Most of the Big Ten's best quarterbacks are back in 2022.
The conference's top-five leaders in passing yards return, starting with Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, who led the Big Ten with 4,435 yards and 44 TDs in his first year as the Buckeyes' starter.
Michigan State's Payton Thorne, who led the Spartans to a victory in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, also Culinary Institute of America Steels clothes returns. Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara, who led the Wolverines to a Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff appearance, also is back and part of an interesting race with backup quarterback J.J. McCarthy.
MORE: Quarterback situations for 2022 in the SEC
Minnesota's Tanner Morgan and Penn State's Sean Clifford also are back for sixth seasons, but there will be intrigue in a few places.
What do those quarterback rooms in the Big Ten look like? Sporting News will sort out the returners and transfers, with the promise that there is more to come this offseason.
Today we breakdown the Big Ten. Let's go alphabetical by division:
Big Ten East
India Claflin Panthers clothes na (2-10, 0-9)
2021 recap: Michael Penix Jr. started the first five games, but he left a 24-0 loss to Penn State with a shoulder injury and did not return the rest of the season. Jack Tuttle and Donovan McCulley split time in the other seven games. Indiana quarterbacks finished with nine TD passes and 15 interceptions in a disappointing season.
2021-22 offseason: This will look different for Tom Allen in 2022. Penix followed former Indiana offensive coordinator Nick Sherian to Washington in a surprising transfer, and 2022 commit Josh Hoover flipped to TCU. Allen hired former UMass coach Walt Bell as the new offensive coordinator.
What to look for in spring: Tuttle and McCulley will compete for the job in spring football, but if there is no separation, the Hoosiers will be a prime candidate to go transfer portal shopping.
Maryland (7-6, 3-6)
2021 recap: Redshirt sophomore Taulia Tagovailoa took control of the starting job. Tagovailoa started off hot in leading the Terps to a 4-0 record, but there were peaks and valleys the rest of the season. Tagovailoa did end on a high note in a 54- Alabama vs. Auburn Rivalry Gear 10 victory against Virginia Tech in the Pinstripe Bowl.
2021-22 offseason: Tagovailoa will be the starter in Mike Locksley's fourth season. Backup Reece Udinski entered the transfer portal, so the competition for that backup spot is on. Three-star freshman Jayden Sauray will have a chance to compete for that job.
What to look for in spring: Tagovailoa set a single-season school record with 3,860 yards, and will continue to improve in the offense.
Michigan (12-2, 8-1)
2021 recap: Cade McNamara won the starting job and led the Wolverines to their first Big Ten championship since 2004. McNamara finished with 2,576 yards, 15 TDs and six interceptions and has been compared to Jim Harbaugh because of his leadership qualities. Five-star freshman J.J. McCarthy also saw significant time and played most of the fourth quarter in the CFP semifinal loss to Georgia.
2021-22 offseason: Harbaugh remains a candidate for NFL jobs but at the moment remains at Michigan with offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. The Wolverines added two three-star quarterbacks in the 2022 recruiting class in Alex Orji and Jayden Denegal.
What to look for in spring: McNamara and McCarthy will engage in another battle f Dayton Flyers clothes or the starting job. Can McCarthy take that job? Will Michigan be able to keep both quarterbacks for the entire season? Those are huge questions that will be answered through fall camp.
BENDER: Will Harbaugh choose NFL over Michigan?
Michigan State (11-2, 7-2)
2021 recap: Mel Tucker’s second season was a stunning success, and Thorne beat out Rutgers transfer Anthony Russo for the job in fall camp. Thorne was helped by the emergence of transfer running back Kenneth Walker III. The Spartans closed the season with impressive victories against Penn State and Pitt.
2021-22 offseason: The Spartans have stability with Tucker, returning offensive coordinator Jay Johnson and Thorne, who will return as the starter without question in 2022. Star receiver Jayden Reed (1,026 yards, 10 TDs) also returns. Four-star quarterback Kaiton Houser, a recruit from California powerhouse St. John Bosco, was the top recruit in this year’s class.
What to look for in spring: Mark Dantonio had solid quarterback play that kept the Spartans in the Big Ten championship chase for most of his tenure. Tucker appears to have that with Thorne, and Houser will have time to ease in as the future starter.
TROCCHI: Peach Bowl win indicates MSU isn't going away
Ohio State (12-2, 8-1)
2021 recap: C.J. Stroud Florida vs. Georgia Rivalry Shirts won the fall-camp battle to replace Justin Fields over Kyle McCord, Jack Miller III and five-star recruit Quinn Ewers, who reclassified and joined the team at fall camp. Stroud emerged as a Heisman favorite throughout the season and that peaked with a six-TD performance against Michigan State. The Buckeyes lost to Michigan, but Stroud finished fourth in the Heisman voting and passed for 573 yards and six TDs in a Rose Bowl victory against Utah.
2021-22 offseason: Stroud is in his second season with Ryan Day, and that should again produce prolific numbers in an offense that features receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back TreVeyon Henderson. Ewers transferred to Texas, and Miller transferred to Florida. McCord is a reliable backup o Coast Guard Academy Bears Jerseys ption, and four-star quarterback Devin Brown joins the room from the 2022 class.
What to look for in spring: Stroud is the no-doubt starter, and the competition for that backup spot is always a topic of conversation around the spring game. There should not be much drama this time around.
BENDER: Stroud shines in 'meaningless' Rose Bowl thriller
Penn State (7-6, 4-5)
2021 recap: Sean Clifford retained the starting job and passed for 3,107 yards, 21 TDs and eight interceptions. Penn State started the season 5-0 and led Iowa before Clifford left with an injury in the first half. The second half of the season was a free-fall, but coach James Franklin was signed to a lucrative long-term extension.
2021-22 offseason: Clifford announced he's returning for a sixth season and could be a four-year starter for the Nittany Lions. Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich is back for a second season, too. Ta'Quan Roberson, who was the primary backup last season, transferred to UConn. Five-star quarterback Drew Allar, the No. 4 ranked quarterback in the class of 2022 according to 247Sports and three-star quarterback Beau Pribula are on board.
What to look for in spring: Clifford will be the starter in the spring, but the curiosity factor will be high with Allar, a 6-foot-4, 232-pound quarterback who has drawn comparisons to Josh Allen. Will Franklin be able to hold back the hype?
Rutgers (5-8, 2-7)
2021 recap: Noah Vedral, a UCF and Nebraska transfer, found a home with the Scarlet Knights. He finished with 1,824 passing yards, seven TDs and seven interceptions in Greg Shiano's second season. Vedral will look to retain that starting job in 2022.
2021-22 offseason: There is continuity with Schiano, offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson and Vedral, but there also is a push for more playing time for Gavin Wimsatt, a four-star quarterback from the class of 2021. Evan Simon also saw time last season. Backup Cole Snyder transferred to Buffalo.
What to look for in spring: What will the snap count distribution between Vedral and Wimsatt be? Can Wimsatt make this a true competition heading into fall camp? Those are the questions Schiano must answer heading into his third season.
Big Ten West
Illinois (5-7, 4-5)
2021 recap: Artur Sitkowski replaced Brandon Peters in the season opener and led a victory against Nebraska. Sitkowski, however, suffered a broken arm in the nine overtime victory against Penn State. Peters finished the season as the starter.
2021-22 offseason: Peters is gone after a five-year college career, and Sitkowski should be given the first chance to retake the starting job. Bret Bielema hired UTSA offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. in the offseason after Lunney helped the Roadrunners beat Illinois last season. Former Syracuse quarterback Tommy Devito is on the roster, too, along with three-star freshman recruit Donovan Leary.
What to look for in spring: It's on Sitkowski to take control of the offense, but with Lunney on board, there figures to be some new competition.
Iowa (10-4, 7-2)
2021 recap: Spencer Petras led the Hawkeyes to a 10-win season and Big Ten West championship. He finished with 1,880 yards, 10 TDs and nine interceptions under longtime coach Kirk Ferentz.
2021-22 offseason: Petras returns as a fifth-year senior. Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz returns. Backup quarterback Deuce Hogan transferred to Kentucky, and the Hawkeyes added three-star quarterback Carson May in the 2022 recruiting class.
What to look for in spring: Petras completed 28 of 52 passes for 348 yards, one TD and three interceptions in Iowa's last two games, losses to Michigan and Kentucky. There is no question Petras will be the starter, but what's ne Colorado State Pueblo Thunderwolves clothes xt in his development?
Minnesota (9-4, 6-3)
2021 recap: Tanner Morgan started all 13 games. The veteran quarterback finished with 2,044 passing yards, 10 TDs and nine interceptions in an offense ranked 83rd in the FBS with 25. Alabama vs. Auburn Rivalry Shirts 5 points per game. Morgan ranked eighth in the Big Ten in passing yards.
2021-22 offseason: Mike Sanford Jr. is out at offensive coordinator and Kirk Ciarrocca, who was the offensive coordinator under P.J. Fleck, from 2017-19, is back at Minnesota. Morgan announced he's coming back for a sixth season, too. Backups Zack Annexstad and Jacob Clark opted to hit the transfer portal.
UNC vs. Duke Rivalry Gear What to look for in spring: Morgan had his best year with Ciarrocca in 2019. The veteran passed for 3,253 yards, 30 TDs and seven interceptions. The spring will be spent trying to recapture that form to get the Gophers back in the Big Ten West hunt.
Nebraska (3-9, 1-8)
2021 recap: Adrian Martinez played in 11 games in his fourth year as the primary starter for the Huskers. Martinez made some plays, but turnovers remained a problem for the quarterback. Nebraska lost six games to ranked teams by nine points or less and athletic director Trev Alberts kept coach Scott Frost on board.
2021-22 offseason: There will be significant changes. Frost hired Mark Whipple, who worked wonders with Kenny Pickett at Pitt, as the new offensive coordinator. Martinez transferred to Kansas State and Texas' Casey Thompson and Florida State's Chubba Purdy were added via the portal. Logan Smothers, last year's backup, also stayed on. Three-star recruit Richard Torres will be behind those options next season.
What to look for in spring: Look for Thompson to take control of the job. He finished with 24 TDs and nine interceptions with the Longhorns last season and could be a hit with Whipple. It's a huge year for Frost, so the sooner that happens the better.
Northwestern (3-9, 1-8)
2021 recap: Ryan Hillinski, a South Carolina transfer, saw the most snaps in an offense that averaged just 16.6 points per game. Andrew Marty and Hunter Johnson, a one-time five-star commit for Clemson, also saw time. They combined for 13 TDs and 14 interceptions.
2021-22 offseason: Pat Fitzgerald will defend offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, but the offense will need to produce. Johnson transferred back to Clemson.
What to look for in spring: Hillinski will be the starter, but he'll need to elevate his game. Carl Richardson is the only other quarterback on the roster who saw action last season, and three-star recruit Jack Lausch is an in-state freshman.
Purdue (9-4, 6-3)
2021 recap: Aidan O'Connell and Jack Plummer split time early in the season, but O'Connell took control of the starting job Notre Dame vs. USC Rivalry Jerseys and finished third in the Big Ten with 3,712 passing yards. O'Connell had 536 yards in the upset against Michigan State and a bowl-record 534 passing yards and five TDs in the Music City Bowl victory against Tennessee.
2021-22 offseason: Plummer transferred to Cal, and Jeff Brohm enters next season with certainty at the most-important position. O'Connell will start, and Austin Burton is a reliable backup.
What to look for in spring: O'Connell will benefit from another year in the system, and it will be the first look at four-star freshman Brady Allen, a four-star in-state product who doesn't have to be rushed with his development.
Wisconsin (9-4, 6-3)
2021 recap: Graham Mertz, who took advantage of the early-NIL spotlight, played most of the snaps in 13 games for Wisconsin. He finished with 1,958 yards, 10 TDs and 11 interceptions.
2021-22 offseason: Wisconsin will have a new offensive coordinator after Joe Rudolph left for Virginia Tech. On Tuesday, On3.com reported Oklahoma's Caleb Williams is a possibility for the Badgers via the transfer portal, especially if Bobby Engram is the next coordinator. Three-star recruit Myles Burkett was added in the 2022 recruiting class.
What to look for in spring: We'll have to see who the new coordinator is and what Williams does, but Paul Chryst's offense won't change that much. Mertz will be a three-year starter, and there isn't much to debate there. Burkett could push Chase Wolf for time as the backup.