As we are now at the beginning of June, most FBS programs have either started their off-season summer workouts or are getting ready to start them. Even though the majority of the summer off-season consists of training with the strength and conditioning staff, players are still doing what they can to make good impressions on their coaches, especially ones in current competitions.
As mentioned a numerous amount of time by media that cover Conference USA, there are about 8 or 9 teams with open quarterback competitions. We have previewed most of the conference’s quarterback’s situation in detail.
We have gone over the different quarterback battles going on, as well as broken down film of some of the more established gunslingers in the conference and talked about what makes them successful.
We will briefly touch on each quarterback room here, and I will put the link of each detailed preview under each team below. Feel free to click on any of the links if there is any interest in more detailed info.
(This is not a rankings list, but the order of the 2018 CUSA standings)
The Blazers have a lot to look forward to with Tyler Johnston III going into his first full year as the starter. He started in five games last year, with his only loss being against Texas A&M, where he still threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. He had at least two total touchdowns in each of the five games he started for the Blazers last yea,r and had the only two 300 yard passing games for them as well.
When the 2017 and 2018 CUSA Offensive Player of The Year is back for his senior season, there is plenty of reason to be excited if you are a North Texas fan. Mason Fine led CUSA in passing yards and was second in the conference in passing touchdowns.
Fine is looking to have another big year in hopes of leading UNT to a CUSA title and showing NFL scouts that he can play at the next level. We looked at what makes Fine such a successful quarterback and look at why I think he will be able to play on Sundays.
La Tech returns senior quarterback J’Mar Smith for his 3rd year as the starting quarterback. While there has been some inconsistent play at times that has made some of the fan base frustrated, Smith is as talented as any quarterback in the conference and has the tools to take the next step as a quarterback.
If Smith puts together a consistent season and takes the next step as a quarterback, La Tech could find themselves back in the title game.
Jack Abraham returns for Southern Miss and led the nation last year with a 73.1 completion percentage. There is still a quarterback competition as Southern Miss has several talented quarterbacks on the roster. However, Abraham still seems to be the favorite to start under center to open up the 2019 season.
UTSA was one of the schools in this conference who did not have at least one quarterback throw for over 1,000 yards in the 2018 season. Frank Harris is finally healthy and looks to be the favorite to win the job heading into 2019. Below is the link to the UTSA QB Preview.
Rice has several guys competing for the starting quarterback spot. However, I think it is going to come down to Wiley Green and Harvard Transfer Tom Stewart. I would not be surprised to see both of them get a decent amount of snaps this year.
UTEP is another school that has an open competition going on. However, if Kai Locksley can stay healthy, UTEP could improve their record from last year. Locksley is a good athlete who can do a lot of damage on the ground. With that said, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Locksley and Brandon Jones get snaps this year.
How do you replace the greatest quarterback to ever go to Middle Tennessee and the guy that set every single important passing record? I don’t know and am glad I do not have to figure it out. However, every quarterback on the roster last year learned a lot just from watching Brent Stockstill. I think it will come down to Asher O’Hara and JUCO transfer Randall Johnson.
With CUSA Co-Freshman of 2018, Isaiah Green, Marshall has as good of a chance as anyone for the CUSA title. Green had 5 games with at least 270 yards passing last season and his ability to push the ball downfield helped open up the offense.
Green missed three full games due to injury and Marshall failed to throw for 200 yards in either of those games. Look for Green to take the next step as a quarterback this season.
In James Morgan’s first year starting for FIU, he was the CUSA Newcomer of The Year, set the single season record in touchdown passes for FIU, and would have set the single season record for passing yards if he wasn’t hurt for the bowl game.
Going into the 2018 season for FIU, quarterback was a question mark, a year later going into 2019 season, the quarterback position is there strength. FIU will rely on Morgan to help them contend for a CUSA Title. Morgan will play on Sundays.
If Charlotte gets solid play from the quarterback position this year, they could be in a position to make their first bowl game in school history. Charlotte returns one of the best backs in the conference in Benny LeMay, which should help take the pressure off whoever is the quarterback. Charlotte returns starter Chris Reynolds, who missed half the season last year, but showed promise. They also have USF transfer Brett Kean looking to come in and start.
In my opinion, this is one of the most interesting quarterback competitions in the conference. Chris Robison, who was CUSA Co-Freshman of the year last year, was already going to have to hold off several guys this year trying to take his spot.
However, with Robison’s off the field situation and it being uncertain if he will be on the team in the fall, it looked like Nick Tronti and Justin Agner were the main two guys in the mix for that starting job.
That was until the news about Deondre Francois coming to FAU broke. I look for Francois to take over and surprise some teams, but this is still an interesting situation to keep up with.
Sorry to any ODU fans that may be reading this, but I do not have a separate breakdown for ODU. While ODU may have one of the most interesting quarterback competitions in the conference, they only have one player on the roster who has started a Division I football game.
That is Steven Williams. That means I only have film access to one guy at the Division I level and since most of my articles are based off film breakdown, so I would basically be citing what other articles have said about the ODU QB competition.
Nevertheless, the top three in competition for the job seem to be Williams, Messiah deWeaver, and Stone Smartt. All three are big, athletic quarterbacks who will be looking to take over the starting job for ODU.
Smartt and deWeaver are JUCO transfers, and Williams has been at ODU since his freshman year. deWeaver started off his college career at Michigan State before going the JUCO route. Whoever wins this job will be tasked with helping ODU do more than put up a lot of passing yard, but edge out some more victories as well.
Steven Duncan and Davis Shanley both did some things well for WKU last year. Add in former Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey and you have a crowded quarterback room.
If you want to make things even more interesting, Kevaris Thomas will be a redshirt freshman and at the time he signed, he was the highest rated high school recruit WKU had ever signed.
While I think Storey ends up starting off under center, who really knows what will happen here.