June 16, 2024

Ranking the Big 12’s best quarterbacks of 2023

Big 12's best quarterbacks of 2023

Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel drops back to attempt a pass in the first quarter against Iowa State Saturday October 29, 2022 at Jack Trice Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

For the first time ever the Big 12 will have 14 teams in 2023.

The parity in the conference is at an all-time high, which means several teams could be in contention come November. The quarterbacks in the league come in different shapes and sizes.

However, they all bring a unique skill set to the table, and that should make for some good action on the gridiron.

So the Big 12 will absolutely be one of the most competitive and entertaining Power Five conferences this fall.

14. Garrett Greene, West Virginia: The Florida native has been a backup for the past three seasons, but now has a chance to take the reigns of the Mountaineers’ offense. Greene thew for 493 yards, rushed for 276 and scored 10 total touchdowns in 2022. He had 138 yards through the air, 119 on the ground, and scored three total touchdowns against Oklahoma. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder registered 204 passing yards, and three touchdowns tosses against Kansas State, which were both season-highs. Greene generated a rushing score in victories over Towson and Oklahoma State. Not to mention he completed eight of his 11 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown in West Virginia’s spring game.

13. Behren Morton, Texas Tech: The Texas native will battle Tyler Shough deep into fall camp for the top spot on the depth chart. Both gunslingers had promising performances last season. Morton threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns against West Virginia. He recorded a season-high, 379 passing yards, and scored three total touchdowns against Oklahoma State. Meanwhile Shough threw for a season-high, 436 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Oklahoma. Shough had 242 yards through the air, 111 on the ground and scored three total touchdowns in the bowl win over Ole Miss. However, Morton completed 12 of his 20 passes for 143 yards and a score in Texas Tech’s spring game.

12. Hunter Dekkers, Iowa State: The former four-star prospect is coming off a rough campaign in his first full season as the Cyclones’ starter. Dekkers passed for 3,044 yards, which ranked third in the Big 12, and 32nd nationally. His 19 touchdown tosses also ranked third in the conference. However, Dekkers finished 82nd in the FBS in passing efficiency because of his 14 interceptions. The Iowa native battled it out with Rocco Becht throughout the spring. Dekkers generated 11 completions for 101 yards in Iowa State’s spring game, as well as Becht. JJ Kohl threw a touchdown pass in the event. Still, Dekkers’ experience and production is hard to ignore for Coach Matt Campbell.

11. Chandler Morris, TCU: The former three-star prospect actually beat out Max Duggan for the starting job last season. Morris completed 13 of his 20 passes for 111 yards in the opener at Colorado. However, he suffered a sprained MCL against the Buffaloes, and never regained the starting role the rest of the season. Morris did see some action in the victory over Iowa State, and completed five of his six passes for 34 yards and a touchdown. The Texas native looked solid in the Horned Frogs’ spring game. Morris threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end D’Andre Rogers. He connected with running back Trey Sanders for an 11-yard score. His knowledge of Sonny Dykes’ scheme will be vital.

10. Donovan Smith, Houston: The former three-star prospect has spent the past two seasons at Texas Tech. During that span Smith passed for 2,686 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Last year he passed for 221 yards, and a season-high, four touchdowns in the victory over Murray State. Smith threw for over 300 yards against Texas, Houston and Kansas State. The Las Vegas native also has the mobility to extend plays. Although the Cougars didn’t have a spring game, Smith battled with Lucas Coley for helms of the offense. Coley only attempted three passes in 2022. So Smith’s experience, leadership and production in the Big 12 should enable him to be Houston’s starter.

9. Alan Bowman, Oklahoma State: The Texas native has a ton of Big 12 experience, considering he played three seasons at Texas Tech. During that span Bowman recorded 5,260 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. However, he spent the past two years at Michigan, and only attempted 11 passes during that span. Bowman learned what it took to be a conference champion though. Not to mention having that familiarity with the Big 12 and a championship mentality should help him a lot in Mike Gundy’s offense. The Pokes didn’t have a spring game this year to further evaluate the competition between Bowman, and freshmen gunslingers Garrett Rangel and Zane Flores.

8. Emory Jones, Cincinnati: The former four-star prospect has had a long journey as a student-athlete. Jones has spent time in the almighty SEC, as well as the Pac-12 before he ended up in the Big 12. The 23-year old played four seasons at Florida under Dan Mullen. During that span Jones passed for 3,347 yards, 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. The Georgia native also generated 1,232 yards on the ground, and 10 rushing scores. Last season at Arizona State Jones threw for 1,533 yards and scored 11 total touchdowns. Jones threw for over 200 yards against Oklahoma State, Utah, USC and Stanford. Not to mention he had two touchdown tosses in the Bearcats’ spring game.

7. Blake Shapen, Baylor: The Louisiana native helped the Bears win a Big 12 Title in 2021. Shapen finished with 18 touchdown passes last season, which ranked fourth in the Big 12. His 2,790 passing yards also ranked fourth in the conference. However, Shapen threw at least one interception in seven different games. Not to mention he was picked off twice against Oklahoma State, Kansas and Kansas State. Shapen battled Sawyer Robertson throughout spring ball. The former three-star prospect completed 11 of his 20 passes, including a 29-yard touchdown to tight end Drake Daloney in Baylor’s spring game. Meanwhile Robertson completed nine of his 16 passes for 170 yards and two scores.

6. Kedon Slovis, BYU: The Arizona native has experience in the Pac-12 and the ACC. Slovis played three seasons at USC, and passed for 7,576 yards, 58 touchdowns and 24 interceptions during that span. His 3,502 passing yards, and 30 touchdown tosses in 2019 were a career high. Slovis threw for 2,397 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions at Pittsburgh last season. The former three-star prospect passed for a season-high, 308 yards and a touchdown in the opening victory over West Virginia. Slovis threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia Tech. He also had three touchdowns tosses in the win over Miami. Slovis struggled in BYU’s spring game, as the defense dominated.

5. Quinn Ewers, Texas: The former five-star prospect registered 15 touchdown tosses last season. Ewers generated a season-high, four touchdown passes in the victory over Oklahoma. He threw for three touchdowns in the win over Iowa State. Ewers had a season-high, 369 passing yards in the bowl game against Washington. The Texas native recorded at least two touchdown passes in five different games. Ewers picked up where he left off and battled highly-touted prospect Arch Manning over the spring. The six-foot-two, 207-pounder completed 16 of his 23 passes for 195 yards and a score in the Longhorns’ spring game. Meanwhile Manning passed for 30 yards. Ewers has the position on lock for now.

4. John Rhys Plumlee, UCF: Last year the former Ole Miss Rebel put together a great campaign in his first season with the Knights. Plumlee was a perfect fit for Gus Malzahn’s offense, and scored 26 total touchdowns. He threw for over 300 yards against South Carolina State, Florida Atlantic, SMU and Temple. Not to mention Plumlee generated seven total touchdowns in the victory over the Owls. The former four-star prospect registered 100-yard rushing performances in five games, including 176 in the win at Tulane. Plumlee is also a standout baseball player for the University. The Mississippi native completed 10 of his 17 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game.

3. Jalon Daniels, Kansas: Last season he helped the Jayhawks reach bowl eligibility for the first time since 2008. Daniels got off to a hot start, and helped Kansas win its’ first five games. The Californian passed for 983 yards and scored 15 total touchdowns during that span. Daniels got injured against TCU, and missed four Big 12 games. However, he returned to the starting lineup, and left a lasting impression in the bowl game against Arkansas. Daniels threw for a school-record, 544 yards against the Razorbacks. Not to mention he capped off his stellar campaign with second-team, All-Big 12 honors. Daniels had a solid spring, and should take the team to new heights this fall if he can stay healthy.

2. Will Howard, Kansas State: Last season he looked light years ahead of where he was as a wide-eyed true freshman in 2020. Howard threw for 1,633 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions over the Wildcats’ final eight games. He passed for 296 yards and four touchdowns in the shutout victory over Oklahoma State, which were both season-highs. Howard had three touchdown tosses in the win at Baylor. The Pennsylvania native scored three total touchdowns in the Big 12 Championship Game. Although the Wildcats didn’t have a spring game this year, Howard has complete control of the offense. There’s no Adrian Martinez to share snaps with, so Howard’s numbers should flourish.

1. Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma: The former three-star prospect had a solid first season with the Sooners in 2022. Gabriel finished second in the Big 12 in yards through the air, touchdown tosses and passing efficiency. The Hawaii native was named the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year. Gabriel passed for 449 yards and six touchdowns at Texas Tech, which were both season-highs. He threw for 403 yards and scored three total touchdowns in the win over Kansas. Gabriel had four touchdown tosses at Kansas State. The 22-year old completed 11 of his 17 passes for 140 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in Oklahoma’s spring game. Gabriel should be even better in year two of Jeff Lebby’s system.