In a conference that is known for its strong quarterback play year in and year out, this year in the Big 12 conference, five schools will likely be starting quarterbacks who have never seen a collegiate start at the position.
In the last decade, the Big 12 has produced such quarterbacks as Vince Young, Kliff Kingsbury, Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Robert Griffin, III, Geno Smith, Brandon Weeden, Collin Klein, and Landry Jones, among others. This year, however, the position will undergo massive change with very few of the conference’s starters having any starting experience. In fact, of the ten schools in the Big 12 conference, only half of the expected quarterbacks heading into the fall have started a collegiate game.
Those schools who will have returning starters at the position are the Texas Longhorns (David Ash), the TCU Horned Frogs (likely Casey Pachall who has returned to the team), the Kansas Jayhawks (Jake Heaps), the Oklahoma State Cowboys (Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh, or Wes Lunt), and the Iowa State Cyclones (Sam Richardson).
Only Ash, Pachall, and Heaps have played an entire season while Chelf and Richardson took over for their respective teams late in the year. Lunt and Walsh, due to injuries, were not able to finish the season for the Cowboys.
Here is a look at the remaining teams, which will feature new starting quarterbacks as we head into the new season:
Blake Bell is expected to start for the Oklahoma Sooners. Though he has been involved in the Sooners offense for a couple of years as a running quarterback, this will be his first year to start a game after playing behind Landry Jones the last few seasons. Some believe, however, that freshman Trevor Knight could also make some noise at the position if “the Belldozer” struggles throwing the ball, which is a possibility.
Look for Michael Brewer to do well for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, especially now that he’s under the tutelage of new head-coach and former Tech quarterback Kingsbury. Brewer has nine games under his belt but will be making his first start this fall.
Either Jake Waters or Sam Daniels will have big shoes to fill for the Kansas State Wildcats, taking over for the one-time Heisman frontrunner, Collin Klein.
Though Geno Smith started the season as the Heisman favorite, he faltered a bit throughout the season. Nevertheless, he was a great quarterback that will be difficult to replace. This year, the West Virginia Mountaineers starting job will likely be won by Paul Millard, who backed up Smith last season. However, that isn’t a sure thing with redshirt freshman Ford Davis battling it out alongside him.
Though half the conference will be starting new quarterbacks this fall, with the high-powered offenses fielded by the teams in the Big 12, chances are that a lot of these guys will come in and shine this season. It will certainly be fun to watch these young players as they fight to become the next in a long line of outstanding Big 12 quarterbacks.