Spring brings QB competitions from Alabama to Notre Dame
Quarterback competitions that get settled in spring are often competitions in name only.
The ones with real drama almost always get resolved in August, but that does not mean some quarterbacks won't assert themselves during the spring.
Last season, Ohio State's star-studded QB contest was one of the stories of the offseason and not until November was it settled. The Buckeyes have no quarterback competition this season, but several teams that hope to contend for a playoff spot do.
For the third straight season Alabama has no clear-cut starting quarterback.
Cooper Bateman is the presumptive front-runner after he lost out to Jake Coker last year. Blake Barnett is the five-star future franchise QB. David Cornwell was a four-star recruit who could play at dozens of FBS schools.
Three of Alabama's national championships have come with a first-year starter behind center as Nick Saban has proved the best way to develop a quarterback is to surround him with future NFL players.
Sean Maguire ended last season as the Seminoles' starter, but he will have serious competition underclassmen with more upside. Redshirt freshman Deondre Francois was one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks coming out of high school in 2015 and five-star freshman Malik Henry has enrolled early to take part in spring practice. Henry has said he has no plans to redshirt. Jimbo Fisher might have other plans.
Among 2016 freshman quarterbacks, Georgia's Jacob Eason would be voted most likely to start immediately. He is already enrolled, will take part in spring practice and new coach Kirby Smart's other options are ... limited. Brice Ramsey is the only returnee with experience, but an argument could be made he is a better punter (41.9-yard average) than passer (two picks and one touchdown pass in 35 attempts).
The Wolverines rode graduate transfer Jake Rudock to 10 wins in coach Jim Harbaugh's surprisingly good first season in Ann Arbor. Next in line appears to be another transfer. John O'Korn came over from Houston, where he was the American Athletic Conference freshman of the year in 2013 and demoted to second string in 2014. He is not a lock to win the job. Former five-star recruit Shane Morris figures to be his main competition, along with last year's backup, Wilton Speight. A couple of freshmen will get a look, too.
DeShone Kizer saved Notre Dame's season after Malik Zaire broke his ankle in Week 2. Kizer passed for 2,884 yards and 21 touchdowns, ran for 10 TDs and threw 10 interceptions. Kizer, a sophomore, was so good it almost makes you forget that the junior Zaire was a clear No. 1 going into last season. Brian Kelly also second-year man Brandon Wimbush, who could be the most talented quarterback on the roster. Maybe Kelly can call Urban Meyer for some advice? Then again, maybe not a good idea.
Now that Kevin Hogan's 10-year career at Stanford (at least it seemed that way) is over, the Cardinal have a vacancy. Conventional wisdom is the job is Keller Chryst's to lose. The son of former 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst and nephew of Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst played sparingly as the No. 2 last year, but being second on the depth chart meant he beat out Ryan Burns, this season's main competition.
Highly touted freshman K.J. Costello will join the competition in August, but for spring it will be Chryst and Burns taking just about all the reps.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP