Top Five Big Ten Starting Quarterbacks Entering Spring Practice

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Nov 22, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook (18) looks for a receivers during the1st quarter of a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2: Connor Cook- Michigan State

The decision between Christian Hackenberg and Connor Cook was an extremely hard decision to make. If these rankings were made solely on pro potential, there would be no doubt that Hackenberg would be the number one quarterback on this list.

The first major reason is that Connor Cook has shown throughout his career that he makes very limited mistakes. Like Hackenberg, the 2014 season was Cook’s second year as a starting quarterback.

Through those two seasons, Cook has completed 435 of 745 attempts (58.3%) to go along with 6,063 career passing yards. When it comes to touchdowns and interceptions, Cook has only thrown 15 over his career, while throwing 47 career touchdowns.

Currently, Cook is the consensus top quarterback for next year’s NFL draft, as the 2015 season will be his last. Like Hackenberg, Cook presents a strong arm as well as good size and great pocket presence.

While he didn’t have the greatest of games with, Cook’s late game heroics in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl against Baylor showed why NFL scouts love him.

Down 41-21 entering the fourth quarter, Cook lead the Spartans on three scoring drives in the fourth quarter including one in the final minute of the game that brought the Spartans all the way back to win 42-41.

One reason Cook has landed at number two on our rankings is mostly due to his lack of performance in the Cotton Bowl and his lack of high performances against top opponents.

Last season, the Spartans only faced two ranked opponents. In those three games, Michigan State was 1-2 with the lone win coming in the Cotton Bowl. If it wasn’t for the clutch performance of Michigan State’s defense in the second half of the Cotton Bowl, Cook never would have had a shot to win the game for the Spartans.

Now, in those three games, Cook threw for 1,015 yards, eclipsing 300-yards in all three games. Which is not too bad, nor is his six touchdowns. The four interceptions in the three games is quite worrisome, especially in the fact that two of those came in late game situations.

In essence, Cook could easily have been the top quarterback in the Big Ten. Despite his late game performances at times, Cook is still one of the top quarterbacks in college football and will be a very good quarterback at the next level.