College: Sam Houston State
College Stats: Completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 4,602 yards with 57 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2016, completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 5003 yards with 45 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 2017. Two-time FCS All-American, two-time Walter Payton Award winner
There have only been two players that have won the Walter Payton Award in back-to-back years, Armanti Edwards and Jeremiah Briscoe. Briscoe set the FCS ablaze over his final two years at Sam Houston State. After splitting time with Jared Johnson as the Bearkats’ starting quarterback in 2015, he was the full-time starter in 2016 and 2017 and smashed numerous records. Briscoe broke the school’s single-season passing record and set the FCS record for most passing touchdowns in a season.
In K.C. Keeler’s wide-open offense, he excelled as the signal caller. The Bearkats threw more than nearly any other team in the country, and he put a ton of points on the board. Their defense wasn’t great, so he had to keep passing to make sure Sam Houston State stayed on top. He responded with aplomb.
Briscoe’s success left UAB fans wondering what could have been. Although he had offers from both Arkansas and Baylor, Briscoe headed to Birmingham. He wasn’t there for long though, with the school famously shutting down its football program under ominous circumstances. After UAB dropped football, he headed for Sam Houston State and the rest is history.
College quarterbacks typically have a hard time making one or two reads on a play, but in Keeler’s offense, Briscoe was forced to progress through his options. That meant he had to have a thorough understanding of the playbook and the patience to make the right throw.
Additionally, Briscoe has a lot of experience as a passer. Sam Houston State’s pass-happy offense meant that he threw the ball more than a lot of collegiate quarterbacks, and he shouldn’t have any issues with confidence.
Sam Houston State’s offense is very good at getting receivers open. Most of the time Briscoe was throwing into big windows with tons of space and it wasn’t too hard for him to complete a large number of passes that way. He will have to adjust to throwing into much tighter windows in the NFL.
Briscoe didn’t face a lot of good defenses either. The Southland Conference is notorious for being an offense-heavy league and defense is often an afterthought. The Bearkats were able to rack up big numbers against conference opponents, but they were crushed when they faced James Madison in 2016 and North Dakota State in 2017. Briscoe really struggled in both games, throwing one touchdown and five interceptions combined.
Some team is going to fall in love with Briscoe’s numbers and take a flyer on him in the sixth- or seventh-round. Quarterbacks that end up with stats like his typically get selected. However, he is going to have a steep learning curve in the NFL.