Weekly Rankings: Big 12 quarterbacks
After diving into the Big 12's realignment options a week ago, KSO now turns to what actually happens on the football field this season. Who are the best quarterbacks in the league?
1. DILLON GABRIEL (OKLAHOMA)
He is the best example within the league of being experienced, explosive, having a ton of talent himself and being surrounded by an extremely proven offensive system and coordinator.
Just about every spot on the list can be argued. It is that kind of year in the Big 12, but there is just more to like and less to be worried about when it comes to Dillon Gabriel and the Oklahoma Sooners.
Yes, some of it has to do with the numbers that he he might produce by playing for Jeff Lebby. Does it mean he will be the best? Absolutely not. There are a few others that will be in a spot to be the top signal-caller in the conference as well.
2. QUINN EWERS (TEXAS)
I couldn't make him number one just because he hasn't done it before and earned a quick reputation of being a bit reckless and not exactly zeroed in on football enough. So, Quinn Ewers has that part to improve upon and erase.
Lack of experience aside, he is the most talented and explosive quarterback in the conference. On top of that, he will be playing for a coach in Steve Sarkisian that knows how to unlock those kind of gifts.
3. ADRIAN MARTINEZ (KANSAS STATE)
Some will want to elevate Adrian Martinez over Quinn Ewers just because of the proven production. He's also explosive, gifted and will be playing in a system that we imagine will be more quarterback-friendly than what we've seen before in Manhattan.
However, he's not as talented or gifted as Ewers. Collin Klein is also not Sarkisian when it comes to play-calling. While he's just as proven and has managed great numbers like Gabriel, there is a question mark of ball security that hasn't been answered yet.
I will say, Martinez is in the territory of contending for the number one spot if he puts it all together in his final year of college football and irons out the flaws that plagued him at Nebraska.
4. BLAKE SHAPEN (BAYLOR)
Those in Waco probably don't think I'm respecting Blake Shapen enough, and they may be correct. He is perfect for the system that Dave Aranda has installed at Baylor and shined in his limited chances a season ago.
He just isn't as proven as some above him. He may not possess the dynamic and explosive trait that can separate the first tier from the second.
However, we'll find out more about him this season. They picked him over Gerry Bohanon for a reason.
5. SPENCER SANDERS (OKLAHOMA STATE)
Spencer Sanders wins the experience battle as well as anyone not named Adrian Martinez. He has been in playing for what seems like forever and been in Stillwater that entire time.
Nobody will know their own offensive system better than Sanders, so that gives him a leg up on some of the other contestants. I'm just not sure there's a drastic difference between Sanders in year one and Sanders in year four.
They've won a lot of games with him under center, but the preseason All-Big 12 quarterback hasn't made giant strides as a playmaker.
6. JT DANIELS (WEST VIRGINIA)
Quite frankly, JT Daniels is the hardest one to rank. West Virginia has seemed to be in disarray at times under Neal Brown and have seen a lot of turnover as well. With that being said, the former USC Trojan and Georgia Bulldog has enough talent to be in the top three.
I'm not sure when the last time he's been able to showcase that kind of skill-set for more than five or six games in a season. He couldn't unseat Stetson Bennett in Athens and couldn't stay healthy.
He's a quarterback that could be in the top two or bottom two by the end of the season and neither would shock me.
7. DONOVAN SMITH (TEXAS TECH)
Very quietly, Donovan Smith played some very good football last year at times. His upside is probably higher than a couple others above him on the list, namely the Oklahoma State Cowboy.
Smith could also see his numbers explode under offensive coordinator Zach Kittley. He may ascend due to that offensive system in Lubbock.
8. MAX DUGGAN/CHANDLER MORRIS (TCU)
Part of the reason why I went so low on the TCU quarterbacks is because there is some uncertainty as to who it will be at this point. Sonny Dykes is still torn between Max Duggan and Chandler Morris.
We know about the former. Duggan is who he is and makes them competitive but probably caps their upside as a team in the 2022 season. He gives them the higher floor but probably the lower ceiling.
Morris was seen as a promising prospect in high school, but much less is known about him. Either way, both will be in situations where they can have better numbers now that Garrett Riley is their offensive coordinator.
Because of the latter, Morris is probably the more natural fit.
9. JALON DANIELS (KANSAS)
If Jalon Daniels plays like he did in the latter quarter of the 2021 season, No. 9 may not be high enough. However, he's not in an offense that will uplift them like some of the other systems in the league.
Additionally, they still are devoid of Big 12 talent in a number of areas.
10. HUNTER DEKKERS (IOWA STATE)
I'm sure I'll catch the ire of Iowa State fans by placing Hunter Dekkers in the final spot. When it comes to arm talent, he isn't last in the league. However, they have lost a number of significant contributors around him and he has played very little football compared to a lot of the list.
Furthermore, we know he has a fastball and a big arm, but I need to see him make a lot of other throws before I jump on the bandwagon.