USA Today picks 10 QB's

By: Old Hickory Trojan



that will move to new locations and possibly have an impact....

1. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

Formerly at Baylor, Stidham will take the reins at Auburn and almost certainly flourish in Gus Malzahn’s system. Big arm? Running ability? Overall athleticism? Familiarity and comfort in the system? He checks all the boxes.

2. Nic Shimonek, Texas Tech

Shimonek moves into the starting role after spelling Patrick Mahomes for two early season games in 2016. In one, a laugher against Kansas, Shimonek completed 15 of 21 attempts for 271 yards and four scores — all in the second half. He’ll be the next Kliff Kingsbury-coached quarterback to shine in the Red Raiders’ system.

3. Tanner Lee, Nebraska

He’s a first-year starter at Nebraska but not an inexperienced option: Lee started two years at Tulane before transferring before last season. While Tommy Armstrong was a gutsy, agile and fairly productive contributor for the Cornhuskers, Lee represents a dramatic upgrade for Mike Riley. He’ll also allow Riley and his offensive staff to implement their desired scheme.

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4. Will Grier, West Virginia

The former Florida transfer will assume the top spot from Skyler Howard, who had a solid final season, and should quickly have a hugely positive impact on the Mountaineers’ passing game. Early returns on Grier’s ability to run Dana Holgorsen’s system have been outstanding.

Pittsburgh quarterback Max Browne (4) warms up before

Pittsburgh quarterback Max Browne (4) warms up before the annual Pittsburgh Spring NCAA football scrimmage. (Photo: Keith Srakocic, AP)

5. Max Browne, Pittsburgh

Browne was the starter at Southern California until Sam Darnold came along — forcing Browne to head east to find a starting job. That experience will clearly come in handy as he takes the reins for Pat Narduzzi and the Panthers. After all, it’s not like losing the job to Darnold was some great statement about Browne’s ability. How many quarterbacks in the entire FBS wouldn’t have been leapfrogged by the sophomore?

6. Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame

To say Wimbush is the starter by default is somewhat true, technically speaking; he slid into the job after last year’s starter, DeShone Kizer, made the decision to enter the NFL draft as a redshirt sophomore. But that shouldn’t cloud the fact that Wimbush has every skill needed to be a hit for the Irish in 2017.

7. Shea Patterson, Mississippi

The former five-star recruit takes control after tossing six touchdowns across three games behind Chad Kelly in 2016. What should the Rebels expect? Moments of brilliance balanced by your typical first-year-starter mistakes, as with any young quarterback in the SEC. But the ceiling is ridiculously high.

8. Blake Barnett, Arizona State

Barnett saw the writing on the wall at Alabama once then-true freshman Jalen Hurts was named the Tide’s starter last August. He quickly made the recruiting rounds before landing at Arizona State, and thanks to an NCAA ruling on his eligibility will be able to begin the season as the Sun Devils’ answer under center.

9. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M

Mond could be Kevin Sumlin’s starter as a true freshman — or, then again, he could either play backup to one of the Aggies’ returning contributors, namely Jake Hubenak, or wear a redshirt altogether. It’s not a crowded room of options for Sumlin and his staff, meaning Mond’s athleticism and upside could make him the pick come August and September. But is that a good thing for A&M? Maybe in the long run.

10. North Carolina’s next QB

Could the next Trubisky reside in Chapel Hill? Maybe not in his replacement’s future draft status — here’s guessing Larry Fedora’s next pupil won’t get second overall — but in terms of production? That’s logical. If only we knew who it was. As of now, UNC is looking at as many as four options to replace Trubisky, including last year’s backup, Nathan Elliott, and incoming LSU transfer Brandon Harris.

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