Michigan's QB battle among many in Big Ten that started in spring and will ramp up again in the fall

Thu, Apr 25, 2024

Michigan's QB battle among many in Big Ten that started in spring and will ramp up again in the fall

Quarterback discussions always dominate spring football, never more than this year in the Big Ten with transfers coming and going and only a handful of starters returning.

Just four of the 14 teams - and two of the four from the Pac-12 that join the conference July 1 - appear set at the position.

Defending national champion Michigan will go into preseason practice with a three-man competition to replace J.J. McCarthy. Alex Orji and Davis Warren were the starters in the spring game last Saturday. Jack Tuttle, granted a seventh year of eligibility, missed the spring while recovering from an injury.

"He'll be in it," first-year coach Sherrone Moore said. "We talked about this as a team, as a staff - the dudes that he backed up are Michael Penix (at Indiana) and J.J. McCarthy. So he's got talent and we'll see what happens when he gets in fall camp."

Kansas State transfer Will Howard and Devin Brown are the front-runners to take over at Ohio State for Kyle McCord, who transferred to Syracuse.

Iowa and Northwestern face major challenges. The Hawkeyes' Cade McNamara continues to recover from a knee injury and was extremely limited in the spring, and the man who replaced him in October, Deacon Hill, entered the transfer portal Monday. The Wildcats also took a hit when 2023 starter Brendan Sullivan entered the portal on the same day.

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At Michigan State, the assumption was that Aidan Chiles would be the guy when he transferred from Oregon State, the previous stop for first-year Spartans coach Jonathan Smith. But North Dakota transfer Tommy Schuster was sharp in the spring game and is making a push.

Maryland will decide between North Carolina State transfer MJ Morris and Billy Edwards Jr., who was the backup to the prolific Taulia Tagovailoa. Rutgers' battle is between 2023 starter Gavin Wimsatt and Minnesota transfer Athan Kaliakmanis, who played for offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca when Ciarrocca held same job with the Gophers.

Tyler Van Dyke, who started 28 games for Miami, and Braedyn Locke are dueling at Wisconsin. At Indiana, first-year coach Curt Cignetti will decide between Ohio transfer Kurtis Rourke and Tayven Jackson.

Nebraska coach Matt Rhule said he won't name a starter until the fall, but it would be a major surprise if it's not five-star freshman Dylan Raiola. He was the top national recruit among quarterbacks and has had a solid spring. Heinrich Haarberg is back, but the Cornhuskers put up the program's worst offensive numbers since the 1960s under his direction.

Illinois (Luke Altmyer), Minnesota (New Hampshire transfer Max Brosmer), Penn State (Drew Allar) and Purdue (Hudson Card) have their quarterback situations settled.


Notable moves in the transfer portal:

WR Jahmal Banks (Wake Forest to Nebraska), LB Jaishawn Barham (Maryland to Michigan), Brosmer (New Hampshire to Minnesota), Chiles (Oregon State to Michigan State), Julian Fleming (Ohio State to Penn State), Hill (Iowa to TBD), Howard (Kansas State to Ohio State), RB Quinshon Judkins (Mississippi to Ohio State), Kaliakmanis (Minnesota to Rutgers), WR KeAndre Lambert-Smith (Penn State to Auburn), RB Reggie Love (Illinois to Purdue), McCord (Ohio State to Syracuse), C Seth McLaughlin (Alabama to Ohio State), WR Tanner Miller (Oregon State to Michigan State), OL Kadyn Proctor (Iowa to Alabama), DE Nic Scourton (Purdue to Texas A&M), Sullivan (Northwestern to TBD), Chip Trayanum (Ohio State to Kentucky), TE Cael Vanderbush (Iowa to TBD).


The most significant injury of the spring was to Michigan S Rod Moore, who tore his ACL in practice March 25. He has started 27 games and made a late interception to seal the Wolverines' win over Ohio State in November. ... Iowa tight end Luke Lachey was full-go in spring and looked good, offensive coordinator Tim Lester said. Lachey, one of the top offensive players in the conference, broke his ankle in the third game and missed the rest of the season. ... RBs Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen didn't play in Penn State's spring game because of what coach James Franklin called "bumps and bruises." ... RB Kyle Monangai and CB Robert Longerbeam missed the last week of Rutgers' spring practice with minor injuries. ... Wisconsin LB Aaron Witt will be out until fall after suffering an upper-body injury last week.


Minnesota once again will open with a Thursday night game, hosting North Carolina on Aug. 29. Eastern Illinois also visits Illinois that night.

Aug. 31: Fresno State at Michigan; Akron at Ohio State; Penn State at West Virginia; UConn at Maryland; Howard at Rutgers; Florida Atlantic at Michigan State; FIorida International at Indiana; Illinois State at Iowa; UTEP at Nebraska; Miami (Ohio) at Northwestern; Western Michigan at Wisconsin; Indiana State at Purdue.

Openers for Pac-12 teams entering the Big Ten, on Aug. 31: UCLA at Hawaii; Idaho at Oregon; Weber State at Washington. Sept. 1: Southern California vs. LSU, at Las Vegas.


AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football

ERIC OLSON Olson is an Associated Press sports writer based in Omaha, Nebraska. He covers Nebraska, Creighton, the Big Ten and national college sports issues. twitter mailto "
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