When K-State takes the field against North Dakota State in late August this year, who will assume the starting quarterback spot remains an open question. What is known is that whoever starts under center, they will have a solid chance to earn all-conference honors in what should be a wide open race for quarterback of the year in the Big 12 in 2013.
The Big 12 lost more talent at the QB position than any other league this year: Collin Klein, Landry Jones, Nick Florence, and Geno Smith have all moved on. In fact, seven starting quarterbacks in the Big 12 last year were seniors and their departures leave a dearth of experience. With so much turnover and turmoil, The Jug provides a quick look at what the conference has to offer (in two parts!), and what this means for K-State:
Baylor: Departing quarterback Nick Florence led the league in passing yards last year with 4,309 and completed 61.6 percent of his passes. He likely would have been picked up as an undrafted free agent should he have chosen to attempt a career in the NFL, but chose instead to continue his studies and will receive his master’s degree in December. The team has no proven quarterback returning, and junior Bryce Petty (ten attempts in 2012, seven completions) is expected step into the role.
Iowa State: Iowa State will be unveiling both a new quarterback and a new formation as the Cyclones have committed to running the pistol this upcoming season. With leading quarterback Steele Jantz gone and Jared Barnett announcing his transfer in January, Iowa State will look to either Sam Richardson or Grant Rohach. Richardson was third on the depth chart last year and did throw for 541 yards in four games. Barnett was featured in the game against K-State, completing just 16 of 36 passes.
Kansas: Starter Dayne Crist has exhausted his eligibility and was extended a mini-camp invite by the Kansas City Chiefs. However, Crist fell out of favor in the second half of the season and the team is happy to fully turn the reigns over to Jake Heaps. The transfer from BYU sat out last year and played in 22 games for the Cougars. Redshirt sophomore Michael Cummings will also see time, as he saw time in eight games last year (notably the second half against K-State when Crist was pulled after a disastrous start to the second half).
Oklahoma: Landry Jones entered the 2012 season a Heisman hopeful until his team was limited to under 20 points against K-State IN NORMAN while throwing an interception and fumbling away a football which K-State recovered in the end zone. Blake Bell, who saw a lot of goal line time last year due to his size and ability to punch through quarterback sneaks, will get the first opportunity to replace him. K-State fans will remember Bell for trying to run one of those infamous sneaks last year, only to fumble the ball (and a chance to win the game) away.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys had a veritable merry-go-round of quarterbacks last year due to injuries. Clint Chelf, J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt all return after having started at least one game each last year. They have been named co-starters. Lunt started the game against K-State last year as a freshman, but threw three interceptions and left with an injury in the third quarter. He also had 184 yards and one touchdown when Chelf came in to replace him. Chelf was 16/27 and had only one interception to his one touchdown pass, but neither player left Manhattan feeling good about the team’s 44-30 loss.
Edit: 12 hours after this post went up, it was announced that Wes Lunt would seek to transfer from Oklahoma State.
To read the second half our analysis, click here.