Grading Every Power Conference Team's Likely Starting QB for 2013

Carl StineCorrespondent IMay 8, 2013

Grading Every Power Conference Team's Likely Starting QB for 2013

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    Not all quarterback races are finished heading into the summer months.

    Several of them will rage on late into the fall, not ending until just prior to the start of the regular season.

    That said, spring performances have pointed to starters at various schools across the country, so that's who made this list.

    Found here are all power conference teams, along with their likely starting quarterbacks for 2013. Each QB is given a grade, which is based off of his experience, potential and production.

    Read on to find grades for every power conference team's likely starting quarterback.

Blake Bortles, UCF Knights

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    Meet Blake Bortles.

    Last season at the head of the Knights, Bortles earned second-team all-conference honors in Conference USA.

    He finished his sophomore campaign in 2012 with 3,059 passing yards, 25 touchdowns through the air and only seven interceptions.

    Bortles also added eight touchdowns on the ground, bringing his total on the season to 33.

    He completed nearly 63 percent of his passes last season and demonstrated the ability to make big plays on a regular basis.

    Some folks are high on his ability:

    I dare call this for the second time this offseason.Blake Bortles is a QB to watch this year.This guy is a STUD QB. Should be drafted.

    — SoFlowSports (@SoFlowSports) May 1, 2013

    It remains to be seen whether Bortles will be able to continue performing at a high level during the Knights' transition to the American Athletic Conference, but based off his performance thus far, he's earned a solid grade.

     

    Grade: B

Bobby Eveld, USF Bulls

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    This is as close to a guess as anything on this list.

    Eveld seems to have the slight edge in the USF quarterback battle heading into the summer, but he will have his hands full trying to keep off Matt Floyd, as neither one of them was particularly great over the spring.

    This battle will continue long into the fall with Eveld the ultimate winner.

    Not that USF will be too excited if he does start. In 2012, Eveld threw only eight passes, completed three of them, had no interceptions and no touchdowns.

    For his three-year career, he has three touchdown passes and seven interceptions, and though having another year of experience will help a bit, he's not going to be Peyton Manning.

     

    Grade: D

Connor Reilly, Temple Owls

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    Connor Reilly hasn't thrown a pass in a college game, but it appears that he will throw a bunch during the 2013 season.

    Reilly capped off an excellent spring with a great spring game performance, throwing four touchdowns and completing 25 of 41 passing attempts in the game.

    After leading the team onto the field carrying the American flag for two years, he will get his shot leading the team in the Owls' new pro-style offense.

    His lack of experience holds him back a little bit, but he has the potential to help the Owls be a surprise contender in the new AAC.

     

    Grade: C+

Garrett Gilbert, SMU Mustangs

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    In spite of a change of scenery, Garrett Gilbert's numbers didn't see much improvement.

    Gilbert left Texas after three seasons with two years of eligibility remaining, only to land at SMU and play for quarterback development guru June Jones.

    That didn't mean automatic success; however, as Gilbert threw 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2012 while completing only 53 percent of his attempts.

    This season, Gilbert has another year of experience with which to work, and June Jones has a proven record of developing quarterbacks.

    Gilbert will see his numbers get a little better in 2013, but he doesn't have the talent or the arm strength to earn top grades.

     

    Grade: D

Gary Nova, Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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    Whether or not anyone can hang with Louisville in the America Athletic Conference this season is beside the point.

    Every team is going to try, including Rutgers, who returns quarterback Gary Nova for his junior season.

    Nova is one-dimensional and has negative totals in rushing yards over the course of his career. And he's not much better throwing the ball.

    Nova finished last season with only 22 touchdowns while tallying 16 interceptions. His arm is solid, but he struggles with accuracy at times. However, he looked great in spring practice and is primed for a solid season.

     

    Grade: C+

Jacob Karam, Memphis Tigers

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    Jacob Karam is the incumbent, and he will eventually win the starting job for the 2013 season.

    Paxton Lynch and Eric Mathews are both making him work for it, but Karam has a grasp of the offense and plenty of experience.

    Even if that experience was during losses, it is still experience as a starting quarterback.

    In spite of the lack of talent that Karam has to deal with at Memphis, he has proven to be steady.

    Karam, who transferred from Texas Tech, finished last season with 1,895 yards and 14 touchdowns while throwing only three interceptions on the season.

    He's got the talent to hold off the rest of his competition and will finish as the starter.

    Whether he will be able to improve those numbers with no talent around him remains to be seen.

     

    Grade: C

Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville Cardinals

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    Bridgewater burst onto the scene last season and took the college football world by storm.

    He tossed for 3,718 yards while completing over 67 percent of his attempts.

    He also led the team to an 11-2 season, a Big East title and a surprising upset win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl.

    Bridgewater enters the season as one of the primary candidates to win the Heisman Trophy in 2013 and with high expectations for his Louisville team.

    His arm is huge, he's accurate, and he continues to look like one of the best players in the nation through the course of spring practice.

    The only question is whether he can face the pressure this season and come out on top.

    Judging from his performance against Florida last season, he will be just fine.

     

    Grade: A+

David Piland, Houston Cougars

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    David Piland is a step down from Case Keenum for the Cougars.

    Keenum was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the history of the program, while Piland finished the 2012 season with only 16 touchdowns to 12 interceptions.

    For the time being, he has the nod atop the depth chart, but JUCO transfer Billy Cosh and freshman Greg Ward and John O'Korn will be on campus this summer, looking to challenge Piland for the starting position.

    If Piland does win the job, Houston will need some help, as he struggles to complete passes at times and looked much the same in spring practice.

    His lack of improvement means that if one of the incoming trio of quarterbacks performs well, Piland's job will be in danger.

     

    Grade: D

Chandler Whitmer, UConn Huskies

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    Chandler Whitmer appears to be the starter again for UConn in 2013—cue the groans from Huskies fans.

    Whitmer was just south of atrocious through the course of the 2012 season, completing only 57 percent of his passes, throwing 16 interceptions and only nine touchdowns.

    Part of the problem is that UConn has little to no talent around Whitmer, but Whitmer does a pretty good job of stinking things up on his own.

    His accuracy issues hold him and the team back in a big way and will continue to do so in 2013.

     

    Grade: D+

Brendon Kay, Cincinnati Bearcats

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    While Munchie Legaux is much more fun to say than Brendon Kay, it's Kay who is coming out of spring practice with the advantage at the quarterback position.

    Kay was consistent throughout spring practice, demonstrating the ability to throw the deep ball with consistency, and finishing the spring as the best quarterback on the roster.

    Tommy Tuberville identified that Kay has the advantage, and while he's not yet nailed down the starting position, he has a clear advantage heading into  the summer.

    Kay's accuracy is an issue at times, but seemed improved during spring practice.

    Coupled with his ability to make the deep pass with consistency, Cinci has a solid option in Kay for the upcoming season.

    Grade: B-

     

Chase Rettig, Boston College Eagles

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    Boston College fans are going to have to sit back and accept the fact that Rettig is what he is.

    He has a big arm and can make plays at times, but he isn't the second coming of Matt Ryan.

    He's going to make some plays that leave everyone scratching their heads, but he can also make just about every throw.

    He needs to cut back on his interceptions, as he wound up with 13 on the season and only threw 17 touchdown passes.

    Under new head coach Steve Addazio, Rettig will be in a system in which he will have a chance to showcase his talent.

    While it's tough to see him winning all-conference honors in 2013, with a new system installed and some talent around him, he is going to see his production go up this season.

     

    Grade: C+

Tajh Boyd, Clemson Tigers

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    Tajh Boyd will be a contender for the Heisman Trophy late into the season.

    He has a laser for an arm and plenty of experience and talent surrounding him to put up even bigger numbers than he has in the past.

    He finished last season just short of the 4,000-yard passing mark, while scoring 46 total touchdowns and only throwing 13 interceptions.

    If he can take the experience gained last season in big-game losses to both Florida State and South Carolina and use that to his advantage, he will be one of the top quarterbacks in the country again in 2013.

    His team is coming off of a huge win over LSU in its bowl game and starts the 2013 season with a huge game against Georgia.

    Much will be learned about Boyd and his potential this season after that meeting.

     

    Grade: A

Jameis Winston, Florida State Seminoles

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    It looked like Clint Trickett would be the quarterback at Florida State going into 2013 with EJ Manuel gone. That is until he transferred.

    That means the nod at starting quarterback goes to Jameis Winston, the former 5-star recruit who spent the summer making huge strides.

    Winston's first pass in the Seminoles' spring game was a 58-yard touchdown pass that Clint Trickett could only dream of making.

    He's an excellent athlete who plays baseball for the 'Noles as well, but if spring practice is an indication, he will spend more time on the gridiron than the diamond.

    The weight of expectation lays heavy on Winston, as he is expected to be one of the best quarterbacks at Florida State since Charlie Ward.

    His performance under that pressure will determine the 'Noles' success this season, and he definitely has the physical tools to put up huge numbers.

    It remains to be seen what will happen when he is faced with football at FBS speeds. His sky-high potential earns him a high grade.

     

    Grade: B-

C.J. Brown, Maryland Terrapins

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    Maryland head coach Randy Edsall has given the nod at starter for 2013 to C.J. Brown, even though he is still rehabbing from from a torn ACL suffered in 2012 fall practice.

    The Terps went through a mess of injuries last season, to the point where a scout team linebacker had to start at quarterback.

    Brown will provide some limited experience at the position, as he played in 10 games back in 2011, nine of them losses for the Terps.

    But Edsall feels comfortable giving him the nod, and Brown has some talent around him to help make his task a little easier.

    There should be some concern, as Brown's time under center has not been super productive—resulting in only seven touchdowns and six interceptions.

     

    Grade: D+

Pete Thomas, N.C. State Wolfpack

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    Pete Thomas is stepping into an interesting position at N.C. State, taking over for Mike Glennon at quarterback in the same season that new head coach Dave Doeren arrives.

    In the team's spring game, Thomas led the first string, throwing for 168 yards on 15 completions.

    Doeren's uptempo offense was also revealed, an offense in which Thomas, a transfer from Colorado State, is going to put up big numbers.

    But in his two seasons as a quarterback at Colorado State, Thomas struggled, throwing only 18 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions over that same period of time.

    There's potential, but his struggles with accuracy are a major concern and bring his grade down.

     

    Grade: C

Terrel Hunt, Syracuse Orange

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    Syracuse is looking to replace Ryan Nassib, who has moved on to the greener pastures of the NFL.

    Terrel Hunt appears to be the man to do that.

    He capped off a solid spring with an excellent spring game performance, going 19-29 for 209 yards and throwing two touchdowns, including a 49-yarder.

    The Orange are transitioning to the ACC for the first season, and they have to find the talent to replace Nassib and engage in a conference a little bit stronger than the one they left.

    If Hunt can continue his excellent play and hold off incoming Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen, he will be in excellent position to hold onto the starting job.

    He has had no game experience under center for the Orange, so he will have to adjust to the speed of the game.

     

    Grade: C

Tanner Price, Wake Forest Demon Deacons

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    It feels like Tanner Price has been around forever under center at Wake Forest. In reality, it has been three years, and Price is priming for his final season.

    2012 was a rough year, as the Dekes were bitten by the injury bug, and Price struggled.

    With the team back to some semblance of health and plenty of experience across the board, expect another season more like his 2011 campaign from Price.

    He has the arm to lead this team to a bowl game, and with his experience and a healthy squad around him, Price is going to have an excellent season.

     

    Grade: B

Anthony Boone, Duke Blue Devils

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    Boone has had limited experience at Duke, including only 95 passing attempts last season.

    That said, he had an excellent spring, and in his limited experience, he has a 2-1 touchdown to interception ratio.

    Boone, while no Johnny Manziel, allows the Blue Devils to implement more option sets and will pick right up where Sean Renfree left off leading the offense.

    Duke will never be an elite football team, but with Boone at quarterback, we are going to see this team in a bowl game for the second consecutive season.

    Boone's arm and ability to scramble will help him surprise some teams early in the season.

     

    Grade: B

Vad Lee, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    Lee seems to have the edge over Justin Thomas in the race to earn the Yellow Jackets' starting quarterback position.

    Lee has the speed and elusiveness to run Paul Johnson's offense to perfection.

    He's graded a little bit differently from the rest of the quarterbacks on this list, as he will lead an offense who rushes the ball more than any other in the nation and throws the ball much less.

    If Lee continues to be solid, he will be the starter come Week 1.

    His accuracy is less than great, as he's only completed 48.7 percent of his passes when he has had a chance and tossed three interceptions to four touchdowns.

    Given more opportunities to run the offense, Lee could run the Yellow Jackets right back to the ACC title game.

     

    Grade: B

Stephen Morris, Miami Hurricanes

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    Miami is in the middle of a resurgence.

    The team, in spite of postseason restrictions last season, had the best record in its division of the ACC and is returning 20 starters.

    Morris just happens to be one of them. He's had a solid spring, including an excellent game to wrap up the spring practice session.

    He threw for four touchdowns, completed 13 of 23 attempts and 256 yards during the 'Canes' spring game and demonstrated all spring why he is the starting quarterback.

    He's had his issues with accuracy and bad decisions in the past, but he appeared to have worked many of those out last season when he completed 21 touchdown passes to only seven interceptions.

    Expect a huge season out of Morris and some time included in the Heisman discussion.

     

    Grade: A-

Bryn Renner, North Carolina Tar Heels

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    Renner is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the nation.

    He finished last season with a 65 percent completion percentage, 28 touchdown passes and only threw seven interceptions.

    He improved from 2011 to 2012, nearly cutting his interception totals in half and throwing for more yards in 2012 than he did in 2011.

    His ability to make big plays and good decisions should lead to big things for the UNC offense in 2013, and with some help on the defensive side of the ball, the Tar Heels have a shot at the ACC title game.

     

    Grade: B+

Tom Savage, Pitt Panthers

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    Tom Savage has taken a circuitous route to find his way at Pitt, transferring from Rutgers to Arizona and then to Pitt.

    For the time being, it appears as if Savage is Paul Chryst's choice to run the offense, but Chad Voytik is pushing him.

    Savage appears to have the talent and physical tools to be a starting quarterback at this level but has yet to stick around anywhere long enough to prove it.

    For the time being, Savage is atop the depth chart, and he has done just enough to stay there. But his history is such that it does not lend itself to a great grade for this list.

     

    Grade: D

David Watford, Virginia Cavaliers

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    This race is up in the air, but it appears David Watford has the advantage coming out of spring practice.

    Watford is a dual-threat guy who has not been particularly great when on the field, but he may be the best of the three quarterbacks competing for the starting position.

    During limited time, he has only completed 40.5 percent of his passes and thrown only three touchdown passes.

    That's not really enough to inspire confidence for Cavaliers fans, who should be nervous about Watford at the helm.

    He has consistency issues and struggles to make the difficult throws.

     

    Grade: D

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech Hokies

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    Thomas is an enigma.

    At times, he is excellent, making great decisions and prompting thoughts of Heisman glory. At other times, he plays like a seventh grader playing with the varsity team.

    Last season was awful, as Thomas passed for 18 touchdown passes but offset those with 16 interceptions.

    This season it might be time to realize that Thomas—for all his physical tools—is not as good as we assumed he is.

    All spring the Hokies offense struggled, and with less talent surrounding him, Thomas is going to find himself struggling again.

    Expect him to have double-digit interceptions again in 2013.

     

    Grade: C

Bryce Petty, Baylor Bears

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    Baylor has been spoiled by great quarterback play the last two seasons, enjoying the transcendent play of Robert Griffin III in 2011 and then Nick Florence last season.

    Now all eyes turn to Bryce Petty, who barring injury, will assume the quarterback duties for Art Briles' team this fall.

    Petty has already had to respond to comparisons between him and Tim Tebow, which is not a bad thing unless he is called upon to throw the ball further than five yards.

    Truthfully, teammate Lache Seastrunk was comparing him to Tebow physically, and Petty has a much better arm than Tebow, so he will put up some big numbers in 2013.

    He has some big shoes to fill, but the Bears' offense is quarterback friendly and tailored to make a quarterback productive.

    Expect another great offensive season from the Bears with Petty under center.

     

    Grade: B

Sam B. Richardson, Iowa State Cyclones

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    Iowa State has spent the better part of the past decade laboring near the bottom of the Big 12, with an occasional spike to the middle of the pack.

    That's not going to change in 2013, but the Cyclones can hope for some good things from quarterback Sam Richardson.

    He's been pegged as "unconventional," "not satisfied" and "faster than he looks."

    There is much room for growth, but with a year of experience, Richardson will see a large jump in production in 2013.

    Given his ability to run or pass the ball, he will be the anchor of Paul Rhoads' offense as the Cyclones try to reach a bowl game.

     

    Grade: C

Jake Heaps, Kansas Jayhawks

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    Jake Heaps transferred from BYU to Kansas after losing his starting job for the Cougars to Riley Nelson.

    He has since jumped on the opportunity to get a fresh start and will enter fall practice as QB1 on Charlie Weis' depth chart.

    He enjoyed tremendous success in his freshman season, passing for over 2,300 yards and 15 touchdowns before succumbing to a sophomore slump and losing the starting job to Nelson.

    After spending last season on the Jayhawks scout team, Heaps appears to be ready to take over the starting job from incumbent Michael Cummings.

    He's the most talented quarterback on the roster and demonstrated the most skill during spring practice.

    While he's no A.J.McCarron, Heaps will help the Jayhawks upgrade their offense and win more than one game in 2013.

     

    Grade: B

Daniel Sams, Kansas State Wildcats

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    Over the past two seasons, Kansas State reached new heights of success with Collin Klein at the helm.

    Daniel Sams steps in to the void left by his departure with the hopes of keeping the team from nosediving to the bottom of the Big 12.

    He's still competing with JUCO transfer Jake Waters, but he seems to have the edge over him coming out of spring practice.

    Sams is a dual threat similar to Klein with the ability to do damage either on the ground or with his arm.

    If he continues to impress Bill Snyder, Sams will step into the hole left by Klein's departure with a similar skill set and a better arm to do some damage at the helm of the Wildcats offense.

     

    Grade: B-

Blake Bell, Oklahoma Sooners

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    The Sooners have a huge gap left by the departure of Landry Jones—one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the nation over the past three years.

    The offense is loaded with playmakers in the backfield and at wide receiver, but it needs someone to step in and fill the hole left by Jones.

    Enter Blake Bell.

    Although he spent the last two seasons rushing for more touchdowns than he had completed passes, Bell will eventually win the quarterback battle at Oklahoma and be the new starter.

    He's a big guy, checking in at 6'6" and 254 pounds, with the ability to run the ball strong in short yardage or red-zone situations.

    As long as he can prove he is capable of running the offense and making the difficult throws, he will thrive for Bob Stoops' team.

     

    Grade: B

Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Clint Chelf wound up as the starter for the first-string offense in the Oklahoma State spring game and took full advantage, completing 17 of 34 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions en route to a 17-7 win.

    Though Mike Gundy won't name a starter at the position, Chelf's time with the starting squad would seem to indicate that he has the lead, however narrow.

    J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt are still in the competition, and both are talented, but Chelf has the ability to move the offense better than any of the remaining candidates at the position.

    He has been with the program the longest, and though buried on the depth chart behind Brandon Weeden for two seasons, he is talented and has the potential to lead the Cowboys to a conference title.

     

    Grade: B-

Casey Pachall, TCU Horned Frogs

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    Casey Pachall has not yet reclaimed the starting spot but will have earned his position atop the depth chart by the end of fall practice.

    That bodes well for the Horned Frogs, as Pachall is extremely talented, and he was efficient in his time as a starter in 2011 and through four games in 2012.

    For his career, Pachall has thrown 36 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions.

    If that trend continues, and it looked in spring practice as if it will, Pachall will be one of the top quarterbacks not only in the conference this season but also in the nation.

    That is, as long as he can stay out of trouble.

     

    Grade: A-

David Ash, Texas Longhorns

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    While Texas quarterback David Ash will never lead the nation in throwing yardage, he's developed into a steady, reliable quarterback who can lead the Texas offense.

    This season, with loads of talent returning to the defense, that will be all the Longhorns need to stay competitive in the Big 12 race.

    Ash finished the 2012 season with nearly 2,700 yards passing and added 20 total touchdowns.

    While he needs to cut down a bit on the interceptions, he has shown that he has the ability to lead the Longhorn offense and will be even more effective in 2013 after an offseason to improve.

    Given another opportunity to lead the Texas offense, Ash has the ability to step in and hit the 3,500-yard passing mark this season.

     

    Grade: B-

Michael Brewer, Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    Michael Brewer had competition from Davis Webb throughout the spring but appeared to seize hold of the No. 1 position atop of the depth chart after a great spring game:

    Michael Brewer's three drives have all equaled touchdowns. True freshman Davis Webb has looked as advertised too. #TexasTech

    — Chris Level (@ChrisLevel) April 6, 2013

    Brewer had limited opportunities last season under center and mostly in garbage time against inferior opponents, but he managed to put up four touchdowns and no interceptions during his time on the field.

    The Red Raider offense is tailored to produce big numbers on offense, and while Brewer might not be as successful in any other program, time and again we have seen Texas Tech quarterbacks produce at a huge level.

    Red Raider fans should be excited about this kid who has three years of eligibility still remaining and is taking over the reins of the offense.

     

    Grade: B

Clint Trickett, West Virginia Mountaineers

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    Up until just a few weeks ago, the West Virginia quarterback battle was between Paul Millard and Ford Childress.

    Now Clint Trickett has stepped in from Florida State and is instantly eligible.

    While the starting job is "not guaranteed," Trickett will be the most experienced of the three quarterbacks and has loads of upside.

    He's mobile and has a better arm than you might expect from the man who backed up EJ Manuel at Florida State.

    While he's no Geno Smith, Trickett provides an option at quarterback for Dana Holgorsen—who will help the team put up huge numbers on offense again this season.

     

    Grade: C+

Everett Golson, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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    The expectations for Everett Golson around South Bend might be a little high this season:

    Notre Dame Football: Is Everett Golson Ready for Hesiman Run in 2013? bit.ly/13NYDVO

    — NDFightingIrish (@NDFightingIrish) May 3, 2013

    Though the Heisman might be a little ambitious for Golson in 2013, it is not out of the realm of possibility to imagine him being in the conversation this season, especially if he leads the Irish to some big early-season wins.

    He came on strong toward the end of last season, and after throwing four touchdowns and three interceptions through his first six games, he threw eight touchdowns and three interceptions through his final six. He also added six touchdowns on the ground.

    Judging from his improvement over the course of the 2012 season, Golson will be even better heading into the 2013 campaign.

    He has plenty of talent surrounding him and a coach who is really good at developing quarterbacks.

    The man is going to be productive in 2013.

     

    Grade: B

Connor Halliday, Washington State Cougars

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    Washington State is still in the middle of a quarterback battle, but Halliday is the guy with the edge heading into the summer.

    Halliday will be in his second season under Mike Leach and in offense, and him having a better grasp of said offense will lead to good things for this young man.

    Halliday finished 2012 with 1,878 yards passing on 152 completions, while completing only 52.2 percent of his passes and throwing 13 interceptions.

    He will improve in 2013 but won't be an all-conference type of performer.

    He's got a decent arm and can make most of the throws needed, but he struggles at times with accuracy and ball security.

     

    Grade: C-

Keith Price, Washington Huskies

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    If there is a forgotten man in Pac-12 quarterback land, Washington QB Keith Price is that man.

    He stormed onto the scene back in 2011 with a 33 touchdown, 3,000-yard passing season and entered 2012 with all kinds of high expectations.

    However, he had to struggle through injury and loss of talent last season and only managed 19 touchdowns to go with 13 interceptions.

    So, which Price will show up in 2013?

    Given that he is healthy and has talent surrounding him once again, it is safe to expect something closer to his 2011 season than his 2012 disaster.

    Price has a beautiful deep ball, makes great reads and can lead.

    All the prerequisites for success at the quarterback position.

    Throw in his physical talent, and Price will be a dark horse to win all-conference honors in 2013.

     

    Grade: A-

Kevin Hogan, Stanford Cardinal

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    So you thought Stanford would have issues replacing Andrew Luck?

    Think again.

    Kevin Hogan took over the Stanford starting quarterback job in the beginning of November and led the Cardinal to six straight wins, including a Rose Bowl victory—pretty impressive for a freshman.

    With a year of experience under his belt, Hogan has the potential to lead the Cardinal to another Rose Bowl in 2013 if everything breaks right for David Shaw's team.

     

    Grade: B+

Sean Mannion, Oregon State Beavers

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    What quarterback battle?

    Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz are locked in the middle of one of the closest competitions in college football this season.

    Neither one has separated himself, and each has had his ups and downs through the course of spring practice and during last season when they spent time under center.

    It's hard to get a read on this one, as Vaz threw 11 touchdowns and only three interceptions last season, but Mannion is the more experienced of the two.

    The two could split starts again in 2013, especially if one or the other struggles early in the season.

    Either way, whoever starts will not earn high marks on this list. Neither one of them is particularly consistent, and neither will be particularly effective in 2013.

     

    Grade: C

Marcus Mariota, Oregon Ducks

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    If it were not for Johnny Manziel taking the college football world by storm, Mariota would have been the most exciting freshman quarterback in college football.

    As it was, Mariota led the Ducks to the Fiesta Bowl and a 12-1 record in 2012.

    The man is a force to be reckoned with, boasting the speed to pull away from the secondary as well as the arm to make any throw needed in the spread-options scheme.

    He scored 37 total touchdowns last season, including five on the ground, and only threw six interceptions.

    Even with the departure of Chip Kelly, the Ducks offense is not going to skip a beat with Mariota at the helm.

     

    Grade: A

Zach Kline, Cal Golden Bears

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    Sonny Dykes takes over a Cal program that has been mediocre at best and right away has a quarterback battle to resolve.

    Zach Kline, Austin Hinder and Jared Goff have all been locked in the competition throughout the spring, with Kline pulling into a slight lead heading into the summer.

    While Kline is only a sophomore with no game experience, he appeared to have a solid grasp of the offense over the course of the spring and made more plays than either Goff or Hinder.

    It's going to be a process to get the Golden Bears back into competition atop the Pac-12, but inserting Kline into the starting quarterback position and seeing what he can do is a step in the right direction.

     

    Grade: C-

Travis Wilson, Utah Utes

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    The Utah press is impressed with the play of Travis Wilson this spring and with good reason.

    Wilson had an excellent spring game, throwing for 210 yards, only misfiring on four passes and throwing two touchdowns.

    He has stiff competition from Adam Schulz for the starting position when the Utes play Utah State to open the 2013 season.

    However, his ability to make the big play, avoid mistakes and lead the offense will help him take over the starting job permanently.

    He still has much to prove going into his sophomore season, but thus far in the offseason, he has shown why he should be given the opportunity to start.

     

    Grade: C+

Cody Kessler, USC Trojans

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    The quarterback battle between Cody Kessler, Max Browne and Max Wittek will go on until late in the fall.

    Kessler will eventually win the battle due to his toughness, accuracy and ability to lead the offense.

    Kessler had the best performance of the team during the spring game, finishing with three touchdowns through the air and 242 yards while completing 15 of 22 attempts.

    Kessler repeatedly demonstrated the ability to lead the offense throughout the course of spring practice and will continue the solid play into the fall.

    If he continues to perform at this level in the fall, he will be No. 1 on the depth chart when the season starts.

     

    Grade: C+

Brett Hundley, UCLA Bruins

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    Hundley, along with Marcus Mariota and Johnny Manziel, was one of the best young quarterbacks in the nation last season.

    The man put together a 38-touchdown season in 2012 and only threw 11 interceptions. He's got a cannon for an arm as well as the ability to stretch out broken plays with his mobility.

    UCLA came within one win of the Rose Bowl with Hundley under center last season. Hundley, with a year of experience under his belt, will be a dark horse to win the Heisman in 2013.

     

    Grade: B

Connor Wood, Colorado Buffaloes

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    Colorado has been a mess for the past decade, and it is looking like that will continue into 2013.

    Connor Wood is the best option the Buffaloes can come up with in 2013, and his experience has been both limited and bad.

    Wood attempted 42 attempts last season, completing exactly half of his attempts including one for touchdown.

    On the downside, four of his other attempts were interceptions.

    Colorado is in trouble again.

     

    Grade: D

Taylor Kelly, Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Taylor Kelly is an intriguing prospect at quarterback for the Sun Devils heading into 2013.

    He finished the 2012 season with 30 total touchdowns and only nine interceptions.

    Kelly is a dual-threat quarterback who put up 3,039 yards passing and 516 on the ground.

    The Sun Devils have a great shot at taking the Pac-12 South title with Kelly leading the way, especially if he continues to show the rapid improvement he has demonstrated over the course of the past season.

     

    Grade: B

B.J. Denker, Arizona Wildcats

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    Arizona quarterback B. J. Denker has a ton going for him.

    Just ask him, he will tell you. The man is confident.

    And that's great, because he is as good as he says he is. Denker has the arm, speed and talent to lead the Arizona offense—especially with the nation's leading rusher, Ka'Deem Carey, returning.

    He's had limited experience, throwing only 37 passes, including three touchdowns to only one interception.

    But in Rich Rodriguez's offense, Denker will have an opportunity to flourish and showcase his skill.

    The Wildcats aren't winning any conference titles this season, but with Denker leading the offense, they will at least make things interesting all season long.

     

    Grade: C

Joel Stave, Wisconsin Badgers

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    The Wisconsin quarterback battle is down to two, at least for the time being.

    Joel Stave and Curt Phillips are the last men standing, with Phillips holding the slight edge due to his mobility.

    Stave is easily the better passer and would have been the starter for Wisconsin throughout last season if he hadn't been injured against Michigan State.

    Phillips took over at that point and was an adequate replacement, leading the Badgers to huge wins over Indiana and Nebraska but losing the other three games in which he played.

    With Tanner McEvoy set to transfer to Madison from JUCO this summer, this battle may heat up a bit.

    However, Stave has the arm and ability to make big plays that will give him the edge heading into the fall.

     

    Grade: B-

Rob Henry, Purdue Boilermakers

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    Purdue has struggled to find a decent quarterback since Kyle Orton left.

    That continues this season.

    Rob Henry is in a competition with early enrollee Danny Etling for the starting quarterback position.

    That should say a little something about the state of the Boilermakers offense at this point.

    Henry is a senior who saw limited time last season, but he took advantage of his opportunity over the spring and currently has a firm grasp on the QB1 position on the depth chart.

    He struggles with accuracy at times and has thrown a total of only 38 passes over the course of the past two seasons.

     

    Grade: C-

Tyler Ferguson, Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Penn State lost quarterback Steven Bench to transfer.

    That cleared the way for Tyler Ferguson to take over quarterback duties for Bill O'Brien's club—not that it will matter.

    Ferguson has yet to demonstrate that he can master O'Brien's high-octane offense and lead it successfully. He's never thrown a pass at this level and has to learn an extremely complicated offense.

    Things are not looking good at quarterback for the Nittany Lions.

     

    Grade: D-

Braxton Miller, Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Miller and his teammates are coming off of a perfect 12-0 season in which Miller produced more highlights than any other player in the game.

    Whether throwing or rushing, Miller produces, and he usually does it in a way that leaves fans wondering what just happened.

    He's improved his accuracy, throwing only six interceptions while scoring 28 total touchdowns in 2012 and leading his team to a perfect season.

    The Buckeyes have a less-than-challenging schedule to face next season, and a second season in Urban Meyer's offense will provide the boost needed to see Miller in serious competition for the Heisman Trophy at season's end.

     

    Grade: A+

Nate Sudfeld, Indiana Hoosiers

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    This is a mess.

    The Hoosiers have to figure out who is going to start between Nate Sudfeld and Cameron Coffman.

    It's not an easy decision. However, Sudfeld was excellent in his limited time last season, tossing seven touchdown passes and only one interception.

    Both guys had a solid spring, and either could win the job.

    My best guess is that Sudfeld gets the job and utilizes his efficiency to lead an explosive offense.

     

    Grade: C

Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Nathan Scheelhaase has consistently been a middle-of-the-road type of quarterback for Illinois in all three of his seasons.

    He's never had more than 2,110 passing yards or 17 passing touchdowns in a season, but he has decent mobility and the ability to score with his legs.

    He completed over 60 percent of his passes last season after completing over 63 percent in 2011.

    This season will not be all that different, as he makes some big plays for the Illini, but he also makes some that leave fans scratching their heads.

     

    Grade: C-

Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian, Northwestern Wildcats

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    This duo is going to cause nightmares for opposing defenses this season.

    Siemian has a great arm and can lead the Wildcats offense by throwing the ball.

    Colter, who can also throw, is an excellent rushing quarterback.

    Switching the two of them in and out at quarterback will be an excellent strategy for Pat Fitzgerald and will help keep opponents off-balance.

    While not Johnny Manziel or Marcus Mariota, the combination of these two under center will lead the Wildcats to another bowl berth and a chance to win consecutive bowl games.

     

    Grade: B

Taylor Martinez, Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    This man is going to be right up there with Braxton Miller as the best quarterback in the Big Ten.

    He's steadily made progress over the course of his time at the helm of the Huskers offense and will cap off a career that has had some interesting twists with a trip to the Big Ten title game.

    Martinez is a wizard with the football in his hands and can absolutely destroy teams with his legs.

    His improved throwing motion will be key to Nebraska's offensive success in 2013, as it seeks to find its way to a Big Ten title game.

     

    Grade: A-

Philip Nelson, Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Philip Nelson finished last season as the starter for Minnesota and will be holding down the same role when the 2013 season begins.

    While he struggled with accuracy, posting a completion percentage lower than 50 percent, Nelson will improve this season and be a solid starter for the Gophers after getting an offseason to improve.

    The Gophers have struggled to even approach the middle of the Big Ten standings in recent seasons and will do so again this season—even with an improved Nelson.

     

    Grade: D

Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State Spartans

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    Whether the Michigan State quarterback battle is real or imagined, Andrew Maxwell is going to be the starter when the season begins.

    Yes, he struggled mightily last season, and yes, he continued to do so at times during spring practice.

    Even so, he's the best quarterback on the roster and will win this battle going away.

    The problem is that he's not great. He completed only 52.5 percent of his passes last season and threw nine interceptions—not good.

     

    Grade: C

Devin Gardner, Michigan Wolverines

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    The Wolverines are going to have an explosive offense with Gardner under center in 2013.

    While not the elusive rusher that the departed Denard Robinson was during his time with the Wolverines, he has the mobility to stretch plays and make defenses pay for over-pursuing.

    After starting last season as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart, he is the focal point of the Wolverines offense and will also be the focal point of every defense Michigan sees.

    He completed nearly 60 percent of his passes last season but threw too many interceptions.

    If he can cut back on the turnovers, he will have an excellent season in 2013.

    For now, he sits at a solid average grade.

     

    Grade: C+

Jake Rudock, Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Jake Rudock is a perfect name for the next quarterback of the Iowa Hawkeyes.

    It fits.

    The quarterback battle at Iowa between Rudock, Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard continues into the offseason, but Rudock has the narrow edge for the time being.

    He's never thrown a pass at the FBS level, but neither have the other two candidates.

    Eventually, his lack of mistakes is going to win out, and Rudock will be the starter.

    His talent will not send fans out in droves to buy his jersey, but he will provide some stability to the position.

     

    Grade: D

Austyn Carta-Samuels, Vanderbilt Commodores

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    Austyn Carta-Samuels has had experience starting at quarterback.

    He played for two seasons at Wyoming before heading to Vandy.

    He did not exactly light the world on fire during his time up north, throwing 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

    He only attempted 25 passes in 2012—not enough for an accurate picture of how good he will actually be.

    The Commodores have more talent than they have in the past, and James Franklin has them heading the right way.

    But Carta-Samuels is not going to lead them to a conference title and will struggle to help the 'Dores to a bowl game in 2013.

     

    Grade: C-

Justin Worley, Tennessee Volunteers

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    Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman are involved in a tight quarterback race, with Worley gaining the slight edge in the Vols' spring game.

    Worley is a better pocket passer, while Peterman is more mobile.

    This competition is not decided, but Worley's ability to spread the offense deep down the field gives him the edge.

    He's not had a whole lot of experience to give us a gauge of how he might perform, but judging from his spring performance, the Volunteers will be in good hands.

     

    Grade: C-

Dylan Thompson and Connor Shaw, South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson are most likely going to end up splitting snaps, as each of them is better suited to different aspects of the offense.

    Thompson is a better dropback passer suited to pro-style offense.

    Shaw, on the other hand, while and adequate passer, is more mobile and can help open up the offense with his rushing ability.

    While Shaw rehabs from an injured foot, Thompson has had an excellent spring. And though Shaw will likely wind up as the official starter, both guys are going to see the field plenty this season.

    Each of them has experience, and while neither of them is going to run away with the Heisman, when used in the appropriate situations, the two of them are going to be an excellent combination for the Gamecocks.

     

    Grade: B

James Franklin, Missouri Tigers

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    James Franklin is the forgotten quarterback in the SEC.

    He finished the 2011 season with an incredible bowl performance against North Carolina, which led to all kinds of high expectations going into 2012.

    Then he disappeared.

    Battling injury and the adjustment to play in the SEC, he managed to throw just 10 touchdown passes and seven interceptions last season, as the Tigers struggled to make adjustments to their new conference.

    Healthy again and with a year to adapt, expect Franklin to put up bigger numbers and be more successful in 2013.

    He is excellent when plays break down and has the arm to make the throws that are needed. As long as he can stay healthy, Franklin will be a better-than-average quarterback in 2013 and will help Mizzou improve.

     

    Grade: B-

Jalen Whitlow, Kentucky Wildcats

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    The Kentucky quarterback race is one of the most confused and scrambled in the nation, as five quarterbacks are competing for the starting spot.

    Jalen Whitlow had the best spring game of all the potential quarterbacks, completing 17 of his 28 passing attempts for two touchdowns and rushing for an additional 49 yards on seven attempts.

    He's a dual-threat guy with plenty of talent who will flourish in Mark Stoops' system.

    While it will take a few seasons for the Wildcats to gain some traction and return to the ranks of winning teams, having Whitlow at the head of the offense for this season is a step in the right direction.

     

    Grade: C

Aaron Murray, Georgia Bulldogs

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    Aaron Murray is going to be one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in 2013.

    He's surrounded by talent, has loads of experience and a chance to to finally break through and lead the Bulldogs to a national title.

    There is no quarterback in the nation that understands the game better, and Murray demonstrates this with his 174.8 efficiency rating after the 2012 season.

    He has improved on his yardage total, interceptions thrown and touchdown passes every season and will do so again in 2013.

    If Georgia can sneak past Clemson in the season opener and South Carolina later in the season, it will find a way into the SEC title game led by Murray.

     

    Grade: A+

Jeff Driskel, Florida Gators

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    Jeff Driskel was nothing to write home about in 2012, finishing the season with only 1,646 passing yards on the season.

    Part of that was due to a lack of talent on the offensive line, which resulted in less time to make good decisions and more scrambling on broken plays.

    Driskel is in trouble again in 2013.

    During the spring, it appeared like he still struggled to go through his progressions appropriately and tended to lock onto receivers.

    He also has limited help at the receiver position and will have a hard time leading the offense without a genuine threat at wide receiver.

    Beside the lack of talent, Driskel has not been the best passer, struggles to complete routine passes and doesn't seem comfortable much of the time under center.

     

    Grade: D

Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

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    The man won the 2012 Heisman Trophy after putting up ridiculous numbers during the 2012 regular season.

    After an active offseason, Manziel and his teammates return to the football field with an excellent chance of running the table if they can beat Alabama early in the season.

    Manziel has a unique combination of size, strength and speed that helped him earn the Heisman Trophy as a freshman.

    A repeat is a very real possibility in 2013.

     

    Grade: A+

Bo Wallace, Ole Miss Rebels

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    Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace is getting closer to getting back onto the football field, and when he does, he will pick right up where he left off.

    He was a huge part of the Rebel's success in 2012, helping lead the team to a bowl game and finishing the season with 30 touchdowns.

    He showed all kind of potential as a dual-threat quarterback, but he struggled with accuracy, leading the nation in interceptions thrown(17) on the season.

    If he returns to form from last season and can cut back on the interceptions, he will be ready to take the next step and lead the Rebs back to a bowl game.

     

    Grade: B-

Tyler Russell, Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    Russell is heading into his senior season with the Bulldogs and has improved every season.

    Last year, his best, saw him put up nearly 3,000 yards through the air and score 26 total touchdowns.

    He did all this in the best conference in the nation—the SEC—against teams such as LSU, Alabama and Texas A&M.

    While he struggled with the elite of the conference, Russell showed that he can make all the throws and has the talent to lead this offense to a productive 2013 campaign.

    With another year of experience under his belt, he will be better in 2013 than he was last season by far.

     

    Grade: B

Zach Mettenberger, LSU Tigers

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    Zach Mettenberger struggled in 2012—not exactly lighting the world on fire—but he eventually led the Tigers to a 10-3 record.

    He was wildly inconsistent, made dumb mistakes and struggled to move the offense. And yet he still managed to do enough to help the team to a double-digit win total.

    He had a good spring and lit up the Tigers' spring game, but it will take more than a solid performance in a scrimmage to convince fans he has changed.

    He has a great arm, and with improved decision making, he could be one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC.

    Whether he has matured to that point won't be apparent until after the season starts.

     

    Grade: C+

Jonathan Wallace, Auburn Tigers

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    Auburn is a mess and has all kinds of questions to be answered, especially at the quarterback position.

    Jonathan Wallace will be the answer, good or bad, for the Tigers in the near future.

    This is somewhat of a prediction, as Wallace and Kiehl Frazier are neck and neck coming out of spring practice.

    Given the complexity of the offense, it is difficult to see JUCO transfer Nick Marshall stepping into the job and taking it over, and Wallace has more upside the Frazier—though neither of them is particularly exciting.

    The Tigers are in for another long season in 2013, especially with the quarterback issues.

     

    Grade: D

Brandon Allen, Arkansas Razorbacks

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    After Arkansas quarterback Brandon Mitchell transferred out of the program, the onus was put squarely on the shoulders of Allen to take over and provide a spark for the offense.

    Allen, who's going into his sophomore season with the Hogs, sits atop the depth chart going into the summer and needs to step up in a big way in order for the Razorbacks to have any type of success.

    That doesn't bode well for Arkansas' season.

    Allen is only a sophomore—who had limited experience last season—and is now learning a new system under head coach Bret Bielema.

    He is going to struggle with his production, as the Razorbacks have limited talent surrounding him, and his lack of experience is going to be a problem in the brutal SEC.

     

    Grade: D

A.J. McCarron, Alabama Crimson Tide

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    McCarron, in spite of the fact that other quarterbacks get more hype, is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.

    He's now won each of the last two national title games as the quarterback of the Tide and has a very real shot at winning another one this season.

    While the Tide often get much credit for their defense, McCarron has been exceptional leading an offense that averaged 38.7 points per game in 2012.

    Last season, he had a 10-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio while completing over 67 percent of his passes.

    With Amari Cooper returning at wide receiver and a loaded stable of running backs, McCarron is going to be super productive again in 2013 and cement his status as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in Alabama history.

     

    Grade: A+