As we get closer to the Big 12 football season getting underway, it’s a chance to get a look at the top returning players, but also dive into who the new faces are going to be in the conference. At Heartland College Sports we don’t just want you to have all the information on who’s coming back, but also, who’s coming in? This way you are ahead of the curve compared to the rest of the college football world.
So with that being said, we continue our position rankings, with the most popular position in the football world: The quarterback.
1. Texas Longhorns
The Longhorns are of course led by senior Sam Ehlinger at the position. Ehlinger is the most successful quarterback at Texas since Colt McCoy was under center. He is the HCS First-Team All-Big 12 quarterback selection after throwing for over 3,600 yards last season with 32 touchdowns, plus over 600 rushing yards. He’s as veteran as it gets with 36 games played and 33 starts. But there’s also Casey Thompson, a redshirt sophomore, who was the No. 11 dual-threat QB in the Class of 2018. Plus, Texas has two true freshmen who were Under Armor All-America selections in Hudson Card and Ja’Quinden Jackson. Talk about a stacked QB room.
2. Baylor Bears
Charlie Brewer leads the way with just as much experience as Ehlinger and a similar level of success (both have been to a Big 12 Championship game and lost). Last season Brewer threw for over 3,100 yards and 21 touchdowns, while rushing for 344 with seven TDs. He’s just as good of a leader as Ehlinger and just as tough, but Ehlinger is slightly more talented. But the QB room is Waco also includes Jacob Zeno who nearly helped BU win the Big 12 Championship Game after Brewer went down. In fact, he may have more pure talent than Brewer and will be ready to take the reins in 2021. Gerry Bohanon is also in the QB room as a former top-ranked dual-threat QB coming out of Arkansas. Also three guys have some reps and lots of talent and/or potential.
3. Oklahoma Sooners
This is a super-talented group, but it’s an unproven group, hence why it wasn’t ranked higher. Of course there’s Spencer Rattler, the former No. 1 quarterback prospect from the Class of 2019 who is the favorite to land the starting job this fall, but he’s in a battle with Tanner Mordecai, who was a former four-star prospect and is trying to pull off the upset for the starting job. Then there’s Chandler Morris, a former All-American and four-star prospect who is a true freshman. It’s an unproven group, but boy is it a talented one.
4. Iowa State Cyclones
If this was just about ranking individual QB’s ISU might be higher, but remember it’s the unit as a whole. We all know its Brock Purdy’s unit, who is considered by some to be a first round draft pick in next year’s NFL Draft. He was the Second-Team All-Big 12 quarterback last season after setting 18 team records during the season. He threw for nearly 4,000 yards with 27 touchdown passes and his nine games of at least 300 passing yards ranked fourth in the nation. However behind Purdy there is not much experience to speak of. Yet there is talent coming in as Matt Campbell recruited two four-star freshmen in Aidan Bouman and Hunter Dekkers. It’s likely one of those two will take the reins from Purdy in 2021, but for now, all eyes are on one guy in Ames, and there isn’t much to fall back on.
5. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Spencer Sanders leads this unit after an up-an-down freshman season that saw him come on strong in the second half of the fall before a hand injury sidelined him for the end of the year. He was still voted as the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. He threw for over 2,000 yards and rushed for 57 yards per game, which was third in the nation among all freshman quarterbacks. Shane Illingworth was the program’s top recruit in the Class of 2020 and was ranked the No. 6 pro-style QB in the country, according to 247Sports. Otherwise, Ethan Bullock and Shaun Taylor add some depth to the room.
6. Texas Tech Red Raiders
When or if healthy, Alan Bowman can be one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12 Conference. It’s just a big “if” these days after he’s spent much of his career in Lubbock dealing with various injuries. In 2018 as a freshman, he completed 69.4 percent of his passes, finishing with 2,638 yards and 17 touchdown passes. He got injured early last season but is expected to be healthy to start the year. The coaching staff is high on redshirt freshman Maverick McIvor who also dealt with injuries last season. He was the No. 18 dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2019. Utah State transfer Henry Colombi and JUCO quarterback Brylon Lawson-Young add depth to the unit.
7. Kansas State Wildcats
Skylar Thompson came into his own last season after finally getting the starting job to himself. He was an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 selection after starting all 13 games and throwing for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns, completing 60% of his passes with just five interceptions, while rushing for 405 yards and 11 touchdowns on 114 carries. Nick Ast was the primary back up last season but he has little to no actual experience. The program’s future is likely freshman Will Howard from Downingtown, PA, where he was ranked by 247Sports as the No. 13 dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2020.
8. West Virginia Mountaineers
Jarret Doege and Austin Kendall both saw time last season, but it seems like Doege took the job from Kendall late in the year when he led the Mountaineers to a 2-1 finish. Doege is a Bowling Green transfer who finished the season completing 79-of-120 passes for 818 yards and seven touchdowns. Kendall came in from Oklahoma, but never quite got a hold of the offense and its flow, completing 61% of his passes in nine games, throwing for nearly 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. After that, the unit is rounded out by JUCO transfer Matt Cavallaro and true freshman Garrett Greene.
9. TCU Horned Frogs
The Horned Frogs have been trying to figure out an answer at this position for the last couple of seasons. They thought they had their answer with Max Duggan, but he is out indefinitely and his status for the season is uncertain. Matthew Downing is expected to take over after he transferred in from Georgia where he saw a handful of reps in 2018. Meantime there are nine other quarterbacks on the roster and virtually no experience. The one to keep an eye on is Stephon Brown, the No. 1 dual-threat JUCO QB prospect. He threw for 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns, rushing for over 540 yards and eight scores at Independence Community College.
10. Kansas Jayhawks
Thomas MacVittie transferred in from Mesa CC before last season but lost the QB battle. He’s now in another one against Miles Kendrick, who saw more action in 2018 than 2019 when he played four games before taking his redshirt. Otherwise, there is little to no experience as well, but the one that might eventually rise to the top is three-star freshman Jalon Daniels, who comes to Lawrence via Lawndale High School in California.
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