It’s that time again! The summer months are upon us and our favorite way to pass the time is by speculating on how specific positions will shape up in the Big 12. Each of the Heartland Sports writers give their take on a specific position, ranking them from first to worst. Then they are asked to defend their top three and bottom two rankings.
The consensus rankings come from a points system. A first place selection is worth 10 points, second place is 9 points, and they continue in descending order with tenth place equaling 1 point.
With just four returning quarterbacks in the Big 12 this season there remains a lot of uncertainty with many position battles. Here’s our best take on how things will shake out in the conference.
|Heartland Sports Consensus Quarterback Rankings|
|3. Iowa State||29|
|5. Texas Tech||27|
|6. Oklahoma State||19|
|7. West Virginia||17|
|8. Kansas State||12|
1. Oklahoma – Jalen Hurts| Lincoln Riley has done it again! It’s time to start calling Oklahoma “QBU”. I have more confidence in Hurts coming into this season, than I did Kyler Murray a year ago. This is simply due to the experience under Hurts’ belt. If Coach Riley was able to turn Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray into Heisman winning quarterbacks, what can he do with a guy who has already won multiple National Championships?
2. Texas – Sam Ehlinger | A lot of people have Sam Ehlinger as the best quarterback in the Big 12. While I don’t think they are 100% wrong, I’m just not sure Ehlinger has the supporting cast around him to be the top quarterback in the conference. Texas is only returning seven total starters, so they’ll have to worry about reloading on both sides of the ball. Ehlinger is going to be dangerous due to his ability to both run, and pass the ball. If the Longhorns can find a supporting cast, the junior QB could have a solid season.
3. Baylor – Charlie Brewer | Coach Matt Rhule has something special in Charlie Brewer. He was solid as a freshman, and improved a ton as a sophomore. Now, he will be an upper class-man, and he already has the confidence to be a successful QB after he threw for over 3,000 yards last season. Considering his talent level combined with a great receiver in Denzel Mims, Brewer is primed to be one of the premier QB’s in the Big 12.
4. Iowa State – Brock Purdy
5. Oklahoma State – Spencer Sanders
6. Texas Tech – Alan Bowman
7. West Virginia – Austin Kendall
8. Kansas State – Skylar Thompson
9. TCU – Alex Delton | While we aren’t for sure that Alex Delton will be the starter for the Horned Frogs, he might be their best option. Delton played four years at Kansas State, but transferred to TCU as graduate to have a shot to be the starting quarterback. TCU also has a transfer from Ohio State that could potentially start if he receives a waiver. Regardless of how talented these guys are, it’s hard to rank TCU any higher than ninth due to the lack of certainty as to who will be under center in the fall.
10. Kansas – Thomas MacVittie | The Jayhawks are looking for a complete rebuild with Les Miles in charge. JUCO transfer Thomas MacVittie might just be the guy to get things rolling. He was listed as the #3 JUCO QB in the 2019 signing class. Although he looks solid on paper, it will be difficult for him to put up decent numbers with the little talent surrounding him. I think Kansas will be a much different program in a few years, but right now they still hold down the bottom spot in the conference.
1. Oklahoma | We have yet to see the full potential of Jalen Hurts. As the only player on this list with a national championship in hand, the addition of the QB provides a significant boost to this program. Against the “best defenses in the country,” Hurts threw just one interception as a starter in 2017. The undeniable pedigree and talent are there meaning I’m taking this signal caller all day, every day.
2. Iowa State | Throwing receivers open time and time again, Brock Purdy compiled a 6-2 record as a starter in a debut season. Expected to improve upon the numbers, the young budding star cemented himself as one of the better signal callers regardless of classification. The one knock against Purdy is the number of sacks he suffered. He’ll need to limit that stat to take the top spot.
3. Texas | Sam Ehlinger consistently shows a level of tenacity not many quarterbacks possess. Yet, I’m not sold on the field awareness and accuracy of the returning starter. In order to steal the show in the conference, Ehlinger must eliminate small mistakes that proved costly over the duration of his career.
4. Texas Tech
6. West Virginia
7. Oklahoma State
8. Kansas State
9. TCU | With plenty of options to choose from at the position, no one is quite sure who will take the field at the beginning of the season. For that reason alone, I’m keeping the Horned Frogs at the bottom of the barrel.
10. Kansas | Many people think Thomas McVittie will eventually trot out with the starting unit come fall. The No. 3 JUCO signal caller, McVittie amassed just over 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns. I’m just not sure that those are the kinds of numbers that carry the Jayhawks to victory on a consistent basis.
1. Oklahoma | Last season, I made the mistake of putting Sooner quarterback Kyler Murray at #2 in the Big 12 spot. The University of Oklahoma knows what it’s doing at the quarterback position (i.e. Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray), and I’m not about to make that mistake again. Former Alabama QB Jalen Hurts transferred into Oklahoma and was told he would have to earn the starting spot, but we all know it’s his, as well as a chance to be the third OU quarterback in as many years to win a Heisman.
2. Texas | According to USA Today’s Paul Myerberg, Sam Ehlinger is a top-5 quarterback headed into the 2019 season. While I can agree with the assessment that he’s a “bruising runner,” I’m not so sure about Ehlinger as a “developing passer.” He’s athletic, but let’s not it get twisted: he still has plenty of work to do.
3. Texas Tech | Alan Bowman played just 8 games a season ago as a freshman, but the job is his now, and regardless of the fact that Kliff Kingsbury has departed from Lubbock, the Red Raiders are going to continue to sling the ball downfield as often as possible. Bowman completed a little over 69% of his passes last year, and if he can throw that efficiently for an entire season, he could put up some ridiculous numbers.
4. Iowa State
6. Oklahoma State
7. Kansas State
8. West Virginia
9. TCU | Perhaps the biggest issue for the Horned Frogs headed into the fall is their indecision at the quarterback position. Alex Delton is a grad transfer from Kansas State, and it appears he will earn the start to open the season, but despite being in Manhattan for 4 seasons, he didn’t do much to impress. He’s not much of a passer, but maybe he will be able to get TCU’s offense going with his running ability.
10. Kansas | The Jayhawks are forever finding themselves at the bottom of a number of Big 12 football rankings, and the quarterback position is no different. The starting spot in Lawrence is also up for grabs, but JUCO transfer Thomas MacVittie is expected to earn the spot. His lack of experience—and the fact that it’s Kansas—puts the Jayhawks at the bottom of the conference. Maybe new head coach Les Miles can turn things around for Kansas football as he did for Oklahoma State almost 20 years ago.
1. Oklahoma | The folks down in Austin are going to argue this but if you can check the track records of both Lincoln Riley and Jalen Hurts and then come up with a valid reason why OU shouldn’t be #1 then I’ll listen.
2. Baylor | I really like Charlie Brewer! He’s going to be one of the more polished passers in the Big 12 this season and has more tools to work with than Ehlinger is going to have down in Austin.
3. Texas | This is going to be a tell-tale season for Sam Ehlinger. The Longhorn leader is going to need to prove that he can in fact lead his team to a conference title with his arm and not his legs. He’ll also have a few less weapons at his disposal than he did in 2018.
4. Texas Tech
5. Iowa State
6. West Virginia
7. Oklahoma State
9. Kansas State | With Alex Delton gone to TCU junior Skyler Thompson in the clear cut starter in Manhattan. New coach Chris Klieman needs 2019 to be a breakout season for Thompson after throwing for 2,080 in 14 starts during his first two seasons.
10. Kansas | You gotta start somewhere, right? Thomas MacVittie was ranked at the nation’s #3 JUCO quarterback by 247Sports. Les Miles is hoping to ride his arm out of the Big 12 cellar this fall.