Top Three Quarterbacks Returning To The Big Ten
(Photo Credit: Jim O'Connor/USA Today)

1. J.T. Barrett Ohio State

Former Big Ten freshman of the year, J.T. Barrett, went through a down sophomore year. However, he will have complete control of the Ohio State offense in 2016. Barrett will no longer have to look over his shoulder at Cardale Jones and that's a great thing. Neither quarterback found their rhythm with the constant back and forth. Barrett was able to find his confidence once he earned the full-time job last season. If he can return to his freshman form the Buckeyes will be in the national title conversation again. Barrett's numbers are the real story. In just two years he has 45 passing touchdowns to just 14 interceptions along with 22 rushing touchdowns. His numbers are unbelievable considering he started about half the season last year, but he still managed to record 21 total touchdowns.

2. C.J. Beathard Iowa

If there was an award for "Game Manager of the Year" C.J. Beathard would've earned it. Beathard took the Iowa Hawkeyes to their first 12-win season in its 117 year history. He didn't do it alone, but he did do enough to keep Iowa in games. He kept the turnovers low and put on an efficiency display this season. Beathard threw for 2,809 yards, 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions to go along with six rushing touchdowns. His numbers didn't wow anyone, but he didn't have too. The Hawkeyes running game made his job easy. They had three backs with seven or more touchdowns and 490-plus yards rushing. Overall, the run game averaged about 40.6 rushing attempts to per game. That's a quarterbacks best friend in any offense and it should help him in 2016.

(Courtesy of Big 12 Conference)

3. Wes Lunt Illinois / Mitch Leidner Minnesota Golden Gophers

It seems a little ridiculous to do a top three list and include two quarterbacks tied for third, but the Big Ten's QB pool is sparse. The conference lost a lot of experienced starters and includes multiple inconsistent returners. Therefore, two decent quarterbacks are tied for third.

Former Oklahoma State quarterback and five-star recruit, Wes Lunt, seemed to disappear in Illinois. He has struggled to remain healthy during his career. But, when healthy he has played some nice football. He has thrown for over 4,400 yards, 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions in two seasons at Illinois. Lunt looks to return the Fighting Illini to bowl form in 2016, but he needs to play better against the blue blood universities.

(Photo Credit: Jesse Johnson/USA Today)
(Photo Credit: Jesse Johnson/USA Today)

Senior Mitch Leidner has been fairly impressive during his career at Minnesota. He's doubled as a red zone running back along with playing quarterback for the Golden Gophers. He's been at the forefront of Minnesota's turnaround under former head coach Jerry Kill. He's been a part of all three bowl teams from 2013-2015 and recently led the Gophers to their first bowl win in 11 years. He's put up mediocre passing numbers throwing for just 5,118 yards, 28 touchdowns 20 interceptions in three years. His ground numbers are more impressive with 1,129 career rushing yards and 23 touchdowns he's a gritty dual-threat quarterback. With Leidner at the helm Minnesota could tie its record of consecutive bowl appearances in 2016.

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