You're nothing without a quarterback and the conference that produced the likes of Robert Griffin III, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, and Brandon Weeden in recent years seems to be at a fresh start. The only quarterback who immediately registers as a superstar is TCU's Trevone Boykin and from there the Big 12 Conference becomes a who's who list of up and comers, new starters, and hopefuls. Here's our position rankings of the Big 12 quarterbacks by school.
Boykin is going to appear on just about everyone's preseason All-Conference list as well as a few All-American and Heisman watch lists. He earned this by producing 3,901 passing and 707 rushing yards last season with a TD/INT ratio greater than 3/1. Four other signal callers are in line behind Boykin with Houston product, and fellow senior, Bram Kohlhausen the most likely candidate at QB #2.
This may be a high ranking for a team that is debuting a new quarterback by come one...this is Baylor. If any coach has an established track record of putting a high caliber quarterback on the field then it's Art Briles. Junior Seth Russell steps in as the new guy pulling the trigger in the Bears' high-power offense and the sample size from 2014 says that he's going to be just fine. Russell passed for 804 yards, 8 touchdowns and just a single interception as Bryce Petty's back up last fall. Sophomore Chris Johnson most likely plays the backup role.
#3 Oklahoma State
There won't be a whole lot returning in the cupboard for Mike Gundy when the Pokes start camp next month but one thing is that they should for sure be settled at the quarterback position. Sophomore Mason Rudolph helped engineer a win over the Sooners in the Bedlam Game and then took OSU to a 30-22 Cactus Bowl victory over Washington. Behind him is senior JW Walsh who may be one of the most experienced backups in the conference.
#4 Iowa State
Sam B. Richardson won't have a lot of support around him but he's a quarterback that at least four other schools in the conference would love to have access to. He completed 56.3% of his passes for 2,669 and 18 touchdowns. He'll be backed up by junior Grant Rohach.
Oklahoma must choose between a popular yet inconsistent quarterback or one that has world's of potential but hasn't played in over a year now. For my two cents the latter option is the way the Sooners should go but either way there's no excuse for OU being this low on the list. Trevor Knight shocked the world with his performance against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl following the 2014 season and that same year Baker Mayfield was the conference Offensive Freshman of the Year. One of them will be Oklahoma's trigger man and the other will compete for the backup position.
6. Texas Tech
Sophomore Patrick Mahomes is most likely to be the starter for the season opener ahead of incumbent 2014 starter Davis Webb. Both quarterbacks bring a lot to the table in Kliff Kingsbury's offense but Mahomes possesses a bit more mobility and a bigger arm. Either way, the Red Raiders are the third team on our list that will have experience at the backup position.
7. West Virginia
Junior Skyler Howard was exceptional in 2014 as a back up, throwing for 829 yards, 8 touchdowns and no interceptions. He'll take over as the full-time starter in 2015 as Dana Holgorsen looks to retool his offense. Behind Howard stand four freshmen and a sophomore with Baltimore product William Crest Jr. as the likely backup.
Before you claim an Oklahoma bias here for having the Longhorns ranked so low let me remind you that Tyrone Swoopes threw 13 touchdowns to 11 interceptions last season and Texas ranked 106th nationally in scoring offense and were 88th in passing. Now that we have that settled, freshman Jerrod Heard is QB #2 and many fans expect him to replace Swoopes should he struggle early in the season.
9. Kansas State
Junior Joe Hubener was last year's back up and is vying to be this year's starter, however freshman Alex Delton enrolled early and seems to be a perfect fit for Bill Snyder's offense. My guess is that we will most likely see a two-quarterback system from the Wildcats this season.
The future may be bright for the Jayhawks (not sure that anyone really feels that way) but the immediate future is going to be very bleak. Junior Montell Cozart has the most experience of the group of six signal callers. He passed for 701 yards and five touchdowns last season but also threw seven picks. Freshmen Carter Stanley and Ryan Willis will be hard to fend off for the position as first-year head coach David Beaty starts over in Lawrence.