Hello friends! It’s been a strange and unprecedented offseason, with COVID-19 shutting down sports leagues, schools, and more. We at OffTackleEmpire hope you’re all safe, healthy, and properly socially distancing.
I don’t know if we’ll be able to attend college football games this fall, or if it will even be played. It’s just too early to tell.
For the purpose of this article, and future articles dropping this week and next, let’s assume that we’ll be able to watch college football later this fall.
My colleagues and I at SBN’s college football blog of Northern Aggression feel like it’s time to get back into the swing of things, and before we start our team previews next month, we’re going to do position and head coach rankings, determined by a vote of my colleagues and I just like we do with power polls.
I’m going to start things off with one of the most important and exciting position: Quarterbacks!
#1: Justin Fields, Ohio State
The transfer from Georgia had a stellar first season in Columbus. I’ll let our friends at LGHL take it away
Despite being one of the highest-rated recruits in the nation before his transfer from Georgia to Ohio State, nobody could have really predicted the incredible campaign Fields put together in his first year as a starter at the collegiate level. There was not much more the Buckeye signal caller could have done, finishing his inaugural campaign in Columbus with over 3,700 total yards and 51 total touchdowns while only throwing three interceptions. It will be a tough act to follow in 2020, but if anyone can get more out of a star quarterback, it’s head coach Ryan Day.
#2 Sean Clifford, Penn State
Penn State’s returning signal caller should have an even better season under a new offensive coordinator. BSD weighs in here
The Sean Clifford Show returns, and will look to make a big leap forward in year 2 as starter. Clifford’s strengths were in the medium-to-long passing game, and when using his legs. The issues in his game stemmed from a lack of progression in the passing game, short-to-medium passes, and some indecisiveness in the option game. Most of these issues can be fixed with experience, but I think the biggest boon could be Kirk Ciarrocca.
#3 Tanner Morgan, Minnesota
Tanner Morgan will return as the Golden Gopher’s man under center. Here’s what our friends at The Daily Gopher have to say:
Barring injury, Tanner Morgan will lead the Gophers out on to the field for their first offensive possession of the game against Florida Atlantic on Thursday, Sept. 3, at TCF Bank Stadium. In my experience, quarterbacks who set single-season school records for passing yards (3,253) and passing touchdowns (30) don’t lose their starting spots in practice. Morgan would have to struggle in games for head coach P.J. Fleck to consider making a switch under center.
#4 Michael Penix, Jr: Indiana
I admit, I giggle every time I see Penix’s name, I think of this beauty from Thumpasaurus
Penix unfortunately had a season ending injury last fall, but managed to turn in some impressive stats. I’ll let our friends at The Crimson Quarry take it away
Penix had compiled 1394 passing yards while completing 110 of 160 passes, thrown 10 touchdowns compared to four interceptions, ran for two more touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry and won a pair of Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors so far this season to boot. He did all of that despite missing significant portions of IU’s games against Eastern Illinois, Maryland and Northwestern. He also completely missed IU’s games against Ohio State and UConn. If you’re keeping score at home he played in roughly 4.5 games this season.
#5 Jack Plummer, Purdue
Jack Plummer might not be the starting quarterback this fall. He could lose the job to Aidan O’Connell. Our friends at Hammer and Rails have a far-too-early spring preview if you’d like to see more details about Jeff Brohm’s offense.
#6 Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
Adrian Martinez appears to have the #1 spot on the Husker’s depth chart. He and his two backups were injured last year, leading to five qbs taking snaps under center last year. Our friend at CornNation have more to say here.
#7 Peyton Ramsey, Northwestern
This is probably the first grad transfer quarterback in Northwestern’s history, or at least in the Pat Fitzgerald era. Given everything that happened last year in Northwestern’s season to forget, especially at the QB position, it’s safe to assume that Peyton Ramsey will be calling the shots under center later this fall.
#8 Jack Coan, Wisconsin
Jack Coan has the #1 spot in the depth chart, followed up by Graham Mertz and Chase Wolf. Our friends at B5Q have more info in their 2020 QB Preview.
#9 Dylan McCaffrey, Michigan
Christian McCaffrey’s brother will succeed Shea Patterson as the man under center for Jim Harbaugh. According to the QB preview at MaizenBrew, McCaffrey is the first Harbaugh recruit to start at quarterback.
#10 Rocky Lombardi, MSU
According to a preview I found on USAToday, Rocky Lombardi will be Brian Lewerke’s successor for Mel Tucker’s inaugural season
#11 Spencer Petras, Iowa
According to our friends at BHGP, Spencer Petras should be the successor to Nate Stanley, followed by Peyton Mansell.
#12 Brandon Peters: Illinois
The Michigan grad transfer will be back for his second season in Chambana.
#13 Johnny Langan: Rutgers
It’s honestly a coin flip between Langan and Art Sitkowski for the right to be the man under center for Greg Schiano’s next Rutgers squad.
#14 Lance LeGendre: Maryland
Speaking of coin flips, there’s literally only two scholarship QB’s on the roster in College Park! The other one is Josh Jackson. Our friends at Testudo Times have more info here.