Ranking the 2014 Big 12 Starting QBs
Ranking the Starting QBs in the Big 12
Practice for all Big 12 football programs will be starting in the next few weeks, and each school will begin to prepare in earnest for its annual spring game. This game is the fixation for a fanbase hungry for football. It is the first chance some players have to make a name for themselves. For others, it may be their last chance to impress the coaches.
One thing is guaranteed -- fans will pack stadiums to watch their beloved school prepare for the upcoming season, and they will especially be watching the quarterbacks.
This is the position that draws most fans' scrutiny, which is understandable, since he is the field general on offense. A team cannot accomplish its goals without a competent quarterback. It is a pivotal position a coach cannot afford to overlook.
The Big 12 has a rich history of great signal callers. Vince Young, Sam Bradford, Josh Freeman, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin, III are just a small group of quarterbacks who have gone on to the NFL. A school cannot compete for the conference title without a great leader under center.
Each Big 12 school will return experienced quarterbacks, and all will work to improve upon their accomplishments from 2013. The 2014 crop of quarterbacks will use spring practice to work on their deficiencies and further develop their game. If they do not, someone else will.
Spring practice is just around the corner. Soon pads will be popping and footballs will fill the air. Until then, here is a look at the Big 12 quarterback rankings.
10. Jake Heaps, Kansas Jayhawks
Jake Heaps transferred from the BYU Cougars in hopes of resurrecting his career under Charlie Weis. Instead, Heaps had the worst season of his career, completing just 49 percent of his passes and a quarterback rating of 23.1; he was also sacked 23 times.
The senior will need to improve his completion percentage and pocket awareness if he hopes to remain the starter for the Kansas Jayhawks.
9. Trevone Boykin, TCU Horned Frogs
Trevone Boykin has had an up and down career for the TCU Horned Frogs. He was forced into service as a freshman when Casey Pachall left the team, and in 2013, he split time with Pachall again. He even lined up at wide receiver.
Boykin has been more of a running threat so far in his career. He will need to get comfortable sitting in the pocket and going through his progressions if he hopes to stay on the field as the Horned Frogs' starting quarterback.
8. Paul Millard, West Virginia Mountaineers
Replacing one of the school’s best quarterbacks is never easy, but that is what Paul Millard and Clint Trickett were tasked with when Geno Smith was drafted by the New York Jets in 2013. Millard saw sporadic action before replacing an injured Trickett against the Texas Longhorns and nearly pulled off the upset. He showed big game potential in the Texas game, but unfortunately, interceptions have done him in. Millard has good size and a strong arm, two prerequisites for a Dana Holgorsen offense. He needs to work on his accuracy and cutting down on the mistakes.
7. Sam B. Richardson, Iowa State Cyclones
A promising beginning for Sam Richardson quickly disintegrated as the signal caller’s health went downhill. Richardson missed significant time in 2013 before being shut down late in the season. When healthy, Richardson can beat teams with both his arm and feet.
To be successful in 2014, he will need to take fewer hits and trust the athletes around him to make plays.
6. J.W. Walsh, Oklahoma State Cowboys
J.W. Walsh regressed last season. In 2012, he completed 67 percent of his passes and took the Big 12 by storm. He earned the starting job in 2013, but did not live up to expectations. His completion percentage dipped to 59 percent and he was replaced by Clint Chelf halfway through the season; Chelf has since graduated. The Oklahoma State Cowboys need Walsh to revert back to his 2012 form and become that accurate passer who runs just enough to keep a defense honest.
5. Jake Waters, Kansas State Wildcats
The Kansas State Wildcats went with a two-headed quarterback attack of Daniel Sams and Jake Waters early in the season. Waters eventually took control of the offense and passed for 2,469 yards and 18 touchdowns. He closed the season in fine fashion by completing 21-of-27 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns against the Michigan Wolverines in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
The senior should use spring practice to work on his accuracy and getting rid of the ball quicker to avoid sacks. If he does this, Waters will be one of the better quarterbacks in the Big 12 this season.
4. Davis Webb, Texas Tech Red Raiders
The Texas Tech Red Raiders had a revolving door at the quarterback position in 2013. Davis Webb Baker Mayfield and Michael Brewer all saw time under center. Webb earned the start in the Red Raiders’ bowl game against the Arizona State Sun Devils and threw for 403 yards and four touchdowns. The sophomore appeared in only 10 games for the Red Raiders, yet passed for more than 2,700 yards and 20 touchdowns. Webb will not have to look over his shoulder this season, so he can focus on learning the offense and getting the ball to his talented wide receivers.
3. Trevor Knight, Oklahoma Sooners
At the start of the 2013 season, Trevor Knight was third on the quarterback depth chart behind Blake Bell and Kendal Thompson. Knight saw limited action throughout the season, as the Oklahoma Sooners tried to settle on a starting quarterback. The sophomore signal caller was named the starter for the Allstate Sugar Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide. All Knight did was complete 32-of-44 passes for 342 yards and four touchdown passes and torching one of the country’s best defenses. For all of his success against Alabama, it is important to remember Knight only has five career starts. He must avoid letting his late-season success go to his head. If he can do this, the future looks bright for Knight and the Sooners.
2. David Ash, Texas Longhorns
David Ash's season was cut short by concussion-related symptoms, which is a shame, because he was primed for a breakout season. Now, the senior will have to learn a new offensive system.
Ash is one of the more physically-gifted quarterbacks in the conference, as he has a strong, accurate arm and knows when to run with the ball. If Ash can stay healthy, he has the chance to put up passing numbers that could rival those of former Louisville Cardinal Teddy Bridgewater.
1. Bryce Petty, Baylor Bears
Perhaps the best kept secret in the country was Bryce Petty. Petty sat behind Robert Griffin, III and Nick Florence before getting his chance. Despite only attempting 14 passes in two seasons, Petty exploded on the scene by throwing for 1,000 yards in the first three games. The senior went on to throw for 4,200 yards and 32 touchdown passes and earned first-team All-Big 12 honors. Petty ran Art Briles' offense to perfection. He could stand to improve his completion percentage. Other than that, he is the best quarterback in the Big 12 and is a Heisman trophy candidate.