Quarterbacks Who Made the Most of Spring Practice
For college football players, spring is the time to show what you've got, take control of your position and put it all on the line in the hopes of earning a position atop the depth chart.
It is a season filled with competition, and sometimes drama, as players duke it out for starting honors.
The quarterbacks on this list have spent their springs making a mark on the field, taking advantage of the opportunities afforded them and using them to make a run at the top of the depth chart.
From experienced starters to players who have never started a game, this list is filled with quarterbacks who spent spring making all kinds of progress and will continue to do so late into the fall.
10. Connor Cook, Michigan State
Connor Cook is locked in a three-way battle for the starting position in East Lansing with incumbent Andrew Maxwell and mobile quarterback Tyler O'Connor.
Maxwell has played well this spring, and appears to have the edge in the race to win the starting position, but Cook, who will be the quarterback of the future for MSU, has pushed him all the way up to the Spartans' spring game.
The two are different in style and ability, Maxwell the more careful, better-suited to a short-yardage passing game.
Meanwhile, Cook has a cannon for an arm, and the ability to scramble out of potentially dangerous situations and make things happen.
If Cook continues to improve, and can cut down on some of his more dangerous attempts for better decisions, he has a shot at taking over for Maxwell and the potential to develop into one of the better players at the position in the Big Ten.
9. Blake Bell, Oklahoma
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Quarterback Landry Jones has departed, and Oklahoma needs someone to take over for him, desperately.
The Sooners' quarterback race is between three guys: Blake Bell, Kendal Thompson and Trevor Knight.
Bell, having the most experience and serving as Landry Jones' understudy, seemed to have the inside track entering spring, as long as he could throw the ball consistently.
It's never a good thing when you have more than twice as many rushing touchdowns as a quarterback than completed passes.
But Bell has been good this spring, while Thompson and Knight have been inconsistent.
While Bell continues to struggle when compared to Jones, he appears to have solidified his case for starting chores through the course of this spring.
8. Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State
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Oklahoma State has three guys on the roster who won games as the starting quarterback for the Cowboys in 2012.
Wes Lunt started 2012 as QB1, then gave way to J.W. Walsh after an injury. Walsh then suffered his own injury, clearing the way for Chelf, who was the starter until the start of spring practice.
While Chelf used the opportunity provided him last season to earn a starting nod, spring practice has been about solidifying his position, and not doing anything to mess it up.
So far, so good.
While Mike Gundy has made it clear that he will not name a starter until he has too, Chelf seems to be maintaining his slim lead over Walsh and Lunt.
Chelf's solid spring, capped off with a 204-yard, one-touchdown performance in the spring game should give him the edge in the race for the time being, and if he continues to be efficient, he will be the starter come August 31.
7. Brandon Allen, Arkansas
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Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has one of the toughest jobs this offseason, as the Razorbacks have some major holes to fill to even hope that they might be competitive in the SEC.
The most concerning of these holes happens to be at quarterback.
Tyler Wilson is gone, leaving multiple options to replace him, including Brandon Allen and senior Brandon Mitchell.
The competition between these two would appear to be all but over, as Allen has performed better all spring and received the starting job in Arkansas' spring game over Mitchell, taking all of his snaps exclusively with the first-string offense.
“You know, I’ve not named any starters yet,” Bielema said (h/t Scott Faldon, TheCabin.net). “He started this game and played the entire first half with the ones. So I think we feel good about that.”
While Bielema may still be unsure, Allen has performed at such a level that it will be difficult to leave him out of the starting position when the season begins.
6. Tyler Ferguson, Penn State
Bill O'Brien has kept the quarterback race at Penn State tightly contained, but Tyler Ferguson and Steven Bench have done plenty on the field to help answer this question.
Ferguson has the better arm, Bench is more mobile, but other than that, the two are just about dead even.
Bench, however, has had more time with the offense, and so he should have a leg up on the competition.
However, Ferguson's skills and ability to move the offense during practice has kept him tied at the front of this race with Bench.
While neither one has earned the starting nod as of yet, Ferguson's ability to keep it close, in spite of less time with the team, has to be considered a victory for him, of sorts.
5. Chad Voytik, Pitt
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Tom Savage bounced from Rutgers to Arizona to Pitt before winding up at Pitt last season.
He seemed to be the favorite to take over starting quarterback duties now that the position is open, especially given the potential he has flashed at various points over his career.
Chad Voytik has other ideas.
Savage has struggled this spring, and Voytik has taken advantage, finishing off the spring in the Panthers' spring game with 358 passing yards and three touchdowns.
While this race will not be over until the fall, Voytik has, so far, seized the opportunity presented to him and forced his way into the lead for the starting position.
4. Joel Stave, Wisconsin
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For the time being, it's hard to argue that Joel Stave has had the best spring of all the potential players at the position for the Wisconsin Badgers.
Although new head coach Gary Andersen has taken a good hard look at Curt Phillips, the most mobile of the players currently fighting for the position, Stave's arm strength and ability to lead the offense make him the best option at the position.
He spent the spring showing off his arm strength and capped it off with an excellent spring game in which he completed 15 of 20 attempt for 161 yards and a touchdown.
Phillips' mobility is tempting, given Andersen's penchant for utilizing the spread, but as long as Stave keeps up his solid performance into the fall, he will get the nod over Phillips.
Whether he will be able to beat JUCO transfer Tanner McEvoy when he arrives for fall practice is another question entirely.
3. Casey Pachall, TCU
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It has been an interesting year for TCU quarterback Casey Pachall.
The young man left the football program and the school in 2012 less than a week after an arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and just a few months after failing a drug test.
He went to an inpatient facility for rehab and arrived back with the program this spring, theoretically ready to pick up where he left off, starting for Gary Patterson's offense.
However, there was one barrier, Trevone Boykin—the quarterback who stepped in during Pachall's absence and took over the offense.
At the beginning of spring practice, there were questions about who would be the starter at quarterback before spring practice began, but Pachall appears to have asserted himself and taken over the starting job again.
In the Horned Frogs' final practice of the spring session, Pachall took the majority of the reps at quarterback and is on track to lead the team into the fall as QB1.
2. Cody Kessler, USC
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The USC quarterback battle is an interesting one.
Max Wittek was the man last season when Matt Barkley went down with injury but was not particularly impressive, managing to complete only 52 percent of his 69 passing attempts and throwing five interceptions to only three touchdowns.
This spring, he was challenged by freshman Max Browne and fellow third-year sophomore Cody Kessler.
He's had a better spring and thoroughly out-performed Wittek and Browne in the spring game, throwing for 242 yards and three touchdowns, one on his first pass of the game:
#USC QB Cody Kessler's first play of the Spring Game is a 70 yard TD pass to Marqise Lee.
— USC Football News (@USCFootballNews) April 13, 2013
1. Jameis Winston, Florida State
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Jameis Winston, the former No. 1 recruit at the quarterback position, has earned the place at the top of Florida State's depth chart.
Coming into the season, it was assumed that Clint Trickett would be the starter and everybody else just flailing about trying to earn the job.
But Winston knocked that nonsense out of circulation for good during the Seminole's spring game, unleashing a barrage of accurate throws, including a 58-yard strike on his first throw of the scrimmage.
Winston finished with just three incompletions during the game.
Jimbo Fisher has not named a starter, but shortly after the spring game, Trickett announced his intentions to transfer, clearing away the only legitimate competition that Winston could possibly have for the rest of the offseason.