Graham MertzCredit: 247Sports
The Wisconsin Badgers have been Alex Hornibrook's team for the past few years, but struggles and injuries led to a disappointing 2018 season. Rather than stick around and compete for the job, the redshirt senior decided to transfer to Florida State instead.
His departure sets up a wide-open battle between junior Jack Coan, who played in five games and started the Pinstripe Bowl in 2018, sophomore Danny Vanden Boom and redshirt freshman Chase Wolf. But there's another guy whose name you should commit to memory.
That would be incoming freshman Graham Mertz, a Kansas native who torched the competition in the Army All-American Bowl with a game-record five touchdown passes.
The 6'3", 205-pound signal-caller had offers from several of the nation's top programs. He chose to head to Madison, and the question remains if coach Paul Chryst will reward that.
Barton Simmons, 247Sports' director of recruiting, told Badger247's Austin Nivison to expect big things quickly from Mertz:
Graham isn't a guy that presents a lot of flashy physical traits at first glance. Even when we saw him at the All-American Bowl, his play was pretty quiet throughout the week of practice. He really turned it on during the game though and showcased some feel for the position that was unique and a comfort playing on a big stage. It's those kind of intangible traits that I think will give him a chance to contribute quickly in Madison. He's a subtle talent but he took over in that All-American setting.
The safe bet for the starting job is Coan. After all, Chryst has shown a propensity to lean toward the veteran for several years now. Mertz is the kind of player who can turn it up a notch when the lights come on, but will he be consistent enough to earn his coach's trust right away?
Coan may take the first snap, but Mertz will ultimately win the job and be entrenched as the starter for years to come.
All recruiting information is from 247Sports, and rankings are from the 247Sports composite.
Brad Shepard covers college football for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @Brad_Shepard.
Source : https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2824850-predicting-the-winner-of-the-biggest-quarterback-battles-in-college-football454