This upcoming season, the Big Ten will feature a variety of quality quarterbacks throughout the conference. Around the league, defenses will have their work cut out for them in 2012.
With five programs featuring top-notch quarterbacks, it’s time for Midway Madness to rank the five best starting signal callers in the Big Ten for 2012.
5. MarQueis Grey-Senior/University of Minnesota
Unfortunately for Grey, he has played his entire career on awful Golden Gophers teams. Although Grey won’t be seeing any action in a bowl game this season, he can still prove to be a threat on the ground and in the air. In 2011, Grey threw for 1,497 yards and eight touchdowns for a bad Minnesota team. I’ll give Grey the benefit of being with a horrible team as he also rushed for 966 yards with six touchdowns for the Golden Gophers last season. Too bad it won’t get any better for his team in 2012.
4. Nathan Scheelhaase-Junior/University of Illinois
Scheelhaase has not only become a quality quarterback for the Fighting Illini, but he has also led the team to two consecutive bowl victories. Scheelhaase has also proved to be a valuable dual-threat in the Big Ten he’s thrown for 30 touchdowns and rushed for 11 over his career. Scheelhaase will be relied upon to carry an offense that could struggle in 2012 under new head coach Tim Beckman.
3. Kain Colter-Sophomore/Northwestern University
Filling in for the injured Dan Persa last season, Colter showed the poise and composure needed to win games at the collegiate level. What Colter also showed was his versatility at running back, wide receiver and quarterback. Colter will lead the Wildcats into the future this season as he will join a long list of stellar quarterbacks in Northwestern history. In 2011, Colter passed for 673 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 654 yards and nine touchdowns. With a full season under center, Colter could be poised for a phenomenal year for Northwestern.
2. James Vandenberg-Senior/University of Iowa
Iowa has relatively produced solid starting quarterbacks over the years and last season they saw Vandenberg have a stellar season in a Hawkeye uniform. Vandenberg had a breakout 2011 for Iowa as he passed for 3,022 yards, 25 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. The Senior quarterback can undoubtedly lead the Hawkeyes to a bowl game this season and could prove to be a mid-level draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
1. Denard Robinson-Senior/University of Michigan
Since arriving to Ann Arbor in 2009, Robinson has been one of the better dual-threats quarterbacks in the country. It wasn’t until 2010 that we saw just how dangerous Robinson is as he passed for a career high 2,570 yards with 18 touchdowns and 62 percent of his passes completed. In just three seasons, Robinson has rushed for 4,931 yards to go along with 35 touchdowns. Robinson also helped the Wolverines win the Sugar Bowl over Arkansas and has this team in contention for not only a conference title in 2012, but a national championship as well.
Follow on Twitter @midwaymadness