If there’s one positive thing you can say about Arizona football, it’s that it’s in good hands at quarterback.
The analysts over at Pro Football Focus have graded sophomore Grant Gunnell as the top returning QB in the Pac-12, slightly above USC’s Kedon Slovis and Cal’s Chase Garbers.
Highest-graded returning Pac-12 QBs— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 25, 2020
1. Grant Gunnell, Arizona - 81.5
2. Kedon Slovis, USC - 78.8
3. Chase Garbers, California - 78.0
4. Davis Mills, Stanford - 70.7
5. Jayden Daniels, ASU - 66.7 pic.twitter.com/7ceoMP5JvQ
Gunnell split time with Khalil Tate as a true freshman in 2019 and put up impressive numbers, completing 66 percent of his passes for 1,239 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception.
However, PFF is unique in that it analyzes the nuances of every throw—timing, decision-making, accuracy, the quality of coverage, etc.—rather than just counting stats or a basic eye test to evaluate a player, and Gunnell checks out in that department as well.
A previous PFF article ranked Gunnell as the 13th-best QB in the country and had this to say about him:
“Gunnell had just three starts and a total of 185 dropbacks in his true freshman campaign last year yet still performed beyond expectations right out of the gate. His accuracy is what truly stood out, and it is right behind Slovis for best in the country. Gunnell threw an accurate pass on 65.9% of his throws beyond the line of scrimmage, which would have ranked third in college football had he qualified for a rank. Like (Michael) Penix, Gunnell is a breakout waiting to happen.”
The Wildcats have a revamped defense and shaky special teams, but if Gunnell is as good as advertised, they have a chance to be competitive in every game.