Where OSU’s Alan Bowman ranks among Big 12 returning quarterbacks

Where OSU’s Alan Bowman ranks among Big 12 returning quarterbacks

Big 12 football 2024 figures to have an electric collection of quarterbacks. Where does OSU’s Alan Bowman rank?

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

| Mar 12, 2024, 6:00am CDT

Berry Tramel

By Berry Tramel

Mar 12, 2024, 6:00am CDT

(This story originally appeared in Berry Tramel’s newsletter. Subscribe here).

Big 12 quarterbacking is going to be quite interesting in 2024. 

The league’s teams could combine to start three seventh-year starting quarterbacks, two sixth-year quarterbacks and three fifth-year QBs. That’s a lot of experience, even in this extended-eligibility age.

Half of the Big 12 schools could start original signees at quarterback. In other words, non-transfers. That would be quite the ratio in this portal-mad age.

All befitting a league with four new schools in the conference, plus four second-year schools. Only six of the original 12 members remain.

It’s an eclectic collection of football programs and an eclectic collection of quarterbacks.

Most of the starting QBs are quite apparent. As many as 15 of the 16 jobs are virtually settled, with Brigham Young a notable exception.

With spring football having started or about to throughout the Big 12, let’s rank the quarterbacks in this 16-team conference:

16. Gerry Bohanon, Brigham Young: Veteran Jake Retzlaff may win the job; he quarterbacked the Cougars to upset threats against both OU and OSU in the final two games of the season. Bohanon is a seventh-year player who quarterbacked Baylor in the 2019 Big 12 Championship Game against OU. He transferred to South Florida in 2022 and was mostly ineffective, then missed all of last season with a knee injury.

15. Brendan Sorsby, Cincinnati: The transfer from Indiana was so-so as the Hoosier starter last season, with a 129.9 passing efficiency rating; he threw 15 touchdown passes and five interceptions.

14. Jaden Rashada, Arizona State: Highly-recruited QB started as a true freshman but was injured in his third game. Rashada looked shaky for the woebegone Sun Devils, with a 112.1 passer rating, four touchdowns and three interceptions. Lots of potential, but recruiting hype means nothing at this stage.

TCU quarterback Josh Hoover took over the Horned Frog reins last season. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/USA Today Network)

13. Josh Hoover, Texas Christian: Showed some promise after taking over for Chandler Morris last season. Smith’s passer rating was 134.8, with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

12. Donovan Smith, Houston: Wasn’t terrible as the Cougar starter last season, after three years at Texas Tech, but also didn’t distinguish himself much. Smith’s passer rating was 135.5; he had 22 TDs and 13 interceptions

11. Avery Johnson, Kansas State: At times last season, KSU coach Chris Klieman seemed to prefer Johnson over veteran Will Howard, who now is the expected starter at Ohio State. Yes, the Ohio State. Johnson has some flair, but he threw just 66 passes, though for five TDs and without an interception. Johnson is a runner; he ran for 296 yards in limited time.

10. Behren Morton, Texas Tech: Has shown lots of flashes the last two years but has been inconsistent. His passer rating was 123.9, with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season.

9. Alan Bowman, OSU: Bowman’s numbers didn’t shine — 123.0 passer rating, 15 TDs, 14 interceptions. Those need to improve. But he won. OSU was 7-2 in the Big 12 with Bowman at QB last season, and the Cowboys made a stunning run to the Big 12 Championship Game. That’s invaluable experience.

8. DeQuan Finn, Baylor: The transfer from Toledo was the Mid-American Conference player of the year in 2023. Finn’s numbers were good; 151.0 passer rating, 22 TDs, nine interceptions, 563 rushing yards. Can that production translate to the Big 12?

7. Garrett Greene, West Virginia: Never will impress with his physical traits, but Greene seems to get the job done. He’s quarterbacked WVU to a 9-4 record in his last 13 chances, and only one of those wins was against a rumdum. He’s beaten OU, OSU, TCU, North Carolina, Baylor, Central Florida, Cincinnati and BYU. His passer rating last season was 142.2, with 16 TDs and four interceptions. Greene also ran for 772 yards.

6. Rocco Becht, Iowa State: The Cyclones found a QB last season, in the wake of Hunter Dekkers’ suspension. Becht had a passer rating of 150.7, with 23 TDs and eight interceptions.

5. K.J. Jefferson, Central Florida: The transfer from Arkansas was a great get for UCF coach Gus Malzahn. Jefferson was a three-year starter in the Ozarks, and though he dropped off last season, his career numbers are impressive — 153.4 passer rating, 67 TD passes and 18 interceptions, to go with 1,876 rushing yards.

Utah quarterback Cameron Rising is back for a seventh college season, after sitting out 2023 with an injury. Rising should be one of the better quarterbacks in the Big 12. (Rob Gray/USA Today Sports)

4. Cameron Rising, Utah: Rising redshirted at Texas in 2018 and Utah in 2019, then suffered a shoulder injury that cost him most of 2020. Rising was a star in 2021 and 2022, when he quarterbacked the Utes to back-to-back Rose Bowls. Then Rising missed all of 2023 with a knee injury. I know he’s been around forever, but he’s played in just 27 college games, with a 147.4 passer rating, 46 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.

3. Shedeur Sanders, Colorado: Despite a leaky offensive line that allowed constant pressure, Sanders was superb in 2023, with a passer rating of 151.3, with 27 touchdowns and three interceptions. He was good at Jackson State, too.

2. Noah Fifita, Arizona: A freshman sensation last season who led the Wildcats’ turnaround season. Fifita’s passer rating was 165.9, with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. Fifita has a new coaching staff, but if anything, I’d move him up instead of down.1

1. Jalon Daniels, Kansas: Has gotten better and better during the Jayhawks’ rise, but Daniels also has suffered a variety of injuries. His numbers have been great in 12 games over the last two seasons  — 68.2 percent completions, 23 touchdowns, five interceptions, 499 rushing yards. The only question is, can he stay healthy?

Sep 23, 2023; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks quarterback Jalon Daniels (6) runs the ball during the first half against the Brigham Young Cougars at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas’ Jalon Daniels is poised to be the Big 12’s best quarterback in 2024. (Jay Biggerstaff/USA Today Sports)

 

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Berry Tramel is a 45-year veteran of Oklahoma journalism, having spent 13 years at the Norman Transcript and 32 years at The Oklahoman. He has been named Oklahoma Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Born and raised in Norman, Tramel grew up reading four newspapers a day and began his career at age 17. His first assignment was the Lexington-Elmore City high school football game, and he’s enjoyed the journey ever since, having covered NBA Finals and Rose Bowls and everything in between. Tramel and his wife, Tricia, were married in 1980 and live in Norman near their daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters. Tramel can be reached at 405-760-8080 or at [email protected].

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