The Bearcats Next Quarterback?

As expected the Bearcats received another great Valentines gift from the NCAA as Ben Mauk was denied another season on the field. But as with anything in the college game the Bearcats must move on and now this spring looms large as several players will enter the spring fighting for a chance to win Mauk's spot. Who has the advantage? We break it down.

Dustin Grutza: Senior

Pros: Experienced quarterback with starting experience that took Mauk's place as the starter for the Miami game and guided the Bearcats to a very strong win.

Cons: While Dustin played well in the several outings in 2007 his body of work also includes stages of making mistakes.

The first name Bearcat fans must look at is Dustin Grutza a former two-year starter for the Bearcats when Mark Dantonio was the head coach. If not for Ben Mauk coming to Cincinnati would Dustin have been the team's starting quarterback this past season? We'll never know but you've got to place Dustin at the top of the list because of his amount of experience on the field.

Tony Pike: Redshirt Junior

Pros: Showed improvement over the previous year and gained knowledge of the offense that will help this spring.

Cons: Lack of experience at the college level and his decision making are two keys Pike will need to work on.

It may seem like Tony Pike has been around for a long time and he has. Delaying his entrance has give Pike a chance to grow and last fall he looked as if he'd taken several steps forward in the quarterback battle. But when all was said and done Mauk and Grutza were sitting one and two with Pike holding the clipboard. A strong spring showing improvement in his decision making abilities within Brian Kelly's offense could place Pike at the top of the list.

Zach Collaros: Redshirt Freshman

Pros: Much like Ben Mauk the Steubenville native has shown signs he's got the moxie needed to find success on the field.

Cons: Lack of experience and having only been in one preseason camp will have many questioning if Collaros is ready.

During the course of the year Zach Collaros showed a lot of the same signs that made Ben Mauk successful this past year. Coaches always talk about quarterbacks being winners and Zach Collaros could be a poster child for the campaign. While Collaros has yet to do it on the field at the college level he continued to show improvement as a scout team quarterback gaining the praises of the staff. Don't think Brian Kelly is afraid to go with a redshirt freshman because he did that his last year at Central Michigan.

Chazz Anderson: Redshirt Freshman

Pros: Hard worker willing to put in the work needed to take his game to another level.

Cons: Lack of experience along with the digression of his game once he arrived on campus has some asking how much longer he will stay at the position.

You'll be hard pressed to find another quarterback working as hard as Chazz Anderson does. It's been very common to watch as Anderson stays after practice working on his drops as well as his throws. But hard work can only take you so far in the college game. You've got to have the skills to lead a team and make plays in Brian Kelly's offense and Anderson may be the odd man out in the end.

Demetrius Jones: Redshirt Sophomore

Pros: Athletic player capable of taking the Bearcats offense to another level with his running ability as well as his arm.

Cons: Coming off surgery has some questioning if he'll be ready to compete this spring and show what he's got.

Despite the number of victories Brian Kelly has earned since entering the Division One level many feel he's yet to touch the surface of his offense as he's yet to have the quarterback that can put everything together running and throwing the ball. Could Jones be that type of quarterback? Yes, you don't find yourself with offers from the number of colleges Jones had without having talent. Despite his exit from Notre Dame, Jones is still a player who won the starting job in his last camp before leaving the program. If healthy Jones is a dual threat with size and great athletic ability that is still an unproven player in the college game. But if ready to go this spring the other quarterbacks better be on their toes as Jones will look to shutdown the others and leave spring practice as the front runner to guide the Bearcats offense.

Travis Kelce: Incoming Freshman

Pros: Great physical size with a strong arm.

Cons: Coming from the high school level and becoming a starting college quarterback is a bit much to ask of any freshman.

Travis Kelce has great physical size and the ability to sling it with anyone. But 2008 will be just too important of a season to trust a true freshman under center.

Brendon Kay: Incoming Freshman

Pros: Winner, physical player with great future potential.

Cons: True freshman and lack of experience at the college level.

Much like Kelce you can't expect Brian Kelly to throw a true freshman into the mix with the type of team he's got returning. Does Kay have the tools? Yes and he may well be the Bearcats quarterback of the future but that future will be down the road and not in 2008.

There you have the key members who will be looked upon to replace Ben Mauk under center when the Bearcats take the field at the start of the 2008 season. Does Dustin Grutza end his Bearcats career as the starter? Will Jones make an impact coming off his injury showing why he was such a highly sought after high school prospect? Does Tony Pike put everything together and win the starting job? Or can one of the redshirt freshmen make a major jump for the top spot? Let us know what you're thinking on who should be the Bearcats next quarterback.

Take part in our poll as to who should replace Ben Mauk.

Who should be the next quarterback for UC

Inside The Bearcats Top Stories