Dallas Colleges: Patrick Mahomes

Big 12 media days live: Day 2

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
9:40
AM CT
The Big 12 media days continue on Tuesday in Dallas, as Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and new Texas coach Charlie Strong each take the stage. Keep this page open throughout the day's proceedings as we bring you the latest from our reporters, who will cover all 10 teams at the event.

Big 12 recruiting scorecard

June, 9, 2014
Jun 9
1:30
PM CT
Here's the latest in recruiting around the Big 12 with summer camps in full swing:

Baylor
Total commits: 10
ESPN 300 commits: 5
The latest: Baylor added a commitment with the pledge of linebacker Clay Johnston of Abilene, Texas, last week. Johnston picked the Bears over offers from Texas Tech, Tulsa, Duke and others. It wasn’t all good news for the Bears as the No. 246 player in the ESPN 300, athlete Louis Brown from Burton, Texas, elected to decommit from Baylor and reopen the recruiting process.

Iowa State
Total commits: 2
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Cyclones reeled in their second commitment in the Class of 2015 with Bryce Meeker’s pledge. The three-star offensive tackle from Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Prairie picked ISU over offers from Illinois State and Northern Iowa. ISU also held a summer camp over the weekend including an appearance from Billy Bahl, a 6-foot-4, 213-pound quarterback from Woodstock (Illinois) Marian Catholic.

Kansas
Total commits: 1
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Jayhawks looked east to make one of their latest reported offers, putting their name in the mix for Pawling (N.Y) Trinity Pawling defensive end Austrian Robinson. The Class of 2015 prospect also has offers from Boston College, Maryland, Rutgers and others.

Kansas State
Total commits: 2
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: The Wildcats dipped into SEC country for their second commit for the Class of 2015. Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson receiver Isaiah Zuber picked KSU last week, spurning offers from Boston College, Virginia Tech, Purdue, Illinois, Iowa State and others. Zuber is a quick receiver who could excel as a slot possession receiver.

Oklahoma
Total commits: 6
ESPN 300 commits: 5
The latest: It was a huge week for the Sooners as they continued to add quality recruits to their commit list. Running back Rodney Anderson picked the Sooners after attending OU’s camp over the weekend. The Katy, Texas, standout is No. 263 in the ESPN 300. Cornerback P.J. Mbanasor, the No. 84 player in the ESPN 300, also chose OU last week. The Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson turned down offers from LSU, Ohio State, Florida and others.

Oklahoma State
Total commits: 5
ESPN 300 commits: 3
The latest: Much like the rest of the Big 12, the Cowboys are actively involved in summer camps, including a satellite camp in Rockwall, Texas, on Sunday. Oklahoma State also reportedly offered a scholarship to ESPN 300 cornerback Kris Boyd of Gilmer, Texas, who also holds offers from Alabama, Baylor, Florida State, Texas, TCU, Oklahoma and others.

TCU
Total commits: 13
ESPN 300 commits: 0
The latest: TCU’s class is shaping up nicely with New Boston (Texas) athlete Jeff Gladney and Houston Westfield guard Cordel Iwuagwu joining the Horned Frogs’ commit list in the past week. Gladney will likely play cornerback for Gary Patterson’s team. TCU also held a summer camp over the weekend that featured several standouts including KeShawn Somerville, who reportedly ran a 4.37 in the 40 at the camp.

Texas
Total commits: 10
ESPN 300 commits: 6
The latest: The Longhorns held a camp on Sunday with several elite prospects, including cornerback Jared Mayden, a Class of 2016 recruit, in attendance. Mayden, from Sachse, Texas, already holds offers from Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, TCU, Texas A&M and others.

Texas Tech
Total commits: 7
ESPN 300 commits: 2
The latest: This week should be big for the Red Raiders as they participate in satellite camps across the state, including one on Sunday at Euless (Texas) Trinity. But the biggest recruit the Red Raiders landed in the past week was quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who decided to turn down professional baseball to join Kliff Kingsbury’s program after going undrafted in the first two days of the MLB Draft. Joining Davis Webb as the Red Raiders’ lone scholarship quarterbacks, Mahomes should be Texas Tech’s No. 2 quarterback this fall.

West Virginia
Total commits: 11
ESPN 300 commits: 2
The latest: The Mountaineers held a summer camp on Sunday with several targets participating, including Clairton, Pa., 2017 target Lamont Wade, who can play multiple positions, and 2016 target Aaron Mathews, a receiver.

Big 12 lunchtime links

June, 5, 2014
Jun 5
11:00
AM CT
Charlie Weis is taking a much better vacation this summer than I will.
Since last week, we’ve been examining the most indispensable player for every team in the Big 12. In other words, who is the player each team could least afford to lose to injury?

[+] EnlargeWebb
John Weast/Getty ImagesWith his starting spot assured, Texas Tech sophomore QB Davis Webb sparkled this spring.
We’re knocking on wood before we turn in these posts, so no need to worry about a jinx.

We continue with the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Most indispensable player: Quarterback Davis Webb

Why Texas Tech can’t afford to lose him: The Red Raiders' hopes for success are sitting on Webb’s shoulders. Several other players -- including tackle Le'Raven Clark and all-purpose standout Kenny Williams -- deserved consideration, but the loss of Webb would create a major obstacle between Kliff Kingsbury's squad and success.

If he stays healthy and starts every game, Webb should secure his spot among the Big 12’s top quarterbacks for the second straight season. Webb was outstanding as a true freshman, joining Baylor’s Bryce Petty (85.2) and Oklahoma State’s Clint Chelf (83.8) as the only Big 12 quarterbacks with a Adjusted QBR above 70 in Big 12 games at 81.1.

To top it all off, he looked even better during the spring with his spot as “the man” in the Red Raiders’ offense, capping his spring with a four-touchdown performance in the spring game. Heading into his sophomore season, Webb is accurate, takes care of the football and continues to improve, making him one of the Big 12's most valuable players.

If he’s out of the equation, Tech’s hopes for success take a major hit. Not only because Kingsbury’s squad is set to have a true freshman, Patrick Mahomes, as its No. 2 quarterback, but because Webb’s stellar play would be difficult to mimic for any signal-caller.

Strong and weak: Texas Tech

May, 22, 2014
May 22
3:00
PM CT
The last two weeks, we’ve been examining the strongest and weakest positions for each team in the Big 12 heading into the fall.

On Thursday, we continue the series with Texas Tech.

[+] EnlargeJakeem Grant
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsThe diminutive but speedy Jakeem Grant will be one of Texas Tech's biggest weapons at receiver.
Strongest position: Wide Receiver

It’s unusual for any team to lose a pair of pass catchers who combined for 189 receptions and 2,299 yards and still return a cast that could be considered a strength of the team.

Yet that’s exactly what is happening at Texas Tech.

Departed tight end Jace Amaro and receiver Eric Ward were the centerpieces of the Red Raiders passing attack in 2013, but it looks like Texas Tech's receiving corps could be just as good in 2014.

Leading returning receiver Jakeem Grant (65 receptions, 796 yards) is one of the Big 12’s most explosive players, with speed to burn and cat-like quickness. Coach Kliff Kingsbury will spend plenty of time trying to figure out ways to get the ball in the hands of the 5-foot-6 dynamo.

Bradley Marquez, a two-sport star who decided to focus on football as a senior, is another strong receiving threat, joining Jordan Davis as other returnees from a year ago. And Texas Tech has several up-and-coming youngsters on the roster, including Reginald Davis and D.J. Polite-Bray.

Texas Tech has a strong group of receivers, yet plenty of room to grow at the position.

Weakest position: Quarterback

Considering Texas Tech’s post-spring depth chart featured Davis Webb and no other names at the position, it’s safe to say quarterback is the weakest position on the roster. The defensive line and secondary could use some help as well, but the Red Raiders have a major hole behind Webb.

Webb had a terrific spring and should be one of the top signal-callers in the Big 12. Behind him, true freshman Patrick Mahomes is expected to be the No. 2 quarterback if he spurns the opportunity to play professional baseball full time. Mahomes is a three-star quarterback signee from Whitehouse, Texas.

The biggest issue at the position is the overall lack of competition for Webb and Mahomes. Both players, as scholarship quarterbacks, are essentially being slotted into their spots as starter and backup barring an exceptional walk-on freshman emerging like Baker Mayfield did last season.

One reason Webb grew and improved as a true freshman was his daily competition with Mayfield and Michael Brewer, both of whom transferred after the 2013 season. Webb did a great job pushing himself to get better during the spring, evidenced by his strong outings in spring scrimmages, but nothing pushes players to improve more than the thought of losing their spot.
Since last week, we've been analyzing the depth charts of every Big 12 team coming out of the spring. Monday, we continue with the Texas Tech Red Raiders, who released an official two-deep after finishing up spring ball last month:

OFFENSE (starters in bold)

[+] EnlargeDavis Webb
Donald Miralle/Getty ImagesDavis Webb had a great spring and returns to lead the offense.
QB: Davis Webb (So.)

This one is pretty simple. Webb, who broke out in the bowl game, is loaded with potential and had a fabulous spring with 13 touchdowns and no turnovers over three open scrimmages. With no other QB on the roster, incoming freshman Patrick Mahomes will assume the backup spot by default.

RB: DeAndre Washington (Jr.), Quinton White (So.)

With Kenny Williams taking over as the starting “Raider” linebacker, Washington takes over as the starting running back. Washington has two seasons of experience and was just as productive out of the backfield as Williams was in 2013. White will have to perform in a backup role to fend off incoming four-star freshman Justin Stockton.

WR: D.J. Polite-Bray (So.), Devin Lauderdale (So.)


IR: Jakeem Grant (Jr.), Brent Mitcham (Sr.)

IR: Bradley Marquez (Sr.), Jordan Davis (Sr.)

WR: Reginald Davis (So.), Derreck Edwards (Jr.)

The playmaking potential is boundless in the speedy trio of Grant, Marquez and Davis, who combined for four touchdowns in the National University Holiday Bowl. Polite-Bray can fly, too, and made a living hauling in bombs downfield during the spring to emerge as the fourth starting receiver. With bulky tight end Jace Amaro and Eric Ward (who ranked 29th in the Big 12 in yards per catch), the Red Raiders struggled at times last season to stretch the field. With a major upgrade in speed across the board at the position, that won’t be an issue in the fall. Jordan Davis gives Tech a reliable fifth option inside when Kliff Kingsbury goes to his five wide receiver sets.

LT: Le’Raven Clark (Jr.), Poet Thomas (RFr.)

LG: Alfredo Morales (Jr.), James Polk (Sr.)

C: Jared Kaster (Jr.), Tony Morales (Jr.)

RG: Trey Keenan (So.), Baylen Brown (So.)

RT: Rashad Fortenberry (Sr.), Josh Outlaw (RFr.)

The offensive line two-deep could undergo a transformation once junior-college transfer Dominique Robertson arrives in the summer. Offensive line coach Lee Hays has said that he would consider swinging Clark to guard to boost the run game, should Robertson show up ready to play. Hays was given this option after Fortenberry was awarded another year of eligibility in the spring. At the moment, right guard is the biggest question up front, but if Clark were to slide inside, he and Morales could team up to give the Red Raiders a powerful run-blocking duo at the guard spots.

DEFENSE

DE: Branden Jackson (Jr.), Zach Barnes (So.)

NG: Jackson Richards (Jr.), Donte Phillips (Jr.)

DT: Demetrius Alston (Jr.), Keland McElrath (Jr.)

This appears to be the biggest question on the entire team. Jackson is coming off a solid sophomore season, with nine tackles for loss and four sacks. But Tech, which finished next-to-last in run defense in 2013, got pushed around in Big 12 play with the unit its currently projecting to start. That’s why Tech signed four juco defensive linemen -- Brandon Thorpe, Marcus Smith, Rika Levi and McElrath – in its 2014 class. To toughen up their front, the Red Raiders will need at least a couple of those jucos to pan out.

BANDIT: Pete Robertson (Jr.), Kris Williams (So.)

WLB: V.J. Fehoko (Sr.), Malik Jenkins (So.)

MLB: Sam Eguavoen (Sr.), Micah Awe (Jr.)

RAIDER: Kenny Williams (Sr.), Austin Stewart (Sr.)

This is a unit that really came together over the spring. What started as an experiment could result in the Red Raiders uncovering their answer at the “Raider” linebacking spot vacated by Terrance Bullitt. Even though he sat out the spring game, Williams had a tremendous run of practices at the position and was rewarded with a spot atop the depth chart. Elsewhere, the Red Raiders are in good shape. Robertson was an honorable mention All-Big 12 performer last season, and Eguavoen and Awe were third and sixth on the team in tackles. Some big-time help could be on the way this summer, too. Former Ohio State linebacker Mike Mitchell, who was an ESPN 300 recruit last season, attended Texas Tech’s spring game and could be in line for a hardship waiver to play immediately at his next school.

BC: Justis Nelson (So.), Thierry Nguema (So.)

FS: J.J. Gaines (So.), Jalen Barnes (RFr.)

SS: Keenon Ward (So.), Dorian Crawford (Sr.)

FC: Dee Paul (So.)

The Red Raiders have reason to be cautiously optimistic about their young secondary. Gaines was performing at a high level last fall before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury five games into the year. He was a limited participant during spring ball and should be good-to-go again for the fall. Ward had an MVP spring, laying out several receivers with big hits to solidify the other safety job. Nelson returns after starting as a true freshman, essentially leaving the field cornerback spot as the only lingering competition. Nigel Bethel II, the four-star gem of the 2014 recruiting class, has the talent to vie for that job when he arrives on campus. Even though he didn't appear on the depth chart, safety transfer Josh Keys, who did enroll early, could add valuable depth once he settles into coordinator Matt Wallerstedt’s scheme.

Big 12 post-spring breakdown: QBs

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
4:00
PM CT
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.

Big 12 QB carousel continues with transfers

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
4:30
PM CT
Now that most FBS schools have wrapped up spring ball, here comes a necessary next step: Transfer season. The dominoes started falling for several Big 12 quarterbacks situations on Wednesday morning.

First came the news that Texas A&M quarterback Matt Joeckel is leaving the Aggies and is eligible to play immediately. The Arlington, Texas, native will have one season left after finishing his undergraduate degree in December. He played in four games last season and threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns.

Might TCU be his most logical destination? The Horned Frogs had been considering transfer options this offseason, including former Texas Tech QB Michael Brewer -- who chose Virginia Tech after the option to transfer inside the Big 12 was blocked -- and Joeckel has two years of experience playing in the kind of high-speed spread offense the Horned Frogs are installing.

Then came another move, perhaps clearing the way for Joeckel: TCU backup quarterback Tyler Matthews is also transferring.

A TCU spokesperson confirmed Matthews' decision, which he also announced on his Twitter account.



As a redshirt freshman, Matthews appeared in four games last season while backing up Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin. So the Horned Frogs' decision, with Pachall now graduated, comes down to Boykin and incoming freshmen Grayson Muehlstein and Foster Sawyer. And maybe Joeckel, or another transfer.

Texas Tech, meanwhile, is dealing with its own departures at quarterback. Walk-on backups Tanner Tausch and Mike Richardson are both leaving the program, a spokesperson confirmed.

Tausch is going to focus on academics after one semester with the team. He is a junior-college transfer who threw for 255 yards in Tech’s spring game last Saturday as the No. 2 QB. Richardson is planning to transfer after one semester, leaving Davis Webb as the only quarterback on the roster.

That will change this summer, when touted signee Patrick Mahomes joins the program along with walk-ons Payne Sullins, Hunter Rittimann and Vincent Testaverde, the son of former NFL QB Vinny Testaverde. There's no doubt Mahomes, a two-sport star who also plays baseball at Whitehouse (Texas) High School, will have to assume the backup job this fall.

Of course, Joeckel isn't the only option if these Big 12 coaches go looking for free-agent QBs. Jalen Whitlow is leaving Kentucky, Chad Kelly was dismissed at Clemson, and several more could enter the market in the next month. That's just how it goes now. Quarterbacks don't want to sit on the bench, especially if they aren't in their coach's immediate plans.

Mailbag: Best newcomers, hottest seats

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
10:30
AM CT
We've been doing something different with Friday's Big 12 mailbag. From now on, we'll be including Twitter questions with the regular mailbag submissions. To submit a mailbag entry via Twitter, simply include the hashtag #big12mailbag. You also still can send in questions the traditional way here, too.

To the 'bag...
Trotter: So far, Oklahoma State running back/receiver Tyreek Hill, TCU safety Kenny Iloka and Kansas receiver Nick Harwell. With his speed, Hill could lead the league in all-purpose yards. Iloka is going to be a key piece in the best secondary in the Big 12. And Harwell should finally give the Jayhawks that go-to receiver they haven’t had since Dezmon Briscoe.

Trotter: The Cyclones get K-State in Ames the second week of the season, which could be a dangerous game for the Wildcats, who might get caught looking ahead to that Thursday night clash with Auburn. Another team that must pay heed is Oklahoma. The Sooners go to Iowa State the week before hosting Baylor in a game that could determine the Big 12 crown. OU can't afford to be looking ahead, either.

Trotter: I'm going to set it at 1 1/2, and I think I would actually bet the over. The Jayhawks are going to be better this season, and quite possibly good enough to steal two conference wins.

Trotter: Right now, the Red Raiders have one on campus, and that's well below the national average. I don't see an issue. The way Davis Webb has improved in the last five months, he's going to be the guy the next three seasons barring something unforeseen. That would still give Jarrett Stidham three seasons of eligibility to be the starter, if he redshirted next year. Patrick Mahomes will get this chances, too. Seems like what TTU is going to do is be really good at quarterback the next six years.

Trotter: I have no inside info here, but if the game is at 11 a.m. again, hit me up in the fall and I'll share with you my shortcut to the Texas State Fair.

Trotter: It was a move that had to be made. Sams is too talented to be standing on the sidelines. He's not going to instantly become an All-Big 12 receiver. But if they can devise ways to get Sams the ball in space, the move could work out well. I see Sams getting a lot of his touches through flares, screens, reverses and maybe a handoff or Wildcat formation here or there. If they can get Sams the ball 10 times a game, that will only help the K-State offense. Think Trevone Boykin in TCU's offense late last year. That's how I see Sams best fitting in.

Trotter: Playing? Yes. Starting? No. I think Williams ultimately favors one side of the ball. The most likely scenario is he still keeps a major role at running back, then gives coordinator Matt Wallerstedt 15-20 plays at outside linebacker, which is more than I would have predicted at the beginning of the spring. Williams can really help the defense, but not at the expense of playing 130 snaps.

Trotter: Bob Stoops, Art Briles, Mike Gundy, Bill Snyder and Gary Patterson have ironclad job security. Paul Rhoads and Kliff Kingsbury have nothing to worry about, either, and Charlie Strong is too new to have to worry (though in Austin, that could change fast). That leaves Charlie Weis and Dana Holgorsen, whose seats are warmest among Big 12 coaches. I think Weis just has to show improvement this season. He can't go 0-12. Holgorsen is the most interesting to watch. Considering the brutal schedule, it's very possible West Virginia is better than last year and still goes 5-7, which might not be enough for Holgorsen to keep his job. But if the Mountaineers go, say, 7-5 against that slate, then I would think Holgorsen would be deserving of another year. West Virginia has been recruiting at an impressive clip, and the schedule will line up more favorably in 2015.


jrodxc07 in Dallas writes: Jake, love the blog, nice work sir. I think you could make a case for incoming Baylor receiver K.D. Cannon as Offensive Newcomer of the Year. Can you explain why you left him off your list?

Trotter: Appreciate it, sir. Cannon was actually on the poll for Offensive Freshman of the Year two weeks ago. The newcomer poll was for transfers, which is why you didn't see him there.


I only care about the Big 12 writes: Please go ahead and give us your way-too early power rankings? That is, if you haven't already...

Trotter: I actually released a power poll in January that went this way: OU, Baylor, K-State, Texas, Oklahoma State, Tech, TCU, Iowa State, West Virginia, Kansas. I'll be updating it, though, after spring ball concludes.

Mailbag: Stidham, Harwell, West Va. QBs

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
4:00
PM CT
In today’s mailbag, we discuss Texas Tech’s big recruiting prize, veteran quarterbacks at West Virginia and Texas and a cool idea for a Big 12-related “30 for 30.”

To the ‘bag:

Matt in Dallas writes: With news that Tech RB Kenny Williams is looking to move to OLB, will we be seeing Justin Stockton get carries as a true freshman in 2014?

Trotter: I have a hard time believing this move will stick. I suppose it’s possible Williams could help the Red Raiders in spots at outside linebacker next season. But I don’t believe it will come at the expense of his standing at running back. After Williams and DeAndre Washington, the Red Raiders aren’t exactly experienced at running back, either. Spring is the time for college football teams to experiment. For now, I don’t see this as anything more.


John in Boone, N.C., writes: Do you really think Paul Millard has any chance at winning back the QB job? Dana Holgorsen couldn't possibly make us sit through that again, could he?

Trotter: The way I see it, the only player who can beat out Clint Trickett to start the season opener is juco transfer Skyler Howard. It’s pretty clear the offense responds better to Trickett than to Millard. But it’s not clear yet how the offense might respond to Howard. With a banner spring followed up with a banner preseason, Howard could warrant a hard look.


Andy in Austin, Texas, writes: What are the chances David Ash hangs up his pads? With his NFL playing chances slim-to-none, wouldn't it be better for his health long term to retire and let Shawn Watson have more time to work with Tyrone Swoopes or Jerrod Heard?

Trotter: We’re not to this point with Ash. Sure, the concussion issues might resurface. That’s certainly a possibility. But those issues might be behind him, too. This is something that will be resolved here over the next few months. Either way, Texas is a better team with a healthy Ash. Jerrod Heard and Swoopes have potential, but Ash is the only QB on the roster who has proven he can quarterback Texas to wins in hostile environments.


Matty in Lubbock, Texas, writes: As a Red Raider fan looking forward to the future of the program, should I be more excited for Patrick Mahomes or Jarrett Stidham?

Trotter: There’s plenty to be excited about in Mahomes, who is a raw prospect for a quarterback that figures only to blossom in Kliff Kingsbury’s system. But Stidham is the No. 1 dual-threat QB recruit in the country for 2015 for a reason. Tech landed Stidham over Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon and Texas, among a host of many other suitors. In other words, snagging Stidham is the most significant recruiting victory for Texas Tech in a long, long time. Armed with Davis Webb, Mahomes and now Stidham, the Red Raiders are going to be very good at quarterback for the next several seasons.


Jake Jones in Oklahoma City writes: Hey Jake, instead of the 10-second rule I think the coaches should propose a rule on size/speed limits. Since force equals mass times acceleration, a better rule for player safety would be no players over a certain weight that can run a certain speed would be eligible to play. Thereby, slower players with less mass would result in less force and thus make the game safer. Tell Nick Saban at least that idea has physics behind it.

Trotter: Poor Nick Saban. This is the second time this week he has gotten burned by someone from the metro Oklahoma City area.


Neo in Olathe, Kan., writes: With the improved OL and a strong running game, do you think the Jayhawks have the receivers to win a conference game or two? The defense is the mighty mouse of the Big 12, but can the offense put up numbers to actually win?

Trotter: I agree. I actually think the defense is good enough for Kansas to win two or three games in the league. The Jayhawks are actually pretty solid and experienced at linebacker and in the secondary. But the Achilles' heel has been receiver, which has been an utter disaster since Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier left. There is reason for hope, however, things could be better in 2014. Nick Harwell was an all-conference player at Miami (Ohio) before transferring in. If he can become a viable No. 1 option at Kansas, too, that will go a long way in the Jayhawks scoring more points, and thus, being more competitive.


Bill in Manhattan, Kan., writes: How long until there is a 30 for 30 film about my "Miracle in Manhattan", the greatest turnaround in college football history?

Trotter: I don’t think this is a bad idea at all. I would definitely watch.

Biggest Big 12 spring questions: Part 2

March, 3, 2014
Mar 3
11:00
AM CT
With spring practice off and rolling, plenty of questions surround the league’s programs. And while many of those won’t be fully answered until the season begins in the fall, here are some of the biggest ones Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia will face this spring:

Can freshman impact OSU's QB race?

Junior quarterback J.W. Walsh has made eight starts for the Cowboys over the last two seasons. But even with Clint Chelf now gone, Walsh still will have to fight for a job with freshman Mason Rudolph already on campus. Rudolph, who enrolled early to participate in spring ball, threw for more than 4,300 yards and 64 touchdowns his final year of high school and is one of the most highly-touted quarterback recruits ever to sign with the Cowboys. In high school, Rudolph played in an offensive scheme similar to Oklahoma State’s, which is what first interested him in the Cowboys. That should ease his transition to the college level. Of course for now, the job is Walsh’s to lose. But Rudolph has the talent and the skill set to begin applying pressure on Walsh as soon as this spring.

How will TCU adapt to the offensive overhaul?

TCU conducted its first spring practice over the weekend, and the exit polls suggested the Horned Frogs went through offensive drills fast. Like really fast. Tired of ranking near the bottom of the Big 12 in offense, Gary Patterson shook up his coaching staff and brought in Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meacham to install an up-tempo offensive system that resembled those of Texas Tech (Cumbie) and Oklahoma State (Meacham). As Patterson admitted after the first practice, there will be a learning curve for his players to picking up this new offensive style. But the quicker quarterback Trevone Boykin can adapt, the better off TCU will be going into 2014.

How will Texas look different under Strong?

The last time Texas had a coach other than Mack Brown running a spring practice, Bill Clinton was still president. The Charlie Strong era will begin in earnest with the start of spring practice in Austin. How will the players adjust to the new schemes of assistants Shawn Watson, Joe Wickline and Vance Bedford? How will the veterans react to their new position coaches? Who will thrive with the new staff? Who will falter? Those pivotal questions will begin to be answered this spring.

Can Texas Tech get by with only one scholarship QB?

With starting right tackle Rashad Fortenberry getting an extra year of eligibility over the weekend, the Red Raiders seem to be in good shape across the board offensively. Of course, that could change real quick should QB Davis Webb incur any kind of injury this spring. With Baker Mayfield at Oklahoma and Michael Brewer headed to Virginia Tech, the Red Raiders will be down to just one scholarship quarterback until Patrick Mahomes arrives in the summer. Though coach Kliff Kingsbury has said that Tech has a couple of capable walk-ons, an injury to Webb would hamper the spring development of an offense that will have big goals in the fall. Coming off a breakout performance in the bowl game, Webb also needs to continue developing this spring. But he also needs to remain healthy for the betterment of himself and the team.

Who will get carries for West Virginia?

Even with Charles Sims gone, the Mountaineers still enjoy a stable of capable of running backs. But where will Sims’ carries go? After rushing for 494 yards last season, Dreamius Smith is starting out the spring atop the depth chart. But he’ll have to fend off several comers to remain there. Wendell Smallwood came on strong late during his freshman season and finished the year averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Rushel Shell also joins the fray this spring after transferring over from Pittsburgh. Shell, who set a Pennsylvania high school rushing record, was formerly the No. 26 overall recruit in the 2012 recruiting class. There are still others. Dustin Garrison and Andrew Buie are still around after leading the Mountaineers’ in rushing in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Oh yeah, West Virginia will also add four-star signee Donte Thomas-Williams in the summer. Good luck to the running back who dares to take a play off in this crammed competition.

Michael Brewer transferring to Hokies

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
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video
Former Texas Tech quarterback Michael Brewer announced Sunday that he's transferring to play for Virginia Tech. Because he'll graduate this spring, Brewer will be eligible immediately with two seasons left to play.

Brewer was projected to start for the Red Raiders last season, but a summer back injury kept him from the playing the first month of the season. When he finally returned from the injury, freshmen Davis Webb and Baker Mayfield had solidified their places on the depth chart ahead of him.

Brewer originally had sought a transfer to TCU or Texas, but Texas Tech denied him a release to transfer within the Big 12.

He will join a wide-open competition at Virginia Tech to replace Logan Thomas. The Hokies have several quarterbacks on scholarship, including fifth-year senior Mark Leal, though none with much experience.

As for the Red Raiders, they will go into the spring with just one scholarship quarterback in Webb. Incoming freshman Patrick Mahomes will immediately become the backup when he arrives on campus in the summer.

TTU, former QB dispute handling of injury

February, 14, 2014
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Former Texas Tech quarterback Michael Brewer is unhappy with how his sophomore season turned out. Brewer, who decided to transfer in January, told Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal he believes the Red Raiders misdiagnosed his back injury, which forced him to miss the first four games of the season, and were unclear about his potential playing time. Brewer’s comments came after Texas Tech denied his appeal to transfer to Texas or TCU without restriction.
“I was diagnosed in June -- misdiagnosed, actually -- which set me back even further. They let me start to practice the beginning of two-a-days when I wasn’t supposed to, which set me back again. It was just small things like that which continually set me back.” Brewer told the LAJ.

Texas Tech disputed Brewer’s statements.
“The well-being of our student-athletes is something we take very seriously, and we would never jeopardize the health of any student-athlete. Within a month of Michael’s injury, Texas Tech sent him to a specialist, and he was under the care of that specialist from that point forward until his release,” Texas Tech spokesperson Blaine Beal told the LAJ.

Regardless, Brewer joins Baker Mayfield as departed Tech quarterbacks who were unhappy with how the quarterback competition was handled and leaves the Red Raiders quarterback position in flux. Recent signee Patrick Mahomes will have to be ready to play immediately with Davis Webb as the lone scholarship quarterback on the roster.

“We told him to get ready to come in,” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “It's a unique situation. We only have one scholarship quarterback on the roster, get ready to come in and compete and play right away.”

And the worst-case scenario could emerge and leave the quarterback position in shambles this summer. Mahomes, the son of former major league baseball player Pat Mahomes, could have his name called early enough in the 2014 MLB Draft to make him consider signing to play professional baseball instead of playing football in Lubbock.

“He wants to come to college, but you never know how the money is going to be,” Kingsbury said.

Midway through the 2013 season, it seemed like quarterback concerns would be the last thing at the forefront of Kingsbury’s mind with two quality true freshmen in Webb and Mayfield alongside Brewer in the quarterback competition. Now, with spring football on the horizon, the Red Raiders are one Webb injury and one Mahomes decision away from complete disaster.

Big 12 recruiting roundtable 

February, 4, 2014
Feb 4
9:00
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National signing day is now just 24 hours away. To get you ready, we checked in with our ESPN.com recruiting experts for their takes on the major storylines in the Big 12.

Senior national recruiting writer Jeremy Crabtree and Big 12 recruiting reporter Damon Sayles took time from their extremely busy schedules this week to address a few questions:

Oklahoma is closing strong here. With a few blue-chip players still in play, could the Sooners end up with the top class in the Big 12

Brewer's transfer means Webb stands alone

January, 15, 2014
Jan 15
2:28
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Welcome to the Davis Webb show, Texas Tech.

Quarterback Michael Brewer announced his plans to transfer from Texas Tech on Wednesday, leaving Davis Webb as the lone Red Raiders signal-caller with any game experience to return for the 2014 season.

Webb seemingly cemented his hold on the starting quarterback job during TTU’s 37-23 win over Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl. He was 28-of-41 for 403 yards and four touchdowns, tying a Holiday Bowl record in the Red Raiders’ upset of the Sun Devils. The true freshman looked confident and efficient in the bowl game, showing he had continued to grow and develop during his first season in Lubbock. Webb finished the season 226-of-361 for 2,718 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions and his 82.6 adjusted QBR was third in the Big 12 behind Baylor’s Bryce Petty and Oklahoma State’s Clint Chelf.

While it’s good news for Webb, Brewer’s decision is not ideal for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders opened fall camp with a three-headed quarterback competition last August. Now Brewer joins Baker Mayfield as TTU quarterbacks who chose to transfer after the season despite taking snaps for Kliff Kingsbury’s squad in 2013. Thus, Webb will have minimal competition in the spring with walk-on quarterback Collin Bowen as the only other quarterback on the roster.

And lack of competition is never a good thing, particularly for young players. Webb, with Kingsbury’s help, will have to push himself to continue to develop, but part of the reason TTU was able to finish second nationally in passing yards was the competition in 2013. Those three pushed each other to greater heights than they likely would have reached on their own and the Red Raiders posted a surprising 8-5 record in the process.

Moving forward, Whitehouse (Texas) quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the Red Raiders’ lone quarterback commitment and is set to join Webb and Bowen on the roster in 2014. Even if they think the three-star prospect will adapt quickly to the level of play required in the Big 12, Kingsbury and Co. undoubtedly will try to sign another quarterback in this recruiting class with their quarterback numbers again taking a hit.

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