Ranking the top 10 spring QB battles
Even though it seems as if the season just ended, spring football is about to get cranked up. In fact, it starts today, with the Duke Blue Devils kicking things off. One of the biggest things to keep an eye on will be a handful of compelling quarterback races.
Most of the ones listed below are likely to extend into the fall. A few others not included here, such as the ones involving the Auburn Tigers and Ohio State Buckeyes (who will need a signal-caller while Terrelle Pryor is suspended), will get more complex in the fall when some highly touted newcomers arrive. So, for this week's top 10 list, we're looking at the most intriguing quarterback battles that will be taking place this spring:
The Tigers are a legit BCS title contender if -- and this is a huge "if" -- a consistent QB emerges. Multitalented Jefferson is a two-year starter who showed signs late in 2010 that he was finally blossoming, throwing five touchdowns and only two interceptions in the final five games of the year while also running for three more TDs. Jefferson's late-season surge was enough for colleague KC Joyner to write that Jefferson should be the Tigers' choice at QB this year.
Before that closing hot stretch, however, he had just a 2-to-8 TD-to-INT ratio. Rising senior Lee, who played a lot in 2008 (13 TDs, 16 INTs), was worked into the QB rotation last year but experienced mixed results. Word is that although he looks sharp in drills, he turns into a different (read: worse) quarterback when it's full-go.
Many Tigers fans hope strong-armed Mettenberger, a one-time Georgia Bulldogs player who arrives as the top junior college quarterback transfer in the country, can prove he has matured after being exiled from Athens for off-field issues. New offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe is being counted on to fix these QB concerns, and he certainly has options from which to choose, but experience could be the determining factor here.
The hunch: Jordan Jefferson
To read the rest of Bruce Feldman's list of the top QB battles heading into 2011 spring practice, including looks at the Pac-10 true freshman who could start immediately and Greg McElroy's replacement at Alabama, become an ESPN Insider today.