Since the late 1970s, WSU has had an unprecedented run of both prolific passing offenses and elite quarterbacks. With that in mind,I thought I would tackle the holy grail of WSU top five lists, the quarterbacks. Sports Illustrated famously dubbed WSU "Quarterback U" in it's prime. Signal-callers such as Jason Gesser and Connor Halliday have kept the tradition alive to this day. Man, it was tough to narrow down to five.
1. Ryan Leaf
I may be biased since I was in school during the 1997 Rose Bowl year. But no quarterback that I saw as a fan impressed me more than Leaf. He put up big-time numbers against top teams and seemed to be at his best in the fourth quarter. There was a reason that he was the only player in WSU history to be invited to the Heisman ceremony.
2. Drew Bledsoe
I don't think Bledsoe was as consistent as Leaf, but Drew was the most physically talented of the quarterbacks. You always felt with Bledsoe that you were never out of any game as he could make all the throws. Also, the 1992 Apple Cup was a performance for the ages. That year Bledsoe was the Pac-10 offensive player of the year and led WSU to a top 10 ranking before being picked No.1 in the NFL draft.
3. Jack Thompson
This is tricky because I never saw Thompson play. But a guy who was a first team All-American and set NCAA records for passing yardage has to rank high on any list. Also drafted 2nd overall in the NFL draft. Not too shabby, three quarterbacks from one school drafted in the top 2.
4. Timm Rosenbach
Rosenbach was my first Cougar quarterback so he'll always have a special place in my heart. He ran the Air Erickson offense to perfection and led the nation in passing efficiency. He also finished seventh in Heisman voting. I think people forget just how good that 1988 team was. They knocked off the No.1 team in the country and put up huge numbers against excellent competition. Rossenbach was outstanding leading that team before going in the first round of the supplemental draft.
5. Mark Rypien
Another guy I didn't see play in college, but I think the Super Bowl MVP speaks for itself. He fought through some injuries but still did some great things with the legendary RPM offense.
It's amazing the names I had to leave off this list. Pac-10 offensive player of the year Jason Gesser. NCAA record holder Connor Holliday. Jeff Tuel and Alex Brink were no slouches either. Who would make your top 5 list? Does Luke Falk have a chance to be in this discussion?
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