NCAA Football 2019 Big 10 Quarterback Rankings
NCAA FB: 2019 Big 10 Quarterback Rankings
As of July 1st, the college football season is only 54 days away! The time is now to examine all of the potential starting quarterbacks in the Big 10 and assign a ranking.
14. Isaiah Williams, Illinois
We put Isaiah Williams here, but the quarterback situation for head coach Lovie Smith is fluid to say the least. Williams, 5 feet 10 inches and 170-pounds, was ranked 116th nationally in 247Sports.com’s composite rankings, making him the second-highest rated quarterback sign with Illinois since 2006. Alongside Williams, redshirt freshmen Matt Robinson and Coran Taylor will also be gunning for the starting spot when fall camp rolls around. Illinois may also be looking to bring in a graduate transfer, further complicating the competition for the starting quarterback job. We won’t know who will line up under center for the Fighting Illini until much closer to the season.
13. Arthur Sitkowski, Rutgers
Sitkowski was rated the No. 18 pro-style quarterback in the 2018 class, yet his freshman season for the Scarlet Knights was abysmal and an overall horrid year for the team (1-11 overall record, 0-9 in conference). In eleven starts, Sitkowski threw for 1,158 yards, 4 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, including going 2 for 16, four interceptions and just 8 yards against Maryland, and a 49.1 completion percentage. Luckily for Sitkowski and head coach Chris Ash, the 2018 season is behind them. Sitkowski has the size and talent to put up significantly better numbers than he did last season but he has to prove it on the field.
12. Jack Coan, Wisconsin
As Alex Hornibrook is now at Florida State as a graduate transfer, most signs from spring practice point to Jack Coan at the starting quarterback spot. Coan started four games last season after Hornibrook got injured and was decent, winning the final two games of the regular season. Coan ended his season with 515 yards, 5 touchdowns and three interceptions in those games. No matter who is under center for Wisconsin, whether Coan or talented freshman Graham Mertz, their primary job will be handing off to Jonathan Taylor, one of the best running backs in the country and last year’s Doak Walker Award winner, and to get out of the way. For Wisconsin to compete for a national championship, however, the passing game will need to improve.
11. Zack Annexstad, Minnesota
Annexstad started Week 1 for the Golden Gophers during the 2018 season as a true freshman walk-on, a feat that only one other player had done in college football: Baker Mayfield. Annexstad went on to start seven games before getting hurt, throwing for 1,277 yards with 9 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Annexstad’s only competition for starting quarterback, Tanner Morgan, took over after the injury and put up similar numbers. The competition between the two will most likely go into the fall when head coach P.J. Fleck will make a decision. Either way, the quarterbacks will have two main targets in dynamic duo wide receivers Tyler Johnson, First-team All-Big 10, and Rashod Bateman.
10. Sean Clifford, Penn State
Trace McSorley has graduated and moved on to the NFL and fellow quarterback Tommy Stevens is transferring elsewhere, placing the starting quarterback position firmly in the hands of redshirt sophomore Sean Clifford. Clifford was the eight-ranked pro-style quarterback in 2017, according to 247Sports, but has not seen too much live action in his young collegiate career. Last season, Clifford appeared in four games registering 195 passing yards and two touchdowns. In that small sample size, Clifford has shown the ability to throw a good deep-ball, something head coach James Franklin could use more of in the offense. It will be interesting to see how Clifford fairs on QB-runs or if the offense will be adjusted for him.
9. Peyton Ramsey, Indiana
One of the few returning starters on this list, redshirt junior Peyton Ramsey had a pretty good season in 2018. In his twelve starts, Ramsey threw for 2,875 yards with 19 touchdowns and with a 66 completion percentage. Additionally, Ramsey was second on the team in rushing with 354 yards and 5 touchdowns. One area that Ramsey needs to improve on is interceptions. To go along with 19 touchdowns, Ramsey saw opposing defenses snag the ball 13 times. For Indiana to improve upon their 2-7 conference record, Ramsey will need to produce even bigger numbers and limit the interceptions.
8. Hunter Johnson, Northwestern
Johnson spent one year at Clemson behind Kelly Bryant before deciding to transfer to Northwestern, forcing him to sit out the 2018 season. Now, the five-star recruit and second-ranked quarterback in the 2017, according to 247Sports, is ready to show the Big 10 all of his innate talent. Johnson can impact football games through the air and on the ground with his feet. In his only college football action to date, Johnson went 21 of 27 for 234 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Johnson can be a huge factor for a Wildcats team looking for additionally success beyond the Big 10 West division.
7. Josh Jackson, Maryland
Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson gives first-year head coach Mike Locksley the quarterback Maryland have desperately needed for many seasons now. Jackson started the first three games of 2018 for the Hokies before suffering a leg-injury, ending his season. Similarly to another quarterback on this list, Jackson had a highly productive 2017 season. In thirteen starts as a redshirt freshman, Jackson put up 2,991 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, complimented by over 300 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground. Maryland has talent surrounding Jackson but just needs to make the pieces fit correctly, however, that is always easier said than done, especially in the Big 10 East. With a season similar to 2017, Jackson could establish himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 10.
6. Elijah Sindelar, Purdue
With David Blough in the NFL, fifth-year senior Elijah Sindelar is the new starting quarterback for the Boilermakers. At 225 ponds and 6 feet, 4 inches tall, Sindelar has the ideal frame and arm for a productive quarterback in the Big 10. Last season Sindelar’s season was derailed because of injuries, but he showed promise back in 2017 when he started eight games, throwing for 2,099 yards, 18 touchdowns, and led Purdue to a victory in Foster Farms Bowl against Arizona. Fully healthy with lots of weapons surrounding him, Sindelar is in a position to have a good season for the Boilermakers and head coach Jeff Brohm.
5. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
After a stellar 2017 season in which Lewerke threw for nearly 2,800 yards, 20 touchdowns and led the Spartans to an 10-3 record, his 2018 season was hampered by a shoulder injury causing his numbers to dip. Lewerke finished his 2018 campaign with 2,040 yards, 8 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. To note just how good Lewerke was in 2017, he was the first quarterback in program history to have 2,500 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in one season. Coming into this season with a healthy throwing shoulder, the expectations to return to his 2017 form are high. If Lewerke can regain his confidence and arm strength, he could lead Michigan State to another great season under Mark Dantonio in the brutal Big 10 East division.
4. Nate Stanley, Iowa
Last season Stanley passed for 2,852 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and raised his completion percentage to from 55.8 in 2017 to 59.3. The third-year starter has the opportunity to throw the most career touchdowns in Hawkeye history and help the team compete for a Big 10 West title after finishing tied for third with Purdue last season. Stanley is undoubtedly one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 10 and should lead Iowa with a strong, productive senior season.
3. Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
Adrian Martinez had a phenomenal freshman season for head coach Scott Frost and the Cornhuskers despite their overall and conference records. Martinez threw for 2,617 yards, 17 touchdowns and 8 interceptions with a 64.6 completion percentage. The California native also finished second on the team in rushing yards (629) and 8 touchdowns. Now that Martinez will have a full offseason to develop his game further, he can solidify his freshman year performance and prove to the college football world that he is one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 10. Do not be surprised by a highly productive sophomore season from Martinez.
2. Justin Fields, Ohio State
Justin Fields was one of the most heralded recruits in 2018, eventually signing with Georgia and then seeing limited action behind Jake Fromm. Last season Fields threw for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns while also running for 266 yards and 4 touchdowns, just a snippet of Field’s true capabilities. Now, as Tate Martell and Matthew Baldwin have both transferred, Fields is set to become the next star Ohio State quarterback. Fields needs to master new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson’s system and build a good relationship with quarterback coach Mike Yurcich. It’s also important to note that head coach Ryan Day used to be the quarterback coach and spent extensive time with former buckeye Dwayne Haskins. This should help the starting quarterback and head coach relationship. The entire state of Ohio and college football fans everywhere will be watching Field’s first season in Columbus, and there is no reason to believe that it will be anything short of stellar.
1.Shea Patterson, Michigan
In 2018 Shea Patterson brought to Michigan what an ultra-talented 2017 squad lacked: Consistent quarterback play. On the season Patterson completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 2,600 yards, 22 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. The ex-Ole Miss quarterback also ran for 2 touchdowns and 273 yards. Although some think 2019 will be a down year for Michigan, Patterson can lead the Wolverines to a very good season, especially considering new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis is taking over play calling from head coach Jim Harbaugh. Even if Patterson improves upon his 2018 numbers next season, ultimately, regardless of stats, his success will be measured by the result of THE GAME. (If you don’t know what I’m referring to here, you are in the wrong place my friend).