5. Northwestern’s Hunter Johnson, a 5 star transfer from Clemson, where he was likely to ‘ride the pine’, first behind Kelly Bryant (as a freshman) and then generational QB, Trevor Lawrence showed up in Clemson, South Carolina. Both Bryant & Johnson caught the next bus out of town! Kelly to Mizzou & Hunter to Evanston! Johnson has a rocket launcher for an arm, the the agility to extend plays in the pocket, and the foot over foot speed to escape the ‘meat house’ and advance the ball up the field! Clayton Thorson started 53 games for the “Cats” and owns about every career record @ Northwestern, yet Johnson may very well prove to be an upgrade for the Wildcats!
4. Ohio State’s Justin Fields, another 5 star, this time from Georgia, who failed to beat our Jake Frahm. As good as Fields is, it is unlikely that he will be an upgrade to Dwayne Haskins, 4,831 passing yards, 50 TD’s, 8 INT’s, see and 70.0 completion percentage! Justin is a great athlete, with tremendous quickness and terrific straight ahead speed, however, he will need to grow as a passer and is unproven as a leader. Fields will have little competition for the job, backups, Tate Martell (Miami FL) & Matt Baldwin (TCU) transferred out of Columbus! The good news for the Bucks is that they do not play a Power 5 opponent in their 2019, Non-Conference schedule (FAU, Cincinnati, & Miami OH). This should give Fields some time & success to win teammates over, all three of these games are at home and played in the 1st 4 weeks of the season!
3. Iowa’s Nate Stanley is a traditional QB playing for a throw back coach, what could be better! Ferentz is the best teacher of O-Line play in the B-10, his teams line up, run the ball by ‘knocking you off the LOS, and mix in timely play action passes! That said, it is an interesting fact that while other teams in the West Division run variations of the spread, Iowa led the division in scoring offense! So much for ‘old time’ football being boring! Stanley is entering his third year as the Hawks starter and has thrown 52 TD’s the past 2 season, while improving his passing yardage and completion percentage in year two! Stanley passed for 2,852 yards, 26 TD’s & threw 10 INT’s, He will need to continue to improve these numbers (and do so without key receivers from a year ago), especially his 59.3 completion percentage!
2. Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez is exactly the kind of QB that Scott Frost had build his ultra successful program around @ Central Florida. Martinez tends to play the game with the same abandon as UCF’s QB, Mckenzie Milton. Milton led UCF to 24 straight wins before being injured in the USF game! Martinez passed for 2,616 yards, 17 TD’s to 8 INT & completed 64.6 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 629 yards (2nd best on the team) and 8 TD’s, all of this on a team that went 4-8 in 2018! He has great speed, better quickness, good throwing accuracy while on the move, and exceptional poise given his relative lack of experience! Nebraska is the biggest threat to Wisconsin’s dominance of the B-10’s West Division and this challenge is directly related to the emergence of Martinez!
1. Michigan’s Shea Patterson’s comfort level for the 2019 season took a huge leap forward with the hiring of Alabama’s former OC, Josh Gattis. Out is the pro-style power run game and in is the run-pass option. The intent is to, first, put the ball & game in Patterson’s hands as much as is possible and second, to speed up of the offense! Only Navy, of the 130 FBS programs, ran fewer plays than Michigan, 2 per minute! The RPO is intended to increase Michigan’s number of plays per minute and allow Patterson to do more damage with his passing (2,600 yards, 22 TD’s & 7 INT’s) completion percentage of a terrific 64.6%. This change is timely, much of the ‘name recognized talent’ on D is gone (Rashan Gary, Devin Bush, & Chase Winovich) and the O will need to be ready to outscore the likes of Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Wisconsin & Notre Dame, all on the Wolverines 2019 schedule. This offensive metamorphosis allows Patterson to show case his talents and is the major factor as to why he is listed as the #1 QB in the B-10!