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May 31, 2010

Ranking the Big 12: Quarterback

Last season, the Big 12 was undoubtedly the premier quarterback conference in college football. This year, it features a few more question marks. As things move closer to the start of fall camp, Huskeronline.com will begin our comprehensive positional rankings of the entire Big 12. Today we start our ranking lists with the quarterback position.

1. Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M, 6-5, 243, Sr.
A consensus second-team all-conference selection last year as a junior, Jerrod Johnson holds eight different single-season school passing records and his 51 career touchdown passes are already the most in A&M history. He ranked sixth nationally in total offense with 306 yards per game last season, and his highlight game came when he threw for 342 yards and four touchdowns in a loss to No. 3 Texas. Because of his experience and continual progression, many are touting Johnson as the Big 12's best signal caller this season.
2. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri, 6-5, 240, Jr.
While Missouri had somewhat of a down year in Blaine Gabbert's first season as a starter, he still managed to take some big steps in his development. Gabbert ranked second in the Big 12 in passing efficiency (140.45) and 11th nationally in total offense (292 yards per game) while earning second-team all-Big 12 honors by some media outlets. With a full season as a starter now under his belt, many expect Gabbert to emerge as one of the elite quarterbacks not only in the conference, but also potentially in the country.
3. Robert Griffin, Baylor, 6-3, 210, RSo.
Baylor's Robert Griffin was on his way to becoming one of the most electric overall players in the Big 12 before being sidelined for the year when he blew out his ACL three games into last season. Assuming he can show the same athletic ability that took the conference by storm during his breakout freshman campaign in 2008, Griffin should be able to pick up right where he left off when he was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
4. Landry Jones, Oklahoma, 6-3, 220, So.
Like Gabbert, Oklahoma's Landry Jones took his share of lumps in his first season as a starter, as he was thrust into the fire when No. 1 draft pick Sam Bradford was lost for the season with a shoulder injury. While the Sooners' record last year was definitely a disappointment, Jones put up some big time numbers as he grew into the role of a starter. He set a school record with six touchdown passes against Tulsa, and he led all freshmen quarterbacks with 26 touchdown passes and 3,198 passing yards.
5. Garrett Gilbert, Texas, 6-4, 212, So.
Texas's Garrett Gilbert may have yet to even start a collegiate game, but based on his showing on college football's biggest stage, there's plenty of reason to believe he could be a special player. After Colt McCoy went down with an injury after five plays against Alabama in the National Championship, Gilbert came in as a true freshman and completed 11-of-24 attempts for 162 yards and two touchdowns in the second half to keep the Longhorns within reach. One of the most highly-touted high school quarterbacks in recent memory two years ago, Gilbert will finally get a chance to show what he can do at the next level.

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