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Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Penn State, Illinois among top QB races

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Without doing a scientific study, I'd guess that quarterback competitions account for at least 50 percent of the preseason discussion in college football. Until a starter is officially announced, we all want to know about practice progress, candidate separation, leadership ability and skill sets.

At least two Big Ten quarterback races should hold our attention, according to colleague Bruce Feldman.

Feldman breaks down the top 10 quarterback competitions of the spring, and both Penn State and Illinois made his list. Penn State aims to replace Big Ten co-MVP Daryll Clark and has three young candidates -- Kevin Newsome, Matt McGloin and Paul Jones -- in the mix this spring. Another heralded recruit, Robert Bolden, arrives this summer.

Illinois loses four-year starter Juice Williams and will turn to Jacob Charest, Nathan Scheelhaase or Chandler Whitmer. Eddie McGee, the team's former backup quarterback, will focus on playing wide receiver.

Penn State comes in at No. 6 on Feldman's list. He writes: "Newsome saw limited action last year, but still has the most seasoning of the bunch. Jones, the early enrollee, has impressed teammates with his arm. Newsome runs well and is such a good athlete that, like Clark once upon a time, people thought he'd made a good linebacker or safety."

Illinois comes in at No. 9, and Feldman writes: "The most experienced option is Charest, who started two games last year. Keep an eye on Whitmer. I was impressed by him when I saw him at the Elite 11. And he is already impressing his coaches out there, too."