Quarterback is the most important position on the field and can dictate the team’s success in a game and season. These five signal callers are the best in the state of Texas at the college level.
1. Seth Russell, Baylor University
The fifth year senior is coming off a neck-injury that shortened his redshirt junior season when he was lighting up the stat sheet. Russell in the seven games that he played threw for 2,104 yards, 29 touchdowns with a 59.5 completion percentage and only threw six interceptions. The competition percentage wasn’t the greatest in those games, as he didn’t play a ranked opponent, but those numbers put Russell in the Heisman conversation. Russell also can run as he had six rushing touchdowns to go along with 402 rushing yards. The big questions will be how Russell will be able to adjust to new head coach Jim Grobe and if the offense will change at all under him. Offensive coordinator Kendal Briles is still there so the offensive should resemble something like it was when his father Art was still the head coach. If Russell puts up the numbers he did last year for an entire season, he could get an invite to New York for the Heisman trophy presentation and improve his draft stock.
2. Greg Ward Jr., University of Houston
Ward stormed onto the scene just as the Houston Cougars did last season under first year head coach Tom Herman. Herman the QB guru at Ohio State worked his magic with Ward as he was the first Houston quarterback who rushed for over 1,000 yards in a season. Ward rushed for 1,108 yards and found the end zone 21 times with his feel. The dual threat QB threw for 2,828 yards with 17 touchdowns and only six interceptions and completing a staggering 67 percent of his passes. Ward won the Earl Campbell award, which is presented to the top collegiate player in Texas each year. With all the hype around Houston this year, it starts with the senior QB and if he can duplicate his 2015 campaign the Cougars will be able to find themselves in the playoff mix.
3. Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech University
Heading into his junior year, Mahomes will be entering as his third year as the starter and has improved in each season. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has taken Mahomes under his wing as they both look to get Tech back on the national level. At 6’3” 230 lbs Mahomes has good size and is durable as a dual threat QB. In 2015 Mahomes threw for 4,653 yards and 36 touchdowns. Last season Mahomes was only the fifth FBS player ever to put up stats of over 4,000 passing yards and 30 touchdowns in a season. Mahomes is flying under the radar to most people who don’t live in Lubbock and if he is able add more wins to the 2016 season and put the same numbers which he should in the run n’ gun offense, Mahomes could be moving up the NFL draft charts. If there is one thing Mahomes needs to improve on, his completion percentage was only 63.5, if he gets that around 68, 69 percent Mahomes will be on everyone’s radar.
4. Jarrett Stidham, Baylor University
Stidham announced on Twitter this week that he is transferring from Baylor. Stidham who played in three games last year before breaking his ankle in a win against Oklahoma State last season. Stidham played when Seth Russell went down to injury and the Baylor offense didn’t miss a beat when he was the signal caller. In 10 total games in 2015, he threw 12 touchdowns, and 1,265 yards while only throwing two interceptions in 109 attempts. With Russell coming back Stidham is looking for playing time so the sophomore decided to transfer. It’s unclear where Stidham will play next season, he was seen at Auburn practice this week, but if he transferred there, he would transfer there or any other FBS program he would have to sit out the 2016 season. There were reports that Stidham has enrolled in McLean junior college where he can play immediately. If he stays in Texas, Stidham would be one of the top QBs in the state.
5. Trevor Knight, Texas A&M
Knight had one of the most interesting careers at Oklahoma before transferring to A&M this season. He torched Alabama in the 2013 Sugar Bowl, throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns and everyone crowned him as the next best Sooner QB. Knight then struggled in 2014 when he was the full-time starter and lost the job in 2015 to Baker Mayfield. Knight then graduated in 2015 and transferred to the Aggies. Kevin Sumlin has already named Knight the starter, as the quarterback position in College Station was in turmoil this offseason. Knight is either hot or cold so the Aggies could be in for a roller coaster ride this season. Knight has never completed more than 59 percent of his passes in his three years at OU. If Knight can find his form from the 2013 Sugar Bowl, he would be one of the top QBs in the country, but if he continues with his Jekyll and Hyde style, Knight could find himself back on the bench.