Draft day deadline sweet silence for Big 12
Did you hear that on Wednesday night?
Simon and Garfunkel called it the sound of silence.
Only three Big 12 players chose to leave school early and enter the NFL Draft, and nobody joined them at the midnight deadline.
Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk and Oklahoma State Josh Stewart won’t be playing college football next year, but they all have at least one thing in common: They’re not quarterbacks.
Five of the Big 12’s top six quarterbacks left the Big 12 after the 2012 season. Seven Big 12 teams began the season with a quarterback who had never been a full-time starter for his current team. The results were predictable.
Seven Big 12 teams were in the national top 25 in offensive yards per play in 2012. In 2013, with a new batch of young quarterbacks, the Big 12 had just one team (Baylor) make the top 25 in the same statistic.
Amaro will likely be one of two Big 12 talents (Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert) drafted in the first round of May’s NFL Draft, but a quiet draft night means a big 2014 season awaits.
Last season, two Big 12 quarterbacks were drafted (Geno Smith, Landry Jones). That didn’t include a third who was a Heisman finalist (Collin Klein), a fourth who led the league in passing yards and promptly quit football (Nick Florence) or a fifth who threw more touchdown passes in 2012 (39) than any QB not named Geno Smith (Seth Doege).
The turnover at quarterback produced plenty of turnovers in 2013, but there’s no such thing at the position in the Big 12 this offseason.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty may hear his name called in the first round next year, but he’ll spend 2014 offering an encore to his debut season, when he finished second nationally in passer rating.
The Big 12’s No. 2 in passer rating, Kansas State’s Jake Waters, will ride a strong finish to 2013 into next season, and shifty dual-threat quarterback Daniel Sams will come with him. Waters threw for 10 touchdowns and just four interceptions in his final four games of 2013.
Texas Tech quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Michael Brewer transferred, and all Kliff Kingsbury has left to steer his offense is Davis Webb, a rising sophomore who threw for at least 385 yards in five of the last six games he played.
Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight had his best game in Oklahoma’s biggest and most difficult outing of the season. He completed 32-of-44 passes for 348 yards, four touchdowns and an interception in a shocking 45-31 win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. It’s unlikely he’ll turn in that kind of a performance every week next year, but it’s easy to see him seizing hold of the starting spot he ceded to Blake Bell after his first two starts in 2013.
Iowa State’s redshirt freshman, Grant Rohach, topped 300 yards passing and completed more than two-thirds of his passes in ISU’s final two games–both wins–for six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Those flashes of outstanding play dotted a season in which the Big 12 learned the hard way just how important quarterback play really is to its offenses.
Next season, you’ll see improvement as the Big 12 learns the fun way how important experience is at quarterback.
All 10 Big 12 teams return a quarterback who made multiple starts in 2013, and six Big 12 teams will likely open 2014 with the same quarterback who ended the season as starter.
The Big 12 won’t have a quarterback drafted this year.
Call it sweet silence for coaches across the Big 12 building their teams for 2014.