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No one expected Michigan football to win the Big Ten in 2021. With a quarterback in Cade McNamara that had just one start to his name and a revamped defense, the Wolverines surprised many, especially as McNamara steadily improved throughout the season.
But who are the other quarterbacks in the conference poised to make names for themselves in 2022?
Some of the names are quite household at this point (Sean Clifford, Tanner Morgan, Spencer Petras) while others blasted onto the scene last year (McNamara, C.J. Stroud) and others have struggled mightily (Graham Mertz).
Athlon Sports predicted every starting quarterback in the conference as well as how they rank against each other. Here’s how they stack up.
Photo: Isaiah Hole
Wimsatt is entering his second year and was a former four-star. Athlon expects him to upend Noah Vedral, but doesn’t think he ranks well amongst the others on the list.
Photo: Isaiah Hole
Hilinski wasn’t very good for the Wildcats last year, but it’s certainly an opportunity for him to improve now that everyone around him is a bit more experienced.
Photo: Isaiah Hole
Illinois got DeVito to transfer from Syracuse and expects him to start over Artur Sitkowski, who played in relief often of an injured Brandon Peters.
Photo: Isaiah Hole
Athlon isn’t very high on Petras, but we think he’s better than this. It’s more that he doesn’t have much talent around him than anything.
Photo: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Athlon expects Bazelak — who has three years of experience at Missouri — to upend incumbents Jack Tuttle and Donaven McCulley. He very well could be an upgrade on both.
Photo: Isaiah Hole
Athlon isn’t very high on Mertz, who looked much better in the second half of the season. Still, he hasn’t been playing like the five-star he was advertised as.
Photo Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Morgan reunites with Kirk Ciarrocca, the offensive coordinator who had helped him rise to prominence in 2019. If the duo can recapture some of that magic, Morgan could get back to where he was — a potential early-round NFL draft choice.
Photo: Isaiah Hole
Athlon expects the two backups to push for snaps (our money is on Drew Allar, the five-star) but Clifford returns after a not-so-great, injury-laden 2021. Will he be better now that he’s healthy again?
nebraska scott frost Photo: Isaiah Hole
It’s a brave new era in Lincoln without Adrian Martinez, but Athlon has a lot of faith in his replacement, Casey Thompson, the Texas transfer. We’ll see if he wins the job under new offensive coordinator, Mark Whipple.
Photo: Isaiah Hole
In our opinion, Tagovailoa is ranked criminally low here. He may be the best in the conference if his line could protect him and his receiving corps could stay healthy.
Photo: Isaiah Hole
We’ll really see now what Thorne can do now that Kenneth Walker III is off to the NFL.
Photo: Isaiah Hole
Athlon is splitting hairs and splitting quarterbacks, listing both as Michigan’s contributors (correctly). Josh Gattis might be gone, but the Wolverine offense should take a step forward in the passing game with these two at the helm.
Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
We think O’Connell is very good, but the second-best in the conference? That seems like a bit of a stretch, especially now that David Bell is gone.
Michigan Wolverines linebacker David Ojabo (55) abnd defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) celebrate a sack of Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) during the third quarter of the NCAA football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.
Ohio State Buckeyes At Michigan Wolverines
He did put up video game numbers last year and showed in the Michigan game how good he is, making some circus throws. He has an incredible receiving corps as well, making his life that much better.
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Isaiah is a University of Michigan alum, and has been covering the Wolverines football team since 2015.
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This could change with the NFL scouting combine coming up.
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Their tears are too delicious! #GoBlue
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Whoa! Amazing!
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Awesome news!
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Perfectly said.
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Pretty good, considering.
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This was an embarrassing display by the Michigan basketball head coach.
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