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Though there have been a few good outings sprinkled in over the last couple weeks, Saturday offers several top-notch college football spring games that you don’t want to miss. Programs such as Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Auburn will be participating, but there are plenty of other games to watch as well.
Any team that wants to be a national title contender — or at least be competitive — needs to have quality play at the quarterback position. Of the teams participating this weekend, several of them have ongoing quarterback battles.
Below are five that are worth watching, including three from the SEC.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Competitors: Bryce Young, Paul Tyson, Jalen Milroe
Mac Jones is off to the NFL, making this the second-straight offseason that Alabama has needed to replace a first-round quarterback. Unlike last year, there isn’t a player waiting in the wings with four impressive starts from the season before.
Bryce Young was Mr. Everything coming out of high school. He has reportedly been the best of the bunch, but there are still people out there pushing for Paul Tyson, the great grandson of legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, to start. Jalen Milroe is also a highly-touted freshman and a top-100 prospect out of Texas.
Between these three guys, Saturday’s A-Day game will be a must-watch for those who want to know where this perennial title contender sits at the most important position on the field.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
Competitors: CJ Stroud, Jack Miller III, Kyle McCord
Ohio State currently has one of the tightest quarterback competitions in the country. While several other teams have a clear-cut favorite, we could see a number of Buckeye signal callers listed atop the depth chart come the opening game against Minnesota on Sept. 2.
If there is a slight favorite, it would probably be CJ Stroud. The former five-star talent now has a year in the system, which should help him. Jack Miller wasn’t quite a blue chip prospect, but he’s been praised for his continued growth on more than one occasion.
As with a lot of quarterback rooms, there’s a talented true freshman in the mix too. Kyle McCord was also a five-star talent coming in. The lack of experience may hurt him in some ways, but coach Ryan Day isn’t ready to rule him out just yet. In fact, the longer this battle drags on, the better chance McCord has of winning the job.
3. LSU Tigers
Competitors: Myles Brennan, Max Johnson, TJ Finley, Garrett Nussmeier
Where does LSU go with its quarterback battle? Myles Brennan is the veteran guy on the roster. He averaged an eye-popping 370.7 passing yards in three games last season. He also tossed 11 touchdowns to only three interceptions while averaging 8.5 yards per attempt.
An injury derailed his season early, and that opened the door for TJ Finley and Max Johnson. Of the two, Johnson appeared to be more consistent, but Finley showed a high ceiling if he can continue to improve. Both should be squarely in the mix, and Saturday could reveal a lot about how this competition is going.
Then there’s true freshman Garrett Nussmeier. He was a highly-recruited four-star prospect coming out of high school. His father, Doug Nussmeier, is an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He also had stints as an offensive coordinator for Alabama, Michigan and Florida. Young Nussmeier has reportedly had a good spring so far, making him a potential a dark horse.
4. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Competitors: Will Rogers, Jack Abraham, Chance Lovertich, Daniel Greek
Let’s be clear: Will Rogers is the heavy favorite to win the starting quarterback job down in Starkville. There were some ups and downs during his first season, but there was enough promise to give fans hope.
During a five game stretch, he threw for 1,518 yards, nine touchdowns and only three interceptions while completing 69.9 percent of his passes. In Mike Leach’s air raid offense, Rogers can be a difference-maker.
With that said, two transfers, Jack Abraham from Southern Miss and Chance Lovertich from South Alabama, will challenge him for the starting job. Abraham has plenty of experience with 27 career starts under his belt, and Lovertich played in six games last season, throwing for five touchdowns and two interceptions.
5. Utah Utes
Competitors: Charlie Brewer, Cam Rising (inj.), Ja’Quinden Jackson, Peter Costelli
Utah has an intriguing group of signal callers, most of whom have come from the transfer portal. Charlie Brewer, formerly of Baylor, is the most experienced of the bunch. In four seasons with the Bears, he threw for 9,700 yards, 65 touchdowns and only 28 interceptions.
Despite his experience, he isn’t guaranteed the starting job. Two Texas transfers, Cam Rising and Ja’Quinden Jackson, are both squarely in the mix as well. Rising earned the Utes’ starting job last year but was injured in the first game. He hasn’t been participating in the spring due to that injury.
Lastly, there’s Peter Costelli, a four-star true freshman who was rated the No. 10 dual-threat quarterback in the country. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he didn’t get a typical senior season, so he’s behind the curve a little bit. However, he’s still an intriguing watch for Saturday.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.