The BRR B1G Quarterback Rankings
Denard Robinson
Denard Robinson
Big Red Report
Posted May 24, 2012


Over the next several weeks, Big Red Report will be ranking the best players at each position. Today it's the quarterbacks. Who takes our top spot? Where does Taylor Martinez fall? Come inside for all the answers.

1.) Denard Robinson, Michigan

2,173 passing yards, 20 TDs, 1,117 rushing yards, 16 TDs, 139.7 rating

The dual-threat quarterback found the perfect equilibrium between his arm and legs last season en route to leading the Wolverines to a Sugar Bowl victory. Receiving honors from both the media and coaches for All-Big Ten, Robinson is well on his way to breaking the conference’s quarterback rushing record as well as numerous school-records in the upcoming year. Entering the season, he is the biggest threat in the Big Ten at any position, and especially at a position that will be without last season’s top passers, Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson.

BigRedReport.com Reasoning: With an immense amount of talent, Robinson’s ability to inflict opposing defenses in multiple ways makes him a nightmare for defensive coordinators. With over 3,200 rushing and 4,931 passing yards, the senior will have all eyes on him in his final go-around in Ann Arbor; unfortunately for defenses, though, it will be near impossible to stop him for all four quarters, just ask Notre Dame.


2.) James Vandenberg, Iowa

3,022 yards, 25 TDs, 138.4 rating

A Big Ten All-Academic honoree, Vandenberg is one of the few NFL-style quarterbacks in the conference. With the Big Ten undergoing a heavy transition into dual-threat quarterbacks, the Iowa passer has a great opportunity to lead the conference in passing yards. Vandenberg is the lone quarterback in the league who averaged over 200 yards in 2011 returning this season; in fact, the closest passer returning, Denard Robinson, threw for only 167.2 yards per game.

BigRedReport.com Reasoning: While Vandenberg will have to find a new go-to target with last year’s leading receiver, Marvin McNutt, in the NFL, he has all the tools to be the top passer in the conference. One of just two quarterbacks to compile 400 attempts last season, the senior will need to maintain his five-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2012 if Iowa wants to make any noise this season. But as mentioned before, he has all the tools to be a reliable leader for the Hawkeyes and it’s expected he will push Denard Robinson for the title of “top quarterback in the Big Ten.”



Martinez should benefit from being a third-year starter

3.) Taylor Martinez, Nebraska

2,089 passing yards, 13 TDs, 874 rushing yards, 9 TDs, 126.5 rating

Going along with the trend of dual-threat quarterbacks, Martinez accounted for 2,963 total yards of offense, with 874 of those yards coming on the ground. Anchoring an offense that ranked fifth in the conference, the junior quarterback finished seventh in passing and ninth in the Big Ten in rushing. With plenty of Big Ten quarterbacks presenting threats with both their arms and legs, Martinez, along with Michigan’s Denard Robinson, are the cream of the crop among the conference’s dual-threat passers.

BigRedReport.com Reasoning: Although he didn’t replicate his freshman year last season, in which he totaled 19 touchdowns and fell just shy of 1,000 rushing yards, Martinez did display a newfound willingness to throw the ball, registering nearly 100 more attempts as a sophomore. One area he will look to improve in, though, is his efficiency, which ranked in the bottom among Big Ten quarterbacks. If he can work out some kinks in the passing department, the junior should finish in the top tier for passing (and rushing) among Big Ten players in 2012.


4.) Braxton Miller, Ohio State

1,159 passing yards, 13 TDs, 715 rushing yards, 7 TDs, 138.4 rating

A highly-touted recruit out of Ohio, Miller never developed any consistency in the passing attack, but he did cause some damage with his legs. While passing for slightly over 1,150 yards, the then-freshman quarterback tallied 715 yards and seven touchdowns on 159 attempts. Improving his throwing will certainly be essential for him as a sophomore, but with many of last year’s top passers graduated, Miller should find himself among the leaders of both the passing and rushing charts in 2012.

BigRedReport.com Reasoning: Miller’s stock saw a major increase when Ohio State hired Urban Meyer as the new head coach. Meyer has done a fantastic job in year’s past of developing gifted quarterbacks, such as Florida’s Tim Tebow and Utah’s Alex Smith. With Miller learning under Meyer and running his spread offense, the possibilities are limitless for the sophomore quarterback. Presenting a dual-threat, Miller should see improvements in his throwing game, which in turn, will create more running lanes for him to scurry through.


5.) Danny O’Brien, Wisconsin

1,648 passing yards, 7 TDs, 109.6 rating

Unfortunately for O’Brien, his sophomore year was anything but that of his freshman campaign. Selected as the ACC Rookie of the Year, O’Brien compiled 2,438 yards and 22 touchdowns in his first season at Maryland. However, in his second year, the North Carolina native wound up throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, resulting in him being benched on two separate occasions last year. Transferring to Wisconsin should give O’Brien a fresh start and a chance to lead last season’s highest scoring offense in the Big Ten.

BigRedReport.com Reasoning: O’Brien will be called upon to replace Russell Wilson, who in his only year in Madison threw for over 3,000 yards and led the conference in pass efficiency. Just like Wilson, O’Brien will be transferring from the ACC conference to Wisconsin with hopes of leading the Badgers to its third straight conference title. Despite taking a step backwards in 2011, the redshirt-junior has the talent and track record to be one of the top passers in a conference that only has one returning player who threw for over 3,000 yards.


*** Big Red Report's Josh Harvey and Kyle Phillippi contributed to these rankings and are not that of Fox Sports. ***

Kyle Phillippi covers the Big Ten Conference for BigRedReport.com. His work has also been featured in Big Red Report Magazine and FoxSports.com.
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