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Belt Loops: Putting the MAC quarterbacks in tiers

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This is going to be really awkward when I show up to UMass games in a #7 Jersey.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Steele named him First Team All-MAC. Sporting News has him as the Best Passing Quarterback in the MAC and the All-MAC team Quarterback. With all this attention, you'd think Blake Frohnapfel was by far and away the best quarterback in the MAC. With 3,345 yards. 23 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, you can see why he's getting all this praise. I'm here to tell you, though, that Frohnapfel is not the best quarterback in the league. Take this blind resume from a pair of anonymous MAC quarterbacks with their 2014 stats:

PLAYER YDS TD INT SACK
Player A 3443 26 10 22
Player B 3345 23 10 22

For those who missed out on all the MACtion last year, Player A is, of course, Zack Terrell of Western Michigan University, while Player B is Blake Frohnapfel. The scary thing is that Terrell managed to throw almost 100 more yards than Frohnapfel on almost 70 less attempts. Frohnapfel has the counting stats (and in only 10 games to boot), but he had to throw the ball a ton to get there. Only two quarterbacks had more attempts than Frohnapfel in the MAC. The kicker: Blake Frohnapfel was 12th in the MAC in completion percentage of quarterbacks with 100 or more attempts.

PLAYER TEAM COMP ATT PCT YDS
Zach Terrell WMU 250 368 67.9 3,443
Joe Licata BUFF 224 345 64.9 2,647
Cooper Rush CMU 243 382 63.6 3,157
Logan Woodside TOL 186 297 62.6 2,272
Drew Hare NIU 194 326 59.5 2,322
Ozzie Mann BALL 116 197 58.9 1,281
Derrius Vick OHIO 94 160 58.8 1,156
James Knapke BGSU 280 483 58 3,173
Reginald Bell Jr. EMU 105 184 57.1 1,297
Colin Reardon KENT 228 400 57 2,466
Blake Frohnapfel UMASS 241 437 55.1 3,345
Jack Milas BALL 115 209 55 1,302
Kyle Pohl AKR 208 382 54.5 2,189
Tommy Woodson AKR 76 143 53.1 806
Andrew Hendrix M-OH 222 458 48.5 3,280
JD Sprague OHIO 98 202 48.5 1,236

That is not the territory of a top tier quarterback. Despite this, Frohnapfel puts together a decent Adjusted Yards per Attempt (AY/A) due to the high yardage total , good for sixth in the league.

Frohnapfel has a second issue, though.

Besides the low completion percentage, Blake Frohnapfel doesn't make plays with his legs. Sure, he does this very now and again, but due to his 22 sacks, his rushing line sits at 41 for -84. The sacks alone aren't an issue; Frohnapfel is right in line with the other top MAC quarterbacks, it's that he takes his sacks incredibly deep in the pocket, and doesn't add any value with his legs. Let's do another blind resume:

PLAYER ATT YDS TD INT
Player A 446 3,707 29 10
Player B 485 3,222 26 2
Player C 478 3,261 23 10

In this scenario, you'd either take Player A for the yards or Player B for the better decision making and thus reduced risk. Player A is Zach Terrell, Player B is Drew Hare, and Player C is Blake Frohnapfel, if you combined their rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns with their passing line. After factoring in rushing and passing stats, you can create the following massive data dump:

PLAYER TEAM RUSH ATT RUSH YDS RUSH TD COMP ATT YDS TD INT SACK Total Attempts Total Yards Total TD Total Int Comb AY/A
Zach Terrell QB WMU 78 264 3 250 368 3,443 26 10 22 446 3,707 29 10 8.60
Drew Hare QB NIU 159 900 8 194 326 2,322 18 2 12 485 3,222 26 2 7.53
Joe Licata QB BUFF 34 -6 2 224 345 2,647 29 11 16 379 2,641 31 11 7.30
Cooper Rush QB CMU 46 -51 243 382 3,157 27 13 28 428 3,106 27 13 7.15
Logan Woodside QB TOL 52 78 3 186 297 2,272 19 8 9 349 2,350 22 8 6.96
Blake Frohnapfel QB UMASS 41 -84 241 437 3,345 23 10 22 478 3,261 23 10 6.84
Derrius Vick QB OHIO 82 390 1 94 160 1,156 8 4 11 242 1,546 9 4 6.39
Andrew Hendrix QB M-OH 157 324 6 222 458 3,280 23 9 43 615 3,604 29 9 6.14
Ozzie Mann QB BALL 31 -2 116 197 1,281 10 2 7 228 1,279 10 2 6.09
Jack Milas QB BALL 27 96 2 115 209 1,302 9 5 5 236 1,398 11 5 5.90
Reginald Bell Jr. QB EMU 133 562 4 105 184 1,297 9 6 22 317 1,859 13 6 5.83
James Knapke QB BGSU 67 136 2 280 483 3,173 15 12 20 550 3,309 17 12 5.65
JD Sprague QB OHIO 65 264 3 98 202 1,236 3 5 12 267 1,500 6 5 5.22
Colin Reardon QB KENT 59 148 2 228 400 2,466 14 16 11 459 2,614 16 16 4.82
Kyle Pohl QB AKR 46 18 1 208 382 2,189 9 8 18 428 2,207 10 8 4.78
Tommy Woodson QB AKR 32 131 76 143 806 5 6 6 175 937 5 6 4.38

This table paints a pretty clear picture, and it isn't Blake Frohnapfel being the best quarterback in the MAC. I would say there's a pretty clear number one, Zach Terrell, with a very jumbled two through five, followed by the rest. Add in the fact that the Minutemen are going to have major issues replacing this guy, and I could see the debate that Frohnapfel shouldn't be on any All-MAC team.

Personally, I'd probably tier next seasons starters as follows:

Player School
Tier 1: Zach Terrell WMU
Drew Hare NIU
Tier 2: Joe Licata BUFF
Cooper Rush CMU
Blake Frohnapfel UMASS
Tier 3: Matt Johnson BGSU
Phillip Ely* TOL
Tier 4: Derrius Vick OHIO
Jack Milas BALL
Reginald Bell Jr. EMU
Tier 5: Colin Reardon KENT
Kyle Pohl** AKR
Miami QB*** MIA

* Woodside would probably rank in tier 2 for me, and both Ely or Johnson could either be tier 1 quarterbacks or be replaced if they struggle due to injury.

**Kyle Pohl might not make it through summer camp, Tra'Von Chapman is hot on his heels, I hear

***Miami lost Andrew Hendrix, who would be tier 4 for me.

This is not an indictment of Blake Frohnapfel. This is probably praise for a very deep and talented quarterback class for the MAC this  year. Let's not overrate Frohnapfel though. He's a great QB in a deep league, not the most dominant quarterback in the MAC. He might be the most valuable, though, but that's a whole different debate for another day.

Do you agree with Jesse's tiers? Think he's an idiot? Let your voice be heard below!