NCAA Football

Top 5 Quarterback Competitions in College Football for 2014

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Top 5 QB Battles for 2014 College Football Season

shane morris
Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

With National Signing Day behind us and Spring Football getting ready to begin around the country, it’s time to start looking forward to the 2014 season. All across the country, team’s will be working throughout the summer to put their best foot forward next fall and make a run at the first-ever College Football Playoff. For many, their journey starts under center with selecting the right quarterback to take charge of the offense.

While there is a huge amount of returning talent at the quarterback position in 2014 across the country, including Marcus Mariota with the Oregon Ducks and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston of the Florida State Seminoles, many programs are looking to break in a new quarterback next season. Others are hoping that a change under center provides a lift to a sluggish offense. Whatever the reason, this offseason will be filled with exciting quarterback competitions from coast to coast.

Some of those QB battles will have major implications for programs that have big expectations in 2014. Whoever comes out victorious in these competitions will have the huge weight of these expectations on their shoulders as they take the field next fall. There won’t be any sense of relief for them as they jump out of the frying pan of a QB competition and into the fire of real game competition. No pressure, right?

So as we look around the college football landscape, let us count down the five best quarterback competitions that we will be watching unfold through the spring and summer. Who will win and take control of their teams in 2014?

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5. Michigan Wolverines

devin gardner
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

While incumbent starter Devin Gardner is coming back to Ann Arbor next season, Brady Hoke announced that the quarterback job of the Michigan Wolverines was up for grabs this offseason. While many feel it’s a thinly veiled attempt to light a fire under Gardner, it still theoretically opens the door for Shane Morris to make a play for the starter’s job with a strong spring. There’s a new offensive coordinator in town with Doug Nussmeier which gives everyone equal footing as they implement a new offense. Add in the fact that Gardner is still recovering from an injury that thrust Morris into the starting lineup for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and you get an interesting race starting to develop at Michigan.

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4. Texas Longhorns

david ash
Jim Cowsert - USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Strong takes over the Texas Longhorns in 2014 and has some questions to answer about the quarterback situation. David Ash is slated to return but will he be healthy enough to resume his duties as starting quarterback? If he is, will he stay healthy and can he keep the job from dual-threat QBs like Tyrone Swoops and Jerrod Heard? Then there is the added ingredient of Max Wittek if he decides to transfer to Texas, making a scrambled quarterback situation in Austin this offseason.

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3. LSU Tigers

anthony jennings
Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Jennings stepped in for the LSU Tigers at the end of the 2013 season when Zach Mettenberger tore his ACL. While that gives him the advantage from an experience standpoint, his production did not really seal the deal for him heading into 2014. Now, Jennings needs to hold onto the job over fellow 2013 reserves Stephen Rivers and Hayden Rettig while also looking over his shoulder at early enrollee Brandon Harris. The young signal caller has a rocket for an arm and could make a push for playing time with a strong spring.

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2. Clemson Tigers

cole stoudt
Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports

The Clemson Tigers have built themselves into one of the country’s most explosive offenses in recent years and offensive coordinator Chad Morris will be back in 2014 to keep the offense rolling. He’ll need a new quarterback, however, after the graduation of Tajh Boyd. Will he turn to 2013 reserves like Cole Stoudt or Chad Kelly or see what highly recruited dual-threat quarterback DeShaun Watson can do with the offense? He’ll certainly give all of them a good hard look this offseason to see who gives the Tigers the best chance at keeping their offensive awakening alive next fall.

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1. Texas A&M Aggies

kenny hill
Troy Taormina - USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Manziel completely changed the program of the Texas A&M Aggies over the last two years as he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and leaves college football as the most prolific offensive player in the history of the SEC. It will be no small task replacing him in 2014 and the Aggies have a very important QB competition this offseason to see who gets to try. Kenny Hill is a smart, young quarterback with a good arm and enough athleticism to keep defenses honest. Former five-star QB recruit Kyle Allen is already on campus and will make a push for playing time early as well. Then again, it could be fifth-year senior Matt Joeckel who makes a push for playing time as the most experience quarterback on the roster. Which one gets the unenviable distinction of following Johnny Football?