Much has been made about the prevalence of Texas-tied quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs — four of the eight divisional round finalists were QB’d by Texas high school football products, and now two of the final four (Drew Brees in New Orleans, Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City) have Texans at the helm.
Much has also been made about Texas-tied quarterbacks on the move in the college transfer market, too — Texas’ Shane Buechele, SMU’s Ben Hicks and TCU’s Shawn Robinson are all on the move.
But for all the talk about those quarterbacks, perhaps not enough has been made about the college quarterback situation in Texas, which might be the best it’s been in decades.
Think back two years ago, heading into the 2017 season. Which of the 12 FBS teams in Texas felt really good about their quarterback situation? Baylor (Seth Russell), Houston (Greg Ward Jr.), Rice (Tyler Stehling), Texas A&M (Trevor Knight), Texas State (Tyler Jones) and Texas Tech (Patrick Mahomes) all lost starting QBs to graduation or early entry into the NFL; North Texas (Mason Fine), SMU (Ben Hicks) and Texas (Shane Buechele) returned signal-callers who had promising freshman years, but were unsure if they could take the next step; UTEP returned junior Ryan Metz , but the Miners ranked 103rd in passing offense the year before. Arguably, the only two programs that felt really good about their quarterback situation were TCU (Kenny Hill) and UTSA (Dalton Sturm).
Contrast that with now, where no fewer than six programs will head into 2019 feeling pretty darn good about their quarterback situation.
Baylor welcomes back Charlie Brewer. Houston returns D’Eriq King (assuming he recovers from his knee injury). North Texas hangs on to Mason Fine. Texas has Sam Ehlinger. Texas A&M returns Kellen Mond. Texas Tech welcomes back Alan Bowman (assuming he recovers from his internal injuries).
That’s a half-dozen outstanding quarterbacks that should be back under center for Texas FBS programs in 2019, a relative embarrassment of riches.
It will, of course, spark offseason debate as to who is the best of the bunch. And that is perhaps where the conversation is most appealing — depending on what’s most important to you, all six quarterbacks have an argument for being the best in Texas heading into 2019.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the numbers from the 2018 season — both the standard numbers in the first graphic, and advanced analytics from the S&P+ rating system from SB Nation’s Bill Connelly.
|Pass Yards||Pass TDs||Comp. %||INT Rate||Yards/Comp.||Yards/Att.||Rush Yards||Rush TDs||Yards/Carry|
|Charlie Brewer, Baylor||3019||19||61.5||2.3%||12.6||6.7||568||7||5.6|
|D'Eriq King, Houston||2982||36||63.5||1.7%||13.6||8.1||748||14||7.7|
|Mason Fine, North Texas||3793||27||64.6||1.1%||12.5||7.4||191||2||4.2|
|Sam Ehlinger, Texas||3296||25||64.7||1.2%||12||6.9||677||16||4.9|
|Kellen Mond, Texas A&M||3107||24||57.3||2.2%||13.1||6.5||684||7||5.9|
|Alan Bowman, Texas Tech||2638||17||69.4||2.1%||11.6||7.6||60||1||2.9|
|Pass Efficiency||Pass Explosiveness||Rush Efficiency|
|Charlie Brewer, Baylor||5.40%||0.12||14.10%|
|D'Eriq King, Houston||6.60%||0.38||9.20%|
|Mason Fine, North Texas||6.30%||0.24||-11.20%|
|Sam Ehlinger, Texas||6.80%||0.21||7.40%|
|Kellen Mond, Texas A&M||5.10%||0.12||4.40%|
|Alan Bowman, Texas Tech||13.50%||0.11||5.70%|
Want the most accurate and efficient passer? Alan Bowman’s your guy. Want a guy who led the state in passing yards? It’s Mason Fine. Want the guy who led the state in passing touchdowns? It’s D’Eriq King. Want the most effective runner? It’s Charlie Brewer. Want the guy who led the state in rushing touchdowns? It’s Sam Ehlinger. Want a 3,000-yard passer who can also take off with it? It’s Kellen Mond.
While the debate will rage on who is the superior quarterback, the great news for football fans in Texas is that we don’t have to choose — we get to watch them all next year. And who knows who will emerge as the next superstar?
So while we watch the Texas-based QBs vie for a spot in the Super Bowl and we watch the transfer carousel spin, just remember: it’s a good time to be a college football fan in Texas, especially one who keeps an eye under center.