Top 5 Returning Quarterbacks in the Big 12

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Now that teams are wrapping up spring practice, it’s time to start previewing the 2014 football season. Today, I’ll kick things off by listing the Top 5 returning quarterbacks in the Big 12.

5. JW Walsh, Oklahoma State – Many of you will question him earning the No. 5 spot on this list because he’s still competing with Daxx Garman and Mason Rudolph for the starting job. However, Walsh has thrown for 2,897 yards in his career with a very respectable 22 to 8 TD/INT ratio. More importantly, the Cowboys have only lost two games with Walsh as the starter, and in each of those contests he threw for over 300 yards.

4. Davis Webb, Texas Tech – Webb had an outstanding freshman season, throwing for 2,718 yards in 10 games (6 starts). He was at his best on big stage a year ago, throwing for an average of 404.3 yards per game against ranked opponents, including a 4 TD effort against Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl. With a full year under Kliff Kingsbury’s tutelage, he’ll be the most improved quarterback in the Big 12 – if not the nation – this fall.

3. Jake Waters, Kansas State – This one is sure to ruffle some feathers. Despite sharing snaps with Daniel Sams last year, Waters still managed to finish third in the league in passing with 2,469 yards. But what separates him from the rest of the pack is how well he played with the game on the line. In situations where K-State was within 1 touchdown last season, Waters went 77-for-120 for 1,220 yards with 11 TDs and only 4 picks. It’s tough to argue with those results.

2. Bryce Petty, Baylor – I’m sure that I will get plenty of heat from Bear fans for this, but Petty is only the second best quarterback in the league. Sure, he’s a phenomenal passer, connecting on 62% of his throws for 4,200 yards with an amazing 32/3 TD-to-INT ratio. But his numbers dropped off slightly on those very rare occasions when Baylor fell behind, which is just enough to drop him to second on this distinguished list.

1. Trevor Knight, Oklahoma – How could a guy that lost his job after two games possibly hold the No. 1 spot? Simple: the true measure of a great quarterback is how he plays in big games, just ask Peyton Manning Tom Brady. Facing an Alabama defense that was one play away from an undefeated regular season, Knight had the finest outing of his career, torching the Tide secondary for 348 yards and 4 TDs. That type of performance under fire vaults him to the top of the list, and will have him on many preseason watchlists this summer.

Terry Johnson is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. Follow him on TwitterFacebook, and/or Google+.