There will be a quarterback battle in East Lansing for the second straight year.

But unlike last year, there appears to be a clear leader of the pack heading into the offseason.

Mark Dantonio closed out the disastrous 2016 season on Thursday by praising Brian Lewerke. The Michigan State freshman quarterback said that he would’ve been the starter for the final four games if not for a broken leg.

When he’s healthy, Dantonio said, he’ll be the QB1:

Lewerke completed 31-of-57 passes for 381 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in his four games of action.

Damion Terry will be Lewerke’s main competition. His biggest issue in 2016 was also health. Instead of giving Tyler O’Connor the battle many expected, Terry was recovering from knee surgery in August.

He also couldn’t stay healthy down the stretch, which allowed Lewerke to pass him up on the depth chart. Whoever starts at quarterback for the Spartans, they’ll be tasked with turning around a dismal offense.

Dantonio’s reasoning for MSU’s struggles in 2016 said it best: