Critical 20: No. 3 Patrick Mahomes

Like any football team, Texas Tech has several players whose performance will be particularly critical to the squad's success. These players, whether by virtue of experience, leadership, importance of the position played, depth concerns, or sheer talent, are especially crucial. They may or not be the best players on the club, but they would be very conspicuous were they absent for any reason.

In the Air Raid era, Texas Tech’s quarterback history divides in two. In the first period, Tech enjoyed a wealth of success and talent at the position. Kliff Kingsbury, B.J. Symons, Sonny Cumbie, Cody Hodges and Graham Harrell all covered themselves in glory, leading the team to storied wins and racking up impressive statistical marks in the process.

Since the high-water mark of Harrell’s senior season in 2008, however, performance at the quarterback position has been mixed and mediocre. Taylor Potts, Seth Doege, Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb did not maintain the extremely high standards set by the previous group, and the program’s win-loss record has dipped in tandem.

Now, entering the 2015 season, Tech is hoping the palmy quarterback days bracketed by Kingsbury and Harrell return under the guidance of sophomore signal caller Patrick Mahomes.

The gunslinger from Whitehouse, Texas did much to raise expectations with his outstanding performances late in 2014. In his final three starts, against Oklahoma, Iowa State and Baylor, Mahomes completed 80 of 150 passes for 1,304 yards with 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions. For the entire season (seven games played) his numbers were 105 of 185 for 1,547 yards with 16 TDs and four picks. His passing efficiency rating of 151 was second best in the nation among freshmen. Note that well. Mahomes was arguably the second best freshman quarterback in the country last season. And if he’s able to maintain that standing in the future…


Now Mahomes completion percentage was a modest 57, but this is not due to inaccuracy on his part but rather to the fact that, more than any Tech quarterback since Cumbie, Mahomes looked frequently for the deep ball, and it’s a ball that he throws exceptionally well. The days of Tech regularly burning defenses deep with the likes of Carlos Francis, Jarrett Hicks, Joel Filani, Michael Crabtree and Robert Johnson look to be back, which should be music to the ears of Devin Lauderdale and Jakeem Grant.

Another of Mahomes’ fortes is ball security. Ever since Harrell left for the Green Bay Packers, turnovers in the passing game have been a terrible hobgoblin. But in 2014 Mahomes’ touchdown/interception ratio was 4-to-1, and the sample size of 185 is large enough to dispel any notion that the statistic is a fluke. In point of fact, Mahomes attacks all corners of the field, but also exercises excellent judgment regarding where to throw the football, and when not to throw it. He also has excellent peripheral vision.

Mahomes Again

In the Petro-scrimmage Mahomes took over where he left off from his 598-yard passing performance against Baylor. He was generally effective, and his scramble and heave to Dylan Cantrell down the near sideline was a play that, had it occurred against a Big 12 foe or in a bowl game, would be etched upon the memory of all Tech football fans.

So, with a great offensive line to protect him, and a strong running game to lean on, the table is set for Mahomes to have a stupendous season. Shoot, if Davis Webb weren’t an incredibly strong backup, Mahomes would probably cop top honors in this here list. Instead, I’m sure he’ll settle for All Big 12 honors and a season filled with wins. Those outcomes are not out of reach.

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