The scenes were potentially crippling for several major programs across the country last weekend who saw their starting quarterbacks lying in an injured heap on the ground, later to be helped – or carted – off with injuries.
The fallout from a number of QBs going down in season-openers has thrust fresh faces into starting roles that will impact their teams’ fortunes this season.
Meet five freshman quarterbacks in line to start this week:
5. Sam Ehlinger, Texas: The well-hyped freshman lost out on the starting job to Shane Buechele, who suffered a bruised shoulder in a loss to Maryland. Buechele did not throw in practice all week and is considered a game-day decision.
Coach Tom Herman has been very high on Ehlinger’s potential, and may choose to play it safe with Buechele to see what he has in the freshman. Buechele set a school freshman record with almost 3,000 passing yards and 21 touchdowns last season, but he is also 5-8 as a starter and needed a strong start to the season to hold of Ehlinger even before the injury.
4. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M: Nick Starkel is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery for a fractured foot suffered in the demoralizing loss to UCLA. Embattled coach Kevin Sumlin said he expects the true freshman Mond to start against Nicholls State, with Jake Hubenak also likely to see action.
Mond was a four-star recruit who trained at the IMG Academy, and went 3-for-17 passing for 27 yards while adding 87 rushing yards in splitting reps before Starkel went down against Bruins. Mond and Hubenak will be evaluated closely against Nicholls State and Louisiana-Lafayette next week before the Aggies open their SEC slate against Arkansas on Sept. 23.
“It’s to our benefit to figure out what we’re doing what we’re doing with that quarterback position,” Sumlin said.
3. Kasim Hill, Maryland: The dual-threat true freshman is the Terrapins’ starter after Tyrrell Pigrome suffered a season-ending knee injury in the victory over Texas. The two battled throughout the preseason camp for the starting job, and Maryland coach DJ Durkin was effusive in his praise after Hill completed all three pass attempts for 44 yards and rushed for 14 yards and a touchdown in relief against the Longhorns.
“This guy is special,” Durkin said of Hill on Tuesday. “He’s been like a veteran guy every day since he’s got here. There will certainly be freshman moments, but he’s the guy you want in that spot.”
2. Jake Fromm, Georgia: The freshman will start Saturday night’s prime time game against Notre Dame after Jacob Eason suffered a sprained ligament in his knee in the season-opening victory over Appalachian State. Fromm is from Warner Robbins, Ga., (of Little League World Series fame) and completed 10 of 15 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown after Eason was injured. He has been with the football program since enrolling in school in January.
The only other scholarship quarterback on Georgia’s roster is senior Brice Ramsey, who threw two interceptions in mop-up duty against Appalachian State in the fourth quarter. He has appeared in 20 games over the past three seasons, but has no career starts for Georgia.
1. James Blackman, Florida State: Several voters admitted they dropped the Seminoles further than they would have in the AP rankings following the Seminoles’ loss to Alabama due to Deondre Francois’ season-ending knee injury. FSU dropped to No. 10 in the rankings, and now turns to the true freshman Blackman – who will get his first start next week after the Seminoles’ game this weekend was cancelled by Hurricane Irma.
The Glades Central High product was the No. 16-rated pro-style quarterback in his class by 247Sports Composite, but is considered to have great potential – once he fills out his lanky 6-foot-5, 185-pound frame. Blackman could prove to be a dual-threat playmaker, but is he prepared now to withstand the weekly punishment he will absord?
Francois’ injury brought to the forefront the number of quarterbacks that have left the program over the past four years. John Franklin III and Malik Henry transferred in an effort to find more playing time, while De’Andre Johnson was booted from the program following a 2015 arrest.
That has helped lead coach Jimbo Fisher to turn to Blackman – the first true freshman quarterback to take a snap for Fisher in more than a decade.