Monday afternoon brought news that many Oklahoma State fans expected—and dreaded—when senior quarterback Spencer Sanders announced that he was entering the transfer portal. Sanders joins a number of other Cowboys who are opting to enter the portal in hopes of finding a new home next season.
Sanders did everything that was asked of him—and perhaps more—in his time in Stillwater, so the Cowboy faithful should be grateful for all that he did while playing in the black and orange. While it is disappointing to see him move on, it only makes sense for where he is at in his career—one year of eligibility left and hoping to be drafted by an NFL team some day—while Oklahoma State does not appear to be moving in a positive direction.
With the departure of Sanders, the immediate focus questions becomes, “Who is going to be the starting quarterback in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl?” Perhaps more important, though, is deciding who will be the quarterback and, by proxy, the leader of this team. Here are the potential starters for the fall of 2023.
Garret Rangel is the likely starters for when the Cowboys meet the Wisconsin Badgers in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in a few weeks, but we’re a long way from seeing if he’ll be the starters to begin next season. Rangel is a former 4-star pro-style quarterback out of Texas who started two games this season for the Cowboys in place of the injured Spencer Sanders.
In his two starts, Rangel had flashes of brilliance, but overall he struggled as he completed 53.6% of his passes for 482 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. He was also sacked six times.
Rangel is young, obviously, so he has plenty of time to improve enough to be the leader of this team. His bowl game performance could be a major deciding factor for his future.
Gunnar Gundy is an unlikely choice for the starting position at quarterback next season. As Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy’s son, Gunnar had plenty of spotlight on him during his high school career, and his first year as a walk-on in Stillwater wasn’t exactly spectacular.
After redshirting in 2021, Gunnar made an appearance in four games this season, starting against Iowa State, but, like Rangel, his stats were nothing impressive. Completing just 19-of-39 passes in total for a 48.7% completion rate, Gunnar threw for 247 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions. He was also sacked three times.
Gundy will likely serve as nice backup for a couple of years, but I doubt we ever see him become a regular starter.
Last on the list of likely candidates is 2023 recruit Zane Flores. Flores is a 3-star quarterback and the no. 1 player in the state of Nebraska who will try his best to become the starter next fall. The 6’3″, 190-pound athlete out of Gretna High School threw for over 9000 yards with a 66.7% completion rate in his four years of high school ball. He threw for 82 touchdowns to just 24 interceptions, and he was a decent runner as well, finding the end zone with his feet 29 times in his career, while rushing for over 200 yards in both his junior and senior seasons.
Flores looks like the kind of guy that could be the starter, but he will be the new guy on campus, so he will have to compete hard if he wants to overtake one of the guys who has been around already.