Look out world! D3 football is — almost — back! That means we’ve got predictions to make, players to overanalyze and a whole slew of stats to throw your way.
To kick off this year’s coverage, I figured I’d start with that most famous of positions: the quarterback, and give you a list of names to watch for this season.
Which quarterback do you think is in line for the biggest year? Vote in the poll below. Voting ends Friday, Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. Pacific.
Ian Kolste, Whitworth
Kolste exploded last season for a bazillion yards and about two million touchdowns. Okay, yeah, that’s me speaking in hyperboles. But really, the kid was an animal with 3,790 passing yards and 29 passing TDs in 10 games played. He converted 351 of his 488 pass attempts, and led Whitworth to a terrific 8-2 overall record.
Now that the 6-foot-1, 188-pound gunslinger has turned senior, the stakes are even higher for him to deliver a humungous encore performance. So long as his connection with (now) senior wide receiver Garrett McKay (71 receptions for 1,008 yards and eight TDs) remains in place, Kolste should have no trouble surpassing last year’s lofty totals.
Chase Burton, Franklin
Ah, Chase Burton. I’ve named him as my pre-season All American QB for the second year in a row, and with good reason. The Franklin product converted 420 pass attempts into 3,761 yards and a league-high 42 touchdowns last year.
Can he match last year’s production his senior season? Most likely. Burton has impressed for the past two years. No reason to think he can’t extend that streak to three, especially considering he gets his top wideout Deontez Alexander (996 yards, 15 touchdowns) back for one more go.
Brett Kasper, Wis.-Oshkosh
This pick has nothing to do with stats, and everything to do with Oshkosh’s football team. The Titans reached the championship game thanks to a tremendous defense, and some opportune playoff matchups.
Yet, hidden amongst the headlines was Kasper’s strong showing against the likes of St. Thomas (237 yards, three TDs), John Carroll (270 yards, two TDs) and Washington U. (192 yards, three TDs), among others.
Sure, he struggled against JCU in the playoffs, but played his heart out against Mary Hardin-Baylor in the title game, where he totaled 185 yards in what was essentially a field goal kicking contest.
If he can increase his efficiency even slightly, Oshkosh, behind that stingy defense, might be nigh impossible to beat.
Broc Rutter, North Central
I’m highlighting Rutter mainly because the kid totaled 3,237 yards and 38 touchdowns as a freaking freshman. That kind of play will definitely turn some heads. However, with great talent comes great responsibility, according to Uncle Ben.
Can Rutter step back under center and impress us three more times? I hope so. So does North Central.
TJ Josey/Kyle Jones/Zane Boles, Mary Hardin-Baylor
Yeah, this one’s kind of cheating, but I’m curious to see who takes the reins from Blake Jackson this upcoming season. Jackson, of course, was a huge reason why UMHB smoked the competition last year — 3.282 passing yards, 35 TDs — and that production will be difficult for a first year starting QB to replicate.
Junior wide receiver TJ Josey “could take over” as the team’s starting QB, according to the Cru’s website, but also in the mix are reserve QB Kyle Jones, QB-turned-TE-turned-QB Zane Boles, among others.
This position battle could very well have vast implications on the upcoming season, as a UMHB squad with another strong QB could make a strong push to repeat as champions.