ESPN’s Big Ten preseason quarterback rankings lists Minnesota as 9th out of 12 teams at the quarterback position.
The rankings are based on experience, success, and depth, which is why the Gophers sit so low.
Junior Marqueis Gray will start at quarterback for the first time in five years under a new offensive system. No other Gopher quarterback has game experience.
If you take a look at the quarterback situation in this light, you’d assume the Gophers are doomed for another season in the cellar, but take a look at the big picture.
The 2011 Minnesota quarterback class has potential. Marqueis Gray is a dual-threat quarterback who could be one of the best athletes in the Big Ten. Think of him as a larger, unpolished version of Denard Robinson. He will push Minnesota much higher up these rankings if he stays healthy. Sophomore Moses Alipate has a cannon arm and is agile for his 6-foot-5, 260-pound frame. Tom Parish is redshirt freshman who could end up being Gray’s backup this season. He has an accurate throwing arm and can create plays using his feet. True freshman Max Shortell has a great arm and could even push Gray for the starting spot this fall if he lives up to his hype.
All of these quarterbacks have one thing in common: lack of experience. Once these signal-callers see game action, that all changes.
Minnesota is ranked higher than both Ohio State (10) and Wisconsin (11) on ESPN’s list. Assuming Minnesota quarterback(s) play true to this level or better, dormant Gophers fans could be finding their way to the bright lights of the Bank.