With spring practice officially in the books for all 10 teams in the Big 12, it's time to start looking towards the fall.
On the road to the Big 12 opener, we'll start with a series of player rankings brought to you by Can-Am Spyder, a collection and analysis of the best players at each of the skill positions on offense and a group ranking by position on defense.
Today, what better place to start than by looking at the Big 12's quarterbacks. With the season still four months away, there are several quarterback battles yet to be settled, but it's clear as day who's at the top heading into the 2014 season.
Let me know in the comments section below what you think; where I got it right and where I may have erred in my ways. And while you're at it, please take a moment to check out and support our sponsor, Can-Am Spyder.
Big 12 quarterback rankings brought to you by Can-Am Spyder
1. Bryce Petty - Baylor
There's little doubt who is the top quarterback in the Big 12 heading into 2014. Baylor's Bryce Petty was phenomenal in his first year as a starter guiding the Bears to a 11-2 record and their first ever Big 12 title last season.
Petty threw for 4200 yards and tossed 32 touchdowns against a ridiculously low three interceptions in 2013.
So what can he do for an encore? It'll be tough to top those numbers but if there's any blemish on last year's resume it's the performance against Oklahoma State that saw Baylor score just 17 points in a loss the nearly cost the Bears their Big 12 title.
That loss doesn't entirely fall on Petty, but he did complete less than 60% of his throws in six of Baylor's nine Big 12 games. That's a bit of nitpicking considering it was his first season as a college starting quarterback, but there simply isn't much else not to like about his game.
Can Petty get Baylor into this year's college football playoff? That's the goal and would indeed be an encore that would top last year's unbelievable season.
2. Jake Waters - Kansas State
Waters started the 2013 season as the starter but was splitting reps with Daniel Sams. He finished the year by taking nearly every snap over the final three games of the season.
Outside of Petty and maybe J.W. Walsh at Oklahoma State, he's now one of the most experienced quarterback in the Big 12. After completing 62.1% of his passes as a junior, big things are expected for K-State's offense heading into 2014. It won't hurt to have Tyler Lockett, one of the country's most dangerous receivers, running routes for the Wildcats, either.
"The country has a show coming in watching Jake," wide receiver Deante Burton said. "I think he is going to do real big things and make a name for himself. He is going to put K-State in a big light. I think we are going to get rolling. We are going to follow him and ride his coattails."
3. Trevor Knight - Oklahoma
Entering last season's Sugar Bowl against Alabama, the jury was still out on Knight after and up and down freshman season in which he missed time during the middle of the year with a knee injury.
But it's not how you start, but rather how you finish. And Knight finished the season with an out-of-this-world performance against Alabama that saw him throw for 348 yards and four touchdowns against one of the SEC's best defenses.
How good does OU coaching staff feel about Knight going forward? Kendall Thompson saw the writing on the wall and decided to transfer to Utah while Blake Bell is moving to tight end so that he has a better chance at playing time during his senior season.
The Sooners have high hopes heading into 2014 and Knight's performance against the Crimson Tide is a big reason why.
4. Davis Webb - Texas Tech
Davis Webb was the last man standing in Lubbock following the transfers of Michael Brewer and Baker Mayfield this offseason. The transfers raised a red flag to some but the thing to keep in mind, the best of the bunch is the guy still on campus.
Coming off a Holiday Bowl victory over Arizona State that saw Webb throw for 403 yards and four touchdowns, there's plenty of momentum building behind the former walk on turned lone quarterback on the roster.
Running Kliff Kingsbury's offense, Webb should be in for a huge sophomore campaign. Texas Tech fans should probably keep their fingers crossed, however, that Webb stays healthy throughout the season. If Webb is unable to play for any reason, there's a whole bunch of unknowns coming in behind him.
That being said, it's worth noting that nobody knew who either Mayfield and Webb were at this time last season, either, and both turned out to be fine options.
5. J.W. Walsh - Oklahoma State
If we're going to put J.W. Walsh at number five, it's worth noting that he still has to beat out Daxx Garman and Mason Rudolph for the starting job, but coming out of spring practice, Walsh appears to be the odds on favorite to be under center in the Cowboys opener against Florida State.
Walsh is by far the most experienced starter on the Pokes roster and despite some inconsistencies in his performance, he's had plenty of big games from which to build on. Walsh is the most mobile of the quarterbacks and considering there are plenty of holes to fill on the Cowboys offensive line, Walsh's mobility will pay dividends.
6. Clint Trickett - West Virginia
Trickett didn't take a snap this spring while recovering from shoulder surgery but the Florida State transfer remains on top of the depth chart heading into summer workouts.
Like Walsh at Oklahoma State, Trickett still has to earn the starting job but given the inexperience behind him, Trickett remains the odds on favorite to open the season as the starter.
Trickett will benefit from playing in the same offense for the second straight season which should help the communication problems he experienced at times in 2013. If he can stay healthy behind a revamped offensive line, Trickett has the potential to have a breakout senior season leading the Mountaineers.
7. David Ash/Tyrone Swoopes - Texas
While Walsh and Trickett look to be the starters in Stillwater and Morgantown, the status of the Texas quarterback position is much more up in the air.
Ash suffered a stress fracture in his foot during spring practice and given his injury history, his status remains questionable at best. If healthy, he likely gives the Longhorns and new coach Charlie Strong the best chance to win now.
Swoopes took the starting role in the spring game and struggled to an extent but should still see considerable action if Ash isn't able to return to health for any reason. Whether or not that's a good thing for Texas remains to be seen because all we saw last season was a very small sample size from the freshman in 2013.
Both players have the potential to have big seasons in UT's new offense but the simple fact is there are far more questions than answers at the position heading into 2014.
8. Montell Cozart - Kansas
Following a solid 15 practices this spring, Charlie Weis named Cozart his starting quarterback heading into the fall.
Cozart struggled last season throwing the ball in Weis' offense, but the new offense under John Reagan is a much better match for his skill set as he proved throughout the spring. Expect to see Cozart toting the rock plenty in 2014 which will help to open the passing lines to an improved core of receivers.
Cozart still has much to prove as a starting quarterback in the Big 12, but don't be surprised if he has breakout season in Lawrence this fall.
9. Matt Joeckel - TCU
There is plenty of excitement in Fort Worth following Joeckel's transfer to TCU from Texas A&M. In the Horned Frogs new offense, the ball will be in the air much more than in the past and Joeckel should be the perfect fit to run the offense following two seasons backing up Johnny Manziel.
Joeckel has the potential to move way up this list, but the simple fact remains he has just one career start under his belt so the jury is still how on how he will perform as a full time starter should he indeed win the job.
However it turns out, simply having Joeckel on the roster gives Gary Patterson some much needed depth at the position and options that he didn't have prior to his arrival.
10. Grant Rohach, Sam Richardson - Iowa State
Iowa State's quarterbacks may be at the bottom of the list right now but given Mark Mangino's arrival as the new offensive coordinator, expect to see a much improved Cyclone offense this fall.
That's good news for the ISU QB's who have struggled with consistency over the past several seasons. Richardson and Rohach split the starting duties last season and will battle into the fall for the starting spot. Whoever wins the job is going to the guy that proves he can distribute the ball while limiting turnovers.
The Cyclones have talent at the receiver position led by wide receiver Quenton Bundrage and tight end E.J. Bibbs. That combined with new offensive schemes under Mangino means Iowa State should be putting more points on the scoreboard which will be a welcome site in Ames.
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