We’ve had quite the run of quarterbacks in the Big 12 in recent years.
This year, Kansas State’s Collin Klein was a Heisman finalist, West Virginia’s Geno Smith spent almost half the year as a Heisman favorite and OU’s Landry Jones set a variety of Big 12 records. Texas Tech’s Seth Doege and Baylor’s Nick Florence were stellar seniors.
In 2011, Baylor’s Robert Griffin won the Heisman, and OSU’s Brandon Weeden and Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill were first-round draft picks, plus Jones and Klein were effective QBs.
In 2010, Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert was working on a season that led to him to be a first-round NFL pick, plus Griffin, Jones and Weeden were productive QBs, while Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez was a promising freshman and Tech’s Taylor Potts was finishing up a productive career.
In 2009, OU had Sam Bradford for a couple of games, and he became the No. 1 pick in the draft. Texas’ Colt McCoy was one of college football’s all-time winners. OSU had a savvy senior in Zac Robinson. Texas A&M had a promising junior in Jerrod Johnson. Kansas had spunky Todd Reesing.
In 2008, Bradford won the Heisman Trophy, McCoy was a finalist, Tech’s Graham Harrell and Mizzou’s Chase Daniel were institutional icons, Kansas State’s Josh Freeman was en route to becoming a first-round draft pick and Robinson, Reesing and Griffin were building lasting legacies.
You get the point. This has been a quarterback league.
But what happens in 2013? There are no heir apparents. We had a discussion on the radio this week, and my cohorts figure Texas’ David Ash will be the preseason all-Big 12 quarterback.
I disagreed. First off, I don’t even know if Ash will be Texas’ QB. His two-year waltz with Case McCoy continues. Ash was great early but sputtered late, and Mack Brown is recruiting a junior college QB. Does that sound like Ash is headed for stardom in 2013?
OU loses Landry. West Virginia loses Smith. Baylor loses Florence. Tech’s loses Doege. K-State loses Klein. Kansas loses Dayne Crist, though he lost his job late in the season. Iowa State loses Steele Jantz, though he did the same.
Here’s who I said I would vote all-Big 12 quarterback in 2013: Whoever starts at OSU. Wes Lunt, I presume. But now, even that is squishy, since offensive coordinator Todd Monken is leaving to be head coach at Southern Miss.
But don’t you have more faith in Lunt — or J.W. Walsh, or even Clint Chelf — than in Ash or Case McCoy or a possible juco transfer at Texas?
Heck, I like TCU’s Trevone Boykin more than Ash, and Boykin might not even be the starter, if the Frogs welcome back Casey Paschall, who left school in October to enter drug rehab.
I’d put more stock in OU’s Blake Bell than in Ash. Same with Baylor’s Bryce Petty. Art Briles is making a believer out of me. And Tech always turns out a solid quarterback, though the coaching change makes it a little more mysterious.
Heck, I might go with Kansas’ Jake Heap, a transfer from Brigham Young, over Ash. Charlie Weis apparently likes Heap a lot.
Truth is, I like Ash. But he’s in a miserable situation. He’s at a place where two years running, the season ends with quarterback uncertainty. Ash was benched in the Kansas game while Case McCoy rallied Texas to victory. Then Ash was banged up, and McCoy tried to rally UT against TCU, though he fell short.
Ash has good numbers. But it doesn’t appear he has the full trust of the Texas coaching staff. It seems that Ash is doomed to doubt no matter what.
So here’s how would I rank Big 12 quarterbacks going into 2013:
1. Wes Lunt (or Walsh, either one). Walsh actually leads the Big 12 in passing efficiency.
2. Trevone Boykin (or Paschall, either one). Boykin quarterbacked victories in Austin, Morgantown and Waco. Lots of guys on those lists from 2008-12 never matched a trio like that.
3. Blake Bell. Bell has the acclaim from two years of Belldozing.
4. Bryce Petty. Florence burned a redshirt last November for one game, when Griffin was injured. Florence quarterbacked Baylor past Tech. If Florence was back in 2013, he would be a Heisman contender.
5. David Ash (but not Case McCoy). Hard to understand what’s going on in Austin.
6. Paul Millard, West Virginia, Smith’s backup in 2012. Came in for one play against OSU and threw a fourth-down TD pass.
7. Michael Brewer, Tech. Surely the new coach won’t change the culture that much.
8. Jake Heaps, Kansas. Transferred from BYU after losing his starting job midway through the 2011 season.
9. Sam Richardson, Iowa State. Took over as the Cyclone QB late in the season, after Paul Rhoads alternately used Jantz and Jared Barnett. I have no idea if Richardson can play, but Rhoads probably should have made the move sooner.
10. Daniel Sams, Kansas State. K-State is not a quarterback factory. Bill Snyder often has an excellent QB. But not always. And when he doesn’t, it’s not pretty.