Back in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III from Baylor with their 1st round pick, which was the second pick overall behind Andrew Luck. In something of a strange move, the Redskins also drafted another quarterback, Kirk Cousins out of Michigan State in the 4th round.
At the time, some people were scratching their heads over this move. Was it a lack of faith in Robert Griffin? Or, did they consider Cousins a bargain at that point in the draft? Whatever they were thinking at the time, the move turned out to be brilliant when Griffin was injured and later flamed out.
Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins has been the Washington Redskins starter ever since.
The story was a familiar one for Kirk Cousins.
In the 2007 recruiting class, the Spartans of Michigan State brought in a hotshot quarterback from Texas. He was the quarterback for Austin Westlake High School and led them to the state championship game. Nick Foles was a fairly highly recruited quarterback that had the NFL body
as a high school player at 6-5, 230.
Foles didn’t stick around long transferring to Arizona and he currently plays for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Then, there was lightly sought after Kirk Cousins from Holland Christian High School in Holland, Michigan. Cousins was listed as a 6-2, 165 which pretty much guaranteed a redshirt season.
As a redshirt freshman, the obviously talented Cousins backed up senior Brian Hoyer, who has been in the NFL since 2009. Now listed at 6-3, 197 Cousins was a late bloomer or maybe he might have received more recruiting attention. He showed flashes of brilliance while completing 32 out of 43 passes for 310 yards and 2 touchdowns and only one interception.
Cousins moved into the starting lineup in the 2009 season as a redshirt sophomore and played well. But, the team was very mediocre and finished with a 6-7 record losing to Texas Tech in their bowl game. Cousins completed over 60% of his passes for nearly 2,700 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Unlike Cousins, Phoenix, Arizona’s Brian Lewerke was a 4 star prospect in the class of 2015. Lewerke was rated as the 11th best Pocket Passer by ESPN. They had the Pinnacle High School prospect listed at 6-3, 192, but they were wrong about one thing. Brian Lewerke can run. True, he’s no Lamar Jackson, but Lewerke can run really well for a drop back passer type.
In the 2015 season, the Spartans had senior quarterback Connor Cook and back ups Tyler O’Connor and Damien Terry, so Lewerke redshirted. But, there was supposedly talk then that he reminded people of Kirk Cousins.
Long time starter Connor Cook graduated after the 2015 season and was picked by the Oakland Raiders in the 4th round.
Naturally, O’Connor and Terry battled it out to be the man to replace Cook in 2016, but that season turned into a dumpster fire. It was a disaster of a year with 7 straight losses after they beat Notre
Dame. They went on to win only 3 games all year and finished 3-9.
O’Connor and Terry didn’t work out all that well and Lewerke moved into the staring lineup. However, Lewerke was lost for the season in the Michigan game. As a redshirt freshman, Lewerke threw for 381 yards and 2 touchdowns eerily similar to Cousins’ numbers.
After 6 games of his redshirt sophomore season, Brian Lewerke is sailing along. So, are his Michigan State Spartans teammates and the team is currently 5-1 with their only loss coming to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. They even beat chief rival, Michigan.
So far this season, Lewerke has thrown for 1,177 yards and 9 touchdowns. But, the big difference between Cousins and Lewerke is the Arizona product’s ability to run the football. He has 318 rushing yards which is second on the team only to running back LJ Scott.
The rest of Brian Lewerke’s career at Michigan State remains to be seen. Will he stick around for 5 years like Cousins did? Will he leave early for the NFL?
What we do know is that Lewerke is a cool customer under fire and can make the big throws as well as escape and make big plays with his feet. He is a big leader and just seemingly has a presence about him.
Cousins’ 2010 team improved dramatically from his 6-7 first season as a starter. They finished up 11-2, but it was disappointing because they got a beating from Alabama in their bowl game.
His last season, which was 2011, was also highly successful. They finished 11-3 with only negatives coming with a loss to Wisconsin in the Big 10 championship game, and a loss to Notre Dame and Nebraska. But, they recovered to beat a good Georgia team in their bowl.
Cousins finished with over 9,000 passing yards at Michigan State and became the standard that new quarterbacks are going to be compared with.
Brian Lewerke, however, really does kind of remind of Kirk Cousin. We’ll see how this all ends up.