NCAA Football 2019-2020 Season
Cover the Spread 365 NCAAF 2019-2020 Big 12 QB Rankings
If the Big 12 is known for one thing, it’s their quarterbacks. The conference has put its stamp on elite signal-callers in the NCAA, making up four of the top 10 passing offenses from last season and producing each of the last two Heisman trophy winners. Every year reveals another batch of field generals prepared to take the tops off of opposing defenses.
With another college football season right around the corner, I ranked the top quarterbacks in the Big 12.
10. Thomas MacVittie, Kansas
New head coach Les Miles has his hands full with a Kansas squad that has gone just 6-42 in four seasons, and he is likely handing the keys to top JUCO transfer MacVittie. The former Pittsburgh recruit turned community college stud racked up 1,064 yards and 16 touchdowns last year before transferring yet again to possibly lead the Jayhawks in their rebuild. Miles will most likely rely on Pooka Williams Jr. and the running game this season, rendering MacVittie’s impact very minimal.
9. Alex Delton, TCU
TCU and veteran head coach Gary Patterson have a carousel of quarterbacks to choose from this year, but I’m predicting the Horned Frogs eventually settle on four-star recruit Delton. The Kansas State transfer spent four years with the Wildcats, mostly being used as a swiss-army knife rushing threat in the backfield. He is looking to become the second player in TCU history to score a touchdown for and against the Horned Frogs. Delton has a lot to learn when it comes to reading defenses and punishing them through the air and his lack of height (6-0) doesn’t do him any favors. Patterson will opt for a versatile rushing attack instead of leaning heavily on Delton’s skills this season.
8. Skylar Thompson, Kansas State
An abysmal offensive performance last season, ranking dead last in the conference in both scoring offense and total offense, led to a leadership shakeup — with former North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman taking the reins. He adopts a Wildcat attack shepherded by returning starter Thompson, who put together a decent sophomore campaign, tallying 1,391 yards and nine touchdowns to only four interceptions. Klieman’s creativity can maximize the talent of Thompson but the jury is still out on how high the junior’s ceiling actually is. With how stacked the Big 12 is at the quarterback position, just average earns you a spot on the bottom tier of the rankings.
7. Austin Kendall, West Virginia
Filling the enormous shoes of Will Grier is next to impossible, but Oklahoma transfer Kendall will do his best to make sure the drop off isn’t too steep. The North Carolina native was able to learn from backing up former Heisman winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, but he rarely had opportunities to showcase his skills on the actual field. He threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns in only eight appearances — usually in garbage time. Now the spotlight is on Kendall to live up to his billing and the lack of talent surrounding him might severely hinder his growth. A young receiving core and lousy offensive line depth could impact his production right from the get-go.
6. Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State
Gundy’s relentless spread attack makes every new quarterback’s transition to the starting spot as seamless as possible. Whoever steps under center in the Cowboy offense is expected to produce huge numbers, and the next man up appears to be highly touted four-star prospect, Sanders. The gunslinger can hurt you with his strong arm as well as his lightning-quick speed. Sanders started turning heads during his high school campaign, throwing for 8,747 yards and averaging more than 6 yards per carry on the ground. His youth makes me apprehensive to place him higher in the rankings, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a strong season makes me regret that decision.
Ranking Big 12 Quarterbacks 2019
5. Alan Bowman, Texas Tech
A collapsed lung ended Bowman’s freshman season prematurely, but not before putting up a couple of monster games, including a 408-yard performance against Iowa State and scorching Houston to the tune of 605 yards and five touchdowns. This showcases just some of the potential Bowman has in the Texas Tech Air Raid offense if he remains healthy. The Red Raiders won’t win a lot of games due to lack of talent but that is no fault of Bowman, who will be given the green light to chuck the ball all over the field.
4. Brock Purdy, Iowa State
Purdy was one of the biggest surprises in the country last season, bursting onto the scene in relief against Oklahoma State and torching them for 318 yards and four touchdowns. He never slowed down, racking up stellar outing after stellar outing and revitalizing the Cyclone program in the process. The Arizona native even did a good chunk of his damage under pressure, with a 108.5 passer rating and a 6-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio with defenders breathing down his neck, according to Pro Football Focus. All signs point to the sophomore continuing his rapid growth into a star as he furthers his development.
3. Charlie Brewer, Baylor
A lackluster offensive line refused to stop Brewer from making waves in the Big 12 last season. While under pressure on over a third of his dropbacks, he still managed to total a 101.5 passer rating. Brewer also isn’t afraid to go deep, tallying 3,019 yards through the air on only 400 attempts. The Bears groomed the Texas native early on, shoving him into the starting position in his freshman year. Now a junior, Brewer has improved mightily through a multitude of reps and has the veteran poise to take the next step in challenging the conference’s elite passers. If Baylor can provide a remedy for its protection issues, the sky is the limit for Brewer.
2. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley is the ultimate quarterback guru, maximizing the full potential of any signal-caller he gets his hands on. Alabama transfer Hurts is his latest project. The Sooners have an explosive offense predicated on spreading the defense out and hitting them at all angles, producing win after win after win. Hurts is no stranger to wins from his time at Alabama, where he went 26-2 as a starter before Tua Tagovailoa swiped the job out from under him. Hurts’ mobility and extending plays with his legs makes him perfect for the heir of Mayfield and Murray’s throne, with 1,976 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground during his Crimson Tide career. The highly heralded transfer will put up colossal stats on an Oklahoma team competing for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
1. Sam Ehlinger, Texas
The rise of Ehlinger is directly related to the meteoric rise of Texas football as a force to be reckoned with yet again. Ehlinger morphed into one of the top quarterbacks in the nation last season, passing for 3,292 yards and 25 touchdowns before declaring “we’re back” after beating Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It’s hard to believe he might be even more deadly with his legs, recording 482 yards and 16 touchdowns while having the most rushing attempts of any non-running back in the Big 12. Oh yeah, and he also forced 29 missed tackles, as a quarterback. With two seasons of starting under his belt, opposing defenses are frightened about what kind of leap they’ll see next from Ehlinger. Whatever kind of leap it is, the Longhorns are primed to make another conference championship run with the best quarterback in the Big 12 at the helm.