Ranking Big 12 Starting Quarterbacks
10. Jared Barnett (Iowa State)
Year: Redshirt Sophomore
2011 Stats: 110 COMP, 220 ATT, 1,201 YDS, 6 TD, 6 INT
Barnett got his feet wet as a freshman, when he played in the Cyclones’ last eight games. His numbers were mediocre and not necessarily anything consistent that would make one think that he has a bright future ahead of him. However, there was one really noticeable exception - Iowa State’s shocking double-overtime victory over previously unbeaten Oklahoma State. Barnett had three TDs and 376 yards passing in that game.
Time will tell if he will have repeat performances in 2012. Without left tackle Kelechi Osemele, it will be a lot tougher.
Photo: Anthony Gruppuso/US Presswire
9. David Ash (Texas)
2011 Stats: 99 COMP, 174 ATT, 1,079 YDS, 4 TD, 8 INT
As we have mentioned, Texas has not been able to find a starting quarterback since Colt McCoy left for the NFL after the 2009 season. That has been part of the reason that the Longhorns, a dominant team in the Big 12, have faded a bit. Well, it’s now up to Ash, who seems to have taken control of the starting QB job from Colt McCoy’s younger brother, Case.
The 2012 season will be a deciding one for Ash. If he makes the leap and holds onto the job - as in, more performances like the 142 yards and a touchdown in the Holiday Bowl win - then the Longhorns might be able to return to prominence. As of right now, that remains a big if.
8. Clint Chelf (Oklahoma State)
Year: Redshirt Junior
2011 Stats: 20 COMP, 30 ATT, 307 YDS, 3 TD, 0 INT
Want a theme for quarterbacks in the Big 12 this fall? Taking over the position from stars. Of course, that’s easier said than done - especially at Oklahoma State, which had perhaps its best season in program history last fall thanks in part to QB Brandon Weeden. The NFL draft pick helped the Cowboys contend for a national title and did it with a big-play offense that featured a connection with fellow draft pick WR Justin Blackmon.
Blackmon will be gone in 2012, but Okie State’s pass-happy attack remains. And Chelf should be able to take over the reins. He has been in the program for three years, watching and learning from Weeden the last two seasons after a redshirt in 2009. Chelf brings athleticism as a dual-threat quarterback - unlike Weeden - and the pedigree as an Oklahoma boy. But while he will be put in place to succeed, it’s not that easy for someone who has thrown just 49 career passes.
7. Dayne Crist (Kansas)
2011 Stats: 15 COMP, 24 ATT, 164 YDS, 0 TD, 1 INT (at Notre Dame)
It’s all about redemption for Crist, who transferred from Notre Dame after last season without having to sit out a year. He originally was recruited by new Kansas coach Charlie Weis - who coached in South Bend for five seasons - as a five-star player coming out of high school.
Crist had a disappointing career with the Irish. He played sparingly in 2011, when he lost his starting job during the season opener to Tommy Rees and appeared in just three more games the rest of the way. We rank him ahead of three on this list for his experience in the pressure cooker at Notre Dame, where he threw 15 TDs in 2010.
Photo: John Rieger/US Presswire
6. Nick Florence (Baylor)
2011 Stats: 9 COMP, 12 ATT, 151 YDS, 2 TD, 0 INT
If you think replacing Brandon Weeden is hard, try being next in line at Baylor after Robert Griffin III - the Heisman winner and all-around good guy on the Bears’ campus. RGIII helped resurrect Baylor’s football program, bringing it to 10 wins last fall and earning himself the No. 2 overall pick in April’s NFL draft.
A senior, Florence will get the chance to show his ability. He appeared in one game last fall, when he tossed two TDs and ran for another while relieving an injured RGIII in the second half of a 66-42 victory over Texas Tech. He also started seven games in 2009. Florence has played fairly well when given the opportunity; let’s see if he can sustain it over the long haul.
Photo: Kevin Jairaj/US Presswire
5. Seth Doege (Texas Tech)
2011 Stats: 398 COMP, 581 ATT, 4,004 YDS, 28 TD, 10 INT
No, Mike Leach isn’t around to help inflate his numbers. But Doege fared well in 2011, when he provided 32 touchdowns - 28 of which came through the air - and added more than 4,000 passing yards. Bet you didn’t know that. That’s because the focus in Lubbock has been on the seven losses in eight games to close the season thanks to the atrocious defense that gave up more than 40 points in six of those games and more than 60 twice.
There’s not much that Doege could do about that. But to be fair, he did throw nine of his 10 interceptions during the season’s last seven games to coincide with the slide. But we think you will see more of the accurate QB that got TTU off to a 5-2 start and beat Oklahoma with four TD passes on Oct. 22.
Photo: Kevin Jairaj/US Presswire
4. Casey Pachall (TCU)
2011 Stats: 228 COMP, 343 ATT, 2921 YDS, 25 TD, 7 INT
Say this about Pachall: He has been tested in his TCU career. The QB threw 25 touchdowns in helping the Horned Frogs to 11 wins last fall in his first year as starter after taking over for the accomplished Andy Dalton. What will be thrown at him in his second year? Oh, just the team’s move to the Big 12.
But we think that Pachall can handle it. The 6-foot-5 Pachall is a former four-star recruit that is the prototype in a BCS conference. He also ripped apart the Mountain West last fall and looked as if he was ready for a call up to the big leagues, so to speak. That 473-yard, five-touchdown performance against Kellen Moore and Boise State is all we needed to see.
Photo: Kirby Lee/US Presswire
3. Collin Klein (Kansas State)
2011 Stats: 161 COMP, 281 ATT, 1918 YDS, 13 TD, 6 INT, 317 RUSH ATT, 1141 RUSH YDS, 27 RUSH TD
Boy, that Bill Snyder is genius. But he can thank Klein for helping his Wildcats get back to the 10-win mark in 2011. The 6-foot-5, 226-pound Klein performed like a classic Big 12 feature back despite playing under center. He ran for 27 touchdowns to go along with his 13 through the air. His output on the ground tied Navy’s Ricky Dobbs for the most rushing TDs for a quarterback in a single season.
His 1,141 yards on the ground - fifth in the Big 12 among all players and third in the nation in QB rushing yards - along with his ground scores set Kansas State records. K-State made the Cotton Bowl on the strength of his workhorse tactics; Klein regularly carried the ball around 25 times per game - even racking up 29 carries and a season-high 144 yards with three TDS in a seven-point loss to Oklahoma State.
Big 12 defenses will try to prepare for his pounding attack next season, making more of an output through the air necessary. But Klein certainly can carry the load.
Photo: Kevin Jairaj/US Presswire
2. Landry Jones (Oklahoma)
2011 Stats: 355 COMP, 562 ATT, 4463 YDS, 29 TD, 15 INT
With Oklahoma set as the No. 1 team in the country entering last season, many thought that Jones could have been a top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Well, the 2011 season didn’t quite work out as well as predicted for Jones, who took a step back from the 38-touchdown output in 2010. He threw a career-high 15 interceptions - throwing five without a touchdown pass in the Sooners’ last three regular-season games.
But a look at Jones’ overall resume makes it hard to drop him any lower on this list. He will enter his fourth year as a starter; Jones has been at the helm of 29 wins during that time and thrown for more than 12,000 yards to go along with 93 scores during his career.
Yes, he will have to get to know a new receiving corps in 2012, but what eligible player would you want under center in a Big 12 college football game more than Jones? We know just one guy.
Photo: Matt Kartozian/US Presswire
1. Geno Smith (West Virginia)
2011 Stats: 346 COMP, 526 ATT, 4385 YDS, 31 TD, 7 INT
Smith and offensive-minded coach Dana Holgorsen are a good combination. There are huge expectations for the Mountaineers, who now will have the benefit of being in the second year of Holgorsen’s system. In the last game it played, WVU routed Clemson, 70-33, in the Orange Bowl as Smith had six touchdowns - five through the air - and 407 yards passing. He threw four TDs in a game twice and three TDs in a contest two more times while throwing just seven interceptions.
The scary part? The Mountaineers have moved from the Big East to the Big 12, but we can see Smith besting his numbers from last year despite the improved competition. He will be a legitimate Heisman candidate in 2012, a quarterback who limits his mistakes and maximizes the opportunity to take advantage of defenses.
And by our standards, that makes him the best in the Big 12.
• Related: Ranking Pac-12 Quarterbacks
• Related: Ranking Big Ten Quarterbacks
• Related: Ranking SEC Quarterbacks
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