Last April, Mitchell Trubisky was one of a few dozen FBS quarterbacks fighting for a starting job. This April, he's fighting to be the first quarterback off the board and a potential top-five pick.
After losing his first quarterback competition to Marquise Williams as a redshirt freshman in 2014, the 6-foot-2, 222-pound Trubisky spent the first two years of his North Carolina career backing up Williams, attempting just 125 passes over 18 appearances.
Though the measurables were there and Tar Heel coaches loved his pocket mobility, delivery and arm, among other things, it took a monster season — completed 68.2 percent of passes for 3,748 yards, 30 touchdowns and six interceptions — to vault him from intriguing FBS prospect to can't-miss NFL prospect.
Here are four players who could replicate Mitch Trubisky's 2016 success and climb NFL Draft boards with the perfect 2017 season.
Quinten Dormady – Tennessee
Like Trubisky a year ago, Quinten Dormady has waited for two seasons behind a veteran quarterback and is now ready to take over, although the Tennessee junior hasn't been named starter yet.
He's still competing with redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano but after Dormady's flawless spring game performance — 10-for-10, 120 yards, one touchdowns — he appears to be the heavy favorite.
A former four-star prospect in the 2014 class, Dormady is a 6-foot-4, 216-pound pocket passer with adequate mobility and a strong arm. He has attempted just 39 total passes in his first two seasons.
Riley Ferguson – Memphis
Despite a big year as Paxton Lynch's replacement, Riley Ferguson is flying far under the radar.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound North Carolina native is a former four-star recruit who picked Tennessee over Alabama, Clemson and others in 2013. He left Knoxville after one redshirt season and, following a year off and a year at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, landed at Memphis in January 2016, weeks after Lynch declared for the NFL Draft.
"He plays the game under control," first-year head coach Mike Norvell said in March 2016. "You watch him and he's very athletic, he knows how to extend plays, but he always seems in control.
That control helped complete 63.2 percent of his passes for 3,698 yards and 32 touchdowns last year. Now a senior, Ferguson is slowly rising up draft boards and could enter first-round discussion.
Tyler Wiegers – Iowa
This is a major wild card pick. Tyler Wiegers hasn't even won Iowa's quarterback battle against sophomore Nathan Stanley — and Stanley could also be included on this list if he wasn't a true sophomore.
A former Rutgers commit who pledged to Iowa a month before National Signing Day in 2014, Wiegers has attempted four total passes for the Hawkeyes as he waited behind Jake Rudock (2014) and C.J. Beathard (2015-16). A bid-bodied (6-foot-4, 222-pounds), relatively accurate quarterback who must improve his arm strength to warrant NFL attention, the former four-star recruit has been lauded for his improvement since arriving three years ago.
"Tyler's improved greatly since he got here," Beathard said last year. "He's to a point now where if something were to happen to me or if I was to get hurt, I could completely trust him with running the ship when he's in there.
Drew Lock – Missouri
Drew Lock would be earning more headlines if he didn't play for a team that won nine total games the last two years.
A 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior with nearly two years of starting experience, Lock threw for 3,399 yards and 23 scores last year, though he did only complete 54.6 percent of his passes (only two FBS quarterbacks have left early for the draft since 2008 after completing less than 55 percent of their attempts), threw multiple interceptions four times and struggled against elite competition.
Nonetheless, Lock's size, arm strength and pocket presence make him an intriguing prospect and a huge year could prompt him to leave Mizzou early.