Why I Advise College Sophomore Quarterbacks to Stay in School

Whether you like it or not, the quarterback position is different from any other position in football. They often get more glory than they deserve when things are going well and always get a lion’s share of the blame when teams falter. The amount of maturity, as well as physical and mental development, required to thrive at this position in the National Football League far surpasses that of any other position.

Over the past several years I have been fortunate to have been contacted by a few individuals facing this decision with inquiries about my opinion as part of their decision making process. After spending some time researching the subject, I was a little surprised how poorly the small sample of sophomores at the quarterback position have fared in the NFL.

While many players at other positions, who came out following their sophomore year, have had nice careers, the only QB I could find who established himself as a starter in the league was Michael Vick (though he had some well-publicized serious problems mid-career). The next best outcome I found for a sophomore QB was journeyman Tommy Maddox who entered the league in 1992 and became a starter in the 2002 & 2003 seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I am of the opinion that there are only two good reasons for a quarterback to leave following his sophomore year to pursue a career in the NFL:  1) if someone in your family is suffering from a serious illness and this is the only way that they can afford the treatment they need, and 2) if you do not believe you are good enough to have a successful career in the NFL.

Let’s take these separately. Many will (and have argued with me) that my reason #1 does not go far enough and should include the player’s family’s financial hardship in general as well. I could not disagree more, I believe what is in the best interest of the player’s future is paramount. In addition, even if their family is suffering financially, chances are they have been in this condition for sometime and one more year will not kill them. Putting that type of pressure on your kid is not fair to him and losing that extra year of maturity and development may end up ruining what could have been a good career.

As for #2, most people ask me what I mean by that. Well if you are going to have a career as an NFL quarterback, how soon you enter the league or where you are drafted are of little importance. The real money for a quarterback comes after their first contract; once they have proven their value. The six highest paid players in the league today are all quarterbacks. Five of the six entered the league after completing their senior year in college. While three were first round picks (1st, 18th and 24th pick) one was not drafted at all and another was a sixth round pick.

Now if you don’t think you have what it takes to make a career as an NFL QB, then by all means it behooves you to come out early and take the money and run.

Agents love to tell kids that if they don’t come out early they are leaving millions of dollars on the table. When it comes to a position like running back, I am inclined to agree with them. However, when it comes to quarterbacks the evidence does not add up.

If you were a coach, whom would you want running your offense? The kid who is reaching for the gold ring or the kid who had the where-with-all to turn down sure riches to better prepare himself for his career? All NFL quarterbacks have the physical skill to play the position, what separates them is their decision-making ability.


You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc


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