and potential. This was the primary reason the Wolverines began transitioning to Gardner last season and will hand him complete control of a more versatile and balanced offense this season.
Brett Hundley (UCLA). One of the biggest surprises last season, emerging as a redshirt freshman to throw for more than 300 yards in three of his first four games – including a big upset of Nebraska. By season's end Hundley had thrown for 3,740 yards and 29 touchdowns, leading the Bruins to their most victories in seven seasons. Expect the workload and expectations to increase heading into this season as he will not be able to sneak up on any opposing teams this time around.