Big 12: Cody Thomas

It wasn’t that long ago that an Oklahoma-Oklahoma State matchup was likely to feature two of the Big 12’s -- if not the nation’s -- top signal-callers.

Sam Bradford. Brandon Weeden. Landry Jones. Zac Robinson. Future NFL quarterbacks going head-to-head was commonplace in Bedlam.

It’s a different scenario in 2014.

[+] EnlargeMason Rudolph
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsFreshman Mason Rudolph showed he could move the OSU offense in his college debut against Baylor.
OU and OSU enter the final game of the regular season with more uncertainty at the quarterback position than they began with. OU’s Trevor Knight (neck) and OSU’s J.W. Walsh (foot), the starters in the season openers, are both sidelined with injuries and the future at the position in Norman and Stillwater remains up in the air. The Sooners will start redshirt freshman Cody Thomas while OSU’s starting quarterback remains a “game-time” decision according to coach Mike Gundy with true freshman Mason Rudolph or Daxx Garman set to lead the Pokes' offense.

OU’s Knight will miss his third straight game with the neck injury. The Sooners are hopeful he can return for their bowl game but his long-term future in the air. Yet, even before his injury Knight wasn’t playing like the Sugar Bowl MVP signal-caller that many thought would secure the position for the next few seasons for Bob Stoops' team. He flashes his exceptional potential at times, then makes game-altering mistakes as consistency continues to escape him.

Thus, the door is ajar with Cody Thomas or Baker Mayfield poised to walk through it and become the future behind center in Norman, Oklahoma. Assuming Knight eventually returns to 100 percent health, OU will have four quarterbacks battling to start in the spring, with three of them having Big 12 experience along with redshirting freshman Justice Hansen. Mayfield has impressed while sitting out after transferring from Texas Tech while Hansen has made a steady improvement during his first season on campus.

In Stillwater, Rudolph provided a glimmer of hope with his debut performance against Baylor yet the Cowboys' quarterback position remains the more intriguing of the two. Walsh’s expected return brings a different style of offense to the table. The quarterback run game puts the veteran in the best position to have success. Rudolph couldn’t be more different as a drop-back passer in the mold of Weeden. Add Garman to the mix with the expected growth that comes with game experience and things get even more interesting behind center this offseason as the quarterback who rises to the top will define the style of offense.

While it won’t be a battle of the stars at the quarterback position, Bedlam offers an opportunity for Thomas and Rudolph to plant their stake in the ground and get a head start on their respective quarterback derbies heading into 2015.

Thomas led the Sooners to back-to-back wins over Texas Tech and Kansas in his first two starts but 172 combined passing yards in those two games have left Sooners fans wondering if he has the skill set to lead the crimson and cream to the promised land during his career. OU players and coaches insist they’ve seen growth and increased confidence from Thomas heading into his third start.

“He knows that he’s that guy for us right now,” tackle Tyrus Thompson said. “He plays with a confidence. Bad things happen but he just keeps pushing through and doesn’t let it defeat him.”

Thomas’ game management is improving with experience and the rainy conditions during his second start against the Jayhawks -- along with a record-breaking performance from running back Samaje Perine -- limited his chances to show what he can do.

“[Thomas] is out there confident and feeling like he can make every play,” OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said. “He’s ready to compete. He’s a competitor and that’s the biggest thing we’ve seen in him.”

Rudolph’s performance against BU makes him the odds-on favorite to lead OSU against the Sooners -- particularly with the Cowboys removing his redshirt during the final weeks of the season to take on BU after a head injury forced Garman to the sideline. Rudolph sparked the offense, going 13-of-25 for 281 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his first collegiate action.

“He did a good job of maintaining poise,” OSU offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. “Being on the road like that for the first time in the Big 12, he didn't really know what to expect. We knew that he was a confident young man, but to see it in the lights was a really good thing.”

Rudolph’s numbers weren’t eye-popping; in fact, they were very average compared to the numbers from other OSU quarterbacks in recent seasons. But there’s no getting around the fact that he led the Cowboys' offense to more offensive touchdowns (4) against Baylor than it scored in its previous four games (3) with Garman under center.

“He came in, commanded and acted like he had been there all season,” tight end Jeremy Sexton said. “He really treated himself like he was a veteran and had a strong sense of authority. He definitely stepped up for the game, and I was really impressed with him.”

Saturday's meeting between the in-state rivals won’t answer all the questions but it could create the foundation for the future at quarterback for the Sooners or Cowboys.

What we learned in the Big 12: Week 12

November, 15, 2014
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Here's what we learned about the Big 12 in Week 12:

1. TCU win won’t help: A gritty comeback win on the road in November is never really a bad thing, but a 34-30 escape at Kansas probably won’t help TCU too much in the eyes of College Football Playoff committee members. The Horned Frogs trailed at halftime and were down by 10 midway through the third. A 17-point rally led by Aaron Green (115 second-half rushing yards) saved the day, but don’t be too shocked if a four-point win over one of the Big 12’s worst teams is not rewarded with a top-four ranking this week. TCU didn’t need style points, but a more convincing result against a team Baylor beat by 46 would’ve helped.

[+] Enlarge Ty Slanina
Ed Zurga/Getty ImagesTy Slanina and TCU didn't exactly pile on the style points against Kansas, as the No. 4 Horned Frogs narrowly avoided an upset.
2. Texas is going bowling: The Longhorns, winners of four of their past five, have salvaged and survived a tough 2014 season. Their sixth win, a 28-7 beatdown of Oklahoma State in Stillwater, was as dominant a showing as we’ve seen from them this season. Texas’ defense held OSU to 69 total yards through three quarters and set Tyrone Swoopes up for his third 300-yard passing game this season. The Longhorns get a chance to play spoiler against TCU on Thanksgiving and then will probably spend their holiday in Houston or Memphis. The Cowboys, on the other hand, have lost four straight and still have to play Baylor and Oklahoma. Ouch.

3. When in doubt, Sooners should run: Asking Cody Thomas to throw 17 first-half passes (three of which were intercepted) in his first career start made Oklahoma’s 42-30 win over Texas Tech a lot tougher than it needed to be. Common sense prevailed -- and so did the Sooners’ run game. They ran for 316 of their 384 yards and averaged 9.5 yards per carry in the second half, thanks in large part to another dominant day from Samaje Perine, plus a 100-yard rushing day from Thomas. A solid debut for the redshirt freshman, and one that got much better once he started handing off.

4. Long live the Bowen era? Down four against the nation’s No. 4 team with four minutes left -- can’t ask for a better chance than that, can you? Kansas continues to play inspired ball under interim head coach Clint Bowen, who’s making a compelling case that he’s fit to lead this program into 2015 and beyond. The search process will continue, and AD Sheahon Zenger isn’t going to hand Bowen the keys just yet, but the transformation of this team in recent weeks -- especially since Bowen changed offensive playcallers -- is hard to ignore. The Jayhawks aren’t playing like pushovers.

5. Pokes’ nightmare won’t end: Oklahoma State had a bye week to prepare for its home finale against Texas. It didn’t seem to make any difference. The Pokes were soundly beaten in every aspect of their loss to Texas, and they’ve lost four in a row with trips to Baylor and Oklahoma still on the slate. They’re not going to a bowl game if they can’t pull off one gigantic upset. This was a young team, of which too much was expected after a 5-1 start. It’s going to be a long offseason in Stillwater if OSU can’t put up a fight in its final two games.
While Texas will be without starting quarterback David Ash this weekend, Oklahoma expects to have its backup to quarterback Trevor Knight available Saturday at Tulsa.

With projected backup Cody Thomas dealing with a muscle strain the last couple of weeks, the Sooners got through the opener against Louisiana Tech with Knight as their only healthy and eligible quarterback. Oklahoma is hoping to redshirt true freshman Justice Hansen, and the NCAA hasn’t cleared Texas Tech transfer Baker Mayfield’s eligibility. The Sooners could’ve swung Blake Bell, who’s been at tight end since the spring, back to quarterback in a pinch.

But Bob Stoops won’t have to resort to that option this weekend.

“The projection is that Cody will be ready to go this week,” Stoops said Monday. “Blake is healthy and can always go. He took some [reps] last week and still throwing the ball great. Kids were teasing him that he’s still got it.”

But with Bell doubling as Oklahoma’s starting tight end, that was a break-the-glass plan.

Instead, Stoops kept Knight in the entire game, even if after the Sooners had put Louisiana Tech away before halftime. Knight, who threw for 253 yards but only ran the ball four times, was under explicit instruction not to take any hits.

“It’s just kind of odd we had to finish it out that way,” Stoops said. “But it’s OK. It’s one game.”
With spring ball done, we’ll be reexamining and re-ranking the positional situations of every Big 12 team, beginning Monday with quarterbacks. Some of these outlooks will look different in August. But here’s how we see them post-spring:

1. Baylor (pre-spring ranking: 1): After lighting up Big 12 defenses last fall, Bryce Petty thinks there’s still room for improvement going into his second and final season as Baylor’s starting QB. He spent spring break with QB guru George Whitfield working on pocket presence and completing passes in the face of the blitz. Petty connected on 62 percent of his throws last season while finishing fourth nationally in passing yards. If that completion percentage goes up by even just a little bit, look out.

2. Kansas State (2): Outside Petty, Jake Waters owns the most proven track record in the league. That speaks to the inexperience of the position in the conference, but it also speaks to the way Waters closed out last season. While quarterbacking the Wildcats to wins in six of their seven final games, he actually posted a better Adjusted Total QBR than Petty during that stretch. Even with Tyler Lockett sitting out, Waters still delivered a crisp spring game performance and seems poised for a big final season in the “Little Apple.”

3. Oklahoma (3): Trevor Knight might have been underwhelming in the Sooners’ spring game. But don’t let that be a deception. After recovering from some minor early season injuries in 2013, Knight took a major step forward late in the season, capped with a spectacular MVP performance in the Allstate Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. He’ll have to stay healthy (which was a problem his first season), and he’ll have to become more consistent with his passing accuracy. But the talent and upside is there for Knight to have a monster sophomore campaign. The Sooners still need to iron out who exactly Knight’s backup will be, especially given his penchant for getting nicked up. Cody Thomas and Justice Hansen failed to move the needle much in the spring. Blake Bell is at tight end. And Baker Mayfield, while terrific the entire spring after transferring in from Texas Tech, remains ineligible for 2014.

4. Texas Tech (4): While Knight had a lackluster spring game outing, Davis Webb had a spectacular one. Texas Tech’s lack of QB depth is scary (incoming freshman Patrick Mahomes will be the backup by default), but there’s no getting around how impressive Webb has been dating back to Texas Tech’s dominating win over Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl. Including that game and three open scrimmages in the spring, Webb threw 17 touchdowns with no interceptions. This spring, Webb showed more zip on his passes after adding close to 20 pounds of muscle. He hopes to get even stronger this summer, and has plans to train with Whitfield in May. If Webb goes down with injury, the Red Raiders will probably be toast. But if he stays upright, Tech could emerge as a dark-horse contender for the Big 12 title.

5. Oklahoma State (5): After a series of steady performances over the spring, veteran J.W. Walsh will go into the summer as the overwhelming favorite to open as the starter against Florida State. Even though he struggled with his accuracy and decision-making in 2013, the Oklahoma State coaching staff loves Walsh’s leadership, toughness and commitment. If Walsh can revert to completing passes at the rate he did as a redshirt freshman two seasons ago (67 percent), he could enjoy plenty of success. If he doesn’t, the Cowboys have a couple of other interesting options, who both had their moments in the spring. Walk-on Daxx Garman has the strongest arm on the roster. True freshman Mason Rudolph can make all the throws, too, though clearly still has a steep learning curve.

6. TCU (8): The Horned Frogs made the biggest jump on this list with the addition of transfer Matt Joeckel, who after backing up Johnny Manziel the past two seasons should be the odds-on favorite to take over as the starter. Coming from Texas A&M, Joeckel actually has the most experience among TCU’s other QBs operating the offense Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie installed during the spring. Joeckel’s arrival gives TCU the luxury to bring talented incoming freshmen Foster Sawyer and Grayson Muehlstein along more slowly. It also allows the Horned Frogs to use Trevone Boykin the way they did last season, as a receiver and situational quarterback. With only one career start, Joeckel, of course, has much to prove. But the same goes for the majority of the league’s QBs.

7. Texas (6): The Longhorns ended spring ball with Tyrone Swoopes as their starting QB. That didn’t go well in the spring game, as Swoopes struggled mightily through most of the scrimmage. Texas could move back up the Big 12 QB rankings if USC transfer Max Wittek announces his intentions to enroll. But until he does, he can’t be counted on. Throw in David Ash’s foot injury and concussion past and true freshman Jerrod Heard’s inexperience, and Charlie Strong’s first summer in Austin figures to include plenty of QB uncertainty.

8. West Virginia (7): With Clint Trickett sitting out the spring after shoulder surgery, juco transfer Skyler Howard had ample opportunity to make a mark. Instead, the Mountaineers exited spring the way they started it -- with Trickett still atop the depth chart. A dearth of options is not coach Dana Holgorsen’s problem. Veteran Paul Millard outplayed Howard in the spring game. Logan Moore emerged after moving from receiver to QB before the spring. And four-star signee William Crest will join the fray this summer. But Holgorsen must get better QB play than he did last fall for the Mountaineers to recover from a disastrous losing season.

9. Iowa State (9): According to coach Paul Rhoads, the Cyclones’ QB competition will linger into mid-August. But Grant Rohach will go into the summer with the clear edge after outperforming Sam B. Richardson and Joel Lanning in the spring game. Rohach showed promise late last season, leading Iowa State to a come-from-behind, overtime victory at West Virginia in the season finale. But after furiously rotating through QBs in recent years, the Cyclones understandably want to give this derby due process to play out.

10. Kansas (10): Six of the league’s teams went into the spring with a quarterback battle. Of those, only the Jayhawks came out with an unequivocal starter. After sophomore Montell Cozart outshined Jake Heaps and UCLA transfer T.J. Millweard in the spring game, coach Charlie Weis wasted little time in declaring Cozart the starter. Cozart still has a long ways to go, especially with his passing. But at least Kansas now has a young dual-threat QB with upside to build around.

Spring game review: Oklahoma

April, 14, 2014
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The excitement surrounding Oklahoma’s football program is night and day compared to a year ago. The Sooners announced 43,500 fans in attendance for their spring game on Saturday, a school record. Last year’s announced crowd was 29,200. With the Trevor Knight era fully underway, here’s a recap of OU’s spring game.

[+] EnlargeMayfield
Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY SportsFormer Texas Tech quarterback Baker Mayfield was impressive in the spring game.
Best offensive performance: Baker Mayfield stole the show, completing 9 of 9 pass attempts for 125 yards and two touchdowns. The former Texas Tech quarterback, who transferred to OU in January after earning Big 12 offensive freshman of the year honors last season, is ineligible for the 2014 season. Nonetheless, Mayfield outshined Knight, the Sooners’ projected starter this fall, with his flawless outing. Mayfield has Big 12 game experience, and it showed throughout the spring game. He’ll spend this fall giving OU’s defense fits while leading the scout team.

Best defensive performance: Linebacker Eric Striker looked like he was in midseason form with two sacks and one tackle for loss. Striker, who starred in OU’s Allstate Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama, picked up right where he left off. He continually got into the offensive backfield and appeared unblockable at times coming off the edge. He could be poised for a dominant junior season.

Best debut: True freshman Dimitri Flowers looks ready to help the offense immediately. One of the scariest scenes of the spring game was Flowers lying on the ground, clutching his knee. Fortunately for the Sooners, it was just a hyper-extended knee for the fullback/tight end hybrid. Flowers has impressed with his football IQ and receiving skills during his short time on campus as an early enrollee. He tied for the team high with four receptions and finished with 40 receiving yards. He should be a key contributor this fall.

Notable play: Sophomore linebacker Jordan Evans had the hit of the day against K.J. Young on a receiver screen. Evans’ hit popped the ball up in the air, allowing defensive tackle Jordan Wade to secure Knight’s lone interception of the day. It was a key play because Evans played with the No. 1 defense after returning starter Frank Shannon, OU's leading tackler in 2013, missed the game for personal reasons. Shannon's status remains unclear, so the Sooners could turn to Evans to be the man alongside Dominique Alexander this fall if Shannon is unable to return. Evans looked ready for the task on Saturday.

Developing storyline: OU’s defense clearly won the day. The Sooners are young, talented and versatile on that side of the ball, led by Striker and returning All-Big 12 defensive end Charles Tapper. OU’s secondary, a potential concern with the loss of two-time All-Big 12 cornerback Aaron Colvin, had a strong day in coverage, particularly the starting unit. Sophomore Dakota Austin was solid sliding into Colvin’s former spot opposite Zack Sanchez. If this unit continues to develop, it could be one of the best and more versatile defenses in the nation.

Biggest question answered: Few, if any, questions got answered. The defense was dominant, but that wasn't surprising, and nobody separated themselves in the running back derby or backup quarterback race. Keith Ford and Alex Ross will welcome true freshmen Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine into the running back competition this summer. At quarterback, Cody Thomas outperformed Justice Hansen, but didn’t put a stranglehold on the backup quarterback position heading into the summer. The best development of the game was a relatively injury-free outing.

Biggest question emerging: Which Knight will lead the Sooners in 2014? He didn't look like the Allstate Sugar Bowl MVP, going 5-of-14 for 53 yards and one interception. Evans' hit led to his lone pick, but he was inefficient and unproductive. The defense carries a large portion of the blame and the receiving corps, without top target Sterling Shepard and potential starter Durron Neal, also contributed to Knight's underwhelming spring finale. Knight knows he will have to perform much better for OU's national title dreams to approach reality.

Quotable: “I don’t know that you ever get anything answered in 15 practices. What I feel like is there has been improvement. Players that haven’t had a ton of experience have more now. We’ll build on it.” -- OU coach Bob Stoops
Oklahoma will hold its spring game on Saturday, and there are several storylines to keep an eye on for the Allstate Sugar Bowl champions. Here's a closer look at what to watch in OU's spring game.

When: Saturday at 2 p.m.

[+] EnlargeTrevor Knight
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesTrevor Knight won't play a lot in OU's spring game, but he has a chance to showcase his development.
Where: Oklahoma Memorial Stadium

What to watch for:

  • Has Trevor Knight continued to develop? Don’t expect the Sooners quarterback to get a lot of work during the spring game as his health is a top priority. Yet, Knight is still a young and relatively inexperienced quarterback who needs quality reps. The spring game will show if he carries himself like a veteran and if his teammates are responding to him as the man in command of OU’s offense. A strong one or two series would show Knight is continuing to develop as a player despite not being pushed by daily competition for the starting job.
  • What about behind him? Quarterbacks Cody Thomas, a redshirt freshman, and Justice Hansen, a true freshman, are raw and untested. The spring game gives the duo the chance to show they can handle the No. 2 quarterback job if called upon in the fall. Thomas has been splitting his time with the Sooners’ baseball team with no ill effects on his football duties, while Hansen enrolled early and is adjusting to life as a college football player.
  • Who will get the bulk of the carries? OU will welcome ESPN 300 signees Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine to its running backs group this summer. So this spring is the opportunity for sophomore running backs Keith Ford and Alex Ross to cement their spots at the front of the line alongside Knight. Ford was a pleasant surprise as a true freshman. He earned carries before fumble troubles placed him on the sideline. Ross has been one of the stars of the spring with coaches and teammates alike lauding his explosiveness in scrimmages. Saturday is their chance to show they’re ready to fill the void left by the departures of Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and Roy Finch.
  • DB Ahmad Thomas: It would be a surprise if Thomas doesn’t see the field a lot this fall. The sophomore is proving to be versatile and talented while lining up at multiple positions in OU’s defense. After enrolling early in January 2012, Thomas played in 12 games as a true freshman and finished with nine tackles in limited action. Now, he appears poised to be a key piece of the Sooners defense as a sophomore. The Sooners are tinkering to find the best spot for Thomas, but a strong spring game could reaffirm his place as one of the breakout stars this spring.
  • New names: Several young players are creating a buzz, including receiver Jordan Smallwood, cornerback Dakota Austin and defensive tackle Charles Walker. Smallwood’s name has repeatedly come up this spring, as he’s made a solid impression after missing the 2013 season with a broken foot. Austin has been competing with Stanvon Taylor and Cortez Johnson to replace All-Big 12 cornerback Aaron Colvin, and, while undersized, his coverage ability and competitive nature have shone through. Walker has earned a reputation as a future star with his exceptional size and speed combination, so Saturday will be the first glimpse at the redshirt freshman. The spring game will give that trio and many other young Sooners the opportunity to show they can be contributors on offense or defense in 2014.

Big 12 pre-spring breakdown: QBs

February, 18, 2014
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As we wait for the start of spring ball, we’ll be examining and ranking the positional situations of every team, beginning Tuesday with quarterback. Some of these outlooks will look different after the spring. But here’s how they compare at the moment:

[+] EnlargePetty
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesBryce Petty's return leaves Baylor sitting pretty at the most important position on the field.
1. Baylor: The Bears have the reigning first-team All-Big 12 quarterback in Bryce Petty, who should be even better in his second season as a starter. In 2013, Petty led the Big 12 in QBR, and was on the short list of Heisman candidates until mid-November. His play dipped a bit late in the season, but Petty still finished with 44 total touchdowns to just three interceptions. He will start out on the Heisman short list again in 2014. The Bears also have a viable backup in Seth Russell.

2. Kansas State: Junior college transfer Jake Waters was one of the most improved players in the league over the course of the season. Waters split time with Daniel Sams through the first half of the year, but eventually took command of the starting position and spearheaded the Wildcats to wins in six of their last seven games to ride a wave of momentum into the offseason. Like Petty, Waters should only get better in his second season as a starter. Sams figures to be moved around this spring, but he has proven he can step in at QB, too.

3. Oklahoma: The Sooners were one of the most inconsistently quarterbacked teams in the league, notably during double-digit losses to Texas and Baylor. But with one game, OU’s situation looks completely different. In just his fifth career start, freshman Trevor Knight torched Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, leading the Sooners to one of the biggest upsets in BCS bowl history. Insiders in Norman always thought Knight had the talent. The switch just finally flipped in New Orleans. Even with Blake Bell moving to tight end, the Sooners have depth with former four-star QBs Cody Thomas and Justice Hansen.

4. Texas Tech: Davis Webb also delivered one of the best bowl performances of any quarterback. After Baker Mayfield transferred, the plan was for Webb to split snaps with Michael Brewer against Arizona State. But Webb played so well, that plan was scrapped. Webb had the fourth-best QBR of any bowl to lead Tech to the upset. Webb actually played pretty well before the bowl, too, and has a promising future in Lubbock. The Red Raiders, however, are thin here. With Mayfield and Brewer transferring, Patrick Mahomes is Tech’s only other scholarship QB, and he doesn’t arrive until the summer.

5. Oklahoma State: To enjoy success here, the Cowboys will need J.W. Walsh to return to his efficient 2012 form. Or, they will need Mason Rudolph to emerge as a true freshman the way Wes Lunt did two springs ago. Walsh took a step back as a sophomore. He completed 67 percent of his passes in 2012, but just 59 percent last season, and eventually lost his job back to Clint Chelf. Rudolph, the gem of the 2014 recruiting class, had no such issues completing passes in high school, connecting on 72 percent for 64 touchdowns while leading his team to a state championship. If Walsh’s arm strength continues to be a problem, Rudolph could quickly go from QB of the future to QB of the now.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesA healthy David Ash would be a welcome sight for Charlie Strong.
6. Texas: The Longhorns might have the most fluid quarterback predicament in the Big 12. Quarterback play haunted Mack Brown the last four years, but will it haunt Charlie Strong in his first season? That could hinge heavily on the health of David Ash, who missed almost all of last season because of concussion issues. The school says Ash will be ready to go for the spring. But if he suffers another head injury, the Longhorns could be in a fix. Tyrone Swoopes has wheels and a big arm, but still needs a lot of polish, and four-star signee Jerrod Heard won’t be in Austin until the summer.

7. West Virginia: The Mountaineers have no fewer than four quarterbacks with a reasonable chance of becoming the starter. Paul Millard and Clint Trickett shared duties last season, though neither seized the position. Millard is playing baseball, and Trickett is still banged up. That could open the door for junior-college transfer Skyler Howard to make a move on the job. Keep an eye on true freshman William Crest, though. Crest, the No. 11 dual-threat QB in the country, won’t arrive until after the spring. But the Mountaineers have had success with mobile freshman quarterbacks before.

8. TCU: The Horned Frogs first must decide what they’re going to do with Trevone Boykin. But they can’t afford to leave him at receiver until another viable option surfaces at QB. Tyler Matthews didn’t look ready in limited action, but the Horned Frogs have a pair of intriguing possibilities in Foster Sawyer and Grayson Muehlstein. Neither, however, will arrive until the summer, meaning TCU’s QB situation will remain unresolved past the spring.

9. Iowa State: The Cyclones have the requisite skill talent to bounce back from a disappointing season. But that won’t happen until they stop playing musical quarterbacks. The answer could be Grant Rohach, who played well late in his redshirt freshman season. Sam B. Richardson will also be in the mix. Richardson was never healthy last year, and had the same kind of promising finish in 2012 that Rohach delivered last season. The darkhorse will be Joel Lanning, who redshirted last year. Lanning, who signed with Iowa State over Nebraska, has the arm to make this a three-way battle.

10. Kansas: The Jayhawks add another player to the Jake Heaps/Montell Cozart timeshare in UCLA transfer T.J. Millweard. Neither Heaps nor Cozart did enough to warrant full-time snaps, so Millweard, a former four-star recruit, will have his chance this spring.


NORMAN, Okla. -- The competition to become the starting quarterback at the University of Oklahoma just became a two-man race.

OU coach Bob Stoops has confirmed that sophomore quarterback Kendal Thompson suffered a broken foot during Thursday morning's practice, knocking the sophomore out of the preseason battle to replace Landry Jones. Thompson, who could return early in the 2013 season after having surgery on Thursday, was set to battle junior Blake Bell and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight during preseason camp.

Bell and Knight will now only have to split reps two ways and see increased opportunities to impress coaches and win the job.

Bell, who earned the name Belldozer with 24 rushing touchdowns during his first two seasons at OU, has the most experience of the quarterbacks on the roster and likely has the edge over Knight due to his three years in Norman and overall experience with the Sooners’ offensive concepts.

Nonetheless, it’s unwise to count out Knight, who drew rave reviews during his redshirting season in 2012 as he ran OU’s scout team. Knight was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2012 who turned down LSU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and others to sign with the Sooners. Bell has also only attempted 20 passes in his career and hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass.

Incoming freshman Cody Thomas is the other scholarship quarterback on the roster but faces long odds to insert his name into the competition.

The preseason injury is disappointing news for Thompson, who was poised to battle for the starting position and potentially make an impact on the program for his first time since stepping on campus in 2011.
Dubai! ... DUBAI!
Gotta get down on fried egg.

Lunch links: Money can't buy Texas wins

June, 3, 2013
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Gotta love college baseball. Kansas State is inexplicably enjoying one of the best athletic years in its history. Hiring Bill Snyder to coach the baseball team, too? Great move.
Oklahoma's top commits have all signed their letters of intent and are locked in to becoming future Sooners. Here's who Oklahoma's bringing in from our ESPN 300, the list of the nation's top 300 prospects:
Not many surprises for the Sooners, though Dimon had some power issues at his high school and couldn't get his letter of intent to the Oklahoma coaches until 8:48 a.m. Oklahoma's class is at No. 20 in the ESPN class rankings, the same spot it began the day. Byrd also made headlines last month when word surfaced that coaches had told him he's likely going to be able to start at safety from the moment he gets on campus. Very interesting stuff. Oklahoma signed a lot of high-quality defensive talent in this class, as you can see, and Taylor is likely to play cornerback for the Sooners.

Mostly a drama-free day across the Big 12 on the recruiting trail.
June is nearly over, and as we head into July, it's time to update the Big 12 recruiting scorecard. You can see each full class by clicking on the team name, but you'll need ESPN Insider access to see the full coverage.

Here's where the Big 12 stands for the respective 2013 classes, which can't sign letters of intent until February.

Remember, this card is in pencil. Players are free to switch commitments until they sign a letter of intent with a school.

1. Texas Longhorns

Total commits: 15
ESPN 150 commits: 7
Key commits: QB Tyrone Swoopes, C Darius James, OT Jake Raulerson, OT Kent Perkins
Class update: Texas lost the nation's top receiver, Ricky Seals-Jones, but could pick him up later down the line. It added junior-college tight end Geoff Swaim and safety Erik Huhn.

2. Oklahoma Sooners

Total commits: 12
ESPN 150 commits: 4
Key commits: RB Greg Bryant, RB Keith Ford, DE D.J. Ward, QB Cody Thomas
Class update: Oklahoma added three commits since our last update, including a new ESPN 150 member in Thomas. It also added linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni, receiver Jordan Smallwood and athlete Austin Bennett.

3. Baylor Bears

Total commits: 13
ESPNU 150 commits: 1
Key commits: WR Robbie Rhodes, QB Chris Johnson, OLB Raaquan Davis, RB Johnny Jefferson
Class update: Baylor got the biggest pickup in the entire Big 12 since our last update, adding the nation's No. 5 receiver in Rhodes. That allowed the Bears to crack the national top 25, but they were already third in the Big 12. Baylor also added safeties Taion Sells and Austin Jupe as well as outside linebacker Xavier Phillips.

4. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Total commits: 10
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: WR Fred Ross Jr., WR Marcell Ateman, DT Vincent Taylor, OT Zach Crabtree
Class update: The Cowboys added four commits between our April and May updates, then added five more in the past month to leapfrog Texas Tech. OSU has three commits in the ESPN 300, and six players with three stars. It added Taylor, quarterback Luke Del Rio, safety Jordan Sterns, guard Rami Hammad and running back Corion Webster.

5. TCU Horned Frogs

Total commits: 9
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: OLB Paul Whitmill, OLB Sammy Douglas, OG Patrick Morris
Class update: TCU added five commits since our last update, and now has seven three-star commits. The Horned Frogs hopped over Kansas State and Texas Tech after adding defensive end Bryson Henderson, tight end Charlie Reid, cornerback Steve Wesley, tight end Bryson Burtnett and safety George Baltimore. (Future All-Name teamer?)

6. West Virginia Mountaineers

Total commits: 7
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: QB Chavas Rawlins, OT Marcell Lazard, RB DeShawn Coleman
Class update: WVU added three commits since we last updated, getting a nice boost from a slow start on the trail. Three players are four-stars and four are three stars. Inside linebacker Darrien Howard pledged to the Mountaineers, as did guard Tyler Tezeno and inside linebacker Elijah Wellman. Howard is the class' first player from Texas.

7. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Total commits: 7
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: ATH Devin Lauderdale, WR Dylan Cantrell, OG Baylen Brown
Class update: Texas Tech didn't add anyone since our last update, but has two four-star recruits and three three-star commits.

8. Kansas Jayhawks

Total commits: 5
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: TE Ben Johnson, LB Kellen Ash, QB Jordan Darling
Class update: Kansas added two commits since our last update -- Darling and cornerback Colin Spencer -- and jumped ahead of in-state rival K-State. Each of Kansas' commits is ranked.

9. Kansas State Wildcats

Total commits: 4
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: ILB Tanner Wood, DE Jordan Willis, WR LeAndrew Gordon
Class update: Kansas State hasn't added a commit since our update a month ago, but all four commits have at least three stars.

10. Iowa State Cyclones

Total commits: 4
ESPNU 150 commits: 0
Key commits: QB Trevor Hodge, OG Jacob Homa, S Kamari Syrie
Class notes: Iowa State wasn't even on the scoreboard the last time we updated, getting all four of its 2013 commits in the last month. However, only one recruit, Hodge, is ranked. It also added Homa, Syrie and tight end Emmanuel Bibbs.

Two Big 12 teams in recruiting top 25

June, 11, 2012
6/11/12
1:45
PM ET
The ESPN RecruitingNation staff released its first top-25 rankings Insider for the 2013 recruiting season, but only two Big 12 teams made the cut.

That's a far cry from last year, when four Big 12 teams finished in the top 25.

The two teams who made the rankings? Sit down and try to contain your shock ...

It's the Sooners and Longhorns.

Both checked in inside the top 15, starting with Texas at No. 4.
The Longhorns took a huge punch to the gut on Tuesday with the unexpected decommitment of Ricky Seals-Jones, a five-star recruit ranked as the No. 1 wide receiver in the country. But they still have a class to feel good about.

Seven of their 14 commitments are represented in the ESPN 150, including Darius James, who checks in as the No. 17 prospect, No. 2 offensive linemen and No. 1 center overall. He figures to be a future stalwart of Texas' offensive line that will be in charge of protecting quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, the No. 22 prospect overall. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Swoopes dipped in the latest rankings. He began as the No. 9 prospect and top-rated quarterback. He's now the No. 4 QB on the list.

Oklahoma landed at No. 12 on the list with about eight months before signing day, and the Sooners have nine commits, including four in the ESPN 150.
The patient approach was never more prevalent than at quarterback, and for OU, good things did come to those who wait. After a lengthy search, the Sooners found their future signal-caller in Cody Thomas, who debuted in the updated ESPN 150 at No. 93 after having not been ranked in the initial release.

You'll need ESPN Insider to see the full rankings, but a nice start for the Sooners and Longhorns. If you're curious, Michigan is No. 1 and those Aggies you may remember are all the way up at No. 6.

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