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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Football

How D’Eriq King stacks up to other top quarterbacks


 Senior quarterback D'Eriq King was one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation in 2018. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Senior quarterback D’Eriq King was one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation in 2018. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

While some college football players come into and steal the spotlight, other players fall under the radar while performing at high levels.

Senior quarterback D’Eriq King, an example of the phenomenon, is coming into his final season with Houston and is poised to put on another successful season, picking up where he left off in 2018 after being sidelined with a knee injury.

Every now and then, a player will emerge from a lesser-known program or smaller conference and shock audiences watching with their game.

Over the years, many of these players have gone on to put their names in the news as top college prospects and even go on to become immediate starters upon arriving in the NFL.

A more recent example would be Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who in 2016 became the highest ever NFL pick out of an FCS school.

While it is important to consider the rest of the roster for each team, it is with no doubt that King is a top quarterback in the nation and his role for the Cougars is comparable to the role other top quarterbacks play for their respective programs.

King showed out in 2018, throwing for 2,982 yards and 36 touchdowns along with only 6 interceptions, while rushing for 674 yards and 14 touchdowns before suffering an injury late in the year that kept him off the field for the remainder of the season.

ESPN ranked King No. 40 on its list of the 50 best players in college football heading into the 2019 season, also ranking as the 10th best quarterback.

Some quarterbacks featured ahead of King on the list were Clemson sophomore Trevor Lawrence, Alabama junior Tua Tagovailoa and Georgia junior Jake Fromm.

While most of these quarterbacks ranked ahead of King have proven themselves on the biggest stages of college football, one cannot take away the importance of the role that King plays for the Cougars and how he compares to other elite college quarterbacks around the country.

One of the easiest comparisons to make with King is Lawrence, who is going into his second season with the Tigers and is looking to lead his team to another College Football Playoff appearance and possible national championship.

Lawrence didn’t get his first start with Clemson until Week 5, after he beat out former teammate and now Missouri quarterback Kelly Bryant for the starting spot under center.

Lawrence and King’s numbers from last season are very close, with Lawrence throwing a completion rate of 65.2 percent compared to King’s 63.5, 30 touchdowns to King’s 36, and four interceptions to King’s six.

Now in his third for the Crimson Tide, Tagovailoa will try and lead his team to a fifth straight national championship appearance and third for him.

Tagovailoa and King both are crucial centerpieces to their respective offenses, with Tagovailoa contributing on 48 of the Crimson Tide’s 92 touchdowns, while King contributing on 50 of the Cougars’ 78 total touchdowns in 2018.

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