QB Country
QB Country: Quarterback Training & Development

Ready for the Moment: Mullens, Fromm headline a number of clutch QBC performances

By Doug Young, Athletes’ Ink

It was a big week for QB Country trainees, with a number of players coming up clutch for their respective NFL and Division 1 teams. Here are a few highlights from the week that was:

Nick Mullens (San Francisco 49ers)
Much has been reported on Nick Mullens’ sparkling performance for the San Francisco 49ers last week. In his first NFL start — his first NFL game — Nick was 16 of 22 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Niners’ 34-3 victory over the Raiders. His passer rating of 151.9 is the second-best in NFL history for a first-time quarterback and highest for a 49ers quarterback since 2012. That he did it in front of a Thursday night national television audience on ESPN made it even more special. Nick also reconnected with offseason QB Country training partner and fellow Alabama native, AJ McCarron, who finished the game for the Raiders.

Nick Mullens and AJ McCarron

Nick and the 49ers return to action on Monday night against the Giants and another QB Country trainee, Eli Manning. Nick’s offseason training included watching and studying Eli. He is a former Manning Passing Academy camper. Both quarterbacks played their college football in the state of Mississippi (Nick at USM and Eli at Ole Miss).

Said Nick after the game: “I’ve been in the organization for two years, just trying to learn as much as I could, prepare like I’m the starter every week. This week was my week. Just take advantage of opportunities when they come. And they came.”

During the performance, Nick got verified on Twitter and afterwards took a congratulatory call from fellow USM alum Brett Favre.

Jake Fromm (Georgia Bulldogs)
With a spot in the SEC title game on the line, Jake Fromm and the #6 Georgia Bulldogs took care of business Saturday, beating #9 Kentucky 34-17 on the road to clinch a second straight SEC East title. Jake was 14-20 with a TD and improved to 20-3 as the Bulldogs’ starter (12-0 against SEC East Division teams). The Bulldogs will take on Alabama for the SEC title on December 1.

That’s back-to-back wins against top ten teams for Jake and the Bulldogs; a week prior, Jake was 17-24 for 240 yards and three touchdowns in another impressive victory, as Georgia went on the road to beat then-#9 Florida. Jake earned the SEC’s “Hardest Working Player” award for the week.

Gardner Minshew (Washington State)
Heisman hopeful Gardner Minshew connected on a ten-yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter to lift Washington State to a 19-13 win over California in Pullman on Saturday. The victory keeps the Cougars’ playoffs hopes alive and improves their record to 8-1 (5-1 Pac-12). WSU entered the game ranked #10 in the AP Top 25 and #8 in the College Football Playoff rankings. Gardner, who threw for 334 yards (he has passed for more than 300 yards in every game this season) is the nation’s leading passer and is widely considered a top-four Heisman candidate this year.

Jake Bentley (South Carolina) 
Behind a career performance from Jake Bentley, South Carolina rallied from a ten-point fourth quarter deficit to beat Ole Miss 48-44 on the road. Jake threw for 363 yards (his second-most ever) and two TDs and his passer rating of 184.7 was also the second best of his career. It was a key win for the Gamecocks in SEC play and improves their record to 5-3.

Said USC head coach Will Muschamp:
“Jake Bentley, a gutsy performance. He was really accurate with the football. Really made some gutsy plays there….I thought he was outstanding.”

Daniel Jones (Duke Blue Devils)
Daniel Jones and the Duke Blue Devils earned their first win at Miami since 1976, upsetting the Hurricanes 20-12 in a torrential downpour and clinching bowl eligibility. Despite the sloppy conditions which limited Jones to 135 passing yards, his stock as an NFL draft pick continues to rise. He threw for nearly 400 yards and added four touchdowns in his previous performance against Pittsburgh.

Daniel Jones is a top NFL Draft prospect

Daniel took the field against fellow QB Country trainee Malik Rosier, a two-year Hurricanes starter who set Miami’s single-season “touchdowns responsible for” record last year with 31 (best Vinny Testaverde’s previous record of 30.)

Duke is now 6-3 and will take on ACC rival UNC this Saturday in Chapel Hill.

Tyler Johnston (UAB Blazers)
It was a memorable first start for UAB redshirt freshman Tyler Johnston, as he led the Blazers to a 52-3 victory over UTSA on Saturday. Tyler finished 10 of 17 for 249 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 62 yards and a rushing touchdown . He was the Group of 5’s top-rated passer in Week 10. UAB improves to 8-1 (6-0 C-USA) and entered the ESPN Power Rankings at #24. Tyler filled in for injured starter A.J. Erdely who was out with shoulder soreness.

Said UAB head coach Bill Clark of Tyler’s performance, “”To be as efficient and dynamic as he was – the whole offense was – that’s just something in your wildest dreams that you don’t ever let yourself think. It’s better than I even hoped.”

Tate Whatley (USM Golden Eagles)
Freshman Tate Whatley filled in for injured starter and fellow QB Country trainee Jack Abraham and led Southern Miss to a crucial 26-24 victory over Marshall, keeping the Golden Eagles’ bowl hopes alive. Tate accounted for 174 of USM’s 222 yards of total offense. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 40 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown that capped USM’s final, decisive scoring drive.

Said USM head coach Jay Hopson: “For a freshman in his first start to come out and beat Marshall in the first game, I thought that spoke volumes. I thought he did a tremendous job and you’ll only see young guys like that get better.”

Sawyer Smith (Troy Trojans)
Troy redshirt sophomore quarterback Sawyer Smith took over for injured starter Kaleb Barker in Week 6 and hasn’t looked back, piloting the Trojans to three victories in four games, including a 26-16 win over Louisiana last week. Sawyer was 18-22 with 317 yards and a touchdown in arguably the most impressive outing of his career, helping the Trojans to improve to 7-2 and a perfect 5-0 in Sun Belt play.

Said teammate and star wideout Damion Willis of Sawyer: “He’s improving each week. You can tell from Liberty to now he’s a way better player. He’s very, very good.