June 17, 2024

Ranking the Big Ten’s best quarterbacks of 2024

Big Ten's best quarterbacks of 2024

Penn State quarterback Drew Allar calls an audible at the line of scrimmage during the second quarter against Illinois Saturday September 16, 2023 at Memorial Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

Although the Big Ten lost some amazing gunslingers in J.J. McCarthy, Kyle McCord and Taulia Tagovailoa, there’s plenty of talent returning this upcoming season.

With the conference expanding to 18 teams this July, the competition and intensity should be at an all-time high this fall. There are some quarterback battles that will go deep into fall camp, but after spring ball, these 18 players appear ready to lead their respective teams for the 2024 season.

18. Tommy Schuster, Michigan State: The Michigan native started all 12 games at North Dakota last season. Schuster was a captain for the Fighting Hawks, and finished fifth in the FCS in completion percentage. Not to mention he ranked 16th in the FCS in passing efficiency. Now Schuster is attempting to upgrade an offense that finished 82nd nationally in passing yards per game. The six-foot, 204-pounder looked solid in Michigan State’s spring game, and had a 75-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Schuster competed with Aidan Chiles throughout the spring, and the Spartans’ quarterback battle may go into fall camp. Coach Jonathan Smith does great work with his quarterbacks too.

17. Max Brosmer, Minnesota: The Georgia native has spent the past five years at New Hampshire, and recorded video game numbers on the gridiron last season. Brosmer threw for 3,464 yards, which led the FCS. He also led the FCS in passing yards per game, and total offense. Not to mention Brosmer earned second-team, AP FCS All-American honors for his heroics. Golden Gopher fans are hoping Brosmer can make a smooth transition from the FCS ranks to Power Five action like Cam Ward and Shedeur Sanders. The Georgia native will attempt to improve an offense that finished 11th in the Big Ten, and 123rd nationally in passing yards per game in 2023. Brosmer should make an impact.

16. Mike Wright, Northwestern: The former four-star prospect committed to the Wildcats earlier this month. Wright has 14 career starts, including stops at Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. He threw for 974 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions with the Commodores in 2022. Wright was the Bulldogs’ backup last season, but learned a lot from record-setting gunslinger Will Rogers. The Atlanta native threw a four-yard touchdown against LSU. Wright also had a touchdown pass, and rushed for 60 yards in the victory at Arkansas. His 161 yards through the air, and 63 on the ground at Auburn, were both season-highs. Wright’s experience in the SEC should bode well for him in the Big Ten.

15. MJ Morris, Maryland: For the first time in four seasons, Coach Mike Locksley won’t have record-setting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa leading his offense. Morris brings experience to the table, considering he threw for 719 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions at NC State last season. He started seven total games in his career with the Wolfpack, and scored 15 total touchdowns, including 11 passing. Morris completed six of his eight passes for 65 yards in the Terrapins’ spring game, and was named the Special K MVP. The 21-year old competed with Billy Edwards and Cameron Edge this spring. Edwards led Maryland to a bowl win over Auburn. Edge played in one game in 2023.

14. Cade McNamara, Iowa: Although he led Michigan to a Big Ten Title and Playoff berth in 2021, injuries has limited him to eight games over the past two seasons. McNamara suffered a torn ACL against Michigan State last year. He started the Hawkeyes’ first five games, but lacked his 2021 form. McNamara threw two touchdowns in the opening victory over Utah State. However, he was picked off three times through the first three contests, including twice against Western Michigan. With Deacon Hill gone, McNamara will compete with Marco Lainez, and Northwestern transfer Brendan Sullivan for the job. Now all eyes will be on new Offensive Coordinator Tim Lester, as his big decision looms.

13. Luke Altmyer, Illinois: The former Ole Miss Rebel started nine games for the Fighting Illini last season, and made an impact in the Big Ten with 16 total touchdowns. Altmyer got off to a rough start though, and threw six interceptions through the first three games, including four against Penn State. He passed for 212 yards, and three touchdowns in the victory at Minnesota, which were both season-highs. Altmyer recorded two touchdown passes apiece against Maryland and Wisconsin. The former four-star prospect missed Illinois’ final three games. However, Altmyer looked very sharp in the spring game, completing 10 of his 14 passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

12. Athan Kaliakmanis, Rutgers: The former three-star prospect started 17 games over the past two seasons at Minnesota, including 12 in 2023. Kaliakmanis led his team to three wins in Big Ten play, including victories over Nebraska, Michigan State and Iowa. However, he made a lot of bad decisions with the ball, and threw at least one interception in eight different games. Kaliakmanis did have some bright moments, like three touchdown tosses against Illinois. His 292 passing yards, and three touchdown at Purdue, were both season-highs. Kaliakmanis outperformed Gavin Wimsatt throughout the spring, who was last year’s starter, and has since hit the transfer portal. Coach Greg Schiano is rolling with Kaliakmanis for the fall.

11. Alex Orji, Michigan: Sherrone Moore has yet to name a starter for his first season as the Wolverines’ full-time coach. The battle to be J.J. McCarthy’s successor will likely go deep into fall camp. However, Orgji seems ready to fill the big shoes, and lead the reigning National Champs into the expanded Big Ten. Although he didn’t attempt a pass last season, Orji displayed dangerous mobility after he carried the ball 15 times for 86 yards and a score. The 21-year looked promising in the Maize and Blue Game. Orji completed 10 of his 12 passes for 79 yards in the final six minutes. He’ll be pushed by senior Davis Warren, who had no completion in 2023, but two touchdown tosses in the spring game.

10. Kurtis Rourke, Indiana: The Canadian brings a ton of experience, leadership and production to the Hoosiers. Rourke was the MAC Offensive Player of the Year at Ohio in 2022, when he threw for 3,257 yards and 25 touchdowns. He’s also a two-time, All-MAC performer, including second-team honors in 2023. Rourke has started 11 games for the Bobcats in each of the last two seasons. The former two-star prospect threw for a season-high, 313 yards against Miami-Ohio. Rourke had three touchdowns passes apiece in wins over Bowling Green and Kent State. The 23-year old completed 19 of his 30 passes for 124 yards and a score in the spring game. Rourke will be pushed by Tayven Jackson.

9. Dylan Raiola, Nebraska: The former five-star prospect is the Huskers’ biggest recruit since Marlon Lucky from Bill Callahan’s 2005 class. Raiola is the golden boy, who Nebraska fans are expecting to improve an offense that finished 13th in the Big Ten, and 126th in the FBS in passing yards per game last season. He displayed tremendous arm talent in the Red and White Game. Raiola completed 16 of his 22 passes for 163 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His 64-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Lloyd in the second quarter was beautiful. Raiola is competing with Heinrich Haarberg, who started eight games in 2023, and also threw for two touchdowns in the spring game.

8. Tyler Van Dyke, Wisconsin: The 23-year old has three years worth of starting experience with Miami. Van Dyke’s most notable season came in 2021, when he threw for 2,931 yards and 25 touchdowns. He had 2,703 passing yards and 19 touchdowns last year, but was picked off 12 times. Van Dyke threw for a season-high, 391 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions at North Carolina. The Connecticut native passed for 374 yards and a season-high, five touchdowns and no interceptions in the victory over Texas A&M. Van Dyke posted three touchdown tosses against Temple. The former four-star prospect passed for 290 yards, and two touchdowns in the win at Boston College.

7. Ethan Garbers, UCLA: The 21-year old started six games for the Bruins last season, including five in Pac-12 play. Garbers passed for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the victory at Stanford. He also threw for two touchdowns, to go along with a season-high, 269 yards through the air against Colorado. His three touchdown tosses in the win at USC were also a season-high. Garbers left a lasting impression after he passed for 152 yards and two touchdowns in the LA Bowl against Boise State. Not to mention he was named MVP of the bowl game. Now the former Washington gunslinger is poised to lead UCLA’s offense under first-year Coach Deshaun Foster in the Big Ten this fall.

6. Miller Moss, USC: The former four-star prospect has been with the Trojans for the past three seasons. Although Moss backed up Heisman winner Caleb Williams for the last two years, he was able to gain valuable knowledge from the top overall pick in last month’s NFL Draft. Moss made the most out of his first career start in the Holiday Bowl victory over Louisville. The Los Angeles native threw for a jaw-dropping, 372 yards and six touchdowns, which were both career-highs. Moss completed 16 of his 21 passes for 133 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in USC’s spring game. He’s competing with Jayden Maiva for the job, who passed for 172 yards, and a touchdown in the event.

5. Will Rogers, Washington: The 22-year old has played four seasons at Mississippi State, which included 40 starts in the SEC. Thanks to the late Mike Leach’s Air Raid system, Rogers broke nearly every school passing record imaginable, including career completions, passing yards and touchdown tosses. Last season he threw for three touchdowns apiece in victories over Arizona and Western Michigan. Rogers passed for a season-high, 387 yards, a touchdown and an interception at South Carolina. The former three-star prospect did miss four conference games, which explains his dip in production. Rogers competed with Demond Williams over the spring, but it’s his job to lose.

4. Hudson Card, Purdue: The former four-star prospect started five games over a three-year period at Texas. Card threw for 1,523 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions during that span. He landed in West Lafayette last season, and put together a solid campaign with the Boilermakers. Card threw for three touchdowns apiece in victories over Minnesota and Indiana. The Texas native passed for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Illinois. His 323 passing yards against Syracuse, were a season-high. The 22-year old will have an experienced offensive line this fall too, with four starters returning up front. Card threw a 58-yard touchdown on the opening drive of Purdue’s spring game.

3. Drew Allar, Penn State: The 20-year old led the Big Ten, and tied for 18th nationally in touchdown passes last year. Allar’s 25 touchdown tosses were the most in the program for a single-season since 2017. Allar delivered on his five-star billing, and guided the Nittany Lions to a 10-3 campaign in 2023. He threw for a season-high, 325 yards and three touchdowns in the opening victory over West Virginia. Allar posted four passing touchdowns apiece in wins over Maryland and Iowa. The Ohio native did struggle in Penn State’s biggest games against Ohio State, Michigan and Ole Miss. Allar threw for 202 yards in the spring game, but had accuracy issues. However, it was horrible weather that day.

2. Will Howard, Ohio State: The Pennsylvania native has spent the past four seasons at Kansas State. Although Howard led the Big 12 in interceptions as a true freshman, he has come a long way. He gained valuable knowledge from Skylar Thompson, and eventually led the Wildcats to a Big 12 Title in 2022. The former three-star prospect finished second in the conference, with 24 touchdown passes last season. Howard even earned second-team, All-Big 12 honors. The 22-year old brings experience, leadership and production to the Buckeyes’ offense. Howard completed nine of his 13 passes for 77 yards in the spring game. Julian Sayin and Lincoln Kienholz are pushing Howard for the starting job.

1. Dillon Gabriel, Oregon: The former three-star prospect led the FBS in passing yards per game at UCF in 2019. Gabriel was named the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year at Oklahoma in 2022. Not to mention he earned first-team, All-Big 12 honors last season with the Sooners. Gabriel led the conference, and finished fourth in the FBS in total offense. His 30 touchdown tosses ranked 18th nationally. Gabriel ranked sixth nationally in passing efficiency, and ninth in yards through the air and completion percentage. The Hawaii native posted five touchdown passes apiece in victories over Tulsa and West Virginia. Now Gabriel is looking to keep the wheels rolling for the Ducks as Bo Nix’s successor.

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