- David Ubben, College Football
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This time last year, we broke down who in the Big 12's would most likely hit the benchmarks for their positions in 2011. The quarterbacks came first.
The clear line designating the best at the position is 3,000 yards. Plenty will top the number, and some from the Big 12 will even hit 4,000 yards.
In 2011, 39 quarterbacks broke the 3,000-yard mark.
Well, it's time to grade the prediction.
I broke down all 10 teams' prospects at having a 3,000-yard passer, but picked only six to do it.
1. Landry Jones, Oklahoma -- Jones topped 3,000 yards as a freshman filling in for an injured Sam Bradford in 2009 and had 4,718 yards last season, almost 500 yards more than anyone else in the Big 12. He also had the most attempts of any quarterback in college football. It's safe to say he's got this.
Final yardage tally: 4,463 yards
Thoughts: Easy pick here. Not much to say.
2. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State -- Weeden is probably a good bet to clear 4,000 yards, too. He had 4,277 last season and brings back a Biletnikoff Award winner at receiver in Justin Blackmon. He and Jones should be locked in a season-long battle for a spot as the first-team All-Big 12 quarterback, among other honors.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 4,727 yards
Thoughts: Weeden definitely won that battle with Jones, but RG3 surpassed even the highest expectations for him in 2011, winning the Heisman. Still, no contest on the 3,000-yard mark.
3. Seth Doege, Texas Tech -- Texas Tech has had a 3,000-yard passer for 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in college football. Coach Tommy Tuberville wants to run it more, but not that much more. Doege looks likely to slide into a spot as the next in line for two seasons.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 4,004 yards
Thoughts: His offense sort of crumbled around him thanks to injuries -- his top two running backs and receivers both missed significant time, and the offensive line was banged up, too -- but Doege did a great job continuing the quarterback tradition at Tech as a first-year starter.
4. Robert Griffin III, Baylor -- Griffin's 3,501 yards was his first 3,000-yard season, and he showed lots of development as a passer during his sophomore campaign. That should continue as a junior in 2011, and he's got a deep, talented receiving corps.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 4,293 yards
Thoughts: Well, undershot this one. We all knew RG3 had upside, but legitimate Heisman potential? He surprised us all with that one. He also helped Kendall Wright win the Big 12 receiving title, too.
5. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M -- Tannehill only had 1,638 yards last season, but he did it in just more than six games. With Jeff Fuller and a handful of other capable receivers, he should clear the mark easily in 2010.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 3,744 yards
Thoughts: Tannehill had his problems in 2011, namely throwing a league-high 15 interceptions and stumbling to a 7-6 record, but he was productive. He parlayed his season and a half of experience into a top-10 draft pick. Not bad. Fuller, though, was another story. We'll get to the receivers later.
6. Tyler Gabbert/James Franklin, Missouri -- I don't have much doubt that the pair will combine for at least 3,000 yards, but Missouri has a handful of solid running backs and both look like capable quarterbacks. If one struggles, the other could fill in and leave the Tigers without a 3,000-yard man at the helm.
Final 2011 yardage tally: 2,872 yards
Thoughts: Gabbert transferred just weeks after this was written, but Franklin took a hold of the job and played well as a sophomore. I knew he'd run and change Mizzou's offense a bit, but I'm not sure I expected him to run as much as he did (217 rushes). He handled it well, but it was surprising. He threw the ball 98 fewer times in 2011 (377 attempts) than Blaine Gabbert did in 2010 (475 attempts).
I didn't believe Texas, Iowa State, Kansas State or Kansas would have a 3,000-yard passer. None of them did. In fact, none of them even had a 2,000-yard passer, even though K-State and Kansas started the same quarterback in each game all season.
All things considered, how would you grade my picks?
16hMax Olson and Jake Trotter