Quarterback superlatives

August, 9, 2011
8/09/11
1:00
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So who exactly are the quarterbacks in the Big East? Here is a little "best of the best:"

Best Heisman candidate: Geno Smith, West Virginia. His situation may be a little uncertain because he has a new coach/coordinator in Dana Holgorsen, but Smith does have the best chance of emerging as a Heisman candidate from the Big East. He came on strong in 2010 and could join Graham Harrell, Case Keenum and Justin Blackmon as Heisman hopefuls Holgorsen has coached in his high-flying system.

[+] EnlargeTeddy Bridgewater
Jamie Rhodes/US PresswireHighly touted freshman Teddy Bridgewater could make an impact this season.
Best potential: Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville. Rated as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the nation, Bridgewater comes to the Cardinals with higher expectations than nearly every other freshman who enters the league in 2011. After initially giving a commitment to Miami, Bridgewater changed his mind and went with Charlie Strong and Louisville. He was in for spring and is expected to play this season.

Best quarterback competition: UConn. It is hard to beat any quarterback competition that features not two, not three, but four players in Michael Box, Michael Nebrich, Scott McCummings and Johnny McEntee.

Best battle for No. 1 QB rights: Smith vs. Zach Collaros, Cincinnati. The debate has raged this summer over who the best quarterback in the Big East is headed into 2011. Is it Smith? Or is it Collaros, the returning first-team All-Big East quarterback for the Bearcats? Certainly Collaros has what it takes to return to the first team, especially after coming oh-so-close to throwing for 3,000 yards last season. His offensive line should be better, which means Collaros won't be lying on his back as much or making mistakes when throwing the ball.

Best student-athlete: Ryan Nassib, Syracuse. Nassib was a 2010 ESPN Academic All-District Team selection, and has been a regular member of the athletic director’s honor roll since 2008. He also made the 2009 and 2010 Big East All-Academic Team, and has interned at an investment banking firm for three straight summers.

Best chance for a breakout season: Tino Sunseri, Pitt. Folks in the Big East may know about Sunseri, but he is not a household name across the country. If he grabs ahold of the new system under Todd Graham and Calvin McGee, many more people will know who he is when the season is over.

Best sense of urgency: B.J. Daniels, USF. No question the pressure is on for Daniels to put everything together and emerge as a bona fide star quarterback in the league. Will he pick up where he left off in the bowl game against Clemson, or will we see more of the player who threw more interceptions than touchdowns last season?

Best supporting cast: Chas Dodd, Rutgers. Dodd has a receiving group that is incredibly gifted. Mark Harrison and Mohamed Sanu will be playing on Sundays; Brandon Coleman had a breakout spring, Tim Wright is coming back from injury and incoming freshmen Miles Shuler and Tejay Johnson are speedsters who could be in the mix. Only Shuler is shorter than 6-foot-2, giving Dodd a big advantage in the passing game.

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