College football programs have already started spring practice and each program has position battles at different spots. Coaches love to generate competition, as it helps their players improve. A few teams across the nation have that type of battle at the most important spot on the roster: quarterback. With that in mind, here are the 10 most intriguing QB competitions in the college football and who will win.
Redshirt senior Tyler O’Connor, redshirt junior Damion Terry, redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke
It's likely a two-man race to replace Connor Cook. O'Connor is the front-runner after helping MSU beat Ohio State when Cook was hurt, but Terry had snaps in that game too. Terry's mobility means he might get a few packages at least each game. Lewerke appears to be well behind O'Connor and Terry.
It looks like O'Connor's job to lose and he should be named the starter. He's not Cook, but Michigan State proved it can win with him at the helm. Terry should at least see the occasional snap.
Junior Kenny Hill, redshirt sophomore Foster Sawyer
The Horned Frogs lost plenty of talent, and QB Trevone Boykin is at the top of the list. TCU will need to find a way to replace him and might come via a former transfer. Hill is the former Texas A&M transfer, who left after being benched mid-way through the 2014 season. Hill has more experience than Sawyer, who played in just three games in 2015. Hill can run a bit, and he should fit the Horned Frogs' offense well.
While TCU has had surprising winners in the past (Boykin beating out Matt Joeckel), but that shouldn't be the case this season. Hill is the more talented and experienced QB and it's his job to lose.
Freshman Jacob Eason, redshirt senior Greyson Lambert, redshirt junior Brice Ramsey
Lambert was the starter for almost all of last season, and threw only two picks. But he also had just 12 touchdowns in as many games. The five-star recruit in Eason will get every chance to start, and he could be this year's Josh Rosen. Ramsey is a former highly-touted recruit, but he has never been able to establish himself at Georgia.
Eason enrolled early and that will help him win the job. New head coach Kirby Smart likely won't be afraid to start Eason, and the return of Nick Chubb should help Eason (or whoever starts).
7. USC Trojans
Redshirt junior Max Browne, redshirt freshman Sam Darnold
Browne is a former five-star recruit who lost USC's starting QB battle to Cody Kessler a few seasons ago. But Browne didn't transfer and instead elected to wait his turn. That should be this season, unless Darnold can steal the job. Darnold is more mobile than Browne and impressed the USC coaching staff last fall.
Head coach Clay Helton is in his first year in charge, but he's been at USC as an assistant long enough that there is plenty of continuity. Browne is the favorite and he should win the starting job. He's waited patiently, and it's his turn to be the starter.
Redshirt sophomore Sean White, junior John Franklin III, senior Jeremy Johnson
The hype was strong around Johnson last season, but it turned out to be hot air as Johnson struggled badly. He lost the starting job to Sean White. While White didn't make a ton of plays, he avoided the turnovers that plagued Johnson. Franklin is a former Florida State QB who played at junior college last year. He was the top-ranked JUCO QB and he brings the dual-threat element that has worked well for Malzahn at Auburn.
Franklin has the ceiling that White and Johnson lack, even if there concerns about his size and arm strength. His speed on the ground will be big for Auburn. However, Franklin winning the job is no sure thing.
Redshirt junior Austin Appleby, Luke Del Rio, freshman Feleipe Franks, freshman Kyle Trask
Appleby transferred in from Purdue, where he was okay. Appleby played for a bad Purdue team, but has proven he can avoid turnovers. Del Rio, the son of NFL head coach Jack Del Rio is already on his third team. He began his career as a walk-on at Alabama, before heading to Oregon State on scholarship and finally Florida. Del Rio has hardly seen the field at either stop. Franks and Trask are both true freshman. Florida flipped him from LSU, and he looks like the future of the program. Treon Harris is no longer in the mix after a position change to
This battle is a true competition, and Appleby, Del Rio or Franks could win the starting job. Franks has a higher ceiling and head coach Jim McElwain could be willing to give Franks the job sooner rather than later. Franks enrolling early will also help him.
Senior Tyrone Swoopes, redshirt sophomore Jerrod Heard, freshman Shane Buechele, redshirt freshman Kai Locksley
It's really more of a two-man battle, with Swoopes and Heard leading the way. Locksley doesn't have much of a chance. Buechele is getting snaps since he enrolled early, but he's behind Heard and Swoopes. Heard is a dual-threat, but injured his shoulder and will miss a chunk of spring practice.
Swoopes and Heard battled for the starting job last season, and both saw starts at various times of the season. Swoopes has the bigger arm, which means he's a better fit for new Texas offense under Sterlin Gilbert. Swoopes is the favorite for now, but the new offense means the battle will likely continue into the fall.
Redshirt junior John O’Korn, redshirt junior Shane Morris, sophomore Wilton Speight, redshirt freshman Alex Malzone, freshman Brandon Peters
O'Korn is the transfer from Houston who showed promise earlier in his career before leaving. Speight was last year's backup, while Malzone and Morris redshirted. Peters was Jim Harbaugh's lone QB recruit this season and enrolled early.
Harbaugh got the most out of Jake Rudock, and he could do the same for O'Korn. That's a scary thought for the rest of the Big Ten, as O'Korn was impressive as a freshman before an offensive scheme switch hurt him. Expect O'Korn to win the job and play well.
Redshirt freshman Blake Barnett, redshirt junior Cooper Bateman, redshirt sophomore David Cornwell, freshman Jalen Hurts
Alabama will have a new starting QB for the third straight season. Bateman started a game last season and is the only QB to see the field. Barnett is a former five-star prospect and might have the highest ceiling. Hurts enrolled early, but is well behind the other three QBs. Cornwell seems unlikely to win the job and will likely be the No. 3 QB.
Barnett gives Alabama a chance to have a QB for several years. He has the talent, but will need to prove himself in a battle against Bateman. Expect this battle to continue into the fall.
Redshirt sophomore DeShone Kizer, redshirt junior Malik Zaire, sophomore Brandon Wimbush
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly says Wimbush is in the battle as well, but it's clearly a two-man race between Kizer and Zaire. Both have starting experience, with Zaire winning the starting job before getting hurt. Kizer took over and played great. Both players could start at several top programs.
Kelly and Notre Dame can't go wrong with this selection. Both are worthy of starting and both could see the field early. Don't be surprised if Kelly elects to play both Zaire and Kizer early in the season and go with a two-QB system. But if one player will earn the starting job, Zaire is the very slim favorite.