The talk of signing day wasn't the quality of quarterbacks heading to the Big 12, but on paper this is looking like a surprisingly strong class for the league. Five of the 13 signees, for example, are current or former ESPN 300 recruits. A closer look at the new arms already on campus or on the way:
Kendall became the Sooners’ No. 2 quarterback as soon as he set foot on campus. The top-rated Big 12 QB signee (No. 162 in the ESPN 300) didn’t get a ton of national hype coming out of Waxhaw, North Carolina, but OC Lincoln Riley has been a fan for a long time and he’s in good hands learning from Baker Mayfield. “He’ll take big steps even before spring ball, and then he’ll get a ton of extra plays through spring ball,” Bob Stoops said. Murray, the famed Texas A&M transfer, gets a year to refine his game on scout team just as Mayfield did in 2014.
Art Briles and his staff determined Smith was their guy all the way back in June 2014, and he’s only gotten better since. He’s a big 6-foot-4 passer and ESPN 300 talent who should have lots of time to learn behind Seth Russell and Jarrett Stidham. “We're tickled to death that he's at Baylor and he's done a great job adjusting,” Briles said. “He has a tremendously quick release and is mobile enough to make things happen with his feet."
The ESPN 300 signee joined the program in mid-January and will be given a chance to win the QB1 spot. Whether he plays this year or not all depends on how quickly he figures out new OC Sterlin Gilbert’s offense.“Shane is so eager to learn,” Charlie Strong said. “He’s here right now, always around the office, always around Sterlin.” The son of former MLB player Steve Buechele is a gamer who shined at the Elite 11 finals.
Might the four-star from Fort Osage High in Missouri compete for the starting job this year? We’ll see. Bill Snyder will make the decision on Thompson’s redshirt at the end of spring ball. Either way, he brings more athleticism and competition to a QB room that’s losing Kody Cook and Jonathan Banks. “He’s an intelligent, bright young guy that will pick things up quickly,” Snyder said.
Saunders gives West Virginia more of what they’ve got: a talented, tough dual-threat quarterback with great speed and good size. The four-star signee enrolled early but should be able to redshirt thanks to WVU’s improving depth behind Skyler Howard. “It’s going to be a fun competition situation,” Dana Holgorsen said.
The long-time commit from San Angelo, Texas, earned praise from Gary Patterson for being the glue of TCU’s recruiting class as a diligent recruiter. That’s a sign of the great leadership he’s expecting from the three-star signee, a sharp player who enjoyed a big senior season and is already benefiting from enrolling early.
Duffey racked up an impressive list of honors as the top player in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this year and led his Lake Ridge team to the state title game. His size (6 feet, 180 pounds) might be the only reason he’s rated a three-star. Kliff Kingsbury would like to redshirt him, if possible, but he loves that Duffey brings a Patrick Mahomes-like mentality to the game. “Very similar attitudes,” Kingsbury said. “Both think they're the best when they step out there.”
When Matt Campbell showed up in Ames, he only had two scholarship QBs. As he put it on signing day: “That’s scary.” The staff got their QB room in better shape with this duo. Campbell likes how Park, a former top-100 recruit who started his career at Georgia, will fit in ISU’s offense when he arrives in May. Noland, a three-star, flipped from Appalachian State and enrolled early.
David Beaty wasn’t going to take a QB unless he found a really good one, and KU ended up with two. Starks, a three-star, thrived in his only year as a starter at New Orleans' Warren Easton. “I am so fired up about Tyriek Starks,” Beaty said. Haehn had an impressive season, too, coming back from an ACL tear that knocked him off most schools’ radar. “This guy is a battling warrior,” Beaty said. “I’ve had my eye on him since we got here.”
A late find who didn’t declare until signing day, Wudtee is an intriguing three-star get who was initially heading to Louisiana Tech. The stability provided by Mason Rudolph means Wudtee can be a nice long-term project and a dangerous option down the road. “He is just really hard to defend,” Oklahoma State OC Mike Yurcich said. “In a spread offense, he will be very dynamic.”