By: Jeff Seiler
The Big XII has been a hot bed of quality starting quarterbacks for years now. The open, high-powered offenses have led to prolific quarterback play, All-Americans, Heisman winners, and first-round draft picks. Kliff Kingsbury, BJ Symons, Graham Harrell, Sam Bradford, and Landry Jones have all won the Sammy Baugh Trophy, awarded to the nation’s best passer. Michael Bishop, Eric Crouch, Jason White (twice), Vince Young, Bradford, Colt McCoy, and Robert Griffin III have all won the Davey O’Brien award as a top Quarterback. Crouch, White, Bradford, and Griffin also all won the Heisman. Finally, Young, Josh Freeman, Bradford, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Tannehill, and Brandon Weeden were all first-round draft picks in the last 10 years. This year’s draft should see Geno Smith, Collin Klein, and Landry Jones all drafted high. Quarterbacks have ruled this league and led their respective teams to BCS games and National Championships.
But 2013 could be a different year for the Big XII starting quarterbacks. Many quarterbacks are beginning the season as their first time starting, and the experienced guys aren’t exactly a who’s who list of big time names. Texas Tech’s Seth Doege, Baylor’s Nick Florence, Iowa State’s Steele Jantz, and Kansas’ Dayne Crist join Landry, Klein, and Smith as alumni of their respective school’s now. Texas QB David Ash is the most experienced starter and he’s split time the last two years with Case McCoy. Oklahoma State ran a three quarterback rotation much of last year and TCU will have to decide between recovering QB Casey Paschall and last’s year’s starter Trevone Boykin. Paschall should be back as a member of the football program after entering drug rehab this fall.
Here is how I would rank Big XII quarterback’s based on how I think they will perform in 2013:
- Oklahoma State: Wes Lunt/JW Walsh/Clint Shelf – All have experience, each having thrown for more than 1,000 yards and starting three or more games in 2012. Mike Gundy’s offense suggests that it doesn’t matter who is back there, they are going to pile up big stats. Shelf has the most experience, Walsh is higher rated, and Lunt was named the starter going into last season. Look for Lunt to reclaim the position, but be on a short leash.
- Oklahoma: Blake Bell – The 6’5” 250lb junior-to-be saw lots of action last season, although it was in the role of “Belldozer,” ala Tim Tebow circa 2006. He’ll take over the reins and try to duplicate Tebow’s starting success. Bell has 24 rushing touchdowns in two seasons, but in 2013 we’ll see if he throw the ball, too. He was listed as one of the top pro style QB’s coming out of high school.
- Baylor: Bryce Petty – Petty saw spot duty under Florence last year. Coach Art Briles is betting on Petty to break records just like his predecessors, Griffin III and Florence.
- TCU: Casey Paschall/Trevone Boykin – This will be one of the big storylines to watch this summer. Both players have experience and success. Look for Paschall to complete his comeback and lead this team to a possible conference championship.
- Texas Tech: Michael Brewer – Brewer came out of Austin Lake Travis HS where he posted big numbers and beat Johnny Manziel twice. He has similar style, rankings, and stats as Manziel did. He not only has the Tech pedigree passing arm, but also adds the dimension of being able to take off and run with it.
- Texas: David Ash – Mack Brown has stated that he is the clear-cut starter, stop me if you’ve heard that one before. He was hit and miss in 2012, but a strong showing in the bowl game could help relieve tension in Austin.
- Kansas: Jake Heaps – Highly recruited player, sat out last season after transferring from BYU where he started for a season and a half.
- West Virginia: Paul Milliard – The junior out of Dallas should be the starter opening weekend. He’s seen spot duty behind the aforementioned Geno Smith the past two seasons.
- Iowa State: Sam Richardson – Jared Barnett is transferring, which opens the way for Richardson, who started the last three games of 2012.
- Kansas State: Daniel Sams – An athletic QB who sat behind Heisman finalist Klein last year, completing six passes, but should provide the athleticism we’ve seen from KState QBs in the past.