Ranking the 2012 B1G Quarterback Units

Submitted by Everyone Murders on May 31st, 2012 at 1:09 PM

The BTN's Tom Dienhart put together a (ridiculously early) ranking of the B1G quarterback units.  He ranks Michigan's Denard Robinson-led unit first.  Link:

http://btn.com/2012/05/30/unit-rankings-2012-big-ten-quarterbacks/ .

I thought it was an interesting exercise, even if premature.  I like the notion of ranking the QB units on a team-by-team basis, but it's hard to put much confidence in a May ranking of QBs, especially when some have not (or have barely) seen the field.

I'm am pretty confident that our friends in E. Lansing will be miffed that their QBs drew a rank of 9th overall.

The list

1. Michigan (Denard Robinson)
2. Ohio State (Braxton Miller)
3. Purdue (Caleb TerBush, Robert Marve)
4. Wisconsin (Maryland transfer Danny O'Brien)
5. Nebraska (Taylor Martinez)
6. Illinois (Nathan Scheelhaase)
7. Minnesota (MarQueis Gray)
8. Iowa (Vandenberg)
9. Michigan State (Maxwell)
10. Penn State (Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden, Paul Jones)
11. Northwestern (Kain Colter, Trevor Siemian)
12. Indiana (Tre Roberson)



May 31st, 2012 at 1:33 PM ^

1)  The ranking seems to value experience over potential.  He admitted that MSU could move up substantially if Maxwell ends up possessing the same intangibles as Cousins.

2)  Even if Maxwell is solid, he still might struggle due to all of the losses at the skill positions on offense.


May 31st, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

Colter at least 2 spots higher as well. Northwestern always seems to get the most out of their QBs.


I'm fine leaving Maxwell that low until he proves himself.

Naked Bootlegger

May 31st, 2012 at 1:57 PM ^

Wisconsin's QB depth has been decimated by injuries over the past few years.   Since they were all young and backups, this hasn't been getting a ton of press.  But the injuries have definitely set the stage for the Wilson and O'Brien transfers over the past two years.   They have an incoming frosh QB (B. Houston) that is fairly highly touted, so he's now the QB of the future after O'Brien leaves.  


May 31st, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

I think Iowa and Northwestern are too low. Colter did pretty well last year when he played, and Vandenberg isn't worse than anyone Purdue, Minnesota, or Wisconsin rolls out there.

As for MSU, well that's fine there. They've got a brand new-starter and have almost no returning WR's.


May 31st, 2012 at 1:51 PM ^

at the ranking for Vandenberg.  Not great by any means, but pretty solid.  I would slot him 6 at the lowest, and move gray and the Purdue duo down behind him. 


May 31st, 2012 at 1:58 PM ^

Why is Taylor Martinez still considered a good QB? He shredded some terrible defenses on the ground in the first half of his freshman year and hasn't done jack since. 


May 31st, 2012 at 6:30 PM ^

for some perspective, his production so far would make him #9 on Michigan's all-time total career yards with 5,559,  4th all-time for a single season (behind only Denard and John Navarre) with 2,963 yards and 9th with 2,596 yards.

And he still has two seasons left.

He's on track to be Nebraska's all-time leader for passing yards, passing touchdowns, most yards rushing by a quarterback, most total yards, and most total touchdowns.

I don't blame you for underrating him, he had a bad game against Michigan so that's probably all you know. But the numbers are there. If anything I'd say he's too low on the list.


June 1st, 2012 at 4:49 AM ^

Taylor shows flashes of excellence, but he needs to be more consistent.  He had the opportunity to red shirt and will be in his 4th year in the same system and 3rd year as a starter. It's time for him to prove he's more than a QB with great potential. He burst onto the scene as a RS Freshman with some great games and impressive accolades but hasn't lived up to the hype.

I would still move him up one place, possibly even two, on this list, and move Braxton Miller down 3 or 4 slots.  The other QB I'd move up on the list is Vandenberg.



May 31st, 2012 at 1:59 PM ^

I hope Danny O'Brien has an awful year for Wisconsin and then they have to start playing younger QB's with no experience for once. 

And Bret Bielema  is still a massive tool. 

Michigan Arrogance

May 31st, 2012 at 2:12 PM ^

1. Michigan (Denard Robinson + Gardner is a talented if unproven back up)

2. Illinois (Nathan Scheelhaase + ???) retuning starter with lots of experience

3. Nebraska (Taylor Martinez + ???) see Ill

4. Ohio State (Braxton Miller) ditto again, but less experience and more talent/potential

5. Northwestern (Kain Colter, Trevor Siemian) i don't care, they always seem solid at QB and I assume these guys are at least RS Sophs in a system that hasn't changed much (no HC/OC changes recently IIRC) NW develops guys very well.

6. Purdue (Caleb TerBush, Robert Marve) solid, unspectacular.

7. Wisconsin (Maryland transfer Danny O'Brien and no one) recurit & develop your own fracking QBs.

8. Michigan State (Maxwell + a bag of balls) Maxwell is talented, but has NO experience.

9. Iowa (Vandenberg + ??? have to be better than Gray)

10. Minnesota (MarQueis Gray + ???) yeesh, but experience

11 Penn State (Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden, Paul Jones) yeesh, and that's with bolden re-returning

12 Indiana: you're Indiana. the ghost of gunner kiel has more talent and experience than you do at QB

Section 1

May 31st, 2012 at 7:09 PM ^

I wish I could think of a reason to pick Devin Gardner as something better than about the fourth-best #2 QB in the Conference.  The facts that "he might be really excting as a wideout" or "they can run that cool play where Denard lines up in the slot and does the jet-sweep around Devin under center" do not make Devin Gardner a better QB than Kenny Guiton.

And I've never written anything on MGoBlog about which I would so love to be proven wrong.  Devin, show me up.  Become a star.  I am pulling for you.


May 31st, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

So you are the MSU coach and you have the other 9 QB's on your team with Maxwell. Do you start him above any of the other 9? No way! Sorry Sparty.


May 31st, 2012 at 7:43 PM ^

1. Iowa (Vandenberg) 

2. Michigan (Denard Robinson)

3 OSU (Braxton Miller)

4. Purdue (Caleb TerBush, Robert Marve)

5. Illinois (Nathan Scheelhaase)

6. Minnesota (MarQueis Gray)

7. Wisconsin (Danny O'brien)

8. Michigan State (Maxwell)

9.  Nebraska (Taylor Martinez)

10. Northwestern (Kain Colter, Trevor Siemian)

11. Penn State (who knows?)

12. Indiana (Tre Roberson)


Im doing this by ability to be a quarterback, not pure talent. Denard has the most pure talent out of everyone, but i dont think the quarterback position suits his talent as well as it can. Same goes for Martinez (hes a much worse QB than DROB) and Braxton. I think Vandenberg is the best (proven) true QB. Marqueis Gray was great towards the end of the season after he came back from his injury, he should be a good dual threat option this year, but he also can throw the ball pretty well. Danny O'brien played against ACC competition, and still didn't put up spectacular numbers. Don't think he's going to fair well against B1G defenses. I like Kain Colter out of Northwestern, but he's a lot like DROB, a true athlete who can do anything, and somewhat throw the ball. Penn States QB situation is horrid, and Indiana's football situation is horrid (protected rivalry! :) lol)

Obviously i think Maxwell will be higher than the 8th best QB, but he hasnt proven anything in game yet. Its all been practice so far. 


May 31st, 2012 at 10:53 PM ^

OP stated BIG has done a bad job of recruiting qbs lately, but that's not entirely true due to coaches coaching for their system. Martinez is legit in an option attack, but NU, not unlike UM and others are trying to change systems while utilizing what is best at hand.

DR has to rate no. 1 simply based on his production over his first two seasons and the fact that he is returning to an offense that he has ran for a year, so his bad decisions should go down and to hell with "Throwing for miles," as Borges told him. When you see the first down marker, unless your wr is completely open, hit the first down marker and stay in bounds until imminent danger presents itself.  He is the best the BIG has to offer this year, even though he'll be taken early as a receiver in the NFL draft.

Miller is dangerous, but mostly with his legs. UM has been known to get some mileage out of qbs, even making one a Heisman trophy winner as a soph, albeit surrounded by a whole lot more talent and possessing something resembling a decent arm. Anyone who can start in the NFL is better than Miller. Still, given UM's "RR" like abilities to put a spread together, his passing efficiency should rise dramatically due only to the fact that he may be playing catch much like Pat White, DR of two years ago, etc.  He is a horrible passer, and if Mattison can make him play in 3rd and long all day, we'll be fine. Not so sure if we can do that though although the defense will be experienced by late November.

Maxwell and Vandenberg are probably the two best "candidates" as in pro style qbs that have joined the conference in the past couple of years, with O'Brien, if he reverts to his '10 type game, all about even for all those that follow.  MSU, and I hate to say it, has actually proven they've built a working system in EL and if Maxwell - coming in rated higher than Cousins - produces Cousin like proficiency, we'll have to take that program seriously.

It is interesting, imo anyway, that at least three of these qbs will all get looks at the next level for positions not played at the collegiate level. It's a specialized world today folks, but no one is going to ignore the physical attributes of Robinson, Martinez and Miller. They are all athletes of superior ability, and since the days of Ranel-El, the NFL has proven they'll try and find placed for these guys. Hell, they even took two NU qbs who didn't pan out, but I'm not really sure if their Heisman winner was as fast as the one they have running the show now.




June 1st, 2012 at 9:56 AM ^

Vandenberg may be slightly underrated, however we don't know shit about the backups. Wisconsin is way too high (O'Brien hasn't shown what he can do in a tougher conference yet, and we haven't seen the underclassman: Bart Houston may suprise a few). Purdue slew of QB's have proven to be successfull for Hope. Hell they beat OSU last year. I'd slide Purdue over OSU (as a unit). Gray and Shortell (had game experience last year - almost rallied from behind against USC til he threw that pick) should be behind UM, Boilermakers, OSU, Nebraska. Then add Iowa behind Minnesota (as a unit). 

All in all, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Indiana shoudl be at the bottom until proven otherwise.