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State of Michigan teams among Big 10 football squads auditioning quarterbacks

By ERIC OLSON

AP Sports Writer

Nine of the 14 teams in the Big Ten appear set at quarterback heading into the fall. The five others will continue auditions in August, and no competition will be more closely watched than the one at Ohio State.

With two-time Big Ten player of the year Justin Fields departing for the NFL, returning backups C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller III and five-star January enrollee Kyle McCord took the snaps in spring practice.

Stroud was believed to be the front-runner entering the spring, but coach Ryan Day said a starter might not be determined until shortly before the Sept. 2 opener at Minnesota.

“They’ve learned a lot, but now the race is on over the next few months to see who can make the next strides so that they’re further along,” Day said.

At Michigan, Cade McNamara appears to be the favorite after the transfers of Joe Milton and Dylan McCaffrey. McNamara replaced Milton in the first half of the second-to-last game and led the Wolverines to a comeback win over Rutgers, and he got the start the next week against Penn State.

McNamara will be challenged in the preseason by Alan Bowman, who will arrive as a graduate transfer from Texas Tech.

Michigan State’s situation is up in the air after 2020 starter Rocky Lombardi transferred. Payton Thorne started one game as a redshirt freshman, and the Spartans have added transfer Anthony Russo from Temple.