Before they compete this fall for more prestigious honors -- the Johnny Unitas Award, the Heisman Trophy, the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft -- there are a few players who have already distinguished themselves for the highest award I can bestow upon them: the Thornton Melon Trophy, awarded to the best-decision makers in the land.
Of all the things Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley and Braxton Miller accomplished on the field last season, the thing that impressed me most was their ability to recognize that they were not yet ready for the NFL -- despite reactionary buzz to the contrary. By deciding to go back to school, this trio of underclass quarterbacks demonstrated an understanding that their games were not yet NFL-ready, an awareness not shared by Johnny Manziel.
All three have returned to campus to develop as passers. They need to learn to harness their flight instincts, to prove that their second read isn't to tuck the ball and take off. All are bigger and sturdier than Manziel, so running with the ball isn't necessarily the risk for them that it is for him. Still, they're not going to win games in the NFL with their legs. They'll need to win games from the pocket, and all three of them need to improve that foundational aspect of their respective games.
The Quarterback Class of 2013 was uninspiring. The Class of 2014 hada handful of promising prospects. But the Quarterback Class of 2015 has a chance to be rich with first-round prospects -- provided these guys do what they came back to school to learn.