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June 6, 2011

Ranking the Big Ten: QB

As Nebraska moves into 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 2011.

Note: Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was left off of this list because of his uncertainty for the 2011 season.

1. Denard Robinson, Michigan, 6-0, 193, Jr.
This was a pretty easy pick, as junior Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson passed for 2,570 yards and 18 touchdowns to go along with 1,702 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground in 2010. The biggest questions Robinson must answer in 2011 are about his durability and what kind of fit he'll be in Brady Hoke's new pro style offense. More than likely Hoke will do his best to alter his scheme around the strengths of Robinson this fall.
2. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State, 6-3, 202, Sr.
Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins is the league's best pro style quarterback heading into this season. The 6-foot-3 Cousins passed for 2,825 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and he returns nearly his entire supporting cast on offense tin 2011. Look for Cousins and the Spartans to have potentially another big year.
3. Dan Persa, Northwestern, 6-1, 210, Sr.
Northwestern's Dan Persa is a true spread quarterback and he's the heart and soul of the Wildcat offense. Persa went down with an Achilles injury late last season, but still finished with 2,581 yards passing and 15 touchdowns to go along with 519 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Persa was out this spring, so the big question remains how he bounces back off his injury.
4. Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois, 6-3, 195, So.
In his first season as a starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase led the Fighting Illini to a 7 win season by passing for 1,825 yards and 17 touchdowns to go along with 868 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Scheelhaase really came on as a redshirt freshman and big things are expected from him again in 2011.
5. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska, 6-1, 205, So.
It's really hard to know what Taylor Martinez Nebraska will get in 2011. Will it be the Martinez that dominated college football in September and October or the one that struggled mightily down the stretch in games against Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Washington? Martinez passed for 1,631 yards and 10 touchdowns and ran for 965 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. Most of his rushing yard damage came early on in the season. After Martinez injured his ankle and toe he wasn't the same quarterback. A big part of Nebraska's success in 2011will rely on Martinez's play at quarterback.

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