While you try to project the potential of a QB in his early years, the harsh reality is that a lot of these young players do not pan out for one reason or another. Some do manage to be long-term starters, some see limited games in their career, and some of these recruits never saw the field at all in the NFL.
Let’s take a look at each of the top QB recruits dating back to 2000 to see how successful their careers ended up being.
2000: Brock Berlin, Florida
For the 2000 and 2001 seasons Berlin was behind Rex Grossman in the depth chart at the University of Florida. Berlin had the chance to start in the 2002 Orange Bowl when Grossman was benched for violating curfew.
After the 2001 season Berlin transferred to Miami where he finished with a record of 19-5 as the team’s starting QB.
Berlin went undrafted in the 2005 NFL draft but signed with the Miami Dolphins. Berlin only started two NFL games, which were both for the Rams from 2007-2008.
2001: Brodie Croyle, Alabama
Haunted by shoulder and knee injuries during his collegiate career, Croyle only managed to start a full season in 2005, his senior season at Alabama. In that season Croyle and Alabama won the Cotton Bowl over Texas Tech, and Croyle shared the game’s MVP honors with teammate DeMeco Ryans.
Croyle was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Croyle was nagged by injuries throughout his professional career as well, and never was able to consistently stay on the field for the Chiefs.
Croyle signed with the Cardinals later in his career but retired shortly after.
2002: Vince Young, Texas
Vince Young was the most famous football player in the state of Texas as a high schooler, and fittingly enrolled at the University of Texas to play for Mack Brown. Young is widely known for his 2005 season in which he led the Longhorns to an 11-0 record, eventually reaching the National Championship Rose Bowl against the USC Trojans.
In the Rose Bowl, Young recorded 3 rushing TDs and 467 yards of total offense which led him to a Rose Bowl MVP and a thrilling 41-38 victory. This ended a historic 34 game win streak for the reigning National Champion, USC.
Vince Young was drafted 3rd overall to the Tennessee Titans in 2006, becoming the first QB selected in that draft. However, Young’s NFL career was not as illustrious as his high school and collegiate careers.
Young did win Offensive Rookie of the Year and appear in two Pro Bowls (2007, 2010), but he lost his love for the game and had off the field situations as his career progressed. Young has since worked for the University of Texas in various capacities.
2003: Kyle Wright, Miami
Wright had a lot of excitement to continue the lineage of elite Miami QBs such as Jim Kelly, Vinny Testaverde, and Bernie Kosar. Wright seemingly had a mediocre college career, in which his final statistics were: 5,835 passing yards, 38 TDs, 31 INT.
Wright was not drafted and had short stints on the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers rosters, but never appeared in an NFL game.
2004: Rhett Bomar, Oklahoma
Bomar became the starter at Oklahoma in just the 2nd game of the 2005 season, but he was dismissed from the team by Head Coach Bob Stoops after Bomar was paid for work that he did not complete at a car dealership. This was a violation of NCAA rules.
He then transferred to Sam Houston State and ended up being drafted in the fifth round by the New York Giants during the 2009 NFL Draft. Bomar never was able to rise up the depth chart during his NFL career.
He is currently the offensive coordinator at Alief Taylor High School in Houston, Texas.
2005: Mark Sanchez, USC
Mark Sanchez had a short stint at USC, and defeated Penn State in the Rose Bowl during his final season. Sanchez elected to leave USC early with the announcement that Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, and Colt McCoy decided to stay in school. Sanchez saw this as an opportunity to maximize his draft stock, but his decision was met with criticism.
Sanchez ended up being drafted fifth overall in the 2009 draft to the New York Jets. Sanchez led the Jets to the AFC Championship game in his first two seasons, joining Ben Roethlisberger as the only QBs to reach the conference championship in their first two seasons.
After losing back-to-back AFC championships, Sanchez’s career faded and spent time with Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, and Washington before retiring after the 2018 season. Sanchez is now a Fox Sports game analyst.
2006: Matthew Stafford, Georgia
After playing for the Bulldogs during college, Stafford became the first overall pick to the Detroit Lions in the 2009 NFL draft. The Lions did not have a ton of success despite the talent of Matthew Stafford. Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards in 2011 but ended up only reaching the playoffs three times during his career in Detroit.
Stafford was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in 2021, and won the Super Bowl in just his first season in LA.
2007: Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
After having success during his sophomore and junior seasons at Notre Dame, Clausen was expected to be one of the top quarterbacks selected in the 2010 NFL Draft, along with Sam Bradford. Surprisingly, Clausen was selected in the second round by the Carolina Panthers.
After just three NFL starts in 2010, Clausen was benched. The Panthers selected Cam Newton with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft which seemingly closed the door for Jimmy Clausen. Clausen later appeared in games with the Bears and Ravens.
2008: Terelle Pryor, Ohio State
While ultimately choosing football, Terelle Pryor was one of the most recruited high school basketball players in the nation.
Pryor was the starting quarterback at Ohio State from 2008-2010, winning the Big Ten Championship twice. After his collegiate career that consisted of several suspensions and allegations, Pryor was selected by the Raiders in the third round of the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft. Pryor started off as a QB for the Raiders, but converted full-time to WR with the Browns, Redskins, Jets, Bills, and Jaguars.
2009: Matt Barkley, USC
Barkley was named 2007 football Gatorade National Player of the Year, leading him to USC. Barkley was the successor to Mark Sanchez and was named starter for the 2009 season opener as a true freshman. Due to a shoulder injury, Barkley’s draft stock fell. After once being regarded as the number one pick in the draft, Barkley was selected in the fourth round by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Barkley has been given chances on many NFL teams but has largely been a longtime backup. Barkley is currently a backup QB on the Buffalo Bills.
2010: Phillip Sims, Alabama
After committing to Alabama, Sims sat out in 2010 as a true freshman to redshirt. In 2011 Sims was the backup to A.J. McCarron.
Sims transferred to Virginia, and later to Winston-Salem State. After going undrafted in 2015, Sims signed a contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Sims also signed contracts with the Seahawks, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL.
Sims is now a high school football Head Coach in Virginia.
2011: Jeff Driskel, Florida
Driskel played at the University of Florida before transferring to Louisiana Tech for one season in 2015.
Driskel was selected by the Boston Red Sox with the 863rd pick of the 2013 MLB Draft but had no desire to stop playing football.
Driskel was drafted by the 49ers in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Driskel has had a 1-8 record as a starter in the NFL, and recently converted from QB to TE during the 2021 season with the Houston Texans.
2012: Jameis Winston, Florida State
Winston became the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy, in his freshman year in which he also led the Seminoles to a 2014 BCS National Championship victory.
After just two seasons at Florida State, Winston declared for the draft and was selected first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015. Winston is well known for his 2019 season in which he led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards, and 30 INT.
Tampa Bay did not re-sign Winston after his rookie contract expired, and Winston joined the New Orleans Saints. Winston is now the primary starter after Drew Brees’ retirement.
2013: Max Browne, USC
Browne chose to go to school at USC over Oklahoma, Washington, and Alabama. Browne was constantly in QB battles during his time at USC, most notably with Cody Kessler in his early years, and then Sam Darnold to end his USC career.
After being beat out by Sam Darnold, Browne transferred to Pittsburgh and was eventually replaced by Ben Dinucci.
Browne was not signed by an NFL team after his collegiate career ended and has since pursued a career in broadcasting.
2014: Kyle Allen, Texas A&M
Kyle Allen played college football at Texas A&M before transferring to Houston in 2016.
Following the end of his time at Houston in 2018, Allen signed with the Carolina Panthers as a UDFA. Allen started one game in 2018, and 12 games in 2019 as a result of injuries to Cam Newton.
Allen was traded to Washington in 2020 but suffered a serious ankle injury after just four games. On March 23rd, 2022, Allen signed a one-year contract with the Houston Texans.
2015: Josh Rosen, UCLA
Rosen excelled at UCLA during his freshman year, and later set the school’s record for passing yards in a single season in his junior year.
Rosen was selected 10th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. This was a first round that included: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson.
After a disastrous rookie season, the Cardinals quickly moved on from Rosen by trading him to the Miami Dolphins the following year. The Cardinals took QB Kyler Murray first overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Rosen has since been a backup QB for the 49ers and Falcons but is now a free agent.
2016: Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
Patterson began his collegiate career at Ole Miss but ended up transferring to Michigan where he played from 2018-2019.
Patterson went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft but signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Patterson is now a QB for the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL.
2017: Davis Mills, Stanford
Mills played in only 14 games during his career at Stanford, in large part because of the shortened season in 2020. Mills was selected in the third round by the Houston Texans in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Mills was given a path to the field after Tyrod Taylor suffered a hamstring injury in Week 2 of the 2021 season. His best game of the season came against the New England Patriots where he finished 21-of-29 for 312 yards and 3 TDs. Mills is now the only rookie QB to throw for over 300 yards and 3 TDs against Bill Belichick.
Mills exceeded expectations during his rookie season, which now puts him in the driver’s seat to be the starting quarterback for the Texans heading into 2022.
2018: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Lawrence was one of the most anticipated college prospects of all time, and he lived up to the hype at Clemson. Lawrence led the Tigers to a National Championship victory in 2019 as a freshman, and he holds the record for QB wins at Clemson.
The motto for the lackluster teams in the 2020 NFL season was “Tank for Trevor”, and the 1-15 Jacksonville Jaguars selected Trevor first overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Lawrence struggled during his rookie season but should look to improve with a new coaching staff led by Doug Pederson.
2019: Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
Despite a lot of promise early on in his career at Oklahoma, things went south very quickly for Spencer Rattler. By 2021, Rattler was benched for Caleb Williams during the second quarter of a matchup against Texas.
After the 2021 season Rattler entered the transfer portal, ultimately deciding to attend the University of South Carolina. Rattler is expected to start for the Gamecocks in 2022.
2020: Bryce Young, Alabama
In 2020, Bryce Young sat behind QB Mac Jones who led the Crimson Tide to a National Title win against Ohio State.
The next season Young made his debut as Alabama’s starter. During the 2021 season Bryce Young became the first Alabama QB to win the Heisman, and he set the record for most passing yards in a single game by an Alabama QB (559).
Bryce Young is returning for Alabama in 2022 and is regarded as one of the top prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft.
2021: Quinn Ewers, Ohio State
Quinn Ewers was one of the first amateur athletes to reap the benefits of the new NIL rules. Ewers is set to make over $1 million as an amateur athlete.
Ewers took only two snaps at QB in 2021, as he was behind C.J. Stroud. In December of 2021, Ewers announced that he would be transferring to the University of Texas.
Just as recent as this week, Arch Manning announced his commitment to play football at Texas.
2022: Cade Klubnik, Clemson
Klubnik attended the well-known Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Drew Brees, Nick Foles, and Sam Ehlinger are among the notable alumni QBs from Westlake.
In the summer of 2021, Klubnik was named MVP of the Elite 11 Showcase. Klubnik is currently enrolled at Clemson.
2023: Arch Manning, Texas
Manning committed to Texas on Thursday, June 23. As a member of football royalty, Manning is perhaps the most hyped and highly anticipated prospect to enter the NCAA in history.