Brantley's spring game in perspective
Updated: April 12, 2010, 4:51 PM ETBy Bruce Feldman
It's always risky to read too much into spring game stats. Coaches are always guarded about showing too much scheme and they also tend to want to fire up fans with high-scoring events to stir optimism for the upcoming season. That said, the buzz surrounding John Brantley, Florida's new QB, keeps growing. And expectations will grow even more after he completed 15-of-19 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns Saturday, or as the AP deemed it "the kind of performance many expected from the highly touted quarterback who waited three years behind Tebow for a shot to start:" "Boy, he was good," coach Urban Meyer said. "He was good." "We're not going to take a step back at all," Brantley said. Considering all that the Florida Gators lost after the 2009 season (Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez, Joe Haden, Jermaine Cunningham, Carlos Dunlap, Riley Cooper and more), it would be a heck of an accomplishment if UF could finish as a top-5 team this season. Truth is, the expectations on Brantley coming out of spring are probably as hefty as they've been on any first-time starting QB in recent years. That's not to say he's the most-hyped QB we've seen coming into college. Jimmy Clausen, Terrelle Pryor and Matt Barkley all arrived on campus with more fanfare. A few other prominent QBs made their starting debuts in midseason. Others broke into the lineup at earlier stages in their developments. The difference with Brantley is this glow, as it were, has built gradually thanks to the shine on the UF program, his pedigree, the aura of Tebow combined with the dynamics of Brantley's drop-back passing skills -- and those are just a few of the factors. In short, he's ripe. In case you were wondering, here are the spring game stats of some other prominent college QBs just before they broke through as their team's starter. I've also included whether the outside expectations for the QB were modest, mid-level or massive for that upcoming season:
Wanna see the comparisons? Actually pretty interesting stuff at the elite, hyped QB level. For that and more news and gossip -- including Greg McElroy's new toy -- ya gotta be an ESPN Insider.