Black quarterbacks no longer few and far between
Fred Jeter | 9/29/2022, 6 p.m.
Black starting quarterbacks, once a rarity in the NFL and major college football, are popping up more and more.
Despite two significant injuries, nine Black QBs are now directing their NFL teams, and many more are likely to arrive soon.
And that doesn’t include two Pacific Islanders, Marcus Mariota in Atlanta and Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa.
Here are the NFL’s current Black QB starters:
Geno Smith (Seattle): In his 11th season out of West Virginia, Smith took over for the Seahawks following Russell Wilson’s move to Denver.
Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia): Following a stellar college career at Alabama and Oklahoma, he’s in his third year with the Eagles and second as a starter.
Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City): Is in his sixth season as the Chiefs’ signal caller and fifth as starter. The ex-Texas Tech All-American led KC to the 2020 Super Bowl crown.
Russell Wilson (Denver): Growing up in Richmond, Wilson starred at Collegiate School and later at North Carolina State and Wisconsin before joining the Seahawks and leading its franchise to the 2013 Super Bowl title. He’s in his first season with the Broncos.
Lamar Jackson (Baltimore): A former Heisman Trophy winner at Louisville, Jackson has posted a 38- 13 record in five seasons with the Ravens and is the top running QB since Mike Vick.
Kyler Murray (Arizona): The top overall draft pick by the Cardinals in 2019, Murray transitioned from a baseball outfielder to full-time football while at Oklahoma.
Justin Fields (Chicago): The 11th overall draft pick coming out Ohio State, he’s in second season with the Bears and first as a full-time starter.
Jameis Winston (New Orleans): The former Florida State star played five seasons in Tampa Bay before coming to the Saints. He was replaced in Tampa by Tom Brady.
Jacoby Brissett (Cleveland): He’s keeping the position warm until Deshaun Watson returns later this season from a suspension. Watson ranked with the NFL’s elite while with Houston. Brissett is with his fourth team after coming out of North Carolina State.
Missing in action are Dallas’ Dak Prescott, who broke a finger on his throwing hand in the Cowboys’opener, and Trey Lance in San Francisco, who is out for the season with a broken ankle. Prescott is expected to return later in the season.
The college landscape is now brimming with likely NFL-bound Black quarterbacks.
The list starts with Alabama’s Bryce Young, who is pursuing a second straight Heisman Trophy. Young is in his third season with the Tide and eligible for spring draft.
Other collegians on the rise are C.J. Stroud (Ohio State), Caleb Williams (Southern Cal), Malik Cunningham (Louisville) and Hendon Hooker (Tennessee, after transferring from Virginia Tech), KJ Jefferson (Arkansas), Anthony Richardson (Florida) and Pacific Islander Dillon Gabriel (Oklahoma).
A wildcard is Jackson State’s Shedeur Sanders, now in his second season tossing passes for his coach/ father Deion Sanders. He would not be eligible for the NFL draft until after the 2023 season. Sanders became first HBCU football player to sign a lucrative NIL contract (with Gatorade).
The attitude toward Black QBs has changed dramatically. Since 2010, six Black QBs have won the Heisman Trophy (Young, Murray, Jackson, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Winston). Mariota won in 2014.