Why North Carolina QB Bryn Renner Is Underrated
By Ryan Lacey
Bryn Renner is the most underrated quarterback in college football.
That statement seems absurd at first. But look at his numbers and combine them with the limited attention he gets both locally and nationally, and the statement rings true. Most outside of the ACC have never heard of Renner and it is a shame. The senior is coming off of a season where he threw 28 touchdowns to just seven interceptions in completing 65 percent of his throws for 3,356 yards.
There are two main reasons why he seems to fly under the radar. For one, he's not a dual-threat athlete that makes the TV ratings move. Players like Johnny Manziel and Tajh Boyd wow with highlight-reel runs and charisma. Renner lacks those qualities.
It should be noted that two of the best quarterbacks in the country, Alabama's A.J. McCarron and Georgia's Aaron Murray, are pocket passers. Despite all of the flair that has entered college football during the last decade, these are the types of players that win consistently. It will be interesting to see if this applies to Renner in the fall.
The other reason why Renner doesn't get the attention he deserves is because he also plays for a team that, despite possessing NFL-quality talent in numerous positions, has been mired in the middle of the ACC for years. It's rare for a player in his situation to get any attention, regardless of how good his stats are.
It's even more surprising that he goes unnoticed based on his status coming out of high school. Renner was a four-star recruit from Virginia and ranked fifth nationally among quarterbacks. He sat behind T. J. Yates for a season before taking the reigns as a true sophomore. Renner posted an excellent season, completing 68 percent of his throws for more than 3,000 yards, with all of this occurring while the Tar Heels were under the heavy microscope of the NCAA.
Renner improved as the 2012 season wore on, throwing nine touchdowns and only one pick in his last three games. He has also improved steadily each season — another sign of a good quarterback. Take a Logan Thomas, who fell off the map in his junior campaign, and compare him to a player like Renner. The difference in maturity is stark as well.
His stats are not inflated by an air-raid style offense designed to eclipse 40 pass attempts per game. The Tar Heels run a pro-style offense that is predicated on the run game. Giovanni Bernard did excellent in that role during the last two years, but Renner has played his part as well in making the defense pay for playing the run.
Renner also lacks a superstar receiver to designate all of his targets. Quinshad Davis grew into that role towards the end of last season with 417 receiving yards in his last three games. If the two can establish a consistent relationship in the fall, both should be in line for big seasons. Renner will certainly be asked to do more to help ease the burden of losing Bernard.
It's unclear as of now when Renner might get selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. For now he appears to be a mid-round prospect. If he posts another excellent season in 2013, his stock should rise despite the multitude of outstanding quarterbacks poised to enter the league next year.
Renner is easily the second-best quarterback (beyond Boyd) in the ACC, and will have a chance to compete for the top spot when the seasons kicks off. Stay tuned, folks.