It seems like we have the same conversation every year. A quarterback is projected to come off the board at the top of the NFL Draft, but opts to return to his school for another season. This year appears to be no different as there are already reports that Texas QB Quinn Ewers is mulling the decision to do so. However, what if other quarterbacks at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft are doing the same? What if the top quarterback in the class plays his Uno reverse card? Let’s breakdown how the dominoes will fall for the 2025 NFL Draft if a top QB prospect opts to return for the 2024 season.
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Caleb Williams, Southern California
While it’s extremely unlikely that one of the top prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft class could opt to return next season, let’s have some fun with this one. This season hasn’t gone according to plan for Southern California. The Trojans are currently 7-4 this season, 5-3 in conference play, which is good enough for 5th in the Pac-12 standings.
When Caleb Williams left Oklahoma to join Lincoln Riley at USC, their expectations were obviously much higher. If Williams feels like there is unfinished business at the Coliseum, then a return doesn’t seem quite so farfetched.
We currently have Caleb Williams listed as one of the top prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft. However, LSU’s Jayden Daniels has seen his draft stock soar in recent weeks. Coupled with Drake Maye’s performance this season and it’s certainly possible that Williams could slip a bit in the 2024 NFL Draft.
If Caleb Williams were to return for the 2024 season, he’d obviously become the preseason favorite as the top prospect in the 2025 NFL Draft. If he can get the USC Trojans into the College Football Playoff, that would likely be enough to solidify himself as the number one overall pick.
Quinn Ewers, Texas
Ewers has missed two games this season with a sprained shoulder. Despite this, the Longhorns are first in the Big 12 with a 9-1 record, 6-1 in conference play. Nevertheless, we haven’t seen the bump in draft stock that we expected with Quinn Ewers. As a result, he’s likely out of the top 5 quarterbacks in 2024.
With reports surfacing that a return to the Longhorns in 2024 is now likely, let’s break it down. I don’t want to explore what it means for Arch Manning’s future in Austin, but rather, what it means for Ewers. The Longhorns are moving to the SEC next season, so he’ll be playing on a much larger stage.
He’s almost certainly going to be one of the favorites heading into next season. If he can remain healthy, and keep the Longhorns in contention all season long, then he could be in play as the top quarterback off the board in the 2025 NFL Draft.
JJ McCarthy, Michigan
If JJ McCarthy can get Michigan into the College Football Playoffs, or even the championship game, then I think he heads to the NFL. But what if that doesn’t happen? Head coach Jim Harbaugh has been away from this team for much of the season. If the Wolverines can get through a matchup at Maryland, that’ll setup a huge battle as Michigan hosts #2 Ohio State to close out the season. However, if Jim Harbaugh’s three game suspension is upheld, then JJ McCarthy will have to lead the offense without his head coach.
Furthermore, with LSU’s Jayden Daniels and others ranked ahead of him on many draft boards, McCarthy could be the odd man out. If he opts to return to Michigan next season, then he’s got to be one of the top signal callers in the 2025 NFL Draft.