Many high school football signees decide to graduate in December and enroll in college early in order to participate in spring practice.
Perhaps no position benefits more from an early introduction to college football than quarterback, especially if there is no incumbent starter. The chance to compete for the No. 1 job is why OSU true freshman Wes Lunt was convinced by Mike Gundy and Todd Monken to come to Stillwater in January, and he may have the best shot of any true freshman early enrollee in college football of winning that job.
Here are some other notable early enrollee quarterbacks around the country.
Faton Bauta, Georgia
Georgia already has one of the top returning quarterbacks in the country in Aaron Murray. After the spring game, Bauta hadn't even cracked the top four on the depth chart. Bauta, a three-star prospect from West Palm Beach, Fla., has the size and skill set that has drawn comparisons to Tim Tebow.
Connor Brewer, Texas
Texas is already quite familiar with starting a true freshman quarterback, and it was not always pretty for David Ash in 2011. But after the Longhorns' spring game, it appears Ash has a strong hold on the starting job for 2012. That means Brewer, a four-star prospect from Scottsdale, Ariz., will likely redshirt.
Matt Davis, Texas A&M
Texas A&M has had an open competition at quarterback this spring after the departure of projected high NFL draft pick Ryan Tannehill and no quarterbacks with significant experience behind him. New coach Kevin Sumlin said earlier this week that the Aggies “don't have a starting quarterback right now,” which means Davis, rated the No. 3 dual-threat QB by Rivals, is technically still in the race. But it appears he's behind Jameill Showers, Matt Joeckel and Johnny Manziel.
Gunner Kiel, Notre Dame
Kiel became well-known during the recruiting period not just for being rated the No. 1 pro style quarterback in the nation, but for switching his verbal commitment from Indiana to LSU to Notre Dame before enrolling early and signing with the Fighting Irish. He is now part of a crowded quarterback competition, which includes returning starter Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson.
Zach Kline, California
Kline, rated the No. 2 pro style quarterback by Rivals, has been heralded in the Bay Area as the hometown kid with the strong arm. But coach Jeff Tedford said he will not rush Kline, especially with starter Zach Maynard returning along with Allan Bridgford, Austin Kinder and Kyle Boehm.
Nathan Peterman, Tennessee
Peterman was reportedly impressing in spring practices until dislocating his finger last week. Peterman will be back for summer workouts, where it looks like he will compete with Justin Worley for the backup spot behind returning starter Tyler Bray.
Zeke Pike, Auburn
Pike played earlier than returning starter Clint Moseley in Auburn's spring game and is very much in the race for the starting job with Moseley and Kiehl Frazier. Once a five-star prospect, Pike was suspended twice in his high school senior season and threw more interceptions than touchdowns, causing him to slide down recruiting rankings.