Quarterback Kurt Kittner
Birthday: January 23, 1980
Strengths: Big, yet surprisingly athletic, Kurt Kittner’s been excelling in a pro-style offense at Illinois for three years, proving he not only has the skills, but also the smarts.
In two years as a full-time starter, Kittner’s thrown 42 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions. And when he’s done with the 2001 season, Kittner (who has been compared favorably to John Elway) will have been a three-year starter with five more starts as a freshman, meaning he’s likely to be the most experienced, and thus, most NFL-ready quarterback available next year.
Kittner has the talent to stretch a defense, but the patience to go underneath. He’s not tall, but he is stocky and well-built, a thick quarterback who does his homework.
Areas of concern: Kittner regressed a bit in 2000, due in large part to losing his favorite receiver, Brandon Lloyd, to injury (he should return this year). He also suffered a nasty concussion in the Illini’s next-to-last game, forcing him to miss a start, and he struggled in other starts with a banged-up knee. Could he be injury-prone?
Is he sponge-worthy? Could be, but likely isn’t first overall good. Kittner had trouble last year duplicating the numbers from his impressive 1999 season, and thus, while still putting together a productive season, went from preseason Heisman hopeful to run-of-the-mill quarterback prospect. But reports say that Kittner was absolutely on fire during the Illini’s spring workouts, and a big, breakout season could put him back in Heisman contention.
The spring showing should come as no surprise — Kittner has a tremendous work ethic, and a willingness to recognize, and then work on his weaknesses (i.e. he’s very coachable).
His biggest knock is that he doesn’t do any one thing really well — his arm is OK, his speed is OK — in other words, he’s not flashy in a Michael Vick kind of way. But he’s very patient, and rarely makes mistakes. In looking at his pro prospects, think Brian Griese, but with a bit more raw athleticism. If he slides to a later round (say, the third), he could prove to be a diamond in the rough, though he doesn’t have prototypical NFL size.
Kurt Kittner Return to The War Room
April assault CNN/SI recounts Kurt Kittner’s sizzling spring game performance.
Ask Kurt Kittner Archived index of Kurt Kittner’s answers to fans’ email — interesting insight.
Kittner’s value is no mystery The Detroit Free Press‘s Michael Rosenberg says Kurt Kittner is known for what he doesn’t do.
Kurtain call Great piece on Kurt Kittner’s tenacity and desire from The Daily Collegian.