There is no question the biggest question facing Mark Dantonio and his Michigan State Spartans offensive staff is the quarterback position.
The loss of three-year starter Connor Cook to graduation leaves a major gap at the most important position on any offense.
We look more in depth at the position in this spring profile.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Connor Cook has left a lasting impression on the Michigan State football program. The Ohio native left as the winningest quarterback in school history putting together a 34-5 record in his three seasons as the Spartans starter.
Last season Cook was named the 2015 Big Ten Quarterback of the Year and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner. He also left holding several program all-time records and won two Big Ten Championships games, a Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl.
FIFTH YEAR ONLY STARTER
Fifth year senior Tyler O'Connor played in six games last season but attempted only 24 passes connecting on 13 for 133 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. One of the games O’Connor played in was a start against Ohio State where he guided the Spartans to a 17-14 victory over the Buckeyes in Columbus. Will O’Connor be a one year starter for MSU or will he be passed up and remain as a backup at the position?
FOUR YEARS LITTLE TO SHOW
Coming out of high school many felt Damion Terry would be the one to push Cook. However, after three seasons in the program Terry has become more of a receiver and wildcat quarterback with limited passing attempts (14-of-26 - 103 yards). Can Terry put together the complete package of passing and throwing and push for the starting job this spring? If not do not be surprised the young guns pass him on the depth chart by fall camp or midway in the season.
YOUNG GUNS LOOKING TO MAKE THEIR MARK
Red-shirt freshman Brian Lewerke has now had some time in the Spartans program and this spring could show the biggest growth. Out of high school the Arizona native showed he could run as well as pass and was known for his high football IQ and accuracy. Those traits could serve him well and allow for him to be the surprise of the spring. Mark Dantonio said the quarterbacks were going to get their reps. This is huge for Lewerke as the game at the college level will continue to slow down for him. While we feel the Spartans will look for a more veteran signal caller to open the 2016 season, we would not be surprised if he’s pushing for real game reps.
Early enrollee Messiah deWeaver comes to the Spartans very highly regarded with size and the ability to throw the ball. Not known for running the ball, deWeaver has the one trait you want from your quarterbacks and that is he’s proven since his freshman year of high school to be a winner. Being on campus since January will help deWeaver have a chance to learn the difference between high school and the college game, but we don’t expect the Ohio native to really push this year for the starting job. However, we would not be surprised to see him being right in the thick of things as the starter for the 2017 season.