This article is part of our Conference Preview series.
SPRING PRACTICE PREVIEW:
BIG TEN QUARTERBACKS
Spring practices are getting started all across the country, which means Rotowire will be kicking off a series of previews for some of the nation's top positional battles. For this article, we'll be looking at the quarterback picture for each Big Ten team heading into spring and forecasting a starter for the 2018 season. A large chunk of schools from this conference could challenge for a spot in the College Football Playoff this season, but some of its leading candidates – namely Ohio State and Michigan – have competitions brewing at quarterback. That's a common theme across the Big Ten, with arguably as few as four unchallenged for the starting role.
The Incumbent:Cam Thomas (So.)
The Skinny: Thomas took over the starting gig for the Illini midway through the 2017 campaign but completed just 42.4 percent of his passes and posted a 0:5 TD:INT ratio over parts of four games. While it's a limited sample size, it's also an uninspiring sample. A dual-threat option under center, Thomas did produce on the ground to the tune of 233 yards and a touchdown. With Chayce Crouch retiring from football and Jeff George Jr. transferring from Illinois, Thomas may have a leg up on the competition as the only scholarship signal-caller on campus for spring ball. However, this competition could remain open deep into fall camp with three freshmen set to join the mix.