Tom Keegan: Big 12 signal callers ranked

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) prepares to throw during the Sooners' 58-23 win over Oklahoma State Nov. 30, 2015, in Stillwater, Okla.

Anyone not willing to acknowledge that the SEC ranks ahead of every other college football conference views it through green glasses colored so by envy.

As for the best quarterback conference, the Big 12 rules in terms of talent, excitement and famous genes.

Three of the 10 projected starting quarterbacks in the Big 12 are sons of former major-league baseball players who combined to play in 36 seasons.

Clearly, big-leaguers know where to send their sons to play quarterback.

A ranking of the projected Big 12 starting quarterbacks:

1 . Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, Sr.: He began his college football career as a walk-on at Texas Tech and last season in leading Oklahoma to an 11-2 record finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

Mayfield originally was stripped of a year of eligibility when he transferred from Tech after the 2013 season because he went to another Big 12 school. But conference faculty representatives voted last month to change the rule on walk-on, intra-conference transfers. He is eligible to play through the 2017 season.

2 . Seth Russell, Baylor, Sr.: A dual-threat quarterback who originally committed to Kansas but switched after Turner Gill was fired, Russell has thrown 40 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions during his career. He also has averaged seven yards per rush and 10.2 yards per pass attempt.

He’s coming off a fractured neck bone, playing for a different head coach and had his past two seasons cut short by injury. Will he be ready for the season-opener, and can he stay healthy? If not, Jarrett Stidham will not be on hand to take over this time. Stidham announced Thursday that he will transfer.

3 . Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech, Jr.: The son of former big-league pitcher Pat Mahomes, he decided to stop playing baseball at Tech to concentrate full-time on football. His arm gets plenty of work on the football field. Mahomes, a terrific scrambler, threw for 358 yards per game last season and has a legitimate shot at the Heisman Trophy.

4 . Kenny Hill, TCU, Jr.: The son of former big-league pitcher Ken Hill, he lost his starting job at Texas A&M; and did what most talented college quarterbacks do when that happens. He transferred, and the Horned Frogs are happy to have him. He’s mobile, has a strong arm and a talented backup in Foster Sawyer.

5 . Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, Jr.: He has a cannon and used it to pass for 437 yards vs. Kansas State and 430 yards vs. Baylor and led the Pokes to a 10-0 start.

The NFL likes his arm and size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds), even though he’s not the most mobile quarterback in the conference.

6 . Skyler Howard, West Virginia, Sr.: He rushed for 129 yards against Kansas and threw for 532 yards and five touchdowns against Arizona State in the Cactus Bowl, the same TD total he had in the previous six games combined.

7 . Shane Buechele, Texas, Fr.: The son of former big-league third baseman Steve Buechele, he has a strong shot to beat out Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard. Buechele threw for 299 yards in the Longhorns’ spring game.

8 . Jesse Ertz, Kansas State, Jr.: He won a three-way competition for the starting spot last season and is the favorite to do so again. Alex Delton and Joe Hubener also are in the hunt.

Ertz rushed for five yards on the season’s first play from scrimmage and suffered a season-ending ACL injury on the play, although he stayed in the game for one more play.

He plays for an offensive genius in head coach Bill Snyder, so he’s bound to exceed expectations.

9 . Joel Lanning, Iowa State, Jr.: He replaced Sam Richardson at quarterback after the firing of offensive coordinator Mark Mangino and showed he could run a little (130 yards and two touchdowns vs. Oklahoma State) throw a little (15-for-20, 210 yards passing, three touchdowns, no interceptions vs. Kansas State).

10 . Montell Cozart, Jr., or Ryan Willis, So., Kansas: Cozart is a better running threat, Willis a far more accurate thrower of the deep ball. The competition for the starting assignment will draw more interest than anything else during fall camp.


Brett McCabe

Willis will end the year ranked in the 6 or 7 spot in the conference.

3 years, 7 months ago


Dirk Medema

Not sure I'd rank the guy who lost his starting position, even if it was at aTm, over a guy who started the entire season at another top program.

That being said, I want whatever Brett's having :-)

3 years, 7 months ago


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