The salad days of Big 12 quarterbacking seem far away, The circa-2008 crowd of Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Josh Freeman, Chase Daniels and Zack Robinson. Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph's 2016 group.
These days, the All-Big 12 quarterback can come from the back of the field (1ike max duggan in 2022), and the league's best quarterback room may come from the least likely place (Kansas).
Plus, in 2023, four new schools join the conference, bringing in a variety of quarterbacks we haven't seen up close. And with Portal in full swing, transfers are a constant.
So it's anyone's guess how Big 12 teams will rank in quarterback skill this season. But going into the season, and coming out of spring practice, this is how I look at the conference, ranked 1-14 at the QB position.
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The Jayhawks not only have Top Returning QB in Seniors Jalon Daniels, but the best backup in Jason Bean, who played well when Daniels was injured late in the season.
In nine games, Daniels completed 66.1% of his passes for 2,014 yards, 18 touchdowns, and four interceptions. And OSU fans will remember Bean well – 18 of 23 passing, 203 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, with a 73-yard touchdown run.
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Dillon Gabriel Baker frustrates many OU fans for the high offense of being more Spencer Rattler than Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts or Caleb Williams. But Gabriel has now played a year at OU and 2¼ at Central Florida, posting career numbers of 61.3% for 11,205 (!) yards, 95 touchdown passes, and 20 interceptions.
Gabriel was good last season for the Sooners (25/6 TD interception ratio; 62.7 completion percentage) and OU was toast without him. Freshman sensation Jackson Arnold is expected to be a quality backup.
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3. Brigham Young
The well-traveled Slovis played 27 games at Southern Cal before transferring to Pittsburgh last season in the Lincoln Relays fallout. Pitt was rebuilding, and Slovis's numbers fell—10 TDs, nine interceptions, 58.4% completion.
But Slovis has much higher career numbers – a 65.9% completion percentage; 9,973 passing yards; 68/33 TD to interception ratio.
Behind Slovis are junior-college transfer Jake Retzlaff and unproven redshirt sophomore Cade Finnegan.
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Fourth-year junior Will Howard blossomed last season and took away the job from Adrian Martinez. Howard completed 59.8% of his passes, throwing for 1,633 yards, 15 touchdowns, and four interceptions in seven games. Howard did not run as much in his first two KSU seasons.
Backup Jake Ruble, a redshirt sophomore, has barely played.
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5. Central Florida
John Rhys Plumlee, who played three years at Ole Miss, was productive in his first UCF season, 2022. Plumlee rushed for 862 yards and 11 touchdowns. He completed 63% of his passes for 2,586 yards, 14 TDs, and eight interceptions. Plumlee's backup figures to Timmy McClain, a South Florida transfer who played extensively last season as a true freshman.
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much awaited quinn evers struggled a bit last season After transferring from Ohio State, completed 58.1% of his passes for 2,177 yards, 15 TDs, and six interceptions.
But the job is his – to back up redshirt freshman Malik Murphy Evers, with vaunted freshman recruit Arch Manning next on the line.
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Blake Sheppan failed to thrive in 2022 after quarterbacking Baylor to wins over OSU in the 2021 Big 12 Championship Game and Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl. Schepen completed 63.3% of his passes last season for 2,790 yards, 18 TDs and 10 interceptions. But he has championship experience.
Redshirt sophomore Sawyer Robertson, a Mississippi State transfer, and junior RJ Martinez, a Northern Arizona transfer, figure to be the backups.
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8. Texas Christian
Redshirt junior Chandler Morris, who transferred from OU after the 2020 season, is largely unproven but was good enough to beat eventual Heisman-finalist Max Duggan last August. Morris's season was ruined by his first injury of the season.
Chance Nolan, Oregon State's 2021 starter, transferred a few weeks ago and provides Morris competition. In 2021, Nolan completed 64.2% of his passes for 2,677 yards, 19 TDs, and 10 interceptions.
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Tyler Shaw has struggled with injuries in his career. He has now played 11 games at Oregon and 11 at Texas Tech, programs that have been consistent showcases for quarterbacks. But Shaw's numbers are so-so – 63.9% completion, 3,885 yards, 29/13 TD-to-interception ratio.
Redshirt sophomore Behren Morton shone last season (especially in Stillwater), completing 96 of 169 passes for 1,117 yards, seven TDs and six interceptions.
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10. Iowa State
Redshirt junior Hunter Deckers struggled trying to fill Brock Purdy's big shoes, but his production wasn't terrible – 3,044 passing yards, 66.1%, 19/14 TD-to-interception ratio.
Redshirt freshman Rocco Becht was the backup last season but is unproven.
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Ben Bryant, the 2022 UC starter, entered the portal in April and is headed to Northwestern, indicating Arizona State transfer Emory Jones won the job.
Jones, who spent four years at Florida, played in 45 college games. Last season at ASU, Jones struggled, completing 62.8% of his passes, but with a 7/4 ratio and 2,732 yards. In four years at Florida, Jones completed 64.6% for 3,347 yards and a 26/14 ratio.
Three-year UC veteran Evan Prater is the obvious backup.
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Donovan Smith transferred from Texas Tech and projected to win the job, but Lucas Collie, who transferred from Arkansas the year before, split deals with Smith this spring.
Collie did not play in his freshman year at Arkansas. Smith has played extensively as Tech's backup, with a 64.2% completion, 2,686 passing yards, and a 19/10 completion ratio. He is very mobile.
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Alan Bowman was a promising quarterback at Texas Tech when he was hobbled by injuries. But that was 2018-20. Since then, Bowman has been on the third team at Michigan, working on his master's degree in business.
Now Bowman is a cowboy and is a forward for Garrett Rangel and Gunnar Gundy, who filled in for the injured Spencer Sanders the year before.
At Tech, Bowman completed 67% of his passes for 5,260 yards, 33 TDs, and 17 interceptions. Rangel completed 59 of 115 (.513) passes last season for 711 yards, four TDs and five interceptions. Gundy was 19 of 39 (.487) for 247 yards, three TDs and four interceptions.
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Junior Garrett Green took over for JT Daniels down the stretch. last season and defeated both OU and OSU. But Green was not effective. He completed 55.1% of his passes for 493 yards and a 5/3 ratio. He ran for 297 yards in a backup role in 2021 and 276 yards last season.
Redshirt freshman Nico Marchiol could be in line to take over soon. Or even start from scratch. Marchiol finished that OSU game after Green was injured, but completed just four passes all season.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at 405-760-8080 or [email protected]. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 pm on the Sports Animal Radio Network including FM-98.1. Support his work and the work of other Oklahoma journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.
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This article was originally published on The Oklahoman: Big 12 football quarterback rankings after 2023 spring practice