Arizona’s quarterback situation in 2019 was, to put it plainly, unsettling.
On one hand you had Khalil Tate, the established senior starter who had one last shot at recapturing that lightning in a bottle from 2017, while in the other corner you had the future in true freshman Grant Gunnell.
Both ended up playing significant amounts during the season, with the pair combining for 3,193 yards and 23 touchdowns. That yardage total ranked 50th in FBS, with the 266.1 yards per game coming in at 35th-best nationally.
That’s how Arizona ranked from a statistical standpoint. Observationally, though, the Wildcats passers fared much better.
Pro Football Focus ranked Arizona as having the 25th-best quarterbacks in 2019, coming in fourth among Pac-12 schools. And things could be looking even better in 2020 with Gunnell taking over full-time, based on PFF’s analysis of his play.
“Signaling the future is in good hands, however, was Gunnell as he had a passing grade of at least 72.2 in every single outing this season, compared to Tate’s three games with such grades,” PFF’s Cam Mellor wrote. “He wasn’t just dinking and dunking either as he finished the year with a mark of 27 completions of 10 or more yards downfield for five scores and no interceptions.”
The future is bright for Arizona & QB Grant Gunnell:— Cam Mellor (@PFF_Cam) January 16, 2020
Gunnell was the only QB in the country to attempt AT LEAST 20 throws downfield (10+ yards) and not have a turnover-worthy play.
He's got it all.https://t.co/m10ZDJkkre pic.twitter.com/XTVOReEwYA
Gunnell threw for 1,239 yards and nine TDs in eight games, completing 65.2 percent of his passes. If he is able to continue like that over a final season, Arizona should be in great shape at QB for 2020 and beyond.