Hot Reads: Big Ten QB News Roundup
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Hot Reads: Big Ten QB News Roundup

June 18, 2018

Nebraska remains in no rush to make a call on its quarterback race. Someone will start the opener of course, but given the youth of all of the options it seems fair to expect the evaluation to continue as the season progresses. (Or as Erik Chinander put it recently when talking Blackshirts, "Rent's due every day, bub.") Nebraska's quarterback situation might be a little like that, too.

In this offense, in this particular year, I don't know if there's a great reason to rush to identify the guy at quarterback. And the fact that it's the question that will be asked the most until there's an answer, I find it somewhat impressive that no real indication of any favored candidates has come from the players.

But just because Nebraska's quarterback position will remain an unsolved mystery for another few months that doesn't mean movement isn't happening elsewhere. It's been a somewhat busy month in the Big Ten for quarterback news.

Here's a quick roundup.

OHIO STATE: Urban Meyer named Dwayne Haskins the starter entering the summer. Joe Burrow's transfer to LSU told you as much, but now it's official. Meyer noted that redshirt freshman Tate Martell will have a chance to win the job over the summer, which is the thing you say, but it's an interesting dynamic. Haskins (6-3, 220) is more of the classic pocket passer. Martell (5-11, 207) brings more of a Manziel-like potential magic to the fold. It's an interesting this-or-that choice, and one Meyer has made going into the summer.

MINNESOTA: The Gophers are down to one scholarship quarterback on the roster following the transfer of Victor Viramontes. Redshirt freshman Tanner Morgan is that one and the likely starter, with true freshman walk-on Zack Annexstad (of IMG Academy) presumed to be the closest challenger. The Gophers list only freshmen (redshirt and true) at the position, which certainly isn't the typical trajectory for Year 2 in a new regime. Most people have Minnesota slated for sixth in the Big Ten West, and it's hard to disagree based on the QB situation, but I did notice that Phil Steele puts the Gophers fifth (ahead of Purdue).

PENN STATE: The Nittany Lions have the most accomplished quarterback in the conference, which is only a problem because it means another quarterback Penn State's coaches and fans really like has had to sit. Most of the time. And that's how junior Tommy Stevens combined for six rushing and receiving touchdowns last year while throwing for just three. James Franklin has used Stevens in creative ways in the past and more could be in store in 2018. This is a pretty fun breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages to trying to get two QBs on the field at once. 

NORTHWESTERN: Perhaps the biggest Big Ten quarterback news of the month came courtesy of Northwestern, though it may not feel that way because it has nothing to do with 2018. Former Clemson quarterback Hunter Johnson, once the top QB recruit in the country, chose to make Northwestern his new home. That, of course, has prompted some big-picture questions about the Wildcats' future. They have the gleaming new football facility to show off this year and a big-time quarterback prospect to showcase next year. What's it mean for this program going forward? People seem to tire quickly of talk of Northwestern's rise. (Some don't even like it when Pat Fitzgerald, career record 87-65, gets mentioned on all of those "best coaches" lists.) But I think this is a legitimate topic of conversation. You know year in and year out that the Wildcats will field a good Big Ten defense. If Johnson plays like a 5-star quarterback, something we admittedly don't know yet, I think it does make Northwestern more of a factor in the West Division race in the years to come. The Wildcats still have to be able to run the ball and protect Johnson, but singular QB play means a lot. If that's coming to Evanston in the near future the division just got more competitive.

The Grab Bag

  • The Group of 5 teams most likely to earn a New Year's bowl berth.
  • Six ways the redshirt rule could make college football more fun.
  • The NCAA and the wife of a former Texas football player reached a settlement in the first CTE case (a negligence and wrongful death suit) against the NCAA to make it to jury trial.
  • ICYMI: Greg Smith offered his impressions from Friday Night Lights.

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