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College football 2016: Latest on QB controversies

A look at the quarterback battles taking place throughout the Top 25.

Though the 2016 season is approaching rapidly, we're still only slowly learning who'll take the first snap for several Top 25 teams. Here's an update of the quarterback position at the most high-profile teams, from starters recently announced to starting status still up in the air. 

Already announced

  • #25. Florida -- Jim McElwain announced last week that Luke Del Rio, son of Oakland Raiders' head coach Jack Del Rio, will be the team's starting quarterback. The 6'1 redshirt sophomore has been the frontrunner for quite some time, but McElwain's willingness to declare Del Rio as the starter as early as he did is a confidence-booster for Del Rio.

  • #20. USC -- Clay Helton announced Saturday that redshirt junior Max Browne won the team's quarterback competition, beating out freshman Sam Darnold. Experience played an important role in the decision and will likely be a key factor when the Trojans face Alabama in their first game of the season. But Darnold will continue to push Browne.

Likely set

  • #12. Michigan State -- Redshirt senior Tyler O'Connor and redshirt junior Damion Terry are currently battling to replace the 2015 Big Ten Quarterback of the Year Connor Cook. O'Connor is currently in the catbird seat, but Terry and redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke are also competing for the job. Last season, O'Connor started against Ohio State when Cook was sidelined with an injury, but Terry also took some snaps. It's safe to expect more of the same this season.

  • #24. Oregon -- Montana State graduate transfer Dakota Prukop is slightly ahead of Travis Jonsen and Terry Wilson according to teammates, but the battle is far from over. The competition will likely continue until the week of Oregon's first game before Mark Helfrich makes his final decision.

  • #13. TCU -- Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill would likely be the starter if the season opener were today, but redshirt sophomore Foster Sawyer's experience with the program also makes him a contender. Gary Patterson has not been public about the starting quarterback position thus far.
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  • #18. Georgia -- Kirby Smart recently said that the quarterback practice reps are no longer equal, implying that he has an idea of who is leading the quarterback competition. However, he did not indicate who the current projected starter is. Smart is deciding between Greyson LambertBrice Ramsey and Jacob Eason, all of whom are receiving first-team reps.

Still a toss-up

  • #10. Notre Dame -- Brian Kelly turned heads when he announced that both DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire will play in the season opener against Texas. However, the starter still hasn't been announced, and it's possible that Kelly elects to run a two-quarterback system this season. Having two excellent quarterbacks is a good problem to have.

  • #8. Stanford -- David Shaw is in the process of deciding between junior Keller Chryst and senior Ryan Burns. There is no clear-cut frontrunner at the moment for a team that may be a quarterback away from competing for a spot in the CFB Playoff.

  • #1. Alabama -- For the third season in a row, Nick Saban faces some uncertainty at the quarterback position. Things worked out fine each of the last two seasons, but in order to defend their title, either Cooper BatemanBlake Barnett or Jalen Hurts will have to step up and run the offense for the Crimson Tide. Bama Mag's Kirk McNair says that Saban can't lose with any of the options, but predicts Bateman will get the nod.
  • #7. Michigan -- As expected, Jim Harbaugh has been quiet about the team's quarterback competition, only stating that Wilton Speight and John O'Korn are the frontrunners with Shane Morris and Brandon Peters still in the race. However, this is likely a two-man race between Speight, the safe and reliable option, and O'Korn, the more talented but riskier option. Harbaugh didn't reveal his starting quarterback to the public last season until the moment Jake Rudock took the field against Utah, so this competition could take a while.



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