Three quarterbacks from Hawaii have made Sports Illustrated’s annual rankings of the Top 100 players for the upcoming season in college football.
Central Florida junior quarterback McKenzie Milton, a 2016 Mililani alumnus who won a state title with the Trojans, was listed today as the No. 13 overall player heading into the season.
Although he will have a new head coach this season after Scott Frost left for Nebraska and was replaced by Josh Heupel, Milton is expected to have another great season after finishing eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting a season ago.
From its write-up of Milton on SI.com: Milton is the nation’s leading returning passer after finishing the year with 4,037 yards and 37 touchdowns against just nine interceptions—and all that with one fewer game than most bowl teams due to the scheduling havoc wrought by Hurricane Irma. He sits above several signal-callers for blue-chip programs on this list because of the threat he poses as a runner (Auburn fans may recall his 116 yards and touchdown on the ground in a sterling Peach Bowl performance) and the odds that new coach Josh Heupel, who directed Drew Lock to statistical wonders last year at Missouri, keeps the pedal down to the floor with UCF’s lethal offense and asks Milton to take on the most responsibility for the Knights’ defense of their “national championship.”
On Monday, Sports Illustrated started its countdown of Top 100 players and listed Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, a 2017 Saint Louis alumnus, at No. 84 overall.
Tagovailoa famously came off the bench in the second half of the national title game against Georgia and threw for 166 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime, to give the Crimson Tide yet another national championship.
Officially, he is still battling for the quarterback job with Jalen Hurts, but is expected to be Alabama’s starter by the first game against Louisville on Sept. 1.
From its write-up on SI.com: Assuming he prevails over junior Jalen Hurts, Tagovailoa—with help from a trio of gifted sophomore wideouts (Jerry Jeudy, Devonta Smith, Henry Ruggs III)—has the potential to grow into one of the most effective passers Nick Saban has coached in Tuscaloosa.
UPDATE: Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu, a Pearl City alumnus, is also listed at No. 76.
Here’s the write-up on Ta’amu: Ta’amu offered a preview of a potential breakout campaign when he took over as the Rebels’ starting quarterback after Shea Patterson went down with a season-ending knee injury in October. Now entrenched as Ole Miss’s No. 1 passer, Ta’amu is set to spend the fall carving up opposing defenses by spreading the ball around to a dangerous receiving corps fronted by Biletnikoff Award candidate and potential first-round draft pick A.J. Brown.
Stanford OL Nate Herbig, a Saint Louis alumnus, is listed at No. 88.
Here’s the write-up on Herbig: Running back Bryce Love’s thrilling bid for the Heisman Trophy last season was boosted by Herbig’s consistent interior mashing. If Herbig and the rest of Stanford’s imposing offensive line can clear enough running room for Love to make another push for the bronze trophy this season, the 6’4″, 348-pound Kalaheo, Hawaii, product should be in line for his second consecutive first-team All-Pac-12 spot.