DeGeorge: Big 12 Quarterback Rankings 2020

10: Miles Kendrick, Kansas, Junior

2018 Stats: 11-19 passing for 100 yards and 1 touchdown. 16 rushing attempts for 47 yards and 1 touchdown.

Kendrick played in a backup role in 2018 and did not play in 2019. He is a dual threat quarterback and was listed as a three star recruit by 247sports, and he is a decent decision maker and does not make a lot of mistakes. My concerns about Kendrick, however, are that he has not played much, he is undersized (5’10, 205 lbs), and he does not have talent around him. He also does not have the potential to carry his team. He is still in a battle with Thomas MacVittie, but he is projected to win that competition – my take on Kendrick is he is an average player on a below average team.

9: Jarrett Doege, West Virginia, Senior

2019 Stats: 79-120 passing for 818 yards, 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. 11 rushing attempts for -41 yards and 0 touchdowns.

Doege has experience as a transfer from Bowling Green, where he was a starter. Last year, he won the starting job and played pretty well in four games. He is a pro style quarterback at 6-2, 200 pounds and was rated as a three star quarterback by 247sports. Another quarterback with not a lot of talent around him, I think Doege will have a decent year and may surprise people, but in a pretty stacked Big 12 quarterback room, I have him ranked 9th. He is a good decision maker with experience, but in an offensive conference, not having weapons around you can be fatal.

8: Skylar Thompson, Kansas State, Senior

2019 Stats: 177-297 for 2,315 yards, 12 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. 114 rushing attempts for 405 yards and 11 touchdowns.

A 6’2 and 210 pounds, Thompson is a dual threat quarterback, who was ranked as a three star recruit by 247sports. A quarterback with a lot of experience playing the Big 12 gauntlet, he has plus decision making and leadership. He has been praised for his leadership, and he brings back a strong receiving core, but K-State replaces all five offensive lineman. The reason Thompson is rated low is because he struggles with his accuracy, and he will struggle with that entirely new offensive line. For another year, Thompson will lead Kansas State to mediocrity. I like his leadership ability, but I do not believe he has the talent or the throwing ability to really succeed in the Big 12.

7: Max Duggan, TCU, Sophomore

2019 Stats: 181-339 for 2,077 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. 130 rushing attempts for 555 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Duggan played well at times as a freshman for a struggling TCU team. He showed a fierce competitive drive and leadership that is not often seen in freshman. As a 6’2, 190-lb, dual threat quarterback, the TCU signal-caller was ranked as a four star recruit by 247sports. Duggan has the potential to have a breakout year, which we saw at times last year. However, I think that he’s one year away from that happening. TCU does not have a lot of offensive weapons, and Duggan still will suffer through some growing pains. He will eventually be a dominant quarterback in this league, but he still needs to improve. I believe he will build on his freshman season in 2020, but I do not believe he will have the breakout year that many project.

6: Alan Bowman, Texas Tech, Junior

Alan Bowman

2019 Stats: 101-157 for 1,020 yards, 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. 7 rushing attempts for 14 yards and 1 touchdown.

Bowman played in only three games in 2019, but he had impressive numbers in the air raid offense. The former three-star recruit (247sports) has had to battle through injuries in his last two seasons. He is a 6’3, 210-pound, pro style quarterback The biggest question surrounding Bowman is his health. If he remains injury-free, I believe he will have a breakout year. He has all the talent and potential in the world to excel in a weak defensive conference. He is the perfect quarterback for the Big 12 because of his arm strength and accuracy. He does not have insane talent around him, but he has enough to pair with his talent. The only reason he is not ranked higher is because the Big 12 has great quarterbacks, and injuries are a question. A lot of experts rank him lower, but I believe Bowman will be dominant this year if he is on the field.

5: Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State, Sophmore

Spencer Sanders

2019 Stats: 155-247 for 2,065 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. 139 rushing attempts for 628. yards and 2 touchdowns.

Sanders, a 6-2 195 ILBs dual threat quarterback who was a four star by 247sports, returns to Stillwater for his second year. His numbers were good his freshman yea,r and there is definitely talent to build off of. The main concern is the 11 interceptions, but I chalk many of those up to inexperience. He can run and throw at a high level, and he has talent around him coming back in Tylan Wallace and Chuba Hubbard. I have him at #5 because I think the guys in front of him are better, but I really think the top six on this list can finish in any order – that is how deep of a list this is. I look for Sanders to have a big year for the Cowboys.

4: Charlie Brewer, Baylor, Senior

Charlie Brewer

2019 Stats: 251-389 for 3,161, 21 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. 147 rushing attempts for 344 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Brewer is a 6-1, 188 ILBs pro style quarterback, who was a three star prospect by 247sports. He is a fierce competitor with talent and I believe he will have a really good year, but there are multiple questions surrounding his 2020 campaign. First, how will he blend with a new coach in Dave Aranda? Many people believe his success was due to new Carolina Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule, and this is his chance to prove them wrong. Also, his offensive line really struggled last year, and he needs to be protected to succeed in 2020. He lost Denzel Mims to the draft, but he does have playmakers around him. I believe Brewer will have a great year based off of his competitive spirit and will to win. He is not the most talented guy on this list, and he may not have the most talented team around him, but I believe he has the most grit out of all the quarterbacks in the Big 12 and that is why I see him having a good year.

3: Brock Purdy, Iowa State, Junior

2019 Stats: 312 of 475 for 3,982 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. 93 rushing attempts for 249 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Purdy is 6-1, 202 ILBs, pro style quarterback, who was a three star by 247sports. Purdy could be number one on this list. He is an absolute stud. The reason I have him at #3 is that he does not have the talent around him that Ehlinger and Rattler have, which limits his ability to put up big-time numbers. He has great accuracy and good arm strength. He is not known as a running quarterback, but he can do so effectively if needed. Look for another big year out of him at the helm of this Iowa State offense. He is proven as a talent and he is a good leader. Do not be surprised if Purdy is a darkhorse Heisman candidate.

2: Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma, Freshman

A five star rated by 247sports, Rattler is 6-1, 198 ILBs, and he was the number one pro style quarterback in the 2019 class. He is an absolute stud who can throw and run at high levels. He is inexperienced, but I believe that inexperience is helpful to him because he sat behind Heisman finalist Jalen Hurts and learned how to be a great quarterback and leader. The other thing that makes me optimistic about Rattler is the system and coach Lincoln Riley. Since Riley took over, his three quarterbacks have at least been Heisman finalists and two have won. The reason I rank him at two is because he is relatively unproven, and as much as I want to put him at #1 and believe he could be the best quarterback in the Big 12, I can not really justify it before he takes a snap in the 2020 season. That being said, look for a great year out of Rattler and the Sooners.

1: Sam Ehlinger, Texas, Senior

Sam Ehlinger

2019 Stats: 296-454 for 3,663 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. 163 rushing attempts for 663 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Ehlinger is a 6-2, 230 ILBs, dual threat quarterback rated as a four star by 247sports. As much as I believe there really are six guys that could top this list, I put the most proven and most experienced quarterback at number one. Ehlinger has played in a lot of big games and made a lot of big plays in his career at Texas. The team underachieved last year, but his numbers were great, and I believe they will improve in 2020. I see no reason that he will not be a Heisman finalist. I would not definitively say he is the most talented quarterback on this list, but you can not coach experience. Ehlinger will have another big year in Austin, and hopefully he will prove me right and be the best quarterback in the Big 12.

Who Will Be The Next Joe Burrow? Here’s 9 possibilities

Before I start this blasphemous article, be assured I am not suggesting any of the quarterbacks on this list can match what Joe Burrow did this season. His numbers were historically great, and to predict that someone could come close to that would certainly be bold. However, by predicting the next Joe Burrow, I’m taking a look at QBs who are not necessarily a favorite right now to win the Heisman, but have the potential to experience a Burrow-esque breakout season and earn some hardware. I’ve broken up this list into three categories: Unlikely but fun to think about, Possibilities, and Favorites. Before starting that list, I just wanted to present the QBs who were too good to make the list; in other words, these QBs have odds too high (+1000 or better) to be considered for the Next Joe Burrow Award. 

  • Trevor Lawrence
  • Spencer Rattler
  • D’Eriq King
  • Justin Fields
  • Mac Jones
  • Bo Nix

Without further ado, here’s my best guesses at who could be the next Joe Burrow:

Unlikely

Ian Book – Notre Dame

Why he could: Book looked absolutely dominant in the second half of the season. After rushing for a game winning touchdown against Virginia Tech, Book was lights out, tossing 17 touchdowns to just two interceptions and racking up 295 yards on the ground at a 6.7 yards per carry clip. The potential is there, and with a home game versus Clemson and a road game against Wisconsin, Book has the potential for some Heisman moments if he can perform and lead the Irish back to the Playoff.

Why he won’t: Because Book has not performed consistently against good teams. He threw just three touchdowns and two interceptions in their two losses, finishing 8-25 for 73 yards against Michigan. Book also loses several offensive playmakers in Tony Jones, Cole Kmet, and Chase Claypool. Adjusting to life without Claypool and Kmet especially will be tough, and there may be a learning curve that hurts Books’ stats. 

Kedon Slovis – USC

Why he could: He was at his best at the end of the season. His three best games came in his last four weeks, including his bowl game that he was knocked out early. Slovis had better numbers than Ian Book overall, and he’s got a lot of talented receivers around them that can help boost his numbers. Playing in the Pac-12 won’t hurt either, as Slovis will get a few soft games to help his stats. His schedule is also chock-full of potential Heisman moments, with an early season game versus Alabama, a season finale against Notre Dame, and conference games at Oregon and Utah. 

Why he won’t: Slovis is young and error-prone, and USC is ridiculously injury-prone at quarterback. So he first has to stay healthy which was extremely tough this year, and he has to cut down on the interceptions; he had two 3-interception games this season. Slovis also likely will need to be more dynamic as a runner, as dual-threat QBs have become the norm and have dominated the Heisman trophy for over a decade. 

Myles Brennan – LSU

Why he could: To be honest, there’s not much reasoning here, other than he’s with the defending national champions who fully committed to an air-raid attack under Ed Orgeron and Joe Burrow. And while many LSU playmakers will depart for the NFL, Brennan is a competent signal-caller with several weapons returning, including national championship stud Ja’Marr Chase, and he will be greatly helped if Thaddeus Moss and Justin Jefferson return. 

Why he won’t: He has no starting experience and 40 pass attempts to his name. Passing guru Joe Brady just departed for the Carolina Panthers, and he will certainly lose a couple of his weapons. Definitely a long shot, but so was Joe Burrow. 

Possibilities

Sam Howell – UNC

Why he could: The Tar Heels’ signal-caller could certainly have a true breakout season, but a Heisman may be a long shot. Initial projections have the Tar Heels in the Orange Bowl next year and, if that holds steady, Howell may be in the national picture enough to generate some buzz. He’s demonstrated his ability to play at an elite level, as in his bowl game against Temple, when he threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns. 

Why he won’t: Howell is inconsistent as for every Temple-like game, Howell had another disaster, like when he put up 18 points against Wake Forest’s suspect defense. The Tar Heels are not a national powerhouse, and despite their turnaround this year, being in a NY6 bowl will rely on consistency and excellence from Howell himself. I’m not convinced he can handle that pressure. 

Brock Purdy regressed a little this year, but he is plenty capable of some gaudy numbers (Photo: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Brock Purdy – Iowa State

The Iowa State sophomore came out nowhere during his freshman year, but he took a small step back in his sophomore campaign, a middling season punctuated by a disappointing loss to Notre Dame in the Camping World Bowl. But you’ll remember that Burrow didn’t exactly light the scoreboard up in his first season at LSU. Purdy has a stable coaching staff and plays in the Big 12, which isn’t exactly known for great defense. He could put up some gaudy numbers, and if Iowa State can stay ranked, Purdy may have a shot.

Why he won’t: Iowa State has not finished a season ranked in the Top 25 sine 2000. The Cyclones have been ranked at different times over each of the last three years, but they have not established consistent success. Iowa State likely needs to be a 9-win team for Purdy to even get consideration, and I’m not sure they can do that. After improving to 5-2 with a win over Texas Tech, Iowa State finished 2-4, and Purdy put up four of his five worst performances in that stretch, leaving hope a little dismal for the future. 

Spencer Sanders – Oklahoma State

Why he could: Sanders is a similar case to Purdy in that he plays in the Big 12, which has produced a finalist in four straight years – although admittedly, they were all Oklahoma quarterbacks. The Cowboys were ranked for a lot of this year, but they fell out with an ugly bowl game loss to Texas A&M. He’ll get some chances to prove himself in big moments, especially against Oklahoma, and a big season could have the Cowboys in the Top 20 with a chance at a Heisman finalist. 

Why he won’t: Quite simply, Sanders might be statistically the worst QB on this list, aside from the unproven Brennan. After balling out against Oregon State in the season opener, Sanders never again matched that game, and he had three games with multiple interceptions. The other problem is that, barring a major fallout by Chuba Hubbard, the Cowboys will be led by their star running back, meaning that Sanders could be relegated to a game manager, like he was this year at times, attempting 25 or less passes in seven different contests. He’s a competent game manager for sure, but game managers don’t win Heisman trophies. 

Hook Em. Can Sam Ehlinger bring some glory to Texas? (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

Top Picks

Sam Ehlinger – Texas

Why he could: I could really see this one happening. Ehlinger had an amazing sophomore season, but many people blamed him for Texas underperforming this year when, in fact, he was actually statistically better than last year on several levels. Aside from a couple duds, Ehlinger was really good, posting a quarterback rating of 89 or above in six games, including his best two performances in his final two games. Texas absolutely has the talent to be a national title contender, they just have to put it together for once. But Ehlinger, at a traditional football powerhouse? Coming off a slightly disappointing season that ended in a massive bowl win over a ranked team? Sounds a lot like Joe Burrow…

Why he won’t: The same reason for hope with Ehlinger – that he put up the numbers he did without playing his best – are also reasons for concern. Ehlinger had two total duds, against Baylor and Oklahoma, and a bad stretch of mediocrity for most of November, before he turned it around late with two great performances. Can he avoid long slumps like the one that plagued him this season; he had five games with a QBR under 73.8 – Burrow’s worst mark of the year. Also, can Texas avoid being Texas and actually perform to expectations? Those questions will be key if Ehlinger wants a chance. 

Kellen Mond – Texas A&M

Why he could: Mond has loads of natural talent, and when he puts it together, like he did in a three-touchdown performance against Mississippi State, he can be lethal. Combined with the Aggies’ great recruiting and a proven coach in Jimbo Fisher, the ingredients are there for Mond to explode this year. Playing in the SEC, much like Burrow, he’ll have lots of chances to prove himself against elite competition. If he rises to the occasion, Mond could have a special season with the Aggies. 

Why he won’t: He was pretty mediocre and at times downright bad this season. His performance against LSU in the regular season finale was probably the worst individual game any QB had on this list. I felt Mond was average or worse in probably eight or nine games,which isn’t exactly a recipe for Heisman votes. 

Kyle Trask – Florida

Why it could happen: Trask is probably the most similar to Burrow as far as where the LSU QB was heading into this season. Trask is a long-time backup, who got a chance to start this season and performed fairly well if not great. He’s on a very good SEC team who has long played second fiddle within their own division, but has a chance to go further next year. The initial CBS Sports projection has the Gators in the Playoff next year, which could happen if the usurp Georgia in the SEC East. If that happens, and Trask is a major reason why, expect the Florida signal-caller to be near the top of the lists.

Why he won’t: Obviously he is not a favorite, but there’s no other obvious reason to not like Trask’s chances. The biggest concerns are probably Florida being able to finally take the next step, and whether Trask can level up; the long-time backup avoided any horrible games, but he also only had a couple games that you could qualify as ‘great’. His biggest difference from Burrow’s 2018 season, is that Burrow played his best four games of the season in the last four games, indicating a sign of things to come. You can’t say that about Trask, who was probably actually a little bit worse in his final four games.

My official prediction as of now is that one QB will make this list – and my guess is Ehlinger. I could definitely see Ehlinger joining Spencer Rattler and Justin Fields and Chuba Hubbard in New York next year, with Kyle Trask finishing in the Top 10 in voting. And if Ehlinger performs, he could find himself making an acceptance speech at the podium.