The case for WSU NOT to take a QB this class

IF MIKE LEACH finds a 2016 class quarterback he likes, it’s not going to matter a whit to Leach how many stars he has next to his name. But at this late stage, just nine days before Signing Day, should WSU instead wait for the 2017 crop to sign its next QB? What kind of shape is WSU in for 2016 at quarterback?

Make no mistake, the ideal situation would be for the Cougs to take a 2016 QB. But the quality has to be there, and with Quentin Davis and WSU parting ways this past Friday, the best solution now might well be for WSU to wait for the next signing class.

The Cougs have three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster plus a walk on in the mix. In 2016, Luke Falk (6-4, 205) will be a fourth-year junior, Peyton Bender (6-0, 187) a third-year sophomore and Tyler Hilinski (6-3, 187) a second-year freshman.  Leach also Christian Jorgensen (6-2, 190) who will be a second-year freshman walk on.  Jorgensen was in effect the No. 3 QB in the latter half of the season with the staff looking to preserve Hilinski’s redshirt. Plus, Justus Rogers, who enrolled early in January, has said WSU will give him a look this spring at QB. There will also undoubtedly be some walk on QBs coming on board this summer.

Most schools want to carry four scholie quarterbacks on the roster. But that's become harder and harder to do with the number of QBs transferring in search of playing time, or leaving for other reasons, rising significant in recent years among Power 5 schools.

Oregon and Oregon State have both seen scholie QBs ask for their release this offseason. Oklahoma lost three scholie QBs this offseason to either transfers or other attrition. Oklahoma State also has but two scholie QBs on its 2016 roster, and are said to be desperately trying to add a prep QB commitment before Signing Day. And the list goes on.

If Falk, already mentioned this offseason by ESPN as belonging in the Heisman discussion in ‘16, stays injury-free there’s not much to be concerned about in the near term.  But his high-profile concussion injury late last year was a strong reminder that the backup QB is always just one play away.

Bender and Hilinski will therefore be closely watched by fans in the spring. Bender will be looking to show he’s the guy who orchestrated the first drive in the Apple Cup, and not the QB who struggled the rest of the way in that game. Hilinski will be looking to build off a true freshman season where he showed flashes in Thursday Night Football.  And Rogers will be looking to show he belongs as a Pac-12 quarterback.

Meanwhile, when Falk was injured at UCLA and Bender coming in, Jorgenson was behind the WSU bench and warming up at a furious pace. Someone had clearly told him to get loose. So perhaps not your average walk on.

If WSU doesn’t sign a QB this class, the hit for it will likely come down the road, not in 2016.

The uncommitted QB recruiting pool at this late date, as Scout.com analyst Greg Biggins told CF.C on Friday, is thin.  It only takes one, and there could still be a guy out there Leach likes and who signs next Wednesday. But the odds would seem against it.

NOTABLE NOTES:
--A junior college quarterback or FCS transfer (a la Oregon) wouldn’t seem to make much sense for WSU. The Cougs’ QB stores call more for a prep quarterback to come in and develop, not a guy whose contributions are limited to 1-2 years. 

--Could the 2017 class be one in which Leach signs two quarterbacks? A quick check shows Leach has never taken two QBs in a class before, not even in 2007 at Texas Tech when he declined to take a QB the year before in his 2006 class.


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