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2017 Positional Breakdown: Quarterbacks

It’s game week! Let’s start off our positional breakdown series with the most important position: quarterbacks

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Can you believe there is actual, live, Michigan State Spartans football this week? We’re just four days away from watching the Spartans open the 2017 season against the Bowling Green Falcons.

With that said, it’s time to break down the roster into further detail, and take a look at each positional group. That includes starters, backups and depth.

I figure we can start with perhaps the most important position in all of sports: the quarterbacks. MSU’s roster currently lists five quarterbacks. Let’s get right to it.

Starter: Brian Lewerke, RS Sophomore

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Maryland Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

There is no real surprise at who will be under center for the Spartans this season — none other than Brian Lewerke. Lewerke is a redshirt sophomore from Phoenix, Arizona and the unquestioned signal caller on offense in 2017. He appeared in four games in 2016, starting two of them. Lewerke completed 31 of 57 passing attempts for 381 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Lewerke is coming off of a broken tibia, which he suffered against Michigan last season. By all accounts, he should be fully healed to kick off the season.

Head coach Mark Dantonio has continued to praise Lewerke throughout the offseason. He even compared him to both Kirk Cousins and Connor Cook, and said he is a cut above the rest of the quarterbacks on the roster.

As a 2015 recruit:

  • ESPN top-300 prospect (No. 270)
  • Top-16 pro-style/pocket quarterback by ESPN (11) and 247Sports (16)
  • Top-six player in the state of Arizona according to ESPN, Scout and 247Sports.

Backup/third string: Damion Terry, Fifth-year Senior

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Penn State Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Damion Terry is the most experienced quarterback on the roster, having appeared in 22 games over the past three seasons. He received his first career start to close out the 2016 season against Penn State. He’ll battle it out with Messiah deWeaver for the primary backup gig. Terry is a three-year letter winner for the Spartans.

Over the past three seasons, Terry has completed 36 of 72 passes for 356 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He has added 59 carries for 215 yards and one touchdown on the ground. Last season, Terry had career highs in passing attempts, completions and yards, as well as carries and rushing yards. His two combined career touchdowns both came last season as well.

As a 2013 recruit:

  • Four-star dual-threat quarterback by several major media outlets
  • Ranked as a top-285 prospect by Scout, 247Sports, ESPN and
  • Second-team MaxPreps Medium School All-American

Backup/Third-string: Messiah deWeaver, RS Freshman

As mentioned above, deWeaver will compete with Terry for the primary backup role behind Lewerke. deWeaver was (wisely) redshirted last season, so we are not completely sure what he can do yet. The video in the tweet above shows a beautifully thrown, tight spiral, deep ball to wide receiver Cam Chambers. He also stated that he plans to compete like the starer every day. Of course, there’s a big difference between a live game and throwing a ball in your free time, but I like deWeaver’s tools and attitude.

deWeaver did deal with a back strain last season, but he has said he’s fully recovered from that now. He has a lot of potential and could unseat Terry as the backup, but he still has a lot to prove.

As a 2016 Recruit:

  • Four-star prospect by many major media outlets
  • Ranked in the top-180 by Rivals and top-245 by 247Sports
  • Rated as a top-20 quarterback prospect by Rivals, 247Sports, ESPN and No. 21 by Scout

QB4: Rocky Lombardi, Freshman

Rocky Lombardi is a true freshman from Iowa, who has already been impressing the coaching staff with his willingness to learn the complex playbook and the mental aspects of his game. Dantonio has never played a true freshman at quarterback during his tenure at Michigan State, so Lombardi is an obvious redshirt candidate, but don’t rule anything out yet.

Quarterbacks coach Brad Salem has said that Lombardi is “as far ahead as any freshman” the coaching staff has ever had from a mental standpoint, and that he’s “in the mix” for the backup role. In all likelihood, Lombardi will end up redshirted this season, but the fact that he already wants to master the offense is promising.

As a 2017 recruit:

  • Two-time Iowa Newspaper first team All-State selection
  • Rated as a top-12 dual threat quarterback by ESPN and 247Sports, and No. 23 pro-style QB by Rivals
  • Top-five player in state of Iowa by several recruiting outlets

QB5: Mickey Macius, Junior

Mickey Macius is the quarterback on the roster that I know the least about. Despite only being a junior on the football field, he is a graduate transfer from Austin Peay where he received a bachelor’s degree in finance this past May. He’ll be working toward his master’s degree in business administration at MSU. In all likelihood, Macius will be the No. 4 QB on the depth chart if Lombardi is redshirted, and No. 5 if not.

Macius stands at 6-feet-2-inches tall and weighs 211 pounds. He led Austin Peay in passing yards, touchdowns and completion percentage in 2014, while only playing eight games. He then redshirted the 2015 season and did not see any game action in 2016.

As a 2013 recruit:

  • All-area honors as junior and senior at La Lumiere in Indiana
  • Threw for more than 2,000 yards as junior and senior
  • Not nationally ranked

There you have it. Let us know in the comments section how you feel about this group heading into the 2017 season.