Best 10 quarterbacks from Florida colleges
When it is all said and done, Florida's Tim Tebow might go down as the best college quarterback this state has ever produced. Although he has started an impressive resume, he's not even close to being the best. In fact, he can't even crack the top 10 or 15. The list is that impressive. So I offer my ranking of the best college football quarterbacks from Florida. And this has nothing to do with their pro careers. Our ranking is based on their performances in college.
1. Danny Wuerffel
His numbers are, in a word, sick. During four seasons, he completed 708 of 1,170 passes for a mind-boggling 10,875 yards and an equally mind-boggling 114 touchdowns — the second most in major-college history. His 163.56 passer rating is the best in college football history. He was a two-time All-American, a two-time quarterback of the year and the winner of the 1996 Heisman. For as impressive as this overall ranking of quarterbacks is, picking Wuerffel is a no-brainer. He is the best. By far.
2. Charlie Ward
Florida State, 1989-93
Regarded as the most decorated player in the history of college football, he won every award he was eligible for during Florida State's first national championship season in 1993. At the top of the list, of course, was the 1993 Heisman and the prestigious Sullivan Award, given annually to the best amateur athlete. In fact, Ward was only the third football player to win the award, which dates to 1930. Bottom line: Ward was 22-2 as a starting quarterback and is one of the most exciting college football players ever.
3. Chris Weinke
Florida State, 1997-2000
His pro career has been so disappointing that it might overshadow just how good of a college player he was. A three-year starter, Weinke set 26 Florida State records, and his 79 touchdown passes put him, at the time, 12th on the college football list. He finished as the NCAA’s 18th all-time passer. His 32-3 record as a starter gave him the seventh-best winning percentage in major-college history. He led the Seminoles to an undefeated season and a national title as a junior, then followed that up with a senior season in which he led the nation in passing yards.
4. Ken Dorsey
Miami is a quarterback factory, yet with all the greats it has produced, Dorsey has to be considered the best. He basically holds every significant career quarterback record, including total offense, passing yards, touchdowns, completions, attempts, victories, winning percentage and consecutive passes without an interception. But this is the hammer: He went a remarkable 38-2 as a starter, and, during that stretch, he threw a touchdown pass in a school-record 31 consecutive games. He didn't win a Heisman, but he was a finalist in 2001 and 2002. And he led the Hurricanes to the 2001 national championship.
5. Daunte Culpepper
Central Florida, 1995-98
Despite playing for a small school that was brave enough to schedule some national heavyweights, Culpepper not only rewrote UCF's record books but placed his name on national record lists. His 73.6 completion percentage in 1998 broke an NCAA record held by Steve Young. He became just the third quarterback ever to surpass 10,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing. He finished sixth on the NCAA’s all-time total offense list for all divisions with nearly 12,500 yards. And he produced 108 touchdowns — 84 passing and 24 rushing. More impressively, he guided UCF to a 9-2 record as a senior, losing only at Purdue and at Auburn.
6. Vinnie Testaverde
His overall numbers don't compare with the others on this list, but you have to remember that he had to wait his turn behind a fellow named Bernie Kosar. When he did play, Testaverde was a beast, and after finishing fifth in the Heisman race in 1985, he put together one of college football's best seasons as a Heisman-winning senior in 1986. That year, Testaverde threw 26 touchdowns with only nine interceptions, and his 165.80 passer rating was the best in country. He went 10-2 as a starter his junior season and 10-0 as a senior until losing to Penn State in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl.
7. Steve Spurrier
At the time, he set every school record for game, season and career passing and total offense. The two-time All-American and 1966 Heisman winner still ranks in the top 10 of most of the Gators' passing and offensive categories. That's impressive when you consider it probably isn’t fair to compare his passing totals to more modern-day quarterbacks simply because offenses weren’t designed the way they are today. (But Spurrier deserves credit for ushering in the pass-happy attack of today's college football.)
8. Steve Walsh
He lost only one of 24 games as a starter, and his 48 touchdown passes tied him with Vinny Testaverde for most in school history. He was only a sophomore when he led the Hurricanes to a 12-0 mark and the 1987 national championship. He finished fourth in the 1988 Heisman voting, but he was a first-team All-American and was named the Football News college player of the year.
9. Chris Leak
A year ago, it would have seemed inconceivable that Leak would be on the list. But, now, how could he possibly be left off? He was, after all, a four-year starter and finished as the Gators' all-time leader in career passing yards, which is quite the accomplishment considering the outrageous numbers posted by Danny Wuerffel. But it was last season's national championship that landed Leak a spot on this list. He outplayed Heisman winner Troy Smith in the BCS title game and gave the Gators their second national title.
10. John Reaves
When Reaves finished his stellar college career, he was the NCAA's all-time leading passer with 7,581 yards. And this came in an era when college football was ruled by 3 yards and a cloud of dust. Even still, the Tampa native can be found in the top 10 of most of the school's passing records, including career touchdowns (54) and completions (603).
The best of the rest
Shane Matthews, Florida, 1989-92
Craig Erickson, Miami, 1987-90
Bernie Kosar, Miami, 1982-84
Jim Kelly, Miami, 1979-82
Gino Torretta, Miami, 1989-92
Danny Kanell, Florida State, 1992-95
Gary Huff, Florida State, 1970-72
Rex Grossman, Florida, 2000-02
Freddie Solomon, Tampa, 1971-74