Is Zack Eskridge the top small-school quarterback?

Zack Eskridge of Midwestern State.  (SkySportsAgency)

Zack Eskridge of Midwestern State. (SkySportsAgency)

BIRDLAND – There is a debate raging about who is the best small-college quarterback prospect.

Most have anointed Delaware’s Pat Devlin as the best prospect from a non-Bowl Championship Series school.

The three candidates in the upcoming draft are Devlin, Midwestern State’s Zack Eskridge and Josh Portis, who finished his career at California (Pa.).

All three started their careers at major schools. Devlin (6-foot-3, 222 pounds) started at Penn State, Eskridge (6-4, 226) at Texas Christian and Portis (6-4, 208) played at Florida and Maryland.

Eskridge (6,953) passed for more yards than Portis (6,071) and Devlin (5,696)  at their respective small schools.

Devlin had the best completion percentage at 66.1  percent at Delware. Eskridge  completed 65.7 percent of his passes at Midwestern and Portis completed 57.7 percent at California, Pa.

Portis threw 69 touchdown passes, while Eskridge threw 64 and Devlin 38.

Also, Eskridge leads the group in pass attempts, completions, quarterback rating, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns.

“For the last four years I have spent time working with Zack

Eskridge,” said Jerry Rhome, the former NFL quarterback coach and coordinator. “I think that he is an excellent NFL

Josh Portis was one of the top names in Urban Meyer's first recruiting class / Associated Press

Josh Portis was one of the top names in Urban Meyer's first recruiting class / Associated Press

QB Prospect. He has the size, arm strength, quickness and intelligence. Zack has all the tools that the NFL is looking for in a QB.”

With one of their three seventh round picks, the Falcons will likely try to find a quarterback to develop. The prospect must be capable of beating out John Parker Wilson and then have enough talent to ascend to the No. 2 spot as Chris Redman will be in the last year of his contract next season.


First Round

27. Atlanta Falcons (13-3)

Second Round

59. Atlanta Falcons

Third Round

91. Atlanta Falcons

Fourth Round

124. Atlanta Falcons

Fifth Round

158. Atlanta Falcons

Sixth Round

192. Atlanta Falcons

Seventh Round

209.  Atlanta Falcons (from Detroit in the Chris Houston trade)

228. Atlanta Falcons

229. Atlanta Falcons (from New England in the Quinn Ojinnaka trade)

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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14 comments Add your comment

Delbert D.

April 18th, 2011
12:13 pm

D-Led, this article gave me a flashback to another era, when the argument was about whether the best smallish-school running back was Preacher Pilot or Pistol Pete Pedro.


April 18th, 2011
12:28 pm

Not Pistol Pete Pedro from West Texas State? How about Quick Six McDaniels?

Season Ticker Holder

April 18th, 2011
12:35 pm

Some quality players can be found at the smaller schools.
Walter Peyton – Jackson State
Jerry Rice – Mississippi Valley
Shannon Sharp – Savannah State
Jesse Tuggle – Valdosta State

There may be a Pro-bowl quality QB at a Division II or III school. The key to finding these atheletes is giving these guys a chance to complete for a position on the team. Some teams will bring these guys in as undrafted free agents with the hope of finding a quality player.

Phoenix Falcon

April 18th, 2011
2:01 pm

can anybody say Joe Flacco?

Another Flacons fist round bust

April 18th, 2011
2:33 pm

I say draft this kid so he can repalce Ryan as starter.


April 18th, 2011
3:19 pm

Yeah, Flacco comes immediately to mind. Any QB we take this year, I think, would be no earlier than the 7th round. Even so, the kid would be a longshot to make the 53-man roster. Practice squad for a year is not out of the question, since a roster spot may open up next year when Redman’s contract expires.


April 18th, 2011
3:33 pm

or ryan if he flubs his 3rd playoff game depending on , if the ‘cons can afford to buy the refs off again this year

Van Brocklin

April 18th, 2011
4:15 pm

Who remembers the not so great Joe Profit
the Falcons drafted in the first round?


April 18th, 2011
5:35 pm

HBCU Classics Top QBs 2010

1. Matthew Johnson 5′11 185 Bethune – HSRN/MEAC POY
2. KJ Black 6′4 220 Prairie V – SWAC 2009 OPOY
3. Arvell Nelson 6′5 225 Tx South – 2010 SWAC Champ
4. Malcolm Long 6′4 268 SC State – 2009 MEAC OPOY
5. Byron Ingram 6′4 205 Morehouse

Delbert D.

April 18th, 2011
5:59 pm

Doug Williams, Super Bowl winning QB.

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Delbert D.

April 18th, 2011
7:27 pm

Oh, yeah, add Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harvard and the Buffalo Bills.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 18th, 2011
8:07 pm

The Schedule comes out tomorrow!!!


April 20th, 2011
5:03 pm

2011 Falcons Easy Button 3.0

1.27 Jimmy Smith, CB, 6′2, 211, Colorado – “elite” corner fills need; sophomoric behavior non-cancerous, Owens questionable, Williams out. Secondary suspect.

2.59 Bruce Carter, OLB, 6′2, 243, UNC – “elite” linebacker is Top 10 talent but for ACL. Like Moore/Jerry put on IR/rehab for a year; and reap Pro Bowl reward later.

3.91 Greg Little, WR, 6′3, 231, UNC – stud receiver with hands, strength, speed, agility. Makes big plays and acrobatic catches, bench pressed 225/27x; NCAA suspension irrelevant.

4.124 Jordan Cameron, TE, 6′5, 254, USC – long, athletic former WR and hoopster.

5.158 Johnny Culbreath, OT, 6′5, 285, SC State – AP/FCS All-American, 3xMEAC Champ; best lineman in HBCU football – think Larry Little.

6.192 Frank Warren, RB, 5′11, 195, Grambling – AP/FCS All American, “Sweet Feet” broke Walter Payton’s All-time SWAC rushing record w 1,592 yds in 2010; 3rd in NCAA rushing.

7.209 Raymond Webber, WR, 6′2, 215, UAPB – AP/FCS All-American, led NCAA w/ 101 rec. 1,429 yds.; 10TDS, 130 ypg avg. think Jerry Rice. Coach: Monte Coleman.

7.228 Ricardo Lockette, WR/KR, 6′3, 199, FVSU – 2009 DII 200M Champ, 4.39/40

7.229 Matthew Johnson, QB, 5′11, 185 Bethune – 2010 HBCU POY, 2010 MEAC POY