Power Ranking Big 12 Starting QBs Heading into Spring Practice
Ranking the Big 12 Starting QBs
Since 2000, the Big 12 Conference has had a quarterback as a Heisman Trophy finalist every year but three. With so much elite quarterbacking in the conference, it was surprising that last year was a disappointment for the conference's quarterbacks. Only Baylor Bears quarterback Bryce Petty played up to an elite level as a Heisman candidate. The now-graduated Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf was the second-team all-conference quarterback despite only starting half the season. He along with every other team except Baylor started multiple players during the season.
The conference certainly has breakout bowl performances from big-time freshman recruits to look forward to heading into spring ball. Baylor, the Kansas State Wildcats, Oklahoma Sooners, and Texas Tech Red Raiders have starters in place. Oklahoma State, the Texas Longhorns, TCU Horned Frogs, and West Virginia Mountaineers will bring in freshmen to seriously challenge incumbents for the starting job. The Kansas Jayhawks and Iowa State Cyclones will return players who showed plenty of promise during their freshman seasons.
Quarterback play in the Big 12 Conference was definitely down last year. Heading into spring practices, there is no one where to go but up for the conference's signal-callers, especially with many strong blue-chip freshman recruits coming in and multiple players heading into their first full seasons of being the starter. Much of the league will have plenty to build on after their strong performances in the bowl games.
Let's power rank the Big 12 Conference football teams based on their likely starting quarterbacks.
10. TCU: Trevone Boykin
TCU has a decision to make on Trevone Boykin now that Casey Pachall is gone; the lightly-used quarterback should take over the starting role in 2014. He's 10th on the list now, but if he plays the way he did in his freshman season, he will move on up. Tyler Matthews didn't play well in limited action last season but TCU has other options in Foster Sawyer and Grayson Muehlstein.
9. Kansas: Jake Heaps
Kansas has brought in T.J. Millweard from the UCLA Bruins to compete with Jake Heaps and Montell Cozart. Kansas will need to believe in one guy, however, because there will likely be criticism coming Charlie Weis' way.
8. West Virginia: Paul Millard
Paul Millard and Clint Trickett split time last season but neither made the type of impact that is expected of a West Virginia QB. Trickett made the most of his playing time, but there is no clear front-runner in this QB race.
7. Iowa State: Grant Rohach
Iowa State didn't have the most desirable QB situation in 2013, but that could all change if freshman Graham Rohach lives up to his potential. While Sam B. Richardson was injured a lot last year, he could still contend for the job. However, he didn't show enough flashes of brilliance to keep himself at the front of the race.
6. Texas Tech: Davis Webb
With the surprising transfer of Baker Mayfield, Davis Webb will need to put the load of the team on his back. If Mayfield was still with the Red Raiders, I would consider moving them up in the power rankings, but it seems like it will be an adjustment for Webb who will start the whole year on his own. I'll give it to him, he's one of the most talented QBs in the conference and he is young, but time will tell if it lasts.
5. Texas: David Ash
David Ash will look to flourish under first-year head coach Charlie Strong. While Ash has had a problem staying healthy, he is the most talented and experienced QB on the roster. Coach Strong had a pretty solid quarterback at Louisville so he knows how to recruit them and develop them. Ash might be the next case of such a quarterback under Strong.
4. Oklahoma State: J.W. Walsh
J.W. Walsh has a lot to prove this spring, especially since he wasn't even the full-time starter in 2013 after losing his job to senior Clint Chelf after a string of inconsistent performances. While it looks like he will be the starter until the job is ripped from his fingers, he needs to get back to the form he held in 2012 when he experienced his most success.
3. Kansas State: Jake Waters
While the days following Collin Klein are long gone, the Kansas State Wildcats have one quarterback that they hope will somewhat fill his shoes. Jake Waters was solid in 2013 for the Wildcats and put up over 2,400 yards and 18 touchdown passes while taking the starting job away from Daniel Sams in somewhat of a quarterback race. Waters could be the guy to make Kansas State fans forget all about Klein -- at least for now.
2. Oklahoma: Trevor Knight
Many people had been criticizing the play of Oklahoma's quarterbacks prior to the Sugar Bowl, but Trevor Knight silenced those critics emphatically. While Oklahoma still had a pretty good season, it wasn't recognized until Knight provided a bright spot against the Alabama Crimson Tide in a huge win. If he can perform that way in Big 12 play this season, he will be a superstar.
1. Baylor: Bryce Petty
Bryce Petty is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation and it was a shock when he announced that he would be returning to Baylor for another season. It was an extremely successful season for the first-year starter as he passed for 4,200 yards and 32 touchdowns to combat just three interceptions. He will easily be one of the finalists for the Heisman Trophy this season.