Big 12 not as loaded at quarterback
Most of the improvements made to the Kansas football roster after a recruiting season devoted to bringing on prospects from junior colleges happened on defense, which happens to match up well with the most significant Big 12 departures, which came at quarterback.
Oklahoma State has to replace Mason Rudolph, who started his last 42 games at Oklahoma State and posted outrageously good numbers, also leading in a way that made everyone on the offense better.
Taylor Cornelius, a redshirt senior from Bushland, Texas who has attempted 24 passes during his Oklahoma State career, reportedly had the most impressive spring. A former walk-on, Cornelius is expected to be pushed by Hawaii graduate transfer Dru Brown, who was not yet with the team in the spring.
TCU will turn to strong-armed scrambler Shawn Robinson, a sophomore, to replace Hill. Robinson has a high ceiling, but lacks experience.
Texas Tech has to repace Nic Shimonek, who threw for 3,963 yards and 33 touchdowns with 10 interceptions last season. Neither junior McLane Carter nor redshirt sophomore Jett Duffey came out of spring football having won the job.
The good news for Kansas: They no longer have to defend Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. The bad news: Mayfield's replacement, Kyler Murray, has Heisman potential too and was the fastest player KU faced in either football or baseball. The Oakland A's selected Murray with the ninth pick of the first round of the baseball draft and he plans to play quarterback for the Sooners.
In last season's 41-3 victory vs. Kansas, Murray completed 3 of 5 passes for 55 yards and rushed three times for 33 yards. As Mayfield's backup last season, Murray completed 18 of 21 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception. That computes to a quarterback rating of 276.5 and 17.1 yards per pass attempt. He also rushed 13 times for 142 yards, an average of 10.9 yards per carry. Sure, most of the numbers were compiled at mop-up time, but his speed and skills translate to prime time.
Murray didn't fare nearly as well as a freshman at Texas A&M, for which he completed 59.5 percent of his passes, averaged 5.7 yards per pass attempt and threw five touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He not only wasn't experienced then, he wasn't surrounded by as many superior athletes.
It's true that the Jayhawks still will face bigger, stronger, quicker offensive linemen than the players they have protecting the quarterback, not to mention bigger, faster receivers than the men covering them, but at least they won't face as much experience at the most important position on the field.