- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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The impact of Everett Golson's transfer to Florida State has been felt immediately. The Seminoles are now 10-1 favorites to win the national title, odds that trail only Ohio State's (7-2) and Alabama's (15-2), per Bovada. In addition, one FSU quarterback, John Franklin, has already announced his plans to transfer.
So where does Golson stand in a league that features no shortage of accomplished quarterbacks? With FSU adding the former Notre Dame signal-caller, the ACC now returns upward of 12 teams who have quarterbacks with starting experience. Here's our best guess as to how Golson fares compared with some of the best QBs in the league, looking at stats and notable accomplishments. (Of course, he still needs to beat out Sean Maguire first.)
Golson's career numbers: 59.5 percent completion, 5,850 pass yards, 41 pass TDs, 20 INTs, 581 rush yards, 14 rush TDs, 20 fumbles, 12 lost fumbles in 25 games
Golson's notable accomplishments: Led Notre Dame to 12-1 season and BCS national title game as a redshirt freshman starter in 2012.
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Career stats: 59 percent completion, 3,061 pass yards, 26 pass TDs, 9 INTs, 532 rush yards, 6 rush TDs, 10 fumbles, 7 lost fumbles in 22 games
Notable accomplishments: Led NC State to an 8-5 season and 3-5 record in ACC play in Year 2 of the Dave Doeren era, after a 3-9 2013 campaign that featured zero league wins.
Advantage: Golson. Granted, he's played with better talent around him, but Golson's resume and big-play capability give him the edge here.
Brad Kaaya, Miami
Career stats: 58.5 percent completion, 3,198 pass yards, 26 pass TDs, 12 INTs, minus-131 rush yards, 1 rush TD, 4 fumbles, 1 lost fumble in 13 games
Notable accomplishments: Won ACC offensive freshman of the year honors in 2014 after seizing control of the starting job following Ryan Williams' spring knee injury. He led the Hurricanes to wins over Duke, Virginia Tech and UNC and nearly knocked off FSU.
Advantage: Golson. Kaaya might be the answer long-term, but Golson is much more of a finished product right now, which is the purpose of this discussion. There's no replacing Golson's big-game experience. And, for all of Kaaya's magic as a freshman, that four-game losing streak to end the season left him as the QB of a sub-.500 team.
Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
Career stats: 51.5 percent completion, 1,850 pass yards, 19 pass TDs, 8 INTs, 1,320 rush yards, 10 rush TDs, 11 fumbles, 6 lost fumbles in 24 games
Notable accomplishments: Thrust into the starting role after Vad Lee's surprising transfer, Thomas earned team captaincy and led Georgia Tech to an 11-3 season that included a Coastal Division title and a Discover Orange Bowl rout of Mississippi State.
Advantage: Thomas. The numbers here are impossible to compare, as is so often the case with an option quarterback. Golson is a better passer and lacks the stigma surrounding a "system" QB as Thomas, fair or not, will probably carry with him wherever he goes. That said, who would you feel more comfortable with in their given situations in 2015: The guy leading the reigning Coastal champs, or the guy adjusting to a new environment and new offense on a few months' notice? I'll take Thomas and CPJ, who nearly beat FSU last year with Jameis Winston.
Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Career stats: 67.9 percent completion, 1,466 pass yards, 14 pass TDs, 2 INTs, 200 rush yards, 5 rush TDs, 0 fumbles in eight games
Notable accomplishments: Threw for 269 yards and two TDs, adding two more rush TDs, while playing on a torn ACL to snap a five-game losing streak to rival South Carolina in a 35-17 win last November.
Advantage: Watson. This is one of those picks that is based more on potential than production, as to be expected when comparing a rising sophomore to a rising redshirt senior. But Watson, when healthy, has looked as good as any quarterback in the country, and that was with limited experience. He is a truly special talent.
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Career stats: 61.3 percent completion, 4,893 pass yards, 37 pass TDs, 15 INTs, 1,510 rush yards, 22 rush TDs, 17 fumbles, 4 lost fumbles in 32 games
Notable accomplishments: Helped lead a 2-5 UNC squad to four wins in its last six regular-season games.
Advantage: Golson. This may be the closest call. You feel for Williams here, as his numbers certainly point to an overlooked QB who has been dragged down by a very bad defense. The two went neck-and-neck in a memorable game last October that ended in a 50-43 Irish win. (Williams even caught a TD pass in that one.) But, as stated before, there's something to be said for big-game experience, even if Golson turned into a turnover machine down the stretch last season. The fact Notre Dame stuck with him so long spoke to Brian Kelly's belief in his talents. Williams, meanwhile, did not even become the full-time starter last year until that Notre Dame game … which came after five games of splitting time with Mitch Trubisky.
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