Big 12: Lynn Dickey

Which Big 12 school has produced the most starting NFL QBs?

August, 24, 2009
8/24/09
8:08
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin There was an outstanding piece of research that appeared over the weekend in the Altoona (Pa.) Mirror that set out to ascertain a question that has been vexing over the years. Namely, which college deserves the title of "Quarterback U" for its proficiency in producing college players who eventually started games in the NFL? The findings were very interesting, particularly in terms of which schools have produced starting NFL quarterbacks and which ones have not in the modern era, starting with the 1966 season. Purdue earns an argument in the "Quarterback U" debate because its alums have started more NFL games (704) than any other school. Also, Purdue is the only school to have four quarterbacks start at least 100 games (Jim Everett, Len Dawson, Drew Brees and Bob Griese). USC leads the list with 15 quarterbacks who have started at least one game, followed by Notre Dame (13) and Washington (12). The Big 12, with its previous tradition of ground-based offenses in the old Big Eight and Southwest conferences, struggles mightily in this comparison. Here's the list of Big 12 schools and their starting quarterbacks. In a way, the numbers are a little skewed because it credits the starts of former college quarterbacks like Colorado's Kordell Stewart and Missouri's Brad Smith. Both have gone on to pro careers at positions other than quarterback. Here's how the Altoona Mirror stacks up the Big 12 programs in terms of starting quarterbacks and NFL starts. Kansas State (249 games, four starters): Steve Grogan 135, Lynn Dickey 111, Dennis Morrison 2, Dan Manucci 1. Kansas (190 games, three starters): John Hadl 135, Bobby Douglass 53, Frank Seurer 2. Colorado (95 games, two starters): Kordell Stewart 87, Koy Detmer 8. Nebraska (79 games, six starters): Vince Ferragamo 53, Jerry Tagge 12, Bruce Mathison 9, Dennis Claridge 3, David Humm 1, Terry Luck 1. Iowa State (52 games, four starters): David Archer 23, Sage Rosenfels 12, Seneca Wallace 12, Tim Van Galder 5. Texas Tech (47 games, one starter): Billy Joe Tolliver 47. Baylor (45 games, five starters): Cody Carlson 19, Don Trull 15, Buddy Humphrey 5, Cotton Davidson 4, Brad Goebel 2. Texas (44 games, two starters): Vince Young 29, Chris Simms 15. Missouri (18 games, three starters): Brad Smith 13, Steve Pisarkiewicz 4, Gary Lane 1. Texas A&M (16 games, three starters): Edd Hargett 7, Gary Kubiak 5, Bucky Richardson 4. Oklahoma State (14 games, one starter): Rusty Hilger 14. Oklahoma (no games, no starters). The study also credits a quarterback with where he finished school rather than started. So, Troy Aikman is considered to have attended UCLA rather than Oklahoma. As the story points out, it's interesting that a Division II program like Texas A&M-Commerce has been able to turn out three starters -- more than traditional powers Texas and Oklahoma combined. The Big 12's recent ascension as the nation's foremost passing conference will help change these statistics quickly in a few years. Because I'm thinking quarterbacks like Josh Freeman, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin and maybe even Austen Arnaud or Zac Robinson will get their shot in the NFL one of these days.

Big 12 could be headed for landmark draft

April, 24, 2009
4/24/09
3:05
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

It's fitting and somewhat understandable that the NFL draft will have a distinctly Big 12 tinge Saturday as the early part of the first round plays out.

Keep an eye for Big 12 players to be very conspicuous in ESPN's broadcast of the draft. Four Big 12 players have been invited to watch the proceedings from the "Green Room" for Saturday's first day of the draft.

Baylor tackle Jason Smith, Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman and Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo all will be at Radio City Music Hall in New York City for the draft.

Smith, Crabtree and Orakpo all could be taken among the draft's 10 or 15 picks. But Freeman, who could go as high as the middle of the first round or drop to the second round, could provide the most compelling drama of the draft's broadcast. Does anybody remember Brady Quinn or Aaron Rodgers in recent years?

The draft undoubtedly will showcase the Big 12's collection of talent that was continually highlighted last season.

Most mock drafts expect the Big 12 will have five or six first-round draft picks. Likely players to be selected include Orakpo, Smith, Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew, Freeman and Crabtree.

Look for the Big 12's burgeoning reputation as being on the cutting edge in terms of passing to be showcased this weekend. Most mock drafts have Crabtree and Maclin ranked as the top two receivers available. And Pettigrew is the top tight end on most draft boards.

If six Big 12 players are selected in the first round, it would match the league's previous high of six first-round selections set in 2003.

The most interesting potential selection will be Smith, a lightly-regarded recruit after a high-school career as a tight end. He blossomed after adding nearly 80 pounds of muscle over his college career.

Smith will become the Bears' first first-round draft selection since defensive tackle Daryl Gardener was picked by the Miami Dolphins in 1996.

Most prognosticators expect Smith will be picked among the first three picks in the draft. That would be the earliest a Baylor player has been chosen since quarterback Adrian Burk was the second pick in the draft by Baltimore in 1950.

The exposure for the Baylor program will be immense, according to Baylor coach Art Briles.

"We could get the smartest marketers in Texas and ask them how we could best market Baylor University, and they couldn't come up with a better scenario than what's going to happen Saturday in New York," Briles said. "Jason is a great person, and it's been nothing but positive for Baylor. We just have to take that and continue to climb as a football program."

Freeman is poised to become only the second quarterback in Big 12 history to be selected in the first round. He would join Vince Young, who was picked third by Tennessee in the 2006 draft.

Freeman also would be Kansas State's first first-round pick since Terence Newman was picked fifth in the first round by Dallas in 2003. He will also become the Wildcats' highest-selected quarterback, bettering the previous selection of Lynn Dickey, who was picked with the fourth pick in the third round by Green Bay in 1971.

Freeman's size (6-6, 250 pounds) and his rocket arm are his two biggest attributes, despite his lack of extended success in college. His abilities were clear to Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy and OSU coaches.

"The first time we saw Josh, because of his size, stature, the way he carried himself, and then his arm strength, we knew he had a chance to play," Gundy said. "He's just kind of arrived nationally -- people are just now starting to find out about him -- but we knew in our staff room that we was going to be first-round pick.

"You just don't find guys that are 6-6, 250, that can throw it and are as accurate as he is, and he's seemed to be very durable. We were impressed with him from day one."

Crabtree will become Tech's first first-round draft selection of the Big 12 era and the Red Raiders' first first-round pick since Gabe Rivera was picked with the 21st pick by Pittsburgh in 1983.

He will become the highest-selected Texas Tech wide receiver since Dave Parks was the first pick of the 1964 draft by San Francisco and the first one of Mike Leach's players to be picked on the first day of the draft.

Orakpo is poised to continue Texas' recent development as a factory for first-round selections.

Despite missing out last season, the Longhorns produced eight first-round picks in the previous four seasons and 13 over Mack Brown's coaching tenure.

In the process, Orakpo is hoping to counter-balance the so-called "Texas factor" that several analysts have mentioned this week to explain why some Longhorns have been disappointments once they started their NFL careers.

Brown angrily refuted those charges earlier this week.

"People can be more critical of us because we've had as many, or more, than anybody else in the draft," Brown told the Austin American-Statesman. "I don't really pay attention to (that), and I talk to enough general managers, coaches and scouts to know they don't either."

Maclin will become the first Missouri player selected in the first round since Justin Smith was picked by Cincinnati with the fourth pick of the draft in 2001. And Maclin also is poised to become the first Missouri wide receiver ever taken in the first round.

Here's my unofficial pegging of Big 12 draft status during the weekend draft.

Sure first-round picks: Baylor OT Jason Smith, Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree, Texas DE Brian Orakpo, Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin,

Likely first-round picks: Kansas State QB Josh Freeman

Maybe first-round picks: Missouri DT Evander "Ziggy" Hood, Oklahoma State TE Brandon Pettigrew

Likely second-round picks: Oklahoma G Duke Robinson, Missouri S William Moore.

Likely third-round picks: Oklahoma WR Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma T Phil Loadholt, Missouri TE Chase Coffman.

Likely picks inside the first five rounds: Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee, Texas Tech S Darcel McBath, Texas Tech DE Brandon Williams, Texas DT Roy Miller, Texas A&M RB Michael Goodson, Texas A&M DE Mi
chael Bennett
, Oklahoma S-LB Nic Harris, Texas Tech G Louis Vasquez, Nebraska DE Zach Potter, Nebraska T Lydon Murtha.

Kansas State's Mount Rushmore

February, 12, 2009
2/12/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

It would be fitting if the Kansas State football version of Mount Rushmore was painted in purple, with Powercat insignias all around. Maybe they could even have Willie the Wildcat and his motorcycle friends taking an afternoon ride past the icons every day.

There are several intriguing candidates I could think of. Here are my choices.

  • Bill Snyder -- His turnaround of the Kansas State program remains the most notable in recent college football history. Now, can he do it again the second time around?
  • Gary Spani -- The only Kansas State player inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame was a three-time All-Big Eight selection and the school's first consensus All-American in 1977.
  • Michael Bishop -- Took the Wildcats to the brink of the BCS championship in 1998, finishing second in the Heisman Trophy balloting that season.
  • Terence Newman -- Best defense player in the school's modern history, earning the 2002 Thorpe Award as the nation's best defensive back along with the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year.

It was hard to leave Darren Sproles, Veryl Switzer, Mark Simoneau and Lynn Dickey from the side of the mountain. But only four can be placed on the Kansas State Rushmore.

And those were my choices.

Anybody I left off?

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