Mountain West Football: Jake Haener Leads Pro Football Network Preseason Quarterback Rankings
Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener is very highly regarded among his FBS peers in the eyes of one football writer.
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How does the conference measure up nationally?
Cam Mellor, the senior director of college football and NFL Draft coverage at Pro Football Network, unveiled his top-to-bottom ranking of the nation’s best quarterbacks this morning. To no one’s surprise, Fresno State’s Jake Haener tops the list among signal callers in the Mountain West.
What might be a surprise, however, is just how high he is within Mellor’s rankings. Haener comes in at ninth overall, ahead of USC’s Caleb Williams and just behind Utah’s Cameron Rising, where Mellor notes that “[he] has a tremendous arm and incredible strength from an unassuming frame … [and] is tough, both physically and mentally, shaking off mistakes with ease and continuing a high level of play no matter the situation.” Haener finished second in the Mountain West last year with a 67.1% completion rate and 4,096 passing yards, throwing 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Haener isn’t out on an island by himself, however, as Boise State’s Hank Bachmeier also comes in at 18th. According to Mellor, “it could be argued that no other Mountain West QB meant more to his team than Bachmeier did last year”, especially after he played through injuries to throw for 3,020 yards and 20 touchdowns, with just eight interceptions.
Further down the list, both Utah State’s Logan Bonner and Air Force’s Haaziq Daniels also landed in the top 50 at 31st and 47th, respectively. That duo engineered two of the top offenses in the Group of 5 last year: Bonner set single-season program records for passing touchdowns and passing yards while Daniels’s Falcons finished in the top 11 nationally by points per drive and available yards percentage earned.
The only other projected starter to land in the top half of the rankings, interestingly enough, is San Diego State’s Braxton Burmeister. The Virginia Tech transfer battled injuries throughout 2021 and completed just 55.7% of his throws, but he also managed 7.7 yards per attempt, knew how to take care of the ball in throwing for 1,960 yards, 14 touchdowns, and only four interceptions, and added 514 rushing yards.
At the bottom of the rankings, the presence of Colorado State quarterbacks Clay Millen and Giles Pooler might be something of a surprise, especially given the former’s strong performances throughout spring. As Mellor notes, however, “it has to be proven on the field. Unfortunately for both redshirt freshman quarterbacks, their high school senior seasons were marred during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and each of these two hasn’t played meaningful snaps in at least two years.”
- 9. Jake Haener, Fresno State
- 18. Hank Bachmeier, Boise State
- 31. Logan Bonner, Utah State
- 47. Haaziq Daniels, Air Force
- 54. Braxton Burmeister, San Diego State
- 77. Chevan Cordeiro, San Jose State
- 84. Harrison Bailey, UNLV
- 105. Brayden Schager, Hawaii
- 109. Nate Cox/Shane Illingworth, Nevada
- 110. Isaiah Chavez/Miles Kendrick, New Mexico
- 126. Andrew Peasley/Hank Gibbs, Wyoming
- 130. Clay Millen/Giles Pooler, Colorado State