The Quarterback Situation Revisited

Amid the consternation by some, panic by others which has ensued following the departures of no less than five Texas Tech QBs since December, there is hope that coach Kliff Kingsbury will have a suitable backup by the time the 2014 season starts, not to mention a starter in Davis Webb who looks poised for a monster year. Here is a look at the quarterbacks expected to be on the roster this summer.

Nothing gets a fan base going like the quarterback depth chart.

Texas Tech has seen no less than five signal callers leave the program since December, leaving Davis Webb as the lone quarterback on the roster.

Michael Brewer is set to transfer to Virginia Tech, Clayton Nicholas is at Bowling Green and Baker Mayfield is in Norman, Okla.

Walk-ons Tanner Tausch and Mike Richardson were called in for spring ball and have since left the program.

There is no denying that having just one quarterback on the roster is alarming, because it is. Still, as I pointed out after the regular season, Webb was by far the most talented quarterback on the roster. The real mistake would have been to run him off.

I honestly still don't know how good of a prospect Richardson is, and though I have known Tausch since he was at Keller Central High School and he is nice young man, it was obvious throughout the spring he was not the answer as the No. 2 quarterback.

In a way it was mission accomplished for the Red Raiders. They needed arms for spring ball and the pair got a shot at playing major college football they most likely wouldn't have had otherwise.

Now a trio of walk-ons are set to arrive this summer along with, hopefully, four-star 2014 signee Patrick Mahomes.

Here's a breakdown of each quarterback and what they can bring to the table.

Davis Webb

Webb (6-foot-4, 205) has run off all competition and it is easy to see why. He torched Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl and looked even better this spring. His stats in the three open scrimmages were gaudy, but even more impressive is his development both physically and as a leader. He reportedly gained as much as 20 pounds since the end of last season and players and coaches up and down the roster have commented how Webb has made the Red Raiders "his team."

He will also have the benefit of an experienced and much deeper offensive line than a year ago. Though Tech lost some great playmakers in Jace Amaro, Eric Ward and Sadale Foster, the Red Raiders will have no shortage of speedy star power on the outside.

I expect Webb to put up record numbers next season and challenge for Big 12 Player of the Year.

The bottom line, no matter who the No. 2 quarterback is, is that Webb must stay healthy.

"We have a chance to be a really good team. We are flying under the radar and that's the way we want it," Webb said after the spring game. "There's no reason why you shouldn't expect this team to be one of the best to ever play at Texas Tech."

Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes (6-3, 215) threw for over 4,600 yards, 50 touchdowns against just six interceptions and rushed for another 900 yards and 15 scores at Whitehouse in 2013 en route to earning Associated Press Texas High School Player of the Year honors.

He is exactly the type of dual-threat athlete Kliff Kingsbury covets at the position and could hypothetically challenge for playing time as early as next season.

In fact Kingsbury didn't bat an eye on National Signing Day when asked if Mahomes is expected to play in 2014 saying he would come in and immediately be the No. 2.

The only problem is Mahomes is also one of the top baseball prospects in the state and could forgo college all together and just play pro baseball. There are several other options he could explore and the truth is his status will be unknown until after the MLB Draft on June 5-7.

"I haven't made any permanent decisions, but as of right now I'm a Red Raider and I want to go to Tech," Mahomes said back in February. "I don't want high school football to be the last football I ever play. I will probably be drafted in June, but it just depends on what I choose to do then. As of right now I'm a Red Raider."

Mason McClendon

McClendon (5-11, 180) passed for over 4,000 yards and 59 touchdowns in 2013 as a senior to lead Midland Christian to its third consecutive TAPPS Division II state title.

A coach's son, who played under his father Greg, McClendon never looks rattled on film, whether scrambling in the pocket to avoid the rush, or throwing a perfect spiral to a covered receiver in stride.

Though McClendon lacks the prototypical size for a Division I quarterback, arm strength is not a problem, and he passed for almost 9,400 yards and 114 touchdowns as a three-year starter.

It will be interesting to see how McClendon handles the step up in competition and if his size will be an issue.

But make no mistake, the kid is a winner.

Payne Sullins

Sullins (6-3, 180) has a big frame, which he has struggled in the past to add weight to. He shows a strong enough arm and very good accuracy, which allows him to make some tight throws.

He also appears willing to wait until that last second for his receivers to get open and deliver throws just before being blown up by oncoming rushers.

Sullins, who passed for almost 3,000 yards and added over 700 in the ground as a senior, did a good job at Waco Reicher High School of avoiding the rush and scrambling for some nice gains. It remains to be seen if he is athletic enough to be an effective scrambler at the next level.

That ability could serve him well to create more time in the pocket. Perhaps more impressive is his accuracy and arm strength when throwing on the run or even when off balance in the pocket in the face of the pass rush.

"He spins the ball really well. He's very accurate," Waco Reicher coach Mark Waggoner told the Waco Tribune. "What I like is that he doesn't quit on a play. He'll keep his eyes down field. That's hard to teach a person to do. But he'll keep his eyes down field and still make a play that was not there originally."

Vincent Testaverde, Jr.

Testaverde (6-2, 175) obviously has the genes to play the position as he is the son of former Heisman Trophy winner and 21-year NFL veteran Vinny Testaverde.

It's ironic the most well-known of the walk-ons has the least amount of film to disect.

The younger Testaverde didn't play organized football until his junior year in high school and only started a couple games late that season. He looked pretty good as a senior until an emergency appendectomy forced him to miss some time. But he did return to help his team to a district championship.

So while watching his film it's obvious he possesses some physical gifts, he may be more of a project. If he and his family are willing to be patient, which would be refreshing given what has transpired at Texas Tech recently, he could blossom into a player for the Red Raiders.

Then again, he's had one of the more unique sources of football knowledge at home in his father, who also coached him at Jesuit, so maybe his learning curve won't be quite so steep.

*Click here to discuss Texas Tech's quarterback situation*

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