The best coaches generally get their choice of the best players.
While five-star running back Rueben Owens bucked that trend in committing to Louisville, generally the best players go to the best systems.
There are a number of factors that go into where a player will play college football. NIL opportunities certainly play a role for recruits. Location and campus atmosphere also factor into the decision. However, the better the offensive system and track record, the more likely a quarterback is to consider choosing a school.
Coaches that produce Heisman trophy winning quarterbacks and first-round NFL draft picks are popular destinations. Similarly, programs with winning tradition also factor into recruiting decisions. Here are five of the top quarterback destinations in college football.
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If the Ohio State Buckeyes want a quarterback, they typically get him. After a strong season by Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud, Quinn Ewers and Jack Miller III departed for other schools. Despite losing two blue-chip quarterbacks, Ohio State retained Stroud and five-star quarterback Kyle McCord. In addition, it won a recruiting battle for another five-star quarterback, Devin Brown. And though Joe Burrow is not an Ohio State-developed star, the LSU signal-caller was unable to crack the starting lineup for the Buckeyes. Players certainly gravitate to becoming one of the 11 warriors in Ohio.
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For the longest time, USC has been one of the top quarterback factories in college football. The addition of Lincoln Riley strengthens USC’s recruiting pitch. Riley has a nice quarterback resume. It begins with Heisman Trophy winners and first overall picks, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Afterward, Riley fine-tuned Jalen Hurts’ skills before sending Hurts to the College Football Playoff and NFL draft. His last two quarterbacks, Spencer Rattler and Caleb Williams, put up prolific numbers for Riley over the last two seasons. Riley may not be great at cultivating culture, but few coaches can draw up plays like the Trojans’ head coach.
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Steve Sarkisian is quickly moving Texas up the list. Nearly every quarterback Sarkisian coaches turns into the focus of an NFL scout’s weekend film session. In his short time at Texas, the Longhorns’ coach reeled in missile launcher Maalik Murphy and five-star Quinn Ewers. Sarkisian boasts perhaps the greatest track record of quarterback development considering the volume of first-round picks sent to the league. He played a role in developing Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Jake Locker, Mark Sanchez, Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones. Sarkisian and Riley figure to be the best business decisions for recruits.
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Dabo Swinney has been a popular choice for quarterbacks in recent years. His list of recruits includes DeShaun Watson, Trevor Lawrence, D.J. Uiagelelei and Cade Klubnik. Ignoring Watson’s obvious character flaws, that list is loaded with top level recruits. Despite being an Austin Westlake graduate, Cade Klubnik chose the Tigers. At the moment, Clemson is a school to watch in quarterback recruiting battles.
Alabama Crimson Tide
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Alabama does not presently have a particularly great offensive play caller. The Tide had to overcome offensive lulls with offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien calling the plays. That didn’t stop Bryce Young from winning the Heisman Trophy last season. Since A.J. McCarron, Nick Saban has little trouble luring big-time quarterbacks to Tuscaloosa. Alabama’s last four quarterbacks include Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Bryce Young. Even with Sarkisian departing for Texas, Saban signed five-star talent Ty Simpson. Alabama recently picked up a commit from Eli Holstein. The quarterback recruiting is still strong.