A bevy of college football quarterback questions were answered on Monday, including for of the biggest ones: Clemson, Florida State, LSU and Florida.
On top of that, decisions from Arkansas, Kentucky and Illinois have been made. Read about them all below.
Clemson sticks with Kelly Bryant — for now
Dabo Swinney, coach of defending conference champion Clemson, announced that senior Kelly Bryant will hold onto his starting role when the Tigers open up against Furman on Saturday.
This is the result most expected.
Bryant spent two seasons as Deshaun Watson’s backup before becoming the starter ahead of the 2017 season. His first year as a starter went pretty well. Bryant, who had a 12-2 overall record, threw for 2,802 yards while completing 65.8 percent of his passes and added 665 yards and 11 scores on the ground.
He led the Tigers back to the College Football Playoff, but he threw only 13 touchdowns to go with eight interceptions over the course of the season and struggled mightily in Clemson’s CFP semifinal loss to Alabama. That performance led some to wonder if Bryant has the ability to lead Clemson to another national title.
Entering 2018, he had a few challengers for the job: Trevor Lawrence and Hunter Johnson, both five-star recruits. Lawrence, the No. 1 player in the 2018 class, enrolled in January and quickly impressed, so much so that Johnson, a 2017 recruit, decided to transfer to Northwestern. That left Lawrence as Bryant’s main competition.
But by all accounts, Bryant performed well throughout the preseason and will lead the Tigers in Week 1. But that doesn’t mean the 6-foot-5 Lawrence won’t play. Swinney played multiple quarterbacks early last year, especially against weak competition. Don’t be surprised if you see Lawrence on the field early in Saturday’s game.
Whether that carries over to Week 2 against Texas A&M remains to be seen. If Bryant scuffles, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Swinney turned to Lawrence.
Florida State makes a decision
Elsewhere in the ACC Atlantic, Florida State, Clemson’s top challenger in the division, is going back to Deondre Francois under new head coach Willie Taggart. The 2017 season was set to be Francois’ second season as starter, but he suffered a serious injury in Week 1 against Alabama. That opened the door for James Blackman to start the rest of the season and then compete with Francois this preseason.
Ultimately, Taggart decided that Francois will be QB1 when the Seminoles open up against Virginia Tech this weekend. His consistency was ultimately the deciding factor, Taggart said.
“We had a very, very healthy competition going. As a staff, we decided Deondre was the best for us. We’re going to go that way,” Taggart said via Warchant.com. “When he’s in there running the offense, it’s a lot more efficient. A lot less mistakes.”
Francois threw for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2016 as a redshirt freshman. He spent the spring rehabbing his knee injury and returned to full participation in preseason camp.
By comparison, Blackman, a true freshman in 2017, threw for 2,230 yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with 58.2 percent completion percentage. He closed the year with 233 yards and four scores in FSU’s bowl win.
Dan Mullen makes his pick at Florida
Ever since he arrived at Florida, Dan Mullen has been tight-lipped about the quarterback position. But with the opener against Charleston Southern around the corner, he made a decision.
Monday it was announced that Feleipe Franks has emerged as the No. 1 QB over Kyle Trask.
Franks, a redshirt sophomore, showed some flashes of potential last fall, when he made eight starts. Playing behind a leaky offensive line and without many playmakers, Franks was inconsistent. He gets a fresh start with Mullen’s offense.
In 2017, Franks threw for 1,438 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions while completing 54.6 percent of his passes.
Joe Burrow is LSU’s QB1
As expected, Joe Burrow, the graduate transfer from Ohio State, will start for LSU when it opens its season against Miami.
Burrow was Ohio State’s No. 2 quarterback in 2016 and fell to No. 3 last year after hurting his thumb. He competed with Dwayne Haskins in the spring but decided to transfer with Haskins having a leg up in the competition. LSU quickly became the choice.
Burrow beat out Myles Brennan, who was Danny Etling’s backup last year as a true freshman. The 6-foot-4 Brennan competed with junior Justin McMillan and redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse during spring practice. Both McMillan (Tulane) and Narcisse (Mississippi Gulf Coast) ended up transferring.
Other quarterback decisions
Kentucky: Junior college transfer Terry Wilson, a dual-threat who began his career at Oregon, will be the starting quarterback for the Wildcats. He was competing with sophomore Gunnar Hoak for the job.
“We’re very excited about Terry, but have a lot of confidence in the other guys as well,” UK head coach Mark Stoops said.
Stoops said he’s not sure if Wilson and Hoak will both play Saturday against Central Michigan.
Arkansas: First-year Razorbacks head coach Chad Morris told reporters that Cole Kelley, Austin Allen’s backup who started four games last fall, will be the starter to open the 2018 campaign. Kelley, who is listed at 6-foot-7 and 258 pounds, threw for 1,038 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions last year. He also had two rushing touchdowns.
Kelley beat out Ty Storey, a redshirt junior. Morris said Storey will also see some action in the opener vs. Eastern Illinois.
Illinois: Lovie Smith is going with fifth-year senior A.J. Bush as his quarterback. Bush has had stops at Nebraska and Virginia Tech throughout his career, but has never been able to seize a starting role until now.
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