You've seen almost every angle on the Ohio State situation. How does Tressel leaving the program affect the conference race? What does all of this mean for the B1G? What does this mean for college football?
There's been a lot of chatter, and rightfully so... it's the off-season afterall and for those of us that love the game of football, the NFL obviously isn't giving us anything. This arguably could not come at a worse time for one of the most recognizable programs in one of the most recognizable conferences in college football.
But as E!SPN ran a timeline of Terrelle Pryor's time at Ohio State, and mentioned that he was the #1 dual-threat QB coming out of high school in the recruiting class of 2008, I was reminded that our very own MarQueis Gray was in that class as well. And not only was he in that class, he was not far behind Pryor in the hype department. You might remember that while Pryor was #1 on that dual-threat list, "Q" was #3, and his choice to attend Minnesota was quite the coup at the time.
So what happened with that dual-threat recruiting class?
Well, we know that less than halfway through his 2008 freshman season, Pryor became the first freshman to start at QB for the Buckeyes in decades, he was a Heisman candidate in 2009 and 2010 and now he's leaving college football. There is no question, Pryor was good and was a threat to make a big play everytime he had the ball.
The number 2 dual-threat QB on that list ended up at Florida State. EJ Manuel will be the full-time starter for the Seminoles this season after being red-shirted his first year (instead of being thrown into a handful of wildcat packages each game to waste a season of eligibility), he played back-up to Vikings draft pick Christian Ponder last season (instead of being thrown into games as a WR) where he ended up getting a good amount of playing time due to injuries to Ponder.
Gray lost a year of eligibility due to academic issues, was not red-shirted as a freshman but instead got to attempt a whopping 15 throws in 2009, and then a whole 6 in 2010 while mostly playing WR. (By the way, I'm not here to say that Q should have been starting over Weber last year, because I don't necessarily believe that. However, I will NEVER be okay with the fact that Tim Brewster wasted a year of Q's eligibility in 2009.)
Heading into 2011, Pryor is gone and Manuel and Gray will be starting QB's on their respective teams. But Pryor and Gray are/were in the same conference. So what does it mean for Q that Pryor is now gone?
The college football world is on-notice: MarQueis Gray is coming. He was recently named one of the 100 most influential people in college football... with a good season at WR and without having taken a snap as a starting QB. But even without having taken that first starting QB snap yet, Q is today, right now, arguably one of the top 5 most exciting players in the B1G, and with the potential he has with his arm and his legs, you could see him being #1 on that list by mid-season even if the Gophers struggle as a team this season.
Look, winning is what gets noticed, there is no doubt about that. But MarQueis Gray has a chance to take the B1G by storm. That sounds like hyperbole, but I really believe it to be true. Taylor Martinez is electrifying with his legs, Kirk Cousins has a nice arm and pocket presence. Dan Persa can kill you with his arm or his legs but might be injury prone, and Denard Robinson will be subjected to a new offense this season.
Of course I'm biased in this discussion, but seriously did you see what Chandler Harnish did in Matt Limegrover's offense last year at Northern Illinois? He rushed over 10 times/game averaging 6 yds/carry and had 7 TD's on the ground. He also completed almost 65% of his passes, threw for over 2500 yards and 21 TD's and had a QB rating north of 155.
Chandler Harnish is very good and very talented, but MarQueis Gray is taller, faster and stronger than Harnish. Is there any doubt that Q will absolutely flourish in this offense?
MarQueis Gray has the opportunity to be the most exciting player in the B1G because he has the pedigree, the physical skills and will be playing in an offense that is absolutely suited to his abilities.