Quarterback battles, especially those at college football's blue-blood programs, often command the most attention throughout spring practices. During Saturday's busy slate of scrimmages, multiple high-profile programs showcased just how far along those competitions were progressing. Ohio State and Texas, for example, offered at least some clarity with their quarterback pecking order as they exit spring and prepare for the dog days of summer. 

Focus has to begin with the Longhorns, who inarguably have the most intriguing quarterback room in the country with Quinn Ewers, Arch Manning and Maalik Murphy. The trio of former blue-chip recruits (Ewers and Manning were the top QB prospects in their respective classes) aren't lacking in talent, but experience clearly played a role in their performances. 

Ewers, last season's starter, would be QB1 if the season started tomorrow (coach Steve Sarkisian said as much after the game). The redshirt sophomore looked comfortable for the White team with 193 yards and a touchdown while showcasing impressive ball placement. Ironically, Ewers' touchdown to Georgia transfer AD Mitchell wasn't one of his better throws but easily became the highlight of the day. 

Manning's day, at least statistically speaking, was far less impressive, though his supporting cast played a role. However, it's still worth noting that the true freshman has only been on campus for a few months. Sark has done his best to temper the high expectations that have followed Manning to Austin, and the spring game showed he still has a ways to go before coming close to catching Ewers or even Murphy, whose howitzer of an arm led to some eye-opening deep balls. 

Ohio State's quarterback battle was less dramatic, if only because Devin Brown has been unavailable for the spring. That led to more reps for Kyle McCord, the presumed frontrunner to succeed CJ Stroud. McCord didn't throw any touchdowns on Saturday, but his connection with former high school teammate Marvin Harrison Jr. was on display. That should be a preview of the Buckeyes offense -- now led by new offensive coordinator Brian Hartline -- this fall; however, the QB battle is also expected to continue into preseason camp once Brown is healthy enough to compete. Both quarterbacks indicated after the game they have no plans to transfer with the portal now open. 

What else happened Saturday?

  • Georgia: Quarterback focus wasn't limited to Texas and Ohio State. In fact, the truest quarterback "battle" might have been with the two-time defending national champions. Heading into summer months, this appears to a be a two-man race between Carson Beck and Brock Vandagriff; Gunner Stockton is a clear No. 3. Beck had the better performance on Saturday, starting 6 of 6 and ending with 231 yards and a score. Still, the competition to replace Stetson Bennett likely won't be over until preseason camp. 
  • Clemson: Tigers coach Dabo Swinney made a significant offseason change by bringing in Garrett Riley to run the offense with the hopes of ascending back to the top of college football. However, the first impression of Riley's offense has to be graded as "incomplete." Clemson kept things vanilla, and with limited availability among several projected starers, it's hard to gauge how far along things are progressing. There was an emphasis on getting the ball to tight ends across the middle of the field, but overall this appears to be a work in progress that will bleed over into the fall. 
  • USC: A revamped defense could take the Trojans from good to great in 2023, and there were some individuals who shined during the spring game. Defensive lineman Kyon Barrs, a transfer from Arizona, found his way into the backfield on multiple occasions. On the back end, defensive backs Jacobe Covington and Christian Pierce combined for three interceptions. 
  • Ohio State: Archie Griffin last took the field for the Buckeyes in 1975, but the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner still showed off some decent mobility with a 25-yard touchdown run during the third quarter of Saturday's action. Wearing his No. 45, Griffin struck the Heisman pose after reaching paydirt. 
  • Penn State: The Nittany Lions should possess one of the Big Ten's more formidable pass rushes this fall. Sophomore Dani Dennis-Sutton in particular was a force with a pair of "sacks" and several quarterback pressures. QB Drew Allar, a former five-star recruit, drew plenty of focus, but defensive coordinator Manny Diaz's front stole the show and made life difficult for the offense throughout the afternoon. Time will tell if Allar is the answer Nittany Lions fans want him to be, but he likely won't face many fronts this fall as good as the one he faced today.
  • Tennessee: The quarterback battle between Joe Milton and star freshman Nico Iamaleava should also continue into preseason camp, but what a pair of talented signal-callers the Volunteers have. Milton has a rocket arm, but Iamaleava showed off some nifty tosses, too, including this well-placed first down on the run: 
  • Virginia: The best story of Saturday's spring games belongs with the Hoos. Running back Mike Hollins, who survived last November's on-campus shooting that claimed the lives of three of his teammates, scored a 1-yard touchdown in the first half as part of a 40-yard day. That Hollins was competing at all five months after sustaining life-threatening wounds is remarkable.