I wrote a big piece earlier this month detailing how many quarterbacks are playing immediately or transferring, and we see why every single weekend.
Today, Gil Brandt posted this tweet that’s shocking to ready, but really shouldn’t be.
Most starting QBs age 26 or younger in a single week since 1950:
20 Week 3, 2019*
18 Week 4, 1987
17 Week 5, 1987
17 Week 16, 1985
*If Panthers start Kyle Allen https://t.co/qnvRhywxYx
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 20, 2019
And then earlier this week, Ross Dellenger wrote this piece for Sports Illustrated detailing how many true freshman quarterbacks are starting games this year — and how their teams aren’t suffering for a lack of experience in the sport’s most important position.
According to research from STATS Perform, 24 true freshmen started at least one game at quarterback in the FBS last season, 11 from Power 5 schools. The increase in true freshman QB starters is most felt at the major college level. From 2009–13 in the Power 5, 43 freshman quarterbacks started a total of 229 games. From 2014–18, 61 rookies started 360 games. Though the sample size is small, this year’s rookies are setting highs for yards per game (250.6) and completion percentage (63.1), the highest of any freshman group since at least 2012, the last year of STATS Perform’s research. Freshman QBs are winning more, too. In 2012 and 2013, they won 30.4% and 36.7% of their games. Since then, they’ve won at least 42% of the time with a high of 45.6% in 2017.
You don’t need me to tell you why this is happening. Being QB1 is now more or less a full-time, year-round job from age 14 (or earlier), and so players arrive in college and the NFL more prepared than ever.
At the same time, as Bill Walsh’s influence on modern football was waned and Mike Leach’s has increased, the learning curve has flattened tremendously. No longer is jumping from high school to college and then college to the NFL like going to law school, it’s closer to a continuation of the same playbook you’ve already been running since you were 14 (or earlier).
Now that this door is opened, it seems unlikely that it’ll ever close again.