Ranking the Top 5 Quarterbacks in the Big Ten

By Shane Bidwell

With just two weeks left until another season of college football begins, I decided to dive into the conference that is deepest at the quarterback position, the Big Ten. Below, I rank the top 5 signal callers in arguably the toughest conference in all of college football.

1. Trace McSorley (Penn State)

Last season, McSorley threw for over 3500 yards and 28 touchdowns against just 9 interceptions, and he is poised for monstrous 2018. McSorley is a quarterback with a strong arm that can make all the throws and he can extend plays with his legs. Although he loses weapons around him in Saquon Barkley and Mike Gesicki, expect for McSorley to keep the Nittany Lions in the thick of the Big Ten title conversion and possibly punch himself a ticket to New York in the process.

2. Clayton Thorson (Northwestern)

Standing at 6’4 and 226 lbs, Thorson has the prototypical NFL build, making him the most NFL ready quarterback in the conference. The only thing keeping him from occupying the top spot on this list was throwing too many interceptions last year. Of course, throwing 12 picks in one season will scare off some NFL scouts, but a deeper analyzation of his game reveals an elite passer with a strong arm that can make all the throws he’s asked to make. Northwestern should be very talented this year and could challenge Wisconsin for a Big Ten West title, a feat that would be attributed to their talented gunslinger.

3. Shea Patterson (Michigan)

The most intriguing quarterback in the conference, Shea Patterson, was granted immediate eligibility in April after transferring from Ole Miss. Patterson brings a strong arm and an electrifying style of play to a team in desperate need of a quarterback. Patterson wowed in his 10 starts, throwing for 23 TDs and 12 INTs. If he can curb the turnover issue, Patterson has the potential to be Michigan’s most successful quarterback since Chad Henne. During the Harbaugh era, the only thing keeping the Wolverines from competing for conference titles has been consistent quarterback play. If Patterson lives up the billing, Michigan could be one of the nation’s elite teams this year.

4. Brian Lewerke (Michigan State)

Brian Lewerke has the makings of an elite quarterback and 2018 could be his breakout year. Coming off of a sophomore campaign that saw him throw for 2800 yards, 20 TDs, and just 7 INTs while leading the Spartans to a 10-3 record, Lewkere will be looking for more this season. Lewerke possesses top notch arm strength and is easily one of the most mature quarterbacks in the conference. This kid is a special player and 2018 will prove just that.

5. Nate Stanley (Iowa)

Stanley threw for 26 TDs and just 6 INTs in 2017 and is looking to post similar results this season. Iowa has been very good at airing the ball out under Kirk Ferentz, and Stanley has been his best arm yet. Although completing passes is a slight issue coming off a season where he hit just 56% of his passes, if Stanley can correct his accuracy and continue to put up big numbers, he could very well be in the conversion of being a first round draft pick next spring.


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