Half of the starting NFL quarterbacks attended Rivals Camp Series events during their time in high school. This week we break down each starting QB and what we remember about them before they hit the big time. We move to the NFC.
MORE: How the AFC’s starting QBs looked as high school prospects
Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray
Overview: Ranked No. 71 nationally and fifth at dual-threat quarterback (although he went on to have a far better career than anyone ahead of him), Murray had a respectable ranking but it wasn’t nearly high enough and a lot of it had to do with his size. Despite putting up mind-boggling passing and rushing numbers in high school, Murray was still very small and we didn’t know how that would project.
After picking Texas A&M, Murray transferred to Oklahoma and really had one breakout season in 2018 where he threw for 4,361 yards with 42 touchdowns en route to the Heisman Trophy and the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.
Atlanta Falcons: Desmond Ridder
Rivals Camp: Columbus 2016
Overview: Ridder attended the Rivals Camp Series in Columbus in the summer before his senior season but seemingly didn’t stand out much as he had just committed to Cincinnati (his lone offer) and ended up as a two-star prospect. The Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier standout grew up as a Cardinals fan but they didn’t offer. With the Bearcats, Ridder threw for more than 10,000 yards with 87 TDs and rushed for 28 scores before being a third-round NFL Draft pick.
Carolina Panthers: Bryce Young
Rivals Camp: Los Angeles 2018 and 2019, Five-Star Challenge 2018 and 2019
Overview: An early USC commitment, Young flipped his pledge to Alabama, had a phenomenal career there and went No. 1 in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Carolina Panthers where he’s already earned the starting job. Young finished second in the 2020 class and should have been No. 1 overall.
For years, there were questions about his size, though, especially during those early times at Rivals Camp Series events. While never big, Young did fill out a little bit but what stood out more than anything else whether in camp, 7-on-7 or game settings, Young always had phenomenal anticipation and incredible accuracy.
Chicago Bears: Justin Fields
Rivals Camp: Rivals Underclassmen Challenge 2016, Atlanta QB Challenge 2016, Charlotte 2017, Rivals Five-Star Challenge 2017
Overview: In any other class, maybe in any year during the Rivals era dating back to 2002, Fields would have been the No. 1 prospect overall. But he just happened to land in Trevor Lawrence’s year. Still, Fields never backed down from competition, he was excellent during the Rivals events throwing very catchable balls and competing all the time and he has more than backed up his No. 2 overall ranking.
A transfer from Georgia to Ohio State, Fields threw 67 touchdowns and only nine picks in his college career and then was the No. 11 overall draft pick in 2021. Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance were the QBs taken ahead of him.
Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott
Overview: The Haughton, La., three-star quarterback was not necessarily a big name (and that’s why maybe he didn’t attend a Rivals Camp earlier in his career) as Prescott landed an offer from Mississippi State at summer camp and committed.
LSU had entered the picture late but he was locked in with the Bulldogs and then went to Starkville and took Mississippi State to its first-ever No. 1 ranking. He remains the starter of the Dallas Cowboys.
Detroit Lions: Jared Goff
Overview: It’s strange that Goff never made it to a Rivals Camp because he worked out at the Elite 11 and other venues, and was also invited numerous times. But his schedule never seemed to match up. In the infancy of the 7-on-7 world, Goff was very impressive in his state championship game for Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic but threw limited passes at the Elite 11 because of the structure of the event during those years.
He had good size and a solid arm but he was not overly spectacular in high school as Max Browne and Christian Hackenberg were the five-stars that cycle. Goff proved us wrong even though he was lightly recruited and after three strong years at Cal he was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.
Green Bay Packers: Jordan Love
Rivals Camp: Los Angeles QB Challenge 2015
Overview: In high school, Love was somebody who had big hands and length but was still very wiry and trying to put it together as a complete package at quarterback. He flashed moments where you could see his potential but he wouldn’t have been considered elite as the two-star picked Utah State over Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona and other smaller programs. Love had a big sophomore year but then threw a ton of picks his junior year so it was surprising to see him be a late first-round pick in 2020.
Los Angeles Rams: Matthew Stafford
Overview: One of the rare starting quarterbacks in the NFL who came up prior to the Rivals Camp Series started, Stafford was a five-star prospect and the top-ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2006 class.
He chose Georgia, his longtime favorite, over Texas and others, was the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft and has won a Super Bowl.
Minnesota Vikings: Kirk Cousins
Overview: Another quarterback who came up through the ranks prior to the Rivals Camp Series, Cousins was a low three-star who had UConn, Western Michigan and Toledo as his favorites before Michigan State hired Mark Dantonio and the Spartans offered late. Cousins threw for more than 9,000 yards in East Lansing before being a fourth-round pick and having a tremendous NFL career so far.
New Orleans Saints: Derek Carr
Overview: A low three-star out of Bakersfield (Calif.) Christian, Carr committed to Fresno State over Utah and SMU among others. In his senior season, the three-star threw for more than 4,000 yards with 46 touchdowns but received only one Power Five offer. He also was pre-Rivals Camp Series so it wasn’t possible for him to attend an event. A second-round draft pick, Carr has now thrown for more than 35,000 yards in his NFL career.
New York Giants: Daniel Jones
Overview: It’s unclear whether Jones was ever invited to a Rivals Camp because he had no Power Five offers and planned to go to Princeton before choosing to walk-on at Duke. Over three seasons, Jones threw for 8,201 yards with 52 touchdowns and 29 picks and was the sixth overall selection in the 2019 draft. Kyler Murray was the only QB taken ahead of him.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Hurts
Rivals Camps: Houston 2013 and 2014, Dallas 2015
Overview: The Channelview, Texas, four-star quarterback was never afraid to compete and not only showed up at multiple Rivals Camp Series events but at many other events during his time in high school. Hurts was always impressive physically and had a ton of upside but he was also not as accurate as some other quarterbacks in the class.
He finished ninth at dual-threat in a class led by Shea Patterson and Hurts was just inside the Rivals250. The four-star picked Alabama over Texas A&M, Florida and Mississippi State and performed well there but lost his job to Tua Tagovailoa. He eventually transferred to Oklahoma where he put up big numbers. He ended up as a second-round pick.
San Francisco 49ers: Brock Purdy
Overview: A low three-star prospect who exploded on the national scene during a senior season where he threw for 4,405 yards with 57 touchdowns and nine picks, Purdy also rushed for 1,017 yards and nine scores and caught the attention of national powers.
Alabama, UCF and Boise State were also involved but his recruitment came down to Iowa State and Texas A&M and his relationship with Cyclones coach Matt Campbell paid off. Purdy had a very strong career in Ames but then ended up as Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick in the draft, but earned the starting job in San Francisco.
Seattle Seahawks: Geno Smith
Overview: Yet another quarterback who went through high school prior to the Rivals Camp Series, the Miramar, Fla., four-star picked West Virginia but said right after his commitment he’d like to visit LSU and South Florida as well. In Morgantown, Smith threw for more than 11,000 yards with 98 touchdowns before being an early second-round pick in 2013.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Baker Mayfield
Overview: The Austin (Texas) Lake Travis quarterback was a mid-level three-star but was not ranked within the position. He turned down offers from FAU, Rice and Washington State to walk-on at Texas Tech before transferring to Oklahoma, where he won the Heisman and became the No. 1 overall draft pick. He never attended a Rivals event.
Washington Commanders: Sam Howell
Rivals Camp: Charlotte 2016, 2017 and 2018, Atlanta QB Challenge 2016, Five-Star Challenge 2018
Overview: On signing day, Howell flipped from Florida State to North Carolina and while he was ranked as a four-star pro-style quarterback, he put up huge passing and rushing numbers at Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley. One wonders what he could have done with the Seminoles because Howell had a phenomenal career at North Carolina, throwing for more than 10,000 yards with 92 touchdowns in three seasons before being a fifth-round NFL Draft pick in what was a weak draft for QBs.