College Football 2011: Pac-12 Quarterback Spring Report Card

Jason Figueiredo@sportschatterCorrespondent IMay 3, 2011

College Football 2011: Pac-12 Quarterback Spring Report Card

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal callls signals out as he stands under center against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The success of most teams lies solely in the hands of the player taking the snaps.

    While an excellent defense can certainly take teams to the glory land, the quarterback is the one player than can completely change the makeup of a team. 

    The Pac-10 produced several outstanding quarterbacks during its existence, and things should not be any different with the addition of Colorado and Utah.

    With Andrew Luck returning for another season and several other gunslingers looking to make their mark in 2011, the quarterbacks of the Pac-12 will be as dangerous as ever.

    Let’s hand out grades to the possible starting quarterbacks of the Pac-12.


    Article originally posted on the All Pac-12 Blog, The Pacific Dozen.

Andrew Luck, Stanford

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    MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates after he threw a 38-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Virginai Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miam
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Stanford fans should send the Carolina Panthers a Thank You note for helping Andrew Luck decide to stay another year.

    Luck’s success last season was fun to watch, and it is great that college football fans get the experience one more time.

    As a redshirt sophomore, Luck dazzled the nation. Not only did he lead the Pac-10 in yards (3,332), completion percentage (70.7) and touchdowns (32), but he also helped Stanford to its largest single-season win total (12) and marched the Cardinal to its first ever BCS bowl victory.

    Although Stanford loses a chunk of his stout offensive line, Luck’s unbelievable talent should shine the brightest in the Pac-12.

    Grade: A+

Darron Thomas, Oregon

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Jordan Holmes #54 of the Oregon Ducks blocks Mike Blanc #93 of the Auburn Tigers as Darron Thomas #1 of the Oregon Ducks looks to pass during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on Janua
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Darron Thomas dazzled the Pac-10 last season, ranking 11th in the nation with 30 passing touchdowns and coming just shy of a national championship.

    Thomas’s explosive dual-threat ability makes him a dangerous weapon again in 2011. Add LaMichael James to the equation and Thomas is primed for another outstanding season.

    Grade: A

Matt Barkley, USC

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 30:  Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans passes against the Oregon Ducks at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Matt Barkley showed extreme improvement in his sophomore campaign, ranking third in the Pac-10 in passing touchdowns (26), yards per game (232.6) and completion percentage (62.6).

    USC’s offense will be fun to watch in 2011 with Barkley barking the calls to his troops. His talent is quickly falling in line with the many other successful USC quarterbacks.

    Grade: A

Nick Foles, Arizona

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    TUCSON, AZ - DECEMBER 02:  Quarterback Nick Foles #8 of the Arizona Wildcats throws a pass against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the college football game at Arizona Stadium on December 2, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcat
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Despite his horrendous performance in the Alamo Bowl, Nick Foles should flash several signs of brilliance throughout his senior season.

    Foles seems to be on track early. He sparkled in Arizona’s spring game, connecting on 11 of 16 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown.

    Grade: B+

Brock Osweiler, Arizona State

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    TUCSON, AZ - DECEMBER 02:  Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Arizona State Sun Devils scrambles with the football during the college football game at Arizona Stadium on December 2, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 30-29 in
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Steven Threet’s unexpected departure from the sport due to post-concussion symptoms opened the gates wide open for Brock Osweiler to retake the starting job in 2011.

    Osweiler didn’t waste any time getting the fans back on his side either. In Arizona State’s spring game, he hammered home five touchdowns and collected 237 yards on 22 attempts.

    If Arizona State wants to be a serious South Division title contender this season, it will need Osweiler to become one of the top passers in a conference with a gaggle of golden arms.

    Grade: B+

Zach Maynard, California

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    With the departure of Kevin Riley, the Bears’ list of possible successors is widely uncertain. 

    While the competition between Zach Maynard, Allan Bridgford and Brock Mansion will stay tight throughout the summer, the money of most people around the Bay Area is on Maynard. 

    Maynard has had an impressive spring, and with a new quarterback coach guiding him, this could be a surprising weapon in Jeff Tedford's shed.

    Grade: B-

Jordan Wynn, Utah

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    SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 13: Jordan Wynn #3 of the Utah Utes looks for a recevier against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on November 13, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Utah 28-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Imag
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Shoulder surgery has sidelined Jordan Wynn this offseason. After a stagnant spring game without him, it appears that Utah definitely needs Wynn to make a full recovery in order to stay competitive in the much deeper Pac-12.

    Wynn threw for 17 touchdowns and 2,334 yards in the Mountain West last year. With the increase of talented defenses slated for this season, it might be difficult for him to improve on these numbers. 

    Grade: B-

Keith Price, Washington

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    EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 06: Quarterback Keith Price #17 of the Washington Huskies scrambles out of the pocket in the third quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks won the game 53-16. (P
    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    Although Keith Price will have to fight off the son of a quarterback legend to be Washington’s starting quarterback, he definitely made a convincing case of his worthiness this spring. In the annual spring game, he aired out three passing touchdowns and used his mobility to collect another one on the ground.

    Nick Montana also showed signs of promise in the game, making sure this stays a competition until the end.

    However, Steve Sarkisian contends that the quarterback position will be a group effort between the two to start off the season.

    Grade: B-

Tyler Hansen, Colorado

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 04:  Quarterback Tyler Hansen  #9 of the Colorado Buffaloes drops back to pass against the Colorado State Rams in the Rocky Mountain Showdown at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 4, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Colorado was awarded t
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Tyler Hansen dazzled onlookers in Colorado’s spring game, looking very fluent in Jon Embree’s new offense.

    This was Colorado’s first glimpse of the senior since he was knocked out for the season in late October, and he certainly provided fans with a glimmer of hope.

    Unless something dramatic occurs from now until August, expect to see Hansen calling signals at least to start off the season.

    Grade: C+

Jeff Tuel, Washington State

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    PALO ALTO, CA - OCTOBER 23:  Jeff Tuel #10 of the Washington State Cougars passes the ball against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    In an offseason that coach Paul Wulff is calling the best he has seen since he took over in 2008, Jeff Tuel will be the key to truly changing the tide for Washington State.

    Tuel looked sharp in the Cougars' spring game, connecting on 11 of 16 passes with a touchdown.  His continued consistency this spring has given him a decent edge over junior Marshall Lobbestael, making him a favorite to start on opening day.

    Last year, Tuel ranked fourth in the Pac-10 in passing yards per game (231.7) but threw the second-most interceptions (12).

    Grade: C+

Ryan Katz, Oregon State

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    CORVALLIS, OR - DECEMBER 04:  Quarterback Ryan Katz #12 of the Oregon State Beavers throws a pass against the Oregon Ducks during the 114th Civil War on December 4, 2010 at the Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Wrist surgery in January is keeping Ryan Katz from seeing that much field time this spring.

    Katz experienced a turbulent season in 2010, and things will not get any easier this year with Jacquizz Rodgers making the leap to the pros.

    While Oregon State searches for an identity, Katz will be an easy scapegoat if things go awry fast.

    Grade: C

Kevin Price, UCLA

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    AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback Kevin Prince #4 of the UCLA Bruins at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    UCLA’s problems at quarterback have yet to be answered. Expect this trend to continue through the fall.

    As the incumbent, Kevin Prince has a slight edge in the starting quarterback race. However, Rick Neuheisel insists that he has not been impressed by any of the candidates and that the competition is wide open.

    Although Prince is still recovering from a knee injury, expect him to rise to the top by the time opening day comes around.

    Grade: C-