10 COLLEGE FOOTBALL QB BATTLES THAT WILL SHAPE THE 2018 SEASON

10 COLLEGE FOOTBALL QB BATTLES THAT WILL SHAPE THE 2018 SEASON

Joined: September 4th, 2012, 1:50 pm

May 30th, 2018, 7:21 am #1

Alabama Crimson Tide

The college football world saw the official beginning of this clash during last season’s national championship. Tua Tagovailoa replaced Jalen Hurts at halftime and sparked a comeback victory for Alabama, which claimed its fifth national title since 2009. The widely held belief is that Tagovailoa will supplant Hurts, who only lost two games as a starter in 2016 and 2017 combined. But after a hand injury limited Tagovailoa during the spring, the competition was effectively delayed until fall camp.

Clemson Tigers

During his first season as a starter, Kelly Bryant guided Clemson to the College Football Playoff. His mobility is far superior to any other quarterback on the roster. But it would be foolish to ignore Trevor Lawrence, whose performance in spring practice effectively pushed former 5-star Hunter Johnson to transfer. Lawrence, a prized 2018 recruit and an early enrollee, broke Georgia high school records previously held by Deshaun Watson. The big-armed, long-haired freshman will push Bryant throughout the season — not only in the summer.

Florida State Seminoles

When a torn patellar tendon ended Deondre Francois’ 2017 season, Florida State’s hopes of a championship campaign exited right along with him. James Blackman performed admirably as the replacement — though the Seminoles mustered a 7-6 record — and garnered praise for his vocal leadership. Francois, who was cited for marijuana possession this offseason, has widely been considered the favorite because of his performance in 2016. But when Francois returns to the practice field in August, he won’t be gifted anything over Blackman.

Georgia Bulldogs

Although Jake Fromm was a top QB prospect, Jacob Eason had little to worry about after starting as a freshman in 2016. Well, you probably know where the story goes. Eason missed time due to a knee injury, Georgia kept winning, Fromm kept playing and Eason eventually transferred. Fromm looks the part of a star quarterback, yet the Bulldogs have another potential standout in dual-threat freshman Justin Fields. Fromm will likely retain his job and lead a championship-caliber team, but Fields will be ready for any opportunity — just as Fromm was in 2017.

Miami Hurricanes

Malik Rosier set a program record with 3,588 yards of total offense and helped Miami climb as high as No. 2 nationally last season. However, his inconsistency ensured the ‘Canes would hold a competition this offseason. Early enrollee Jarren Williams could factor into the race, but redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry is Rosier’s top challenger. And with LSU looming as the season opener, Mark Richt cannot afford to make the wrong choice. If Miami wins that matchup, it could contend for a New Year’s Six bowl game. Otherwise, the Hurricanes won’t be more than a threat in the ACC.

Michigan Wolverines

While their neighbors to the south are settling on Dwayne Haskins as the starter, Michigan is working to choose between a trio of highly recruited players. Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson highlights the group that also includes Brandon Peters and Dylan McCaffrey. Offense has been the Achilles heel for the Wolverines through all three seasons of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure, but with this collection of talent, there’s no excuse for anything less than significant improvement. The defense will be elite; can the offense be above average to lift Michigan past Ohio State?

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Brandon Wimbush accounted for 30 touchdowns in his first year as a starter, but his late-season struggles opened the door for Ian Book. Though the backup flailed against Miami, he engineered a comeback to defeat LSU in the Citrus Bowl. While that’s nowhere close to enough success to suggest he should replace Wimbush, Book will have a legitimate chance to unseat the incumbent. Wimbush does have an athletic edge as a dual-threat quarterback, but the senior’s accuracy must be improved for Notre Dame to hold off Book and avoid more letdowns against top competition.

Oklahoma Sooners

Head coach Lincoln Riley says he’s making no assumptions about the quarterback battle between Kyler Murray and Austin Kendall. That’s OK, we’ll take care of it. Murray is the likely successor to Baker Mayfield, who hoisted the 2017 Heisman Trophy. That is, if Murray — a valued baseball prospect — picks the gridiron over the diamond. Should that happen, Oklahoma will be labeled a championship contender in 2018. But if Kendall is behind center for the Sooners, their outlook could change dramatically.

Texas Longhorns

Shane Buechele provided scattered glimpses of promise as a freshman in 2016. However, injuries and coaching indecision led to the Longhorns wavering between him and Sam Ehlinger. The latter quarterback is the early favorite for 2018 — especially because he’s a more mobile threat — but Buechele’s experience should not be discounted. Since the opening half of the schedule contains Maryland, USC, TCU, Kansas State and Oklahoma, Tom Herman and Co. have a razor-thin margin for error when making this decision.

USC Trojans

Gone is Sam Darnold, a two-year starter and the No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft. His backup, Matt Fink, is the most experienced returning option, while Jack Sears and incoming prospect JT Daniels give USC a three-man battle. Similar to Texas, the beginning of the schedule puts extra pressure on the eventual choice. The Trojans play Stanford, Texas, Washington State and Arizona — three of which are on the road — before the end of September. National championship hopes are slim anyway, but USC could be fighting for its Pac-12 life right away.


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Alabama: Heart of the South
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Joined: October 3rd, 2013, 4:59 pm

May 30th, 2018, 8:27 am #2

I try not to drink Merritt's kool aid but if Trevor Lawrence is half the beast that Merritt says he is that guy could easily become Deshaun Watson 2.0.   

It will be interesting if Fromm goes down and Fields comes in and takes his job in the same way Fromm did from Eason.  Kind of a circle of life type thing.  
"Gentlemen, touchdowns follow blocking as sure night follows day" -Gen Neyland
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Joined: August 10th, 2017, 5:39 am

May 31st, 2018, 4:43 am #3

It looks like Fromm is safely the #1, but Fields will get some playing time.  Fromm will have to progress this year to having a better deep ball and checking down, and if he struggles who knows....

The real QB controversy at UGA is the 3rd string QB.  Stop laughing.  We don't have one!  Eason left and the Stetson Bennett just announced he is transferring.  Bennett was a 2-3 star preferred walk on with starter skills but he is too short.  Rumors are that he isn't 5'10".  Anyway, he was the perfect 3rd stringer.

Does this change how many reps Fields gets or whether they let either QB run a bit?
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Joined: September 4th, 2012, 11:23 am

June 3rd, 2018, 3:26 am #4

DocVOLiday wrote: I try not to drink Merritt's kool aid but if Trevor Lawrence is half the beast that Merritt says he is that guy could easily become Deshaun Watson 2.0.   

It will be interesting if Fromm goes down and Fields comes in and takes his job in the same way Fromm did from Eason.  Kind of a circle of life type thing.  
I think if you go back and look I was very hesitant on Hunter Johhnson or Zerrick Cooper beating out Kelly Bryant. KB is great friends with my nephew and I want him to lead this team to a national title but from everyone I have spoken to, there is zero chance Trevor Lawrence is not the guy by seasons end. Sucks for Kelly to be the guy to follow DW4 and then be pressured by TL and have the entire fan base writing you off after going 12-2 and entering playoffs as the #1 team in the country with a top 5 strength of schedule.

I take very little from spring games but here is a few things that caught my eye

1. The pressure does not get to him. He is in fill control of the offense and looked like a season veteran getting the offense to the line, making the pre-snap calls, and just having that calming demeanor you want to see from your QB
2. His pocket presence is unreal. Some QBs just feel pressure and are able to slide away from it and deliver strikes. Most impressive pplay of the day (which Dabo called back for a "touch sack" and had everyone all upset haha) was a play where Christian Wilkins beat his guy on the inside. TL slid to the right to avoid the pressure, stepped in and threw a strike 30 yards down the field to Tee Higgins. There was one gap in the pressure from edge and middle that the ball could have fit through and his height, pocket awareness, and release point made it happen...it is a play very few veteran QBs can make and he did it with ease
3. You can tell Tee Higgins and TL work out together a lot! They had great chemistry and timing and it gives Clemson that vertical threat that Bryant somewhat lacked last season. Bryant is not horrible at the deel ball but when you go from Boyd and DW to him there is a noticeable drop off. It is crazy that KB had the highest ACC passer rating on passes over 20 yards and Clemson fans think he cannot throw down field...hes always been set up to never live up to expectations
4. He seems to have the teams trust. In listening to the WR talk especially they light up when talking about him. They all have confidence in Kelly to win but it was just different watching their smiles when Trevor's name was brought up

It is crazy that his Heisman odds are in the top 10 in most places you look. Bovada he has gone from +3500 or so after spring game to +900 which is top 5. Bryant is +2000. It is crazy. At 5dimes he is +2500 and Kelly is +4000

I can see a situation where they utilize both. I think TL emerges as the top passer this season but I think there will be situations and packages where Kelly makes sense. He is still a bigger body, great in short yardage and goal line situations where he can use his speed to beat teams on the edge, QB power and in zone read situations. Get him in there an let him operate some RPO
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Joined: September 4th, 2012, 11:23 am

June 3rd, 2018, 3:28 am #5

brown dog wrote: It looks like Fromm is safely the #1, but Fields will get some playing time.  Fromm will have to progress this year to having a better deep ball and checking down, and if he struggles who knows....

The real QB controversy at UGA is the 3rd string QB.  Stop laughing.  We don't have one!  Eason left and the Stetson Bennett just announced he is transferring.  Bennett was a 2-3 star preferred walk on with starter skills but he is too short.  Rumors are that he isn't 5'10".  Anyway, he was the perfect 3rd stringer.

Does this change how many reps Fields gets or whether they let either QB run a bit?
I think Fromm is the guy...I like Fields upside and he looks all world in 7on7 but just like Hunter Johnson, he has some work to do before he is ready for the college game.
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