2018 COLLEGE FOOTBALL QUARTERBACK BATTLES TO WATCH
Some of the top college football teams coming into the 2018 season have questions at the quarterback position. Everyone from Alabama to USC and Notre Dame will look for a clear cut #1 this fall. Here is a look at the teams and the competition that will keep us watching.
NOTRE DAME: Head Coach Brian Kelly wasn’t happy with the way Brandon Wimbush played last season, so he opened up the competition in the off-season. Wimbush will battle with Ian Book, who closed out the 2017 season with a bowl win over LSU (164 yards and two TD’s). True freshman Phil Jurkovec will get a good look in the fall. The Irish want more than 178.9 yards per game passing in 2018.
NEBRASKA: New Head Coach Scott Frost will have three players competing for the starting job including red-shirt freshman Tristan Gebbia, true freshman Adrian Martinez and walk-on Andrew Bunch. Gebbia is a pro-style QB with some mobility. Martinez competed in spring practice and can be a dual-threat quarterback. This battle is really up in the air.
MICHIGAN: When 2017 ended, Michigan was left with a huge question…who will be the starting quarterback? If former Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson is set to go, he may have the inside track. Patterson threw for 3,139 yards and 23 touchdowns in 10 starts at Ole Miss. If it’s not Patterson, third-year sophomore Brandon Peters, red-shirt freshman Dylan McCaffery or true freshman Joe Milton will be in the competition.
UCLA: New Coach Chip Kelly wants to score like he did when he was at Oregon. He has several options including sophomore Devon Modster. Modster played in five games last season throwing for 671 yards and four TD’s. Freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Michigan transfer Wilton Speight will also be in the running.
TEXAS: The Longhorns may have one of the best situations with two very quality QB’s to choose from. Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger both have starting experience. Buechele has started 19 games over the last two seasons, while Ehlinger was Texas’ best QB as a true freshman in 2017. Buechele and Ehlinger combined for 3,320 yards and 18 TD’s last season.
TENNESSEE: When you score only 14.1 points per game you need to re-examine how your quarterback is performing. Apparently at Tennessee…NOT WELL. New Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt and new OC Tyson Helton will pick between Stanford grad transfer Keller Chryst, sophomore Jarrett Guarantano and sophomore Will McBride.
USC: Coach Clay Helton has to replace Sam Darnold…..with very little experience. Sophomore Matt Fink, redshirt freshman Jack Sears and true freshman JT Daniels are the front-runners. Fink may be the favorite since he has taken the most college snaps. Daniels was one of the top rated QB’s in high school.
OHIO STATE: JT Barrett is gone. Ohio State will miss his leadership and all-around play. Coach Urban Meyer will still have plenty of talent to choose from including Sophomore Dwayne Haskins, junior Joe Burrow and redshirt freshman Tate Martell. Haskins isn’t as mobile as Barrett but he is a better passer.
GEORGIA: It was a great story for freshman Jake Fromm. Jacob Eason gets injured in the 2017 season opener. Fromm steps in and leads the Bulldogs to the SEC title and then the National Championship game. Five-Star recruit Justin Fields is a dual-threat QB who will get a look in the fall.
LSU: The Tigers will spread the field more in 2018. That means they must find the “right” QB. Myles Brennan played sparingly as a freshman last season. He is in the running with redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse and junior Justin McMillen. Brennan is the better passer.
FLORIDA STATE: Junior Deondre Francois could have been one of the top QB’s in the ACC if not for an injury that ended his 2017 season. Freshman James Blackman took over and threw for 2,230 yards and 19 TD’s. Francois didn’t help his cause by his limited ability in the spring. Freshman Bailey Hockman could be the #2 if Blackman wins the starting job. This will be interesting.
FLORIDA: Dan Mullen’s first priority as the new Gators Head Coach is to fix a very bad offense. Feleipe Franks completed just 54.6% of his passes in 2017. Franks played better in the spring. Others looking to unseat Franks will be Kyle Trask, Jake Allen and true freshman Emory Jones.
CLEMSON: Kelly Bryant was solid in 2017 after throwing for 2,802 yards and 13 TD’s. The problem is, he isn’t Deshaun Watson. Bryant was seventh in total yards per game in the ACC at 247.6. That number must get better. Trevor Lawrence was the #1 overall recruit in 2018. Lawrence is a better passer and has the better upside.
ALABAMA: There are no guarantees for Jalen Hurts despite a very good resume’. Hurts is 26-2 as a starter with two national title game appearances. Sophomore Tua Tagovailoa’s performance is the second half of the national championship game showed us a QB battle was coming. Tagovailoa is a better passer and that can open things up for the Tide offense.