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May 20, 2013

Ranking the Big Ten: Quarterback

As Nebraska moves into its third season in the Big Ten Conference, HuskerOnline.com will get you ready with ranking analysis pieces breaking down each position in the league. Today, we look at the quarterback position in the Big Ten heading into 2013.

1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State, 6-2, 210, Jr.
There wasn't a better playmaker at quarterback in the Big Ten last season than Ohio State's Braxton Miller, as he led the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 record and was named the conference's Offensive Player of the Year. What makes his success even more impressive was that Miller was just a sophomore in his first year operating head coach Urban Meyer's offense. Now with a year of experience under his belt and the rest of the offense around him also settling into Meyer's system, all signs point to another huge year for Miller, who might be the Big Ten's top Heisman Trophy candidate.
2. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska, 6-1, 210, Sr.
Entering his fourth season as Nebraska's starting quarterback, the table appears to be set for Taylor Martinez to have his best year yet in 2013. With a arsenal of offensive playmakers around him and a favorable schedule, Martinez has the chance to not only end his career holding basically every school quarterback record, but also lead the Huskers to another shot at that elusive conference championship that has escaped him twice in the past three years.
3. Devin Gardner, Michigan, 6-4, 210, Jr.
No player in the Big Ten has bigger shoes to fill this season than Michigan's Devin Gardner, as he will be tasked with helping lead the Wolverines' offense away from the Denard Robinson era. The former wide receiver has given Michigan fans plenty of reason for optimism though after posting a very impressive spring and creating a ton of buzz over what the future could hold with offensive coordinator Al Borges finally able to run his true system. Gardner saw extensive playing time late last season and put up solid numbers, and the hope in Ann Arbor is his curve only continues to project upward.
4. Kain Colter, Northwestern, 6-0, 190, Sr.
Even though Kain Colter shared quarterback duties with Trevor Siemian almost down the middle last season, he still started 12 of 13 games under center and was a big reason for Northwestern's big jump in 2012. Through his passing, rushing and receiving, Colter accounted for nearly 2,000 yards of total offense and 20 touchdowns last year. He will likely split reps at QB again this season while also lining up as the slot receiver, but his multi-threat ability will once again make the Wildcats one of the more difficult offenses to defend in the Big Ten.
5. Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois, 6-3, 195, Sr.
After a breakout debut as a redshirt freshman back in 2010, Nathan Scheelhaase's career at Illinois could definitely be considered a disappointment thus far. Last season in particular was the worst of all, as the Fighting Illini went just 2-10 overall and 0-8 in Big Ten play. However, Scheelhaase still stands as one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the conference, and with this being his fourth year as a starter, he has as much experience as anyone. Illinois has a new offensive coordinator this year in Bill Cubit, and Illini fans are hoping to see much more of the Scheelhaase of 2010 than the one they saw in 2012.



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