CFB Insider

The Battle for the Starting Spot Starts Now

Who will be leading your team’s offense in 2021?


We’ve already been witness to a long list of transfers, opt-outs and draft declarations this spring. Now that schools are gearing up for spring practice, we’re anxious to see who will be leading some of the key offenses in the Big 12 and SEC.

A little competition can push teams to new heights or fracture a program’s moral. Check out some of the Big 12 and SEC teams with their starting QB spot on the line this spring.

BIG 12

Top Contenders: Casey Thompson vs Hudson Card
Thompson surprised the entirety of the Longhorn fan base with his unbelievable coming out party vs Colorado in the Valero Bowl this past winter. While some are quick to tab Thompson as the front runner based on his performance in 2020, don’t sleep on Hudson Card. The sophomore ranked fourth in the 247Sports Composite rankings for the 2020 class, rubbing elbows with the likes of Alabama’s Bryce Young, Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud. With a new coaching staff leading the Longhorns this year, the starting spot is up for grabs. Will they gravitate toward Thompson and his Valero Bowl highlight reel or get behind the raw, young talent of Card?

Top Contenders: Max Duggan vs Matthew Downing
Max Duggan won the hearts of the TCU fan base with a solid comeback from being sidelined for a heart condition in 2020. While Duggan impressed with his rushing ability, his accuracy was less than consistent. The Horned Frogs return Red Shirt Junior Matthew Downing to the quarterback race along with a hole host of new potential in Oklahoma transfer Chandler Morris, German commit Alexander Honig and incoming freshmen in Sam Jackson and Trent Battle.

Top Contenders: Tyler Shough vs Henry Colombi
Wildcard: Maverick McIvor
It’s the battle of the transfers for the Red Raiders starting spot this spring. Utah State transfer Colombi earned the starting spot during what was a less than productive 2020 season for Texas Tech. Colombi put up decent numbers in 2020 but Red Raiders fans have high hopes for the recent Oregon transfer Tyler Shough. The on again, off again Ducks starter comes to Lubbock with a ton of potential. The wildcard in the battle—Red Shirt Freshman Maverick McIvor. Either way, coach Matt Wells is hoping for a QB to lead his team to an exciting start to the 2021 season vs Houston at the Texas Kickoff in Houston this Labor Day.


Top Contenders: Zach Calzada vs Haynes King
After four years with 2019 Texas Bowl MVP Kellen Mond at the helm, the Aggies are in need of a new leading man on offense. They return key weapons that should make for a deadly offense in 2021 if they can find the right fit for QB. Frontrunners for the job are Red Shirt Sophomore Zach Calzada and Sophomore Haynes King. The two hopefuls present two very different styles. Calzada has built a reputation as a pocket passer with a powerful arm while King presents as a dual-threat, long and athletic with success playing both basketball and track in high school.

Top Contenders: Bryce Young vs Paul Tyson
Wildcard: Jalen Milroe
Mac Jones stole the show in Tuscaloosa in 2020, leaving the Crimson Tide with a perfect record and high hopes for a new quarterback to come in and continue the streak. The battle for the starting spot this spring will feature 2020 back up Sophomore Bryce Young, who put up solid numbers in the few snaps he took during the 2020 season and Red Shirt Sophomore Paul Tyson. Young was able to show his accuracy and comfort throwing outside of the pocket in 2020 but has proven reluctant thus far to really make a difference rushing. His competitor, on the other hand, is a powerful pro-style quarterback who has some eyebrow-raising film from high school we’re waiting to see translate to the college level after a few years under Saban’s wing. The wildcard for the starting spot with the Crimson Tide? Highly rated incoming freshman Jalen Milroe out of Katy, Texas.

Top Contenders: Max Johnson vs TJ Finley
Wildcard: Garrett Nussmeier
The Tigers return Max Johnson and TJ Finely after a lackluster season in 2020. LSU struggled all year to find their identity after losing an insane level of talent after winning their National Championship in 2019. For two freshmen thrown into an unprecedented season in the SEC West, their performance was pretty solid but not enough to push the Tigers past a 5-5 conference record. Both revealed good fundamentals and the ability to move well in and out of the pocket their freshmen year. However, for LSU to return to their previous glory, we will need to see one of these solid, full-of-potential quarterbacks step up and really lead the offense this spring. But the spring may bring more than just a battel between Johnson and Finley. Wildcard freshman Garrett Nussmeier comes in with a reputation for success, extremely impressive film and a true competitors spirit.