College football is a game of skill and teamwork, but it also contains luck and opportunity. While scouting services have been getting better with finding the diamonds in the rough every year, there are still players who appear out of nowhere and become stars. Last year was a weird year for that, but we still saw Zach Wilson become a top-two draft pick. We saw wide receivers Elijah Moore and Kadarius Toney increase their draft stocks immensely as well. Everything indicates us getting a normal college football season in 2021, which means more games and more players to break out. In this article, I’ll give you some players I’ll be watching closely that most aren’t talking about. Most of these players have lower ADPs and are values in Campus 2 Canton drafts. These players have had moments to make me believe in them, and I believe are on the verge of a breakout.

Grant Gunnell- Memphis

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Who is Grant Gunnell?

Grant Gunnell, out of The Woodlands, Texas, is the most prolific passer in Texas history. He was named a finalist for the All-American Bowl Offensive Player of the Year. In his three years as the starter at St. Pius X High School in Houston, he totaled 16,108 passing yards, 195 TD/28 INT. Both passing yards and touchdowns are state records, which is impressive if you look at all the quarterbacks to come out of Texas. He was a 4-star out of HS and the 15th QB in his class.

Gunnell looked to be locked into Texas A&M but then followed head coach Kevin Sumlin To Arizona. He started three games as a freshman for Arizona in replacement for injured started Khalil Tate. However, due to Tate sustaining injuries, he played in eight games total. He finished with a 65.2 completion percentage which ranks fourth all-time for Arizona in a single season with at least 100 attempts.

Passing Table
Passing
Year School Conf Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2019ArizonaPac-12FRQB810115565.212398.08.991150.2
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2021.

Last season due to Covid and a shoulder injury, we only got to see him play in two full games. In one game, he was injured on the first drive and missed the rest of the game. In the other, they were beaten 70-17, and he was pulled very early into that game. He still finished the season as the fourth most efficient quarterback in the Pac-12.

Passing Table
Passing
Year School Conf Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2020ArizonaPac-12SOQB4649368.86256.77.062142.3
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2021.

What do I like about his game?

Gunnell has an absolute cannon attached to his right shoulder and makes accurate downfield throws.

Att/CmpYdsTD/IntComp%BTT/BTT%TWP/TWP%aDOT
7/31352/042.93/37.5%1/12.5%28.9
These are Grant Gunnells pass attempts over 20+ yards
All stats courtesy of PFF.com.
BTT (Big Time Throws)
TWP (turnover worthy plays)
aDot (average depth of target)

Gunnell finished top 12 in both big-time throws and not having many turnover-worthy plays. These can be a bit misleading as, again, Gunnell played less than the starting quarterbacks ahead and behind him.

When watching Gunnell, he has great pocket manipulation for his size (6’6 228). He’s also a good athlete at his size and can make plays with his legs. He can make any throw on the field with little effort and motion. He has good zip on his balls and changes speeds on his throws when necessary. Gunnell has a bit of an unorthodox throwing motion for me, and up to this point in college, we haven’t seen him complete a full season, so his production is lacking.

Why will he breakout?

Memphis was quietly a top offense last year. They ranked 8th in pass attempts, 10th in passing yards, and finished 17th in overall offense—all of this with senior quarterback Brady White taking snaps. For fantasy, Brady White would finish as the 7th QB in points in 2020. Head coach Ryan Silverfield runs a fast-paced offense that requires quick and accurate throws. His offense fits what was asked of Gunnell in high school, which, as illustrated above, was a system that allowed him to break state records.

With Gunnell’s talent and Silverfield’s offense, I expect Gunnell to have a breakout season in 21 with the Memphis Tigers. As long as he stays healthy, Gunnell, I believe he can pass for over 3,500 yards and over 30+ touchdowns, something Brady White did once in his career with the team. Gunnell has more upside and is not only a more complete passer but can also use his legs. Memphis should be a very good team in 2021. With a current ADP of 163 per Campus2Canton.com C2C ADP, Gunnell is coming off the board in the 13th round. He’s a quarterback you can wait on and take later in the draft that will help your college side win games and have NFL upside.

Phil Jurkovec- Boston College

www.forbes.com

Who is Phil Jurkovec?

Phil Jurkovec hails from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, where he attended Pine-Richland high school. He led Pine-Richland High School to a 16-0 record and the 2017 PIAA 6A state championship. He missed part of his sophomore season due to a thumb injury but was still able to amass 11,144 yards, second-best in Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) history. His final high school career stat was 11,144 total yards, 8,202 passing yards, 71 TD passes, and 68.4 percent completion percentage.

After committing to Notre Dame, Jurkovec played in one game as a freshman before redshirting. He then played in six games as a sophomore before transferring to Boston College.

In his first season with Boston College, Jurkovec had some amazing moments dampened by injuries. He was finally able to show off his arm and how well he can get the ball down the field. Jurkovec was also able to use his legs more with Boston College as he is an underrated athlete. He finished off the 2020 season with impressive numbers and helped one of our favorite wide receivers Zay Flowers break out. He decided to return to school, which could work out for him in the long run.

Passing Table
Passing
Year School Conf Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
2020Boston CollegeACCSOQB1020533661.025587.68.0175138.7
Boston College20533661.025587.68.0175138.7
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 5/11/2021.

What do I like about his game?

Phil Jurkovec has the ideal NFL size at 6’5-226. Jurkovec arm talent is where he succeeds the most. He has plenty of zip on his ball, does a good job changing speeds when necessary. He can drive the ball into tight windows, and drive the ball down the field, typically hitting receivers in stride. We were also able to see him use his legs a bit more last season, and he more than adequate running the ball when needed.

Jurkovec does struggle with his accuracy at times. In the same game, you can watch him make NFL throws and then with back-to-back throws miss open receivers. He tends to throw behind receivers at times or take a bit too long to pull the trigger, allowing defenders to come in and make a play.

Att/CmpYdsTD/IntComp%BTT/BTT%TWP/TWP%aDOT
337/2052,55817/560.8%24/6.6%18/4.4%10.6
Phil Jurkovec 2020 season stats
All stats courtesy of PFF.com.
BTT (Big Time Throws)
TWP (turnover worthy plays)
aDot (average depth of target)

Why will he breakout?

Boston College finished as the 24th ranked offense last year. This was almost on par with Jurkovec, who finished as the 23rd ranked quarterback in scoring in 2020 with 246.9 points but finished 19th in points per game with 24.69. Jurkovec missed one game in 2020, and if he can stay healthy, he should be on pace for a better year in 2021. He’s improved every year being and this being his second season in Jeff Hafley’s offense, he should take another step forward. Boston College currently sits with the 77th ranked defense. While being in the ACC that is about mediocre, their offense should put up points to stay with their opponents. With not much at the running back position and Hunter Long gone, the War Eagles will likely be relying heavily on Jurkovec and Zay Flowers.

Jurkovec is currently sitting with an ADP of 109.50. He’s currently going higher than the other two on this list but still worth a shot in the 9th round, especially if you decide to punt QB earlier in the draft. Jurkovec could easily be the first QB you grab in the 8th or 9th round to anchor the position on your roster. Loading up on talent at running back and wide receiver and then grabbing a Jurkovec later could help build a strong and deep position group on the college side.

Michael Pratt- Tulane

www.seattletimes.com

Who is Michael Pratt?

Michael Pratt was the freshman starting quarterback for the Tulane Greenwave in 2020. Pratt was recruited as a 3-star pro-style quarterback out of Deerfield Beach, Florida. Pratt did not start playing football until his freshman year in high school. The 6’3, 195 gunslinger started his high school career at Boca Raton High School but transferred after a junior season in which he passed for 1,208 yards and 12 touchdowns, along with 447 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

His transfer came as a surprise to many as he was the established starter for Boca Raton. So why did he transfer to Deerfield Beach, who already had an established starting quarterback of their own? Pratt wanted competition. He wanted to prove he could go in and beat out another good player and take the starting job. Not only did he win the job, but he also helped lead Deerfield Beach to the Florida high school Class 8A Semifinals in 2019.

Pratt could have been considered as the top freshman quarterback in 2020. He played in 10 games and started 9 of them. Pratt finished the 2020 season with 1,806 passing yards and 20 touchdowns. His 20 passing touchdowns were the most among true freshman quarterbacks in 2020. He also showed he could make plays with his legs, adding 229 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns.

What do I like about his game?

Pratt creates an advantage with his legs. He has above-average mobility for his size. When the pocket collapses, he has no issue tucking the ball and running, most of the time for positive yardage. Pratt has average arm strength and can push the ball down the field. He’s more accurate in the short and intermediate area than he is going downfield. He manipulates the pocket and can throw off-platform but needs to square his shoulders a bit more when doing so. Pratt has a small hitch in his throw, but outside of that, his mechanics are solid.

Att/CmpYdsTD/IntComp%BTT/BTT%TWP/TWP%aDOT
254/1401,80620/855.1%14/5.2%11/3.2%11.3
Michael Pratt 2020 season stats
All stats courtesy of PFF.com.
BTT (Big Time Throws)
TWP (turnover worthy plays)
aDot (average depth of target)

Why will he breakout?

It may surprise people, but Pratt scored a decent amount of college fantasy points last year. He finished with 265.6 points in 2020, which was good enough for the 17th highest scoring QB in college. Tulane was the 77th ranked defense last year. I do not expect that to change much moving into the 2021 season. There is a realistic chance that Tulane is worse as they won’t be playing a conference-only schedule. If Tulane plays from behind, they will have to rely more on Pratt’s arm and his ability to make plays with his legs.

Pratt had an impressive season as a true freshman. We know based on the moves he made in high school, he is competitive and wants to be the best. He should progress more this off-season moving into his second year in this offense, and if he can improve his accuracy he should be able to increase his points. As of right now, Michael Pratt is free in C2C startup drafts. He isn’t being drafted in most if any of these leagues. While there likely isn’t much of an NFL future here for Pratt, he’s a low-cost option that could help you win on the college side. Especially, if you punt quarterback earlier in the draft, Pratt could be the perfect solution for you towards the end of your drafts.

These three quarterbacks are going later than they should in campus to canton drafts. All three could help you win the college side of your leagues, and two of them have NFL upside. If you decide to punt quarterback early in your college startups, all three of these QBs are viable late targets to help you win. I hope you enjoyed the breakdown of these three quarterbacks I expect to break out in 2022. Make sure to stay tuned for my 2022 running back breakouts.

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