Quarterback: Redshirt junior Chad Voytik returns as the starter and to say that his development is crucial for the program over the next two years is an understatement. The 6'1" 205 pound Voytik made strides in his first year as a starter, but that was under former head coach Paul Chryst. What new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney does with him is the top storyline of the next two years.
The main thing that Chaney needs to get out of Voytik is the ability to take over a game if need be. Voytik has brains, leadership ability, toughness, good mobility, and a good enough arm. But his arm proved inaccurate often last season despite a 61.3% completion percentage. In the last six games, however, he completed 64.6% so he was clearly improving. He also had 7 touchdowns to just one interception in the last six games. Those interception numbers are obviously fantastic but 7 touchdowns in 6 games is not going to cut it this season.
Chryst changed the offense in midseason to get Voytik to run more, and one would assume that Chaney would also utilize Voytik's mobility. But clearly more production is needed in the passing game. Voytik averaged just 171.8 yards passing per game on the season and it forced the Panthers offense to be one dimensional. If Voytik can routinely make the big pass, the Panthers offense will take an enormous leap forward.
Behind Voytik the backup will be 6'2" 220 pound redshirt junior Nathan Peterman who is transferring from Tennessee after spring practice. A one time highly regarded recruit, Peterman was once considered the quarterback of the future for the Volunteers, but his two starts did not go well, and he was passed up depth chart. A graduate transfer, Peterman will be able to play right away and has two years of eligibility. Peterman has the physical skills to do well, but in limited action he has picked up the reputation of somebody that doesn't handle pressure well, so he has a lot to prove. Peterman was recruited by Chaney at Tennessee so it helps that the two are familiar with each other. It's also not out of the question than Peterman could eventually unseat Voytik as the starter at some point, but it's more likely that he'll be the veteran backup that the Panthers desperately need.
Third string, at least for now, will be redshirt freshman Adam Bertke. He may have a size problem, but it's not that he's too small. He may actually be too big at 6'7" and 245 pounds. But he has good mobility in the pocket, and a strong arm. He's not capable of starting now and it's too early to know if he will ever turn into a starter in the future. If he doesn't show progress soon he may get lost in the shuffle since he was brought in by a different staff, and because the quarterback unit will only get stronger. He's very similar in size to former 6'6" Tennessee QB Tyler Bray, who wasn't good enough to get drafted, but whom Chaney coaxed into a 3,612 yard, 34 touchdown season at Tennessee in 2012.
Another possible quarterback of the future is incoming local high school star Ben DiNucci. The 6'2" 190 pound DiNucci is a very good athlete, has a strong, accurate arm, and good brains and leadership ability. He will redshirt this season, but his future will be very interesting. It's entirely possible that some day he will be leading the Panthers offense, but that day will probably at least be three years away. By then he would be a redshirt sophomore.
Bottom line: After having basically a half of a quarterback for the first half of least season, the Panthers now have three quarterbacks that are ready to play, at least in an emergency, and a very promising freshman. But let's be honest, if any team, college or pro, outside of Ohio State, is down to their third string quarterback, their season is over. The Panthers now have should have at least two that could get through a game without it being a train wreck.
Still I would expect that Chaney will look all over the country for the '16 class to bring in the best quarterback he can get.