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Under Review: Collegiate Passer Rating

One of the nuggets we've tossed out in support of Vince Young over the last few weeks is that he led the nation in passing efficiency. This got me to thinking, though: do the national leaders in collegiate passer rating turn in to good NFL quarterbacks? Let's take a look.

From 1999-2004, the following quarterbacks were at the top of the collegiate passer rating rankings:

  1. Michael Vick (Virginia Tech), Joe Hamilton (Georgia Tech), Chad Pennington (Marshall)
  2. Bart Hendricks (Boise State), Chris Weinke (Florida State), Rex Grossman (Florida)
  3. Rex Grossman (Florida), David Carr (Fresno State)
  4. Brad Banks (Iowa), Byron Leftwich (Marshall)
  5. Phillip Rivers (NC State), Ben Roethlisberger (Miami-Ohio), Matt Leinart (USC)
  6. Stefan Lefors (Louisville), Alex Smith (Utah)
We can immediately throw out Brad Banks, as the 5'11" Iowa star had no real chance of being an NFL quarterback. Bart Hendricks floated around Europe, but never amounted to anything. Joe Hamilton is playing arena ball.

The remainder, though, are a pretty strong group. The jury is still out on Leinart, Rivers, Smith, and Lefors, but the rest of the passing leaders have had a chance to make an impact in the NFL.

The list isn't exactly loaded with Pro Bowlers, but most of these guys are still young in the league, with room to grow. The only real star in the group is Roethlisberger, who despite having a rough Super Bowl, was dominant in the playoffs. Vick has had his moments, including the first ever road playoff victory at Lambaugh Field, but he's still too wild and still has no one other than his tight end to throw to. Pennington was doing reasonably well until the entire Jets organization came crumbling apart, including Pennington's shoulder. Leftwich hasn't been bad, either. The two with the most still to prove are Grossman and Carr. If the Texans take Young, of course, the pressure on Carr will be even greater.

I don't (yet) have the data for prior to 1999, but I'll look for it. I did see that Elvis Grbac led the nation in passing efficiency in 1991 and 1992, so that tells you something. More to come.