Justin Fields hasn’t taken a snap for Ohio State and already he’s the top quarterback in the Big Ten, according to 247Sports national college football analyst Brad Crawford.
Michigan’s Shea Patterson is second and Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke is sixth.
Fields transferred after one season at Georgia and was granted immediate eligibility for the Buckeyes.
“Fields keeps defenses honest with his running ability but is still a pass-first quarterback,” Crawford says. “Don't be surprised if Fields warrants a ton of Heisman attention if the Buckeyes stay inside the Top 10 throughout the season.”
Patterson returns after leading Michigan to a 10-3 record in his first season as the Wolverines’ starter. He completed 210-of-326 passes (64.4 percent) for 2,600 yards, with 22 TD and seven interceptions.
“The Wolverines have a proven, NFL-caliber starter in Patterson and return many key pieces back offensively for what should be a lethal new-look passing attack under first-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis,” Crawford says. “Patterson trails only Iowa's Nate Stanley in touchdown passes among active Big Ten quarterbacks back in 2019. Patterson also boasts the highest passer rating in the conference and appears ready to take the next step in his development as one of the nation's best.”
Heading into the 2018 season Lewerke was considered a potential Heisman candidate but suffered a dropoff in every passing category from 2017, including TD passes falling from 20 to eight and interceptions rising from seven to 11.
Crawford: “Lewerke, like most of Michigan State’s offense, left much to be desired in 2018, but much of that can be attributed to a nagging shoulder injury. … It's difficult to quantify experience and Lewerke is no stranger to big games and playing under pressure in the Big Ten.”