With all the talk of 2013 being a banner year for college quarterbacks, for some reason – with the exception of Bryce Petty – it seemed to pass the rest of the Big 12 conference by. That could change this season with a bunch of guys who started to cut their teeth last year stepping into a bigger light. With the league growing as an offensive powerhouse, this could be a welcome return, and this list could look completely different at the end of the season. Feel free to offer any opinions, objections or abuse in the comments section, or find me on Twitter.
10. Montell Cozart, Kansas
Jake Heaps was the starter here last season, but he’s since transferred to Miami, leaving the door open for Cozart, who was announced as starter at the end of spring. While the sophomore’s promotion had much to do with the competition lagging behind, there is plenty to like about Cozart. He’s a speedy, elusive runner who can be a nightmare in space, and has made enough of an impact on Charlie Weis that the offense will be changed to highlight Cozart’s strengths accordingly. As a passer, Cozart has a lot to learn, which was evident last season when he completed just 23 of 63 passes for 227 yards and 2 interceptions, but the potential is there. The Jayhawks still have a way to go before their talent matches the rest of the conference, but Cozart will still have some nice weapons to work with this season. Watch this space.
As of spring camp, Boykin has the job to himself. Casey Pachall graduated, then Tyler Matthews transferred, and the rest of the competition is far behind. That being said, there is trouble on the horizon in the shape of Joeckel, who may be better known as Johnny Manziel’s backup, but certainly has the skills to be successful here. After sitting behind Manziel for 2 years at Texas A&M, the senior was expected to compete for the starting job in College Station during spring camp, but fell behind Kenny Allen and Kyle Allen, hence his transfer. Joeckel will compete with the more experienced Boykin in camp at TCU, but has his work cut out for him. Boykin has played in 24 games, passing for 3252 yards and 22 TDs, with 17 interceptions. Joeckel has played in 11 games, mostly in mop-up duty, passing for 335 yards and 2 scores. Keep an eye on this battle in the summer.
8. Clint Trickett, West Virginia
The Mountaineer passing attack last season left many yearning for the Geno Smith days, as none came close to replicating their predecessor’s lofty performances. Trickett started the majority of games, stepping in when Ford Childress went down with a season-ending knee injury. Trickett sustained a shoulder injury of his own, but still played in the final game of the season, before sitting out spring camp to convalesce. The competition was expected to begin again in spring camp, with Trickett chasing the eight ball due to his rehab. However, much to everyone’s surprise, coach Dana Holgorsen announced Trickett would be the starter this season. The ex-Florida State Seminole completed just 52.8% of his passes last season, throwing for 1605 yards and 7 TDs, with 7 interceptions. Holgorsen knows a thing or two about quarterbacks and has earned the benefit of the doubt, let’s hope he knows what he is doing here.
7. Grant Rohach, Iowa State**
Another training camp battle has commenced between Rohach, 2012 majority starter Sam Richardson, and redshirt freshman Joel Lanning. Richardson started the season, but began to lose playing time to Rohach midway through the year, before the freshman took over the starting role. Richardson was okay, completing 55% of his attempts for 1397 yards and 11 TDs, with 7 interceptions. Rohach completed 57.6% for 1208 yards and 8 TDs, with 7 interceptions, but finished the season on a high note, throwing for a combined 631 yards and 6 TDs in the last 2 games – both wins. Rohach hasn’t been handed the job yet, but based on his strong finish in 2013 and his performance throughout spring camp, he is certainly in pole position.
6. David Ash, Texas
Case McCoy is finally out of the picture, leaving David Ash and Tyrone Swoopes as the primary contenders for the starting job in spring camp. Ash, who won the starting job the last two seasons, has looked pretty good thus far, apart from one small problem – he can’t stay healthy. Last season, Ash made it through three games before he was lost for the year, leaving the Longhorns in the less reliable hands of McCoy. This year, Ash couldn’t even make it through spring camp, breaking his foot with a week to go. The thing is, apparent frailty aside, Ash is the better option for the Longhorns, he just needs to stay off the trainer’s bench. Texas may have been even better last season with Ash on board, and if he can stay healthy, the Longhorns could be a factor in 2014.