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Thread: Top ten NC State quarterbacks ever

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    Administrator Ken Stallings's Avatar
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    Default Top ten NC State quarterbacks ever

    It's all about opinions, and I would invite all to chime in with their top ten picks for all time best NC State quarterbacks.

    1. Phillip Rivers: It's kind of hard to make a good argument against Rivers being the best ever. Many old timers would give a sentimental nod to Roman Gabriel, but the stats and the legacy make this a consensus choice. Rivers is number one all time in passing yards and passing touchdowns. He's also number one all time in all purpose yards and touchdowns. And all that is true for career, single season, and single game measures! Further, Rivers is a cinch now to be a first ballot NFL Hall of Fame player, something not even Gabriel is able to claim as he was voted to the unofficial "NFL Hall of Very Good" class, which means he's a bridesmaid to Canton, Ohio.

    2. Roman Gabriel: If this was a statistical measure, Gabriel wouldn't be in the top ten. But, there are strong arguments that players should be evaluated based upon the era they played in. Gabriel was a strong arm quarterback in an era where football was a ground oriented game. Gabriel's completion percentage is a very strong 56.3%, with 2951 yards passing and a career QBR of 109.8. The era measure is validated by the fact that Gabriel was selected 1960 and 1961 ACC Player of the Year, and on a team that was not considered the best in the ACC any of those years. He finished ninth in the 1961 Heisman Trophy race and was selected second in the NFL draft (first in the AFL).

    3. Ryan Finley: Many might wish to put Russell Wilson in this slot, but frankly, Finley's statistics put him solidly into the number three slot. In fact, statistically, Finley would be ranked #2 in this tally. Given that not much changed in the way the game was played between Wilson's and Finley's careers, then the statistical argument seems quite fair. Finley ranks behind only Phillip Rivers in passing statistics, tallying 10,501 to Rivers' 13,484. The big difference is in touchdowns, but more on that later. Finley hasn't had enough time to establish his NFL numbers, but it would seem logical to say he will eventually be a starting QB in the professional game.

    4. Russell Wilson: Wilson ranks fourth all time in passing yards at NC State. However, he ranks second in passing touchdowns to only Rivers (76 to 95). One can also add another 16 touchdowns scored rushing. Wilson was everything to NC State's offense during his three years at the helm. For those who saw him in action, it was clear that Wilson's talent covered up for what was a weak offensive line playing in front of him, and with a talent level that was significantly below average overall. Without Wilson, it is doubtful that Tom O'Brien would have enjoyed any success at NC State, and certainly not enjoyed a long term coaching career. Time after time, Wilson single-handedly kept offensive drives alive by rushing for a miracle first down on a busted play, or when the defense stymied every other option. Athletically, Wilson played on a different level, and carried this incredible talent to the NFL, where he has guided the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl.

    5. Mike Glennon: Glennon and Wilson are joined together for many reasons, with a big one being that Glennon patiently waited his turn until Wilson decided to go pro in baseball. Glennon took full advantage of his opportunity to lead the offense for two seasons (2011, 2012). He ranks fifth in passing yards as well as third in passing touchdowns. His performance against a powerful #3 ranked Florida State team in 2012 will go down as one of the most immaculate performances in Wolfpack quarterback history. Glennon single-handedly powered the Wolfpack attack and willed the Pack to overcome a 16-0 first half deficit. With the Pack's defense shutting out FSU in the second half, Glennon led two long TD drives in the fourth quarter, culminating with the winning score to Bryan Underwood with only 16 seconds left in the game. This drive featured not one, but two fourth down completions, the first being 4th and ten from the 14 and the second being fourth and goal from the two.

    6. Erik Kramer: Kramer's statistical contribution to NC State was stymied a bit because he only played two seasons for the Pack. But, he was instrumental in the resurgence of NC State football during the start of the Dick Sheridan era. Those who remember the terrible years of Tom Reed, and the brief career of Monte Kiffin, Wolfpack football suffered a number of sub-par seasons. Sheridan started a JUCO transfer in Kramer and everything clicked. A Hail Mary pass to dramatically defeat South Carolina secured Kramer's legacy at NC State. His performance in the 1986 Peach Bowl earned him MVP selection even as foolish officiating cost NC State the win they certainly earned on the field. Kramer also began the envious run of successful NFL careers for Wolfpack alumni quarterbacks, as he was signed by the Atlanta Falcons and returned to the NFL's Detroit Lions after a quality stint in the CFL. Kramer earned one of John Madden's Turkey Legs for his Thanksgiving game win, and led the Lions to a rare (for them) playoff run, defeating Dallas and losing to Washington in the NFL Championship game.

    7. Jamie Barnette: This may surprise some, but Barnette's accomplishments at NC State firmly earn him this spot in my view. He played in the CFL for the Montreal Alouettes as his physical size left him little room for cracking an NFL roster. But, Barnette's prowess both passing and running made him an extremely effective collegiate quarterback. In the four years he played (1996-99) Barnett compiled 9,461 passing yards and 59 passing touchdowns. These marks rank him third and fourth respectively in Wolfpack history. These numbers are all the more amazing when one considers that Barnette was doomed to play during a time where there was little quality on the offensive roster overall, and less on the defensive side of the ball. Mike O'Cain was the coach during this era, and Barnette's best team record was in 1998 (7-5). This included his only bowl appearance, where the Pack lost to #24 Miami in the MicronPC Bowl, by a score of 46-23.

    8. Jacoby Brissett: Brissett was an excellent bridge quarterback that in many regards paved the way for NC State to become known today as Quarterback-U. He played two seasons for the Pack (2014-15) and finished with 5,268 passing yards (8th all time) and 43 passing touchdowns (5th all time). It must be appreciated that Brissett accomplished all this in just two years. In many ways, Brissett was the player who guided the team's recovery from the lean years of Tom O'Brien's last few seasons, with well below average recruiting classes. Frankly, the success that Dave Doeren has enjoyed at NC State are in many ways due to the talent of Brissett, especially in his final season in 2015. Doeren's recruiting acumen was established by landing Brissett as a transfer from Florida. If you take Brissett's stats and extrapolate them to even just a third season at the helm at NC State, then his achievements would statistically rank him among the all time greats in Wolfpack history. Brissett was an outstandingly efficient passer, amassing 43 passing touchdowns with just 11 interceptions, one of the most outstanding two-year ratios of TD to INT's in collegiate history. Brissett has established himself as a quality NFL starting quarterback, filling in ably for the shocking retirement of Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts. He finished his collegiate career on the strength of an eight win season, including a 34-27 win against UCF in the Saint Petersburg Bowl.

    9. Terry Harvey: Harvey was the glue that held the Wolfpack team together for four seasons. His career started in 1991, when he guided the Pack to a 9-3 season, and had it not been for Jeff Blake's heroics and a very porous Wolfpack defense, it would have ended with ten wins and a second consecutive Peach Bowl trophy for Dick Sheridan career. This was the last football game ever played at old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, and the Pack surged to a 34-17 lead in the fourth quarter, only to see Blake lead a shocking comeback, scoring 20 consecutive points on a Wolfpack defense that seemed to lose its way. Harvey sat out the 1992 season with an injury, and his medical red shirt allowed him to return for three more seasons in 1993 through 1995. In 1993 he led the Pack to a 7-5 season (losing the Hall of Fame Bowl to Michigan). In 1994, Harvey earned a bit of revenge by guiding the team to Mike O'Cain's best season ever (9-3, including a Peach Bowl victory against #16 Mississippi State). The Pack finished the season ranked #17 in that season. Harvey's last year was in 1995, which sadly was the first season that eventually undid Mike O'Cain at NC State. That team finished 3-8 despite Harvey tallying his best individual season with 155 completions on 279 attempts (55.6%), with 16 TD passes and 11 interceptions. His QBR that year was 129.8 -- truly outstanding. But, his best year in QBR was 1993 when he earned a 134.3 rating.

    10. Shane Montomery: Among the best newspaper lines I ever read was penned by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Furman Bisher, who after the Wolfpack defeated Iowa in the 1988 Peach Bowl, wrote, "Walking in on every third down like he was the hero in the Alan Ladd movie ..." Bisher also scored with another great line about the coach, writing about the mid-field handshake, "Dick Sheridan proved what everyone in Raleigh already knew about him, as he walked on water to greet the losing coach!" Sheridan employed the most incredible coaching strategy I ever saw. Sheridan used Montgomery on every third down play from scrimmage, and Montgomery seemed to always dial up the right throw and catch to gain first down and stymie the Hawkeye defense. And the Pack needed every single one of those heroic appearances to win 28-23. Montgomery was named offensive MVP, and made the best play of the game when he dropped a 75-yard TD dime on wide receiver Danny Peebles, which was the first play of the second quarter. Charles Davenport was the Pack's designated first and second down quarterback, whom the Hawkeyes mostly stymied, and then in walked Montgomery on third and whatever and kept the drives alive! Montgomery never played in the NFL, but he enjoyed significant success as a collegiate coach, starting as an assistant with NC State from 1991-92 and then starting a string of offensive coordinator and quarterback coach positions with UT-Chattanooga, Miami (OH), Akron, Youngstown State, Charlotte, and today with James Madison. In 2005 to 2008 he was named the head coach at Miami (OH) and earned two MAC East Division titles in 2005 and 2007.

    That's my top ten list. What's your's?

    Cheers,

    Ken

  2. #2
    Super Moderator LSmith's Avatar
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    Although he did not have the stats because he was a veer QB, Dave Buckey won a lot of games for us and from what I remember had a pretty good arm. Had no trouble finding his brother Don and connecting.

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    Administrator Ken Stallings's Avatar
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    His career echoed that of Lou Holtz, though running the veer option itís hard to say if he was more running back or quarterback. No doubt he guided the Pack during a four year period of success that frankly has not been duplicated.

    Ken

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    Terry Jordan >>Terry Harvey

    Harvey threw a school record 6 INTs to FSUs secondary. He only completed 5 to his own receivers that game.

    He had a hell of a fastball and threw a no hitter. But if he's one of our 10 best QBs, our legacy prior to 2000 must be absolutely dreadful.

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    Administrator Ken Stallings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Nicholson View Post
    Terry Jordan >>Terry Harvey

    Harvey threw a school record 6 INTs to FSUs secondary. He only completed 5 to his own receivers that game.

    He had a hell of a fastball and threw a no hitter. But if he's one of our 10 best QBs, our legacy prior to 2000 must be absolutely dreadful.
    Erik Kramer, Jamie Barnett, and Shane Montgomery all played in the late 1980ís to nineties.

    The real doldrums was before the arrival of Dick Sheridan. Monte Kiffin replaced Bo Rein, and after Willis Casey fired Kiffen, he hired Tom Reed.

    Kiffinís coached from 1980 to 1982, a record of 16-17 (8-10 ACC).

    Tom Reed coached from 1983 to 1985, a record of 9-24 (4-17 ACC).

    Those were the dreadful years, and thatís why folks like me considered Sheridan to be a miracle worker, or as Bisher wrote him, ďable to walk on water!Ē

    Ken

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    Super Moderator LSmith's Avatar
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    I always thought Kiffin resigned to coach in the NFL. His records in 3 years were 6-5, 4-7, and 6-5. Certainly a step down from the Bo Rein days but not "dreadful" and had a pretty good coaching staff with Pete Caroll as his DC. Now I will agree the Tom Reed era was dreadful.

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