My colleague, Connor O’Gara, wrote this piece on the SEC side and I liked the construction. It’s not a projection of which quarterbacks will be where at the end of a season, but rather a ranking of where the group is now.

In the SEC, there are proven stars. The same cannot be said for the Big Ten, which finds itself in a transitional era almost across the board. Thirteen of the teams listed below will start a different quarterback from the one that led them last season.

Let’s get to it.

18. MJ Morris/Billy Edwards Jr., Maryland

One thing I like — Edwards was the Music City Bowl MVP last season, stepping in for Taulia Tagovailoa and producing 2 touchdowns in a 31-13 win. Morris has significantly more experience as a passer, but Edwards has more experience in Mike Locksley’s system. Exiting the spring, this competition is still very much open.

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17. Mike Wright, Northwestern

One thing I like — Wright stabilizes a room that was quickly thrust into chaos when Brendan Sullivan — the presumed starter — hit the portal earlier this spring. Wright brings 14 career starts and 38 appearances to Northwestern. He played at Vanderbilt and then Mississippi State, accumulating 24 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns. The other options for second-year coach David Braun are redshirt sophomore Jack Lausch and sixth-year veteran Ryan Hilinski. Wright is a late add, but should be able to win the job.

16. Athan Kaliakmanis, Rutgers

One thing I like — Kaliakmanis won the starting job in the spring after transferring in from Minnesota, beating out Gavin Wimsatt. Wimsatt started 18 games over the previous 2 years for the Scarlet Knights, helping set a foundation for optimism this offseason. But the passing game was super spotty with him at the controls and Kaliakmanis always looked like an immediate upgrade in that regard. Wimsatt would grow or Rutgers would move to the former Gopher. More of a pocket passer, Kaliakmanis has thrown for 2,784 yards and 17 touchdowns in his career. He also has previous history with offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, who recruited him to Minnesota as a high school prospect and coached him there in 2022.

15. Luke Altmyer, Illinois

One thing I like — He grew in his first year as a starting quarterback last fall, and the hope is another year with a clean bill of health can see Altmyer take another step. Last season, he threw for 1,883 yards and 13 touchdowns in nine starts before a concussion took him out of the lineup. He backed up John Paddock for the final 2 games of the year and by all accounts handled it well. Altmyer had a 4-interception game, but he also showed flashes of some dynamic playmaking ability.

14. Cade McNamara, Iowa

One thing I like — Iowa’s starting quarterback missed the spring period with a new offensive coordinator, which certainly isn’t ideal but when you have a player who has seen the amount of football McNamara has, getting him healthy is perhaps more important than pushing him on the field in the spring. He’s in his sixth season of college ball with 21 career starts. he started the first 5 games of Iowa’s season last fall before a season-ending injury.

13. Alex Orji/Jadyn Davis, Michigan

One thing I like — Orji has a high ceiling as a running threat. Davis was the ninth-ranked quarterback in the 2024 class. Whichever way Michigan leans at quarterback, there’s dynamic potential. Neither is proven, however. Orji has thrown 1 career pass attempt in his first 2 years on campus and Davis is obviously a true freshman. There will be growing pains moving on from J.J. McCarthy.

12. Hudson Card, Purdue

One thing I like — Card threw for 2,387 yards and 15 touchdowns as a first-time starter in the Big Ten last year and now he gets another year to work with offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. Purdue has to replace its top 3 receivers from last year’s squad.

11. Ethan Garbers, UCLA

One thing I like — Despite the signing of 5-star freshman Dante Moore, Garbers emerged from the fall with the starting job for UCLA last season. He’d go on to lose that job, then re-emerge from the bench when Moore struggled. There was nothing consistent about UCLA’s offense last fall, but Garbers seemed to rally the troops late in the year and threw 3 touchdown passes in the rout of USC. He completed 9 of his 12 passes for 152 yards and 2 scores in the bowl win over Boise State. On the season, Garbers was picked off just 3 times — and only once after the season opener. He’s the unquestioned guy now that Moore has left the program.

10. Kurtis Rourke, Indiana

One thing I like — A 6-foot-5 senior, Rourke comes to Indiana after 5 seasons and 33 starts at Ohio. He was the MAC Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference pick as a junior in 2022 after throwing for 3,256 yards and 25 touchdowns. His production took a big hit in 2023, though, when he threw for just 2,207 yards in 11 games with 11 touchdowns.

9. Max Brosmer, Minnesota

One thing I like — We’ve seen FCS quarterbacks jump to the FBS level in recent years and look smooth in doing so. I like the tools Brosmer has and he comes to Minnesota with monster numbers. In 36 career games at New Hampshire, Brosmer threw for 8,713 yards and 70 touchdowns while completing 62% of his passes. He threw 12 picks and posted a sub-60% completion rate during his freshman season, but he has just 13 total interceptions since and has boosted his completion rate in each of his last 2 seasons while operating within an offense that placed a huge burden on his shoulders.

8. Dylan Raiola, Nebraska

One thing I like — Railoa doesn’t seem to be phased by the pressure. He’s a legacy player, the son of a former Rimington Trophy-winning Nebraska center. He was a 5-star recruit and one of the top quarterbacks in the 2024 class. He flipped from Georgia to Nebraska late in the process. And with Nebraska’s lengthy bowl drought, many are looking at him as a savior of sorts. He dazzled in the spring game and looks more than capable of putting everything on his shoulders right from the get-go. Raiola has all the necessary tools to boost a Nebraska passing game that produced 10 touchdowns (second-worst in the Big Ten) and 16 interceptions (worst) last fall.

7. Aidan Chiles, Michigan State

One thing I like — Jonathan Smith had an entrenched starter and a leader at quarterback last fall at Oregon State, but he still made time for Chiles in what was the quarterback’s true freshman season. Chiles had packages and pockets to run the offense. And Smith let him actually run the offense. Chiles wasn’t out there just to run the football. He completed 23 of his 35 pass attempts for 309 yards and 4 scores. When Smith left to take the Michigan State job, Chiles followed, setting the Spartans up for the future.

6. Drew Allar, Penn State

One thing I like — Allar wasn’t explosive, but he was plenty effective last season. He completed at least 65% of his passes in a game 6 times and threw just 2 interceptions among his 389 pass attempts. But a non-existent deep ball limited his bottom line in the games that mattered most. Against Ohio State and Michigan, Allar was 0-for-6 on passes of at least 20 yards and he was 8-for-31 with an average of 3.3 yards per pass when pressured. The ceiling is still high for the former 5-star recruit, but this is a big season for him.

5. Tyler Van Dyke, Wisconsin

One thing I like — It’s easy to forget that Van Dyke was viewed as one of the best quarterbacks in the country not too long ago. After throwing for 2,931 yards and 25 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2021, everyone was raving about the 6-foot-4 passer. Mario Cristobal’s first season with the program in 2022 was wildly disappointing on all fronts, and Van Dyke battled a bit. He was better last season, throwing for 2,703 yards and 19 scores. He played with 3 different offensive coordinators over his last 3 years in Miami, and the fast-paced spread The U deployed over the closing stretch of 2021 was much different from the offense he operated under Cristobal.

4. Miller Moss, USC

One thing I like — The 6-foot-2 California native was a high 4-star recruit in the 2021 class. He signed with Clay Helton’s USC program, enrolled early, and redshirted. Then when Lincoln Riley showed up and brought Caleb Williams with him, Moss hung around and battled for a backup job. When another 5-star quarterback joined the roster ahead of the 2023 season, Moss again stayed, battled, and backed up Williams. All the waiting paid off when, in the Holiday Bowl against No. 15 Louisville, Moss went 23-of-33 for 372 yards and six touchdowns in his first USC start to  leada 42-28 victory and send the Trojans into the offseason with much-needed momentum. His 6 passing scores were a Holiday Bowl record, a USC bowl game record, and a USC record for a quarterback in his first start. Riley has his flaws as a coach, but the man knows how to coach quarterbacks. At a minimum, Moss will be an upper-half-of-the-Big-Ten quarterback.

3. Will Rogers, Washington

One thing I like — The Mississippi native was outstanding running the Air Raid for Mike Leach. From 2021-22, Rogers threw for 8,713 yards and 71 touchdowns with a completion rate of 71.1% and an interception rate of just 1.3%. In 2021, he had a 90.0 passing grade from PFF — the 10th best in the country. Rogers’ family claimed they were lied to by Zach Arnett when Leach passed and Arnett took over the program, telling the family a system change wouldn’t happen before ultimately ditching the Air Raid. Rogers wasn’t the same quarterback in 2023. Now at Washington, he should flourish if allowed to play to his strengths.

2. Will Howard, Ohio State

One thing I like — Howard comes to the Buckeyes after 27 starts in 4 years at Kansas State. The 6-foot-5 passer has 5,786 passing yards, 921 rushing yards, and 67 total touchdowns. Howard is a mobile quarterback who likely fits better into offensive coordinator Chip Kelly’s plans than Kyle McCord would have. With Quinshon Judkins, TreVeyon Henderson, Emeka Egbuka, and Jeremiah Smith, Howard has plenty of home run hitters to lean on. He just needs to be a distributor. For someone with legit dual-threat ability, this is a good spot.

Related: Sports betting is live in Ohio and that means residents can use BetMGM Ohio to make money on the Buckeyes’ upcoming season. New users can advantage of BetMGM’s $1,500 first bet offer promo today.


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1. Dillon Gabriel, Oregon

One thing I like — There wasn’t a better quarterback available to step in and carry on after Bo Nix. Oregon asked so much of Nix in his 2 years. Nix orchestrated the offense, sometimes calling his own plays, often making checks and changes pre-snap. The Ducks’ coaching staff trusted his experience and his vision. Gabriel has seen just as much football. He can make all the same throws, can beat teams with his legs all the same, and Oregon’s hope is he can be the perfect bridge to Dante Moore. He is head and shoulders above the rest of the quarterbacks in the Big Ten, and should have Oregon in a position to compete for a title.