Ohio State Football: Ranking the 5 Best Quarterbacks the Buckeyes Will See in 2014

Ranking the Best Quarterbacks Ohio State Will See This Season

6/17/14 in NCAAF   |   rlnichols11   |   22 respect

The biggest downfall for the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2013 was the play of their secondary. There were downfalls on both sides of the ball, but it was tough to watch Connor Cook and Tajh Boyd literally do whatever they wanted to against a porous pass defense. Blog Photo - Ohio State Football: Ranking the 5 Best Quarterbacks the Buckeyes Will See in 2014

New co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash has brought a new scheme and new attitude to the secondary with his hard-nosed, press coverage ideology. 

With the loss of three-fourths of the starting secondary from last year's Week 1 starting lineup, the Buckeyes will come into 2014 with a retooled and revamped secondary; Tyvis PowellVonn Bell, and Doran Grant are expected to fill the voids left by C.J. Barnett, Christian Bryant, and Bradley Roby, respectively. 

Although some of the quarterbacks Ohio State will see in 2014 aren't national commodities, they're more than capable of giving the Buckeyes a run for their money if major progress isn't made.

Let's rank the five best quarterbacks that await the OSU secondary this fall:

5. Mitch Leidner, Minnesota

He only played sparingly as a freshman in Minneapolis last year behind Phillip Nelson, but after Nelson's departure to Rutgers and now possibly prison, Leidner will be the man for Jerry Kill this season.

At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Leidner has all of the physical tools to be a very good quarterback. After a full season to learn the offense and improve his game, I think Leidner, along with the rest of the Golden Gophers, are ready to take a big leap forward.

4. Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Reynolds is definitely the most unconventional quarterback that the Buckeyes will see all year, but he's also probably one of the easiest assignments that the secondary will have.

The Midshipmen run a triple-option offense that features little-to-no passing whatsoever, so the Buckeye safeties will be much more focused on Reynolds' legs than his arm. 

Although he doesn't do much passing, Reynolds has become a wizard at leading the triple-option attack. After rushing for over 1,300 yards and 31 touchdowns a year ago, he's primed for an even bigger season, and he's a nightmare for any opposing defense.

3. C.J. Brown, Maryland 

He's had some really bad luck his first three years at Maryland, and unfortunately doesn't have much of a resume coming into his senior season because he hasn't been able to stay on the field consistently. but it appears as though Brown is finally healthy, and he's ready to use both his arms and his legs to lead the Terps into their inaugural Big Ten season.

Despite fighting the injury bug most of the season, and even missing two games, Brown still managed over 2,800 yards of total offense and 25 touchdowns in 2013.

If Brown can stay healthy, he can pose a serious threat to the Buckeyes and to the rest of the Big Ten. I look for big things from the Maryland offense in 2014, with Brown leading the charge.

2. Connor Cook, Michigan State

I slept on Connor Cook a lot in 2013. As good as the Spartans' defense is, I thought that the lack of a good quarterback would be their downfall against the upper echelon Big Ten opponents.  

I'm wide awake now. After Cook picked apart the Buckeyes secondary for 60 minutes in Indianapolis six months ago, and he's forced me into a believer.
With a full offseason knowing the quarterback job is his, I think Cook will take an even bigger step forward than he did in 2013.  As Michigan State looks to replace some key losses on the defensive side of the ball, it could very well be Cook's offense that carries the Spartans to back-to-back Big Ten Championships.

1. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State

The true sophomore with the arm, the frame, and the attitude to be an elite college quarterback at only 19 years of age. 

Hackenberg arrived in Happy Valley as the No. 1 quarterback of his recruiting class, and as the savior who will bring the Nittany Lions back to glory.

Although the team's win-loss record was slightly underwhelming, Hackenberg peformed very well for the most part, earning Big Ten Rookie of the Year honors. He's ready for even more hardware in 2014.

He will have to adjust to a new offense under coach James Franklin, but I think Hackenberg is more than prepared to have a breakout season. If he lives up to all the hype he came into Penn State with last fall, we might very well be seeing him in New York come December.

Luke Nichols is a featured Big Ten contributor for FanIQ with a keen insight for Ohio State football. Follow him on Twitter: @rlnichols11.

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