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2022 NFL Draft: Where Western Kentucky QB Bailey Zappe stands after breaking the NCAA passing yards and TD record

Huntington, West Virginia, USA; Western Kentucky Hilltoppers quarterback Bailey Zappe (4) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Just two short years ago, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow made college football history.

The Tigers quarterback capped off a perfect 15-0 season with a big win over Trevor Lawrence’s Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship, tossing five touchdowns to bring his 2019 touchdown total to 60. In doing so, he broke an NCAA record set by the late Colt Brennan in 2006.

Burrow got to where he ended up in such a series of magnificent steps that it was almost as if it was part of some wonderful plan. He entered the season as a relative unknown, an afterthought. He ended it as a record-breaker, a bonafide superstar and the slam-dunk No. 1 overall pick.

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But now that touchdown record no longer belongs to Burrow. 

Nearly two years later, in a game with a distinctly lower audience, Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe passed for six touchdowns and 422 yards to beat App State 59-38 in the 2021 Boca Raton Bowl. Zappe finished the season with 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns, topping Burrow's touchdown record and the single-season passing yards record B.J. Symons set in 2003 (5,833).

And now Zappe has his eyes set on the 2022 NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound graduate student, who threw for 10,004 yards and 78 touchdowns at FCS-level Houston Baptist from 2017 through 2020, took the risk of transferring programs to better help him achieve his dream of playing in the NFL. In an exclusive interview for PFF, he told Trevor Sikkema that he “wanted to move up a level and go somewhere with higher competition and a better opportunity to put myself in position to go to the next level.” 

And he has certainly done that. He has already accepted an invite to the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl, joining fellow top draft-eligible quarterbacks Kenny Pickett (Pitt), Malik Willis (Liberty), Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati) and Carson Strong (Nevada).


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Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe is making the most of his FBS opportunity
Via Trevor Sikkema


But despite putting up unprecedented volume numbers and shattering two very significant passing records, Zappe is likely to be the last quarterback selected among that crop of Senior Bowl passers. In fact, he will likely enter the pre-draft process as an early Day 3 prospect, though things can obviously change between now and April. 

And this obviously begs the question, why is this record-breaking quarterback not getting more love from the NFL?

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