Backup quarterbacks around the non-AQs

Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson

With so many major quarterback injuries this season, the backups have to be on high alert every week and being a backup at a nonautomatic-qualifying school is tough gig, especially if you’re at a school that’s bidding for an undefeated season.

Here’s a look at some of the backup quarterbacks from the more prominent non-AQ schools and their level of readiness should the starter become injured:


Riley Nelson, 6-0, 207, So., BYU -- Nelson spent a season as the starting quarterback at Utah State before leaving for his LDS mission in Barcelona, Spain. He transferred to BYU this year and is the heir apparent to starter Max Hall. He played against Tulane and Florida State this season and accounted for a touchdown against the Seminoles.

Cotton Turner, 6-0, 190, RsSo., Houston -- Turner is a transfer from Blinn College. He’s a former walk-on who saw action in the season opener against Northwestern State. In that game, he completed 9 of 14 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown. However, it will be hard for him to overtake Keenum as the starter.

Marcus Jackson, 6-1, 216, Sr., TCU -- Jackson started against Colorado State and San Diego State last season while starter Andy Dalton was injured. He switched to defense this season to get more playing time, But he’s still a capable backup and maybe a more offensively explosive player than Dalton because of his rushing ability.

Jacob Bower, 6-3, 242, Jr., Tulsa -- Bower was in a heated quarterback competition through fall camp but lost out to transfer G.J. Kinne. Bower was the backup a year and played in all 14 games in 2008. He’s tested and there wouldn’t be much of a drop-off if he were called upon to be the starter.

Drew Burdi, 6-1, 207, Jr., Western Michigan -- Burdi is a proven commodity, who saw time last year in mop-up duty and when starter Tim Hiller was injured. He’s played in three games this year and has been used mostly as a rushing option for the Broncos. He should be the starter next year.


Dantavious Parker, 5-11, 208, So., Troy -- Parker was thrust into duty last season after several injuries at the quarterback position and has played some this year, but he’s more of a rushing threat than he is a passer. He has two career rushing touchdowns and provides the Trojans with a different option, but likely won’t ever be a starter with Jaime Hampton coming back from injury next year.

Ryan Radcliff, 6-2, 202, RsFr., Central Michigan -- Radcliff saw his first collegiate action against Alcorn State this year. He led the Chippewas to two touchdowns and a field goal in the 48-0 blowout. Coach Butch Jones had nothing but positive things to say about his young quarterback, which should inspire confidence for the future of CMU football after starter Dan LeFevour’s career ends at the end of the season.


Austin Dantin, 6-2, 185, Fr., Toledo -- Dantin is a true freshman who comes in with notable high school credentials, but he won’t see the field unless something drastic happens to four-year starter Aaron Opelt. The plan is to redshirt Dantin and make him a four-year starter as well.

Michael Coughlin, 6-5, 212, Jr., Boise State -- Coughlin has seen action the past two seasons in mop-up time, but with sophomore Kellen Moore firmly implanted as the Broncos’ starter, Coughlin probably won’t make more than some token appearances throughout his career.

Martevious Young, 6-1, 188, RsJr., Southern Miss -- Young hasn’t played much during his time with the Golden Eagles and probably won’t with sophomore Austin Davis firmly planted as the starter. Young has four completions in his career, no touchdowns and an interception.