So, Jesse had this idea last year to do positional previews of the perceived top players at each position going into the year. That guy and his ideas. Anyways, here we are, in the midst of the offseason, so what better to do than mindlessly speculate on who the best players in the conference at each position are going to be next year? Not so bad of an idea after all. How bad could it be? It's not like only one of last year's predictions actually turned out okay, right?
We'll kick this year off with quarterbacks. This Q&A will let you know how we came up with all of these lists. And if you believe that... I have another scheme to sell you.
Anyways, the Quarterbacks!
1A) Cardale Jones (OSU)
1B) JT Barrett (OSU)
I guess we weren't so full of it afterall, Ohio State does have all the best players. They even have the two best quarterbacks and only one of them gets to play! Actually.. an argument could be made for Braxton Miller here too, but I'm just going to assume since he didn't declare or transfer (yet) that he's coming back as a WR. But why would they need the three best? JT Barrett was a Heismen contender as a redshirt freshman in 2014 before going out with an ankle injury in the last game of the season. His backup? Well, Cardale Jones came in and won the B1G CCG in a rather... convincing fashion to put it nicely, beat Alabama in the CFB Semifinals, and then beat Oregon in the national championship. Not bad for his first three starts, right? I'll let you all decide who is better, or better yet, who gets to start next year after what is probably going to be the most watched QB race in the country.
3) Connor Cook (MSU)
Connor Cook is just stuck behind the Quarterback envy of Ohio State. Currently projected as a 1st round pick in 2016 by many draft analysts, Cook averaged 8.8 yards per attempt in 2014, good enough for 9th nationally along with a 58.1% completion percentage and only throwing an INT for every three TDs thrown. Cook was the cog that kept Michigan State going on offense, and will look to do much of the same next year. MSU has some key pieces to replace on offense, mainly Tony Lippett, who turned out to be the best WR in the B1G in 2014. Lippett is off to the NFL, so Cook will need to build some quick chemistry with a new top target before Michigan State has their rematch with Oregon early on in September.
4) Christian Hackenberg (PSU)
This placement might appear a bit weird given Hackenberg's regression last season, but I'm not sure who would have succeeded with the lack of protection he received from the offensive line. Hackenberg is a prototypical pocket passer who excelled his freshman season, but the loss of his top target in Robinson along with Brenneman going down before the season started left him with new faces to build chemistry with and an OL that left a lot to be desired. Hackenberg's success sits largey with how much Penn State's OL can progress next season or they may be in for another rough year. If he's sacked another 44 times, he might declare just to get away from that awful protection and to salvage whatever draft stock he has left.
Really. After those four there is a huge void for QB talent in the B1G. The B1G West isn't quite sure what throwing the ball is and most everyone else in the East is facing graduations, whether those end up being good or bad for their teams.