Texas A&M Football: Nick Starkel underrated on Athlon Sports college quarterbacks list

Nick Starkel, Texas A&M Football (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Nick Starkel, Texas A&M Football (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Athlon Sports recently ranked all 130 FBS quarterbacks, and projected Texas A&M football starter Nick Starkel is way too low.

It should be no surprise to see people outside the Texas A&M organization underrate projected starting quarterback Nick Starkel, but it still stings when you see him being under-appreciated.

The former three-star recruit (No. 21 Pro-Style quarterback, No. 523 nationally ranked) from the 2016 class has done nothing but overachieve since he stepped on campus and redshirted his freshman year.

More: Nick Starkel shines in Spring Game

Albeit against a true freshman, Starkel beat out five-star quarterback Kellen Mond for the starting job in the 2017 season. Starkel only had one year on Mond, but clearly showed the coaching staff he had what it took to lead a team with high expectations.

He got the Aggies off to a blistering start in Week 1 against the UCLA Bruins. They were winning 44-10 at the Rose Bowl before a broken ankle forced Mond to take over for Starkel. I’d rather not remind you what happened, but you know what happened.

Starkel would eventually win the job back from Mond when he got healthy. All in all, he finished with 60 percent completions, 256 yards per game, 14 touchdowns, six interceptions and a 150 QB rating in seven games. He ended the year ridiculously strong, tossing 499 yards and four touchdowns in the Belk Bowl loss to Wake Forest.

So it’s puzzling to see Starkel ranked so low on Athlon Sports’ ranking of all 130 FBS starting quarterbacks, especially when you see some of the guys ranked ahead of him.

Here is what they had to say about Starkel, who is No. 42 on the list.

"Kellen Mond and Starkel will continue their quarterback battle in the fall, but Starkel is a better fit for new coach Jimbo Fisher’s offense and should win the top spot on the depth chart . . . Fisher has an excellent track record when it comes to quarterback development. Starkel might be his next star pupil."

Mostly good things. However, it took me by surprise to see former Aggie and current Oklahoma Sooner Kyler Murray ranked at 35 and Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger at 34.

I shouldn’t have to remind any Aggie how awful Murray was in his only season at A&M. His stats don’t even tell the full story. Anyone who watched him could tell the moment seemed too big for him.

While he obviously has matured, and he had a ridiculous high school career, his results at the college level do not warrant such a high rank. If anything, it feels like praise for Oklahoma’s offense and play calling more than the guy running the show this season.

Ehlinger from Texas is even more questionable. He played in two more games than Starkel last season and had a worse completion percentage, less touchdowns and more interceptions. He was a much higher ranked recruit than Starkel in their respective classes, but you have evidence of their capabilities at the college level now. His projection shouldn’t be that much higher than Starkel’s at this point.

Spare me the point that Starkel has yet to actually win the job. It’s not an indictment on him that he is competing with one of the best players from the 2017 recruiting class and top-rated quarterbacks. Fisher is simply taking time — Starkel is the favorite to win the job.

Next: 5 reasons Aggies can contend in year one

Starkel will thrive in Fisher’s system and prove to everyone he’s not the 42nd ranked quarterback in the nation. Just give it time.

Jeff Shull is the Site Expert for the Gig Em Gazette on FanSided. Follow him on Twitter, and be sure to follow the Gig Em Gazette on Facebook and Twitter.