Spring QB Races Shaping up for Smithwick-Hann, Osweiler

By Beacon Staff

The University of Montana has signed three quarterbacks as part of its 2011 football recruiting class, which features 23 players altogether. When spring ball starts up in March, they will join four quarterbacks already on the Grizzlies’ roster, though one has split time at running back and another has been rumored to be transferring.

All of which means, as expected, Jordan Johnson is likely to be the early frontrunner for the starting quarterback position, followed by Glacier graduate Shay Smithwick-Hann and a host of other young field generals.

The 2011 recruits are excellent athletes and it’s possible that they don’t all turn out to be quarterbacks for Montana. The Great Falls Tribune says the “Grizzlies are likely to start spring drills on March 21” with Johnson and Smithwick-Hann “as the only true quarterbacks on their roster.”

Meanwhile, down in Tempe, Ariz., former Flathead star Brock Osweiler could be in the lead for the Arizona State University starting quarterback position. Some observers, as written in multiple stories and blogs, suggested Osweiler cemented his standing with a strong finish to last season, which included a brilliant performance in a 55-34 win over UCLA.

Brock Osweiler

The Sun Devils signed two quarterbacks in this year’s recruiting class, but also lost a quarterback in Samson Szakacsy, who announced he’s leaving football to pursue other interests. Osweiler’s main competitor for the top job is Steven Threet, who will be a senior next season. Osweiler will be a junior.

Threet lost his starting job to Osweiler late last fall and has been recently suffering from complications related to concussions. He has been mum so far on whether he’ll be participating in spring drills.

It might seem like football just ended, but in fact spring ball is right around the corner. Coupled with the recent National Signing Day, I think it’s an appropriate time to update where Smithwick-Hann and Osweiler are. The mere fact that two quarterbacks from Kalispell, who played with and then against each other in high school, are competing for Division I roster positions should be a source of pride for the valley.

We’ll stay tuned to see how it all shapes out.

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