Ranking Reesing's successors from No. 1 to No. 9
If Kansas head football coach David Beaty rides the wave Carter Stanely created with an encouraging second-half performance in Morgantown, W.V., and hands him the football Saturday for the 11 p.m. kickoff against Iowa State, Stanley will become the 10th quarterback to start a game for Kansas since Todd Reesing took his skills to the business world.
If Stanley can lead the Jayhawks to an upset of Iowa State, which opened as an 11.5-point favorite, he will move into a four-way tie for first in victories against Big 12 competition during the post-Mark Mangino years.
Here’s how I would rank the post-Reesing starting quarterbacks at Kansas, keeping in mind that the three statistical categories are numbers compiled in games played for the Jayhawks:
1 - Michael Cummings: Short and not a very fast runner, Cummings compensated for his shortcomings with smarts, toughness, decisiveness and leadership ability. In his first game in place of fired Charlie Weis, interim head coach Clint Bowen turned to Cummings at halftime in Morgantown, W.V., and kept him in place for the rest of the season. Cummings didn’t always make the right decision, but his lack of hesitation injected the offense with missing peppiness. He led KU to a 34-14 victory against Iowa State, throwing for 278 yards and a touchdown. His career ended in the spring exhibition of 2016 when in the heat of battle, a teammate tackled him, a no-no for a QB wearing a red jersey, and blew out his ACL. The one chance at a happy Kansas QB story for this decade ended sadly.
Yards per attempt: 6.5.
2 - Jordan Webb: He wasn’t big or fast or exceptionally accurate, but he was extremely tough. Took so many punishing hits and kept getting back on his feet. Including 38 times in his one season at Colorado, Webb was sacked 90 times during his three seasons as a college quarterback.
Yards per attempt: 6.2.
3 - Quinn Mecham: The most accurate passer on this list, but also had the weakest arm. It didn’t take defenses long to figure that out and once they did, he returned to the bench. Also lacked mobility. Still, he is only one of three post-Reesing field generals to lead Jayhawks to victory in a Big 12 game. Completed 23 of 28 passes for 252 yards in 52-45 comeback triumph vs. Colorado.
Yards per attempt: 5.6.
4 - Jake Heaps: Bad fit. It got to where it almost appeared as if Heaps began ducking for cover the instant he finished the snap count. Performed so well in practice, but didn’t have the ability to make something out of nothing. Beat out at BYU, he transferred to Kansas. Beat out at Kansas, he transferred to Miami, where he was unable to secure the starting job.
Yards per attempt: 5.4.
5 - Montell Cozart: Doesn’t have a natural feel for when to tuck it and run, which is a shame because he's so fast. Has a strong arm, but has struggled with accuracy throughout his career. His lone Big 12 victory, 31-19 against West Virginia came when he threw for 61 yards and rushed for 60 as a freshman.
Yards per attempt: 5.7.
6 - Ryan Willis: Too many sacks and too many turnovers in two weeks as starter earlier this season resulted in him bypassing second string on his way down.
Yards per attempt: 5.9.
7 - Dayne Crist: Billed as the second coming by Charlie Weis, who had recruited him to Notre Dame, it turned out Crist couldn’t walk on water, or even pass on chalked grass very well.
Yards per attempt: 6.1.
8 - Kale Pick: "I," as in incomplete, is the only fair grade to give him because he lost his starting job three quarters into the 2010 season-opener, a 6-3 loss to North Dakota State. But this isn’t a letter-grade, rather a number ranking. Had a solid career as a receiver and now is coaching quarterbacks at Fort Scott Community College.
Yards per attempt: 5.2.
9 - Deondre Ford: Pressed into starting duty at Rutgers in 2015, Ford was injured, missed the rest of the season, and has not reappeared in a game. He threw more picks than touchdowns at Dodge City Community College.
Yards per attempt: 5.7.