Top Five Big 12 Quarterbacks

Who are the top five Big 12 quarterbacks heading into the 2013 season?

1) Casey Pachall, TCU

Simply put, Pachall has the tools to be a first-round NFL Draft pick. He's big (6-5 230), accurate (66.4 career completion percentage), has the arm to make every throw and doesn't often make mistakes (just eight interceptions thrown in 17 starts). His most important stat? He's 15-2 as a starting quarterback. Of course, the main issues with Pachall are the off-field ones. If he can behave, he's far-and-away the best quarterback in the league.

2) David Ash, Texas

No. 2 is Ash, maybe the most interesting case study in the league. Perhaps no player's reputation is such at odds with his actual performance. The reason is simple: "Good Ash" has been very, very good, and "Bad Ash" has been very, very bad. Good Ash completed 72.6 percent of his passes for 268.7 passing yards per game and 19 touchdowns to two interceptions in nine starts. Bad Ash completed 47 percent of his passes for 93.3 yards per game and no touchdowns to six picks. But you can't even say it's a case of just producing against bad defenses … a healthy Ash played against four defenses in the top-26 of Defensive S&P+ — Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Oregon State — and had nice outings against three of them (he never really had a shot against Oklahoma). If he gets a bit more consistent, look out.

3) Blake Bell, Oklahoma

This one is more hunch than anything. Bell (6-6 263) has basically been a short-yardage back for the first two seasons of his Oklahoma career, rushing for 24 touchdowns on 102 carries and picking up countless first downs along the way. But Bell was a fantastic passing quarterback in high school, largely earning his five-star ranking from as a thrower. He completed 66.6 percent of his passes for 2.752 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior. Bell hasn't had that kind of opportunity at Oklahoma, throwing just four passes as a redshirt freshman and 16 more a year ago. He hit on nine of those 16 throws (60 percent) for 107 yards. This year, he'll get the chance to throw a lot more.

4) Clint Chelf, Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State's No. 3 quarterback heading into 2012, Chelf took advantage of injuries to the players ahead of him to put together a nice season that culminated with a great performance in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. In that game, he hit on 17-of-22 attempts for 197 yards and three touchdowns. For the season, he hit on 60.4 percent of his passes for 1,588 yards and 15 touchdowns to six interceptions. But in his last three games, he was even better than that, averaging better than 260 passing yards per contest. Chelf still has to hold off the more mobile J.W. Walsh, but he looks to have a slight lead.

5) Jake Heaps, Kansas

A year after Dayne Crist's football redemption story went sour at Kansas, yet another five-star quarterback will get his chance. To his credit, even last spring, the talk around Lawrence was that Heaps was the best quarterback on roster. Now that his transfer sit-out season is complete, he'll have a shot to prove his worth. Heaps was 20-of-28 for 257 yards and four touchdowns in the Jayhawks' spring game, looking more like the freshman phenom than the player who was replaced as a sophomore. If there's a limitation on Heaps's 2013 performance, it might not come from Heaps himself … the Jayhawks may have the worst receiving corps — at best, it's the most unproven — in the league.

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