Can Keith Price Keep the Tradition Alive at Quarterback U.?

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 The term “Quarterback U” is often thrown around at parties by people trying to claim that their alma mater produces more NFL quarterbacks, or better quarterbacks, than any other university out there. Depending on how you want to classify your definition of the term, it can mean a university who has produced a relatively large number QB’s who spent time in the NFL, the number who became starting quarterbacks, or may be limited to those schools who have produced multiple QB’s who went onto long and distinguished careers in the NFL, even if it was not that many total.

During the 1970’s and 80’s, Stanford took the claim after producing such notable NFL QB’s as Jim Plunkett and John Elway. Maryland (e.g. Boomer Esiason and Frank Reich) and Miami (Kelly, Kosar, Testeverde, etc.), also produced a number of NFL QB’s in the 1980’s. In the late 80’s and into the 1990’s a number of other schools joined the fray such as Michigan (Brady, Grbac, Harbaugh, etc.) and BYU (Young, McMahon, Detmer). In more recent years, other schools have produced a number of NFL QB’s including Washington State, Notre Dame, and especially USC (Sanchez, Cassel, Booty, Leinart, Palmer).

But, if your definition is simply total number of consectutive (or nearly so) QB’s to make the NFL, then there is no one who seems to match up with the Washington Huskies. What UW may lack in Hall of Famers, total NFL starts, and Pro-Bowls, it more than makes up for in consistency.

I have spent some time on the internet trying to find another university who has produced as many NFL quarterbacks in the past 35 years as UW. Only USC comes close (15 since 1963). In the table below, you will see every QB who started the majority of the games in a season since 1975 at UW (when Warren Moon started this streak). With the exception of 2008, when Jake Locker was injured and Ronnie Fouch finished the year, every single QB who started the majority of the games in a season at UW went onto play at least some time in the NFL except for Casey Paus who started the 2004 season. That is 15 of the last 16 starting quarterbacks who have made the NFL since 1975!

Year(s)QBAfter UW
2007, 2009-10Jake LockerNFL
2008Ronnie FouchTransfer
2005-06Isaiah StanbackNFL
2004Casey Paus 
2001-03Cody PickettNFL/CFL
1999-2000Marques TuiasosopoNFL
1996-98Brock HuardNFL
1993-95Damon HuardNFL
1990, 1992Mark BrunellNFL
1991Billy Joe HobartNFL
1988-89Cary ConklinNFL
1986-87Chris ChandlerNFL
1984-85Hugh MillenNFL
1981-83Steve PelluerNFL
1978-80Tom FlickNFL
1975-77Warren MoonNFL

On a side note, you can even add one more QB to that total: Eric Bjornson. Bjornson came to UW as the third string QB behind Billy Joe Hobart and Damon Huard. Thinking he’d never get a snap with those two ahead of him, Don James recommended to switch over to Tight End and Wide Reciever. In 1993, when Damon Huard was injured in the 8th game of the season, Bjornson became the starter. He started 3 games at QB for the Huskies before going onto an NFL career as a TE with the Dallas Cowboys.

So, can Keith Price keep up the tradition? Those are some big shoes to fill and some high expectations…If he can, then I think all of  us have to believe good things will happen the next couple of years at Montlake.