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2022 Big 12 Quarterback Rankings

Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State Cowboys Football

The Big 12 never lacks for talent or capable options at quarterback. That's again the case for the 2022 college football season, as the league has an intriguing group of signal-callers returning. On paper, the Big 12 doesn't have a preseason Heisman or All-America contender. Instead, it's a solid top-to-bottom group. Oklahoma State's Spencer Sanders tops the list, with Oklahoma's Dillon Gabriel, West Virginia's JT Daniels, Texas' Quinn Ewers and Kansas State's Adrian Martinez also in the mix for a spot in the top tier of signal-callers.

Ranking the quarterbacks by conference or nationally is no easy task. To help compile the rankings, there was some projection involved for 2022. This was not a ranking of quarterbacks only based on accomplishments so far or pro potential. All factors — pure talent, supporting cast, having a clear hold on the No. 1 position, previous production, 2022 projection, and scheme changes (just to name a few) — were considered and projected to rank the quarterbacks in the Big 12 for 2022.

Ranking the Big 12 Quarterbacks for 2022

10. Hunter Dekkers, Iowa State
Dekkers has patiently waited his turn behind Brock Purdy for the last two years and is ready to take over the top spot atop the Iowa State depth chart. The Iowa native ranked as one of the top prospects in the state from the ‘20 class and was evaluated as a four-star recruit by 247Sports. Over the last two years, Dekkers has played in seven games, completing 25 of 43 throws for 311 yards and three touchdowns to one pick. He showcased his mobility in those limited snaps, rushing for 73 yards and two scores over just seven attempts. Dekkers ranks low here largely due to his lack of experience. However, coach Matt Campbell and coordinator Tom Manning should put him in a position to succeed and deliver a breakout year in Ames.

9. Jalon Daniels, Kansas
If Daniels picks up where he left off in November, it’s safe to assume he will finish much higher on this list by the end of the 2022 college football season. The California native was instrumental in Kansas’ upset of Texas (21 of 30 for 202 yards and 3 TDs) and connected on 78 of 111 passes for 811 yards and seven touchdowns to just three picks in the final four games. After averaging 15.1 points a game through the first nine matchups, the Jayhawks posted 37.7 with Daniels at the full-time controls for the last four contests. Additionally, on 14 attempts of 20-plus yards, Daniels connected on seven of those throws for 244 yards and a touchdown. Assuming Daniels continues to progress, a significant jump in production is likely to come for KU's offense in '22.

8. Tyler Shough, Texas Tech
New coach Joey McGuire and coordinator Zach Kittley aren’t tipping their hand at quarterback going into fall practice. At Big 12 Media Days, McGuire indicated “we have a three-horse race,” with Shough, Behren Morton and Donovan Smith in the mix to start. Although Smith played well at the end of ’21 and guided the team to a bowl victory over Mississippi State, the guess here is Shough starts this fall. The Oregon transfer started the first four games of Texas Tech’s ’21 season before suffering a collarbone injury against Texas. Prior to that season-ending ailment, Shough threw for 872 yards and six scores to three picks and connected on 69.6 percent of his passes. Also, he posted a solid 9.0 mark in average depth of target. Although the offense won’t look exactly the same – especially with concerns up front and some turnover among the receiving corps – Kittley’s offense at WKU averaged nearly 50 pass attempts (49.8) a game in ’21. If Shough wins the job, his right arm should get a workout in Kittley’s pass-first scheme.

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7. Blake Shapen, Baylor
Shapen had an impressive two-game stint as Baylor’s starter last season by picking up victories against Texas Tech (254 yards and two TDs) and Oklahoma State (23 of 28 for 180 yards and three TDs) in the Big 12 Championship Game. That showing, combined with a strong spring, allowed Shapen to unseat Gerry Bohanon for the starting nod in Waco. Bohanon transferred to USF in early May. Over six total appearances in ’21, Shapen connected on 72.1 percent of his passes for 596 yards and five scores and ran for 59 yards over 21 carries. According to PFF, he completed 83.1 percent of his throws when kept clean, while 45 of his 62 completions came between the numbers. Shapen is a good athlete, and while he may not match Bohanon’s numbers on the ground (323 yards), he should allow Baylor’s offense to have a higher upside in the passing game.

6. Max Duggan, TCU
New coach Sonny Dykes inherits a TCU team with promising pieces on offense – receiver Quentin Johnston, running back Kendre Miller and a couple of starters back along the line – but also some uncertainty under center. The Horned Frogs have two capable options in Duggan and Chandler Morris, but will one clearly claim the starting nod in time for the opener against Colorado? Duggan battled a foot injury for a good chunk of the ’21 season and threw for 2,048 yards and 16 touchdowns to six picks. The Iowa native ranked second among Big 12 signal-callers in conference-only games in yards per attempt (8.9) and ran for 352 yards and three scores in 10 games of snaps. Morris shined (531 total yards) in an upset over Baylor but threw for only 125 yards in a loss the following week at Oklahoma State. According to PFF, Duggan averaged 11.9 yards on depth of target but also ranked at the top of the conference in turnover-worthy plays.

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5. Adrian Martinez, Kansas State
After four seasons at Nebraska, Martinez looked to an old Cornhusker foe for a fresh start and the chance to close out his collegiate career on a high note. The California native should be an excellent fit for K-State’s offense under new coordinator Collin Klein, especially with a group of experienced receivers to throw to, along with the return of dynamic all-around running back Deuce Vaughn. Martinez played in 39 games and threw for 8,491 yards and 45 touchdowns during his career with the Cornhuskers. He also showcased his ability on the ground and the potential to be one of college football’s most dynamic quarterbacks with 2,301 rushing yards and 35 scores. Martinez has to do a better job of limiting mistakes (30 interceptions and over 30 fumbles at Nebraska). However, with a change of scheme and scenery, Martinez seems to be on track to finish his career with a big senior season.

4. Quinn Ewers, Texas
Ewers made plenty of noise last season despite playing in just two snaps at Ohio State. The Texas native graduated from high school early to reclassify into the ’21 class and committed to Ohio State. With C.J. Stroud entrenched as the starter, along with an uphill battle in getting acclimated in August for the season, extended playing time wasn’t in the works. However, there’s little doubt Ewers possesses all of the tools to rank among the Big 12’s top quarterbacks this fall – provided he wins the job over Hudson Card as expected. Ewers’ high-school tape shows a big-time arm with the accuracy to hit all levels, which led 247Sports to rank him as a five-star prospect. Second-year coach Steve Sarkisian runs a quarterback-friendly offense and the Longhorns have one of the top receiving corps in the nation. If Ewers starts all 12 regular season games, this might be too low considering his upside.

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3. JT Daniels, West Virginia
West Virginia coach Neal Brown has a background in offense, but defense has led the way for his team in each of the last three years. Is that narrative about to change in 2022? If Daniels is as good as showcased during parts of his career, then the Mountaineers should easily have the best offense of Brown’s tenure. Helping that cause is the addition of new play-caller Graham Harrell, who worked with Daniels at USC in ’19. After throwing for 2,672 yards and 14 touchdowns as a true freshman with the Trojans in ’18, Daniels suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener the following year. The California native departed USC for Georgia prior to the ’20 campaign but was still dealing with the effects of that injury and only saw snaps in the final four contests. However, while the sample size was small, there was a lot to like from Daniels. He averaged 10.3 yards per attempt for the year, threw for 392 yards against a tough Cincinnati secondary in the Peach Bowl, and connected on 67.2 percent of his passes for the Bulldogs. Unfortunately for Daniels, injuries cropped up again in ’21, which limited him to six appearances and eventually a backup role to Stetson Bennett. If Daniels can stay healthy, the offensive scheme and supporting cast are there for a huge ’22 campaign.

2. Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma
Losing two talented quarterbacks (Caleb Williams and Spencer Rattler) to the portal as a first-year coach was a tough way to start coach Brent Venables’ tenure in Norman. However, the staff wasted no time in finding another capable signal-caller, as Gabriel is poised to emerge as one of the top quarterbacks in the Big 12 after spending the last three years at UCF. The Hawaii native became the starter for the Knights as a freshman in ’19, throwing for 3,653 yards and 29 touchdowns to just seven picks under coach Josh Heupel and coordinator Jeff Lebby. Gabriel was even more productive (3,570 yards and 32 TDs) as a sophomore but suffered a season-ending clavicle injury last season that limited him to just three games. Gabriel has good touch (60 percent in ‘20) as well as the arm to stretch teams (14 TDs of 20-plus yards in ’20). And with Lebby calling the plays now at Oklahoma, the transition should be relatively minimal, allowing Gabriel an opportunity for a fast start in ’22.

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1. Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State
It’s tough to sort out the top spot in the Big 12 quarterback rankings for 2022, but the preseason nod has to go to Sanders – the reigning first-team All-Big 12 quarterback. The Texas native posted his best season in Stillwater in ’21 by throwing for 2,831 yards and 20 touchdowns and adding 664 yards and six scores on the ground. Sanders capped the season on a high note with arguably his best performance of the year, throwing for four touchdowns and 371 yards in Oklahoma State’s 37-35 Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame. However, entering his senior year, Sanders still has plenty to work on. The interceptions (12) in 2021 were too high and more game-to-game consistency is needed. He also ranked near the bottom of the Big 12 in conference-only matchups in quarterback rating and yards per attempt. With a standout defense losing a handful of key pieces, the Cowboys need Sanders to elevate his game to another level. If he can replicate the bowl performance, cut down on the mistakes, and find more consistency, another first-team postseason selection should be within reach.

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