Kyle Allen - Houston
The number one rated pro-style passer in the 2014 class, 5-star recruit takes over at quarterback for Houston. The former A&M recruit should fit in well in Major Applewhite's new look Cougar offense. He's smart, talented, and should benefit from a year sitting and watching.
Allen is no stranger to the big stage, he's made starts in front of 100,000 fans and in places like Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa. The Alamodome opener against UTSA won't faze him, nor will any of the roadies Houston takes in the AAC. While he lacks the running ability of Greg Ward Jr., he is the superior passer. He should add to an impressive list of Cougar QBs like Andre Ware, David Klingler, Kevin Kolb, Case Keenum, and Ward.
Damian Williams - Texas State
Williams sat behind a guy named Dak Prescott for three seasons in Starkville. Last season, he lost his job to the Belldozer 2.0, Nick Fitzgerald. What's undeniable is Williams ability to chuck it. He can stretch a defense vertically and has the arm strength to make throws anywhere on the field.
Williams turned the Texas State Spring Game into a track meet. He gives the Bobcats their most aggressive, big play offensive threat since they made their leap to the FBS. He's not just a thrower, Williams is also a willing runner who's built like a Mack truck. With his abilities and Texas State's talented receivers, the Bobcat offense should be on the upswing.
D.J. Gillins - SMU
It's a three horse race for starting quarterback on the Hilltop. While Ben Hicks and Rafe Peavey bring talents to the stable, Gillins is an incredibly gifted athlete who can pressure the defense in multiple ways. Gillins was a four-star high school recruit out of Jacksonville, Florida when he signed with Wisconsin. He took a detour to Pearl River JC before coming to SMU.
Out of Pearl River, Ole Miss and Mississippi State were vying for his services but he chose to go to the quarterback whisperer, Chad Morris. Wisconsin tried to move Gillins to receiver because they either lacked imagination or evaluation skills. He was the No. 4 dual threat quarterback according to 24/7 out of high school. At Pearl River Gillins was injured in the opener after completing 18-29 for 165 yards. At 6-3, 205 pounds, he's the biggest of the SMU quarterbacks and with his athleticism he's the most dynamic.
Jalen Guyton - North Texas
Like Gillins, Guyton took a one year detour from a Midwestern power before landing in the metroplex. Guyton signed with Notre Dame out of Allen High School but transferred a year into his Irish adventure. He landed at Trinity Valley where he was labeled the third best JC receiver in the country.
Guyton brings a physicality, not only in his size, but also in his temperament to the receiver position. He goes and gets 50/50 balls and is very good after the catch. Guyton enrolled this spring and made an immediate impact. North Texas lost four of its top five pass catchers from 2016 so Guyton will be called on early.
Julian Jackson - UTEP
You've probably never heard of Julian Jackson and if you have you only know him as the Wake Forest guy. Wake Forest of course being one of the worst programs in the ACC. Let us educate you on Jackson. He's a 6-4, 240 pounds athlete who is rangy and explosive. He's a high motor player who may be a one trick pony, but that one trick is pretty good. He can get after the quarterback.
Offenses will have to account for where Jackson is at all times. In a limited role at Wake, Jackson accounted for four sacks, eight hurries, and a forced fumble. Expect him to add an athletic dimension to the Miner defense that it lacked in 2016.