The simple answer is yes, you absolutely need to take a quarterback in every class. Now, there are several reasons why the answer is yes.
#1) The college football landscape has changed over the past decade. In today’s game, quarterbacks do not wait around for playing time like they have in the past. They want to play and they want to play now. Case in point, look at the Red Raiders QB recruits for the past 10 years prior to the 2015 recruiting class. This is a list of QBs who have played in a game.
Only 2 QBs finished their eligibility at Tech. Webb and Mahomes are currently on the roster. That’s it. So of all the QBs Tech scouted, offered and signed only 5 out of a possible 13 have a chance to start and finish their eligibility at Tech. That’s scary.
#2) Injuries happen. They have happened too frequently for Tech it seems. The last two seasons have seen our QBs injured multiple times….Brewer’s back, Mayfield’s knee, Webb’s shoulder and Mahomes’ concussion.
#3) Recruits will not always pan out. Every college football fan in America has gotten hyped up about a recruit before he arrives on campus and anoints him the next big thing. When he does get to campus, he is not physically or mentally able to succeed and he is labeled a bust. This happens at every college and every position. The thing that makes QBs recruiting unique is you typically only sign one scholarship QB recruit per class. So if you miss on him, you don’t have someone from that same class to fill his spot. That means you get younger at that position and typically youth does not have the experience to perform as well as more seasoned players.
Let’s play the scenario out with our current roster. You have Webb, Mahomes, Nic Shimonek (a transfer from Iowa) and 2 walk-ons. After this season if Webb transfers, Mahomes gets injured and Shimonek isn’t good then who’s left? At least if you had taken someone in the 2015 class you may have your future 4-year starter. I feel like you have to play the numbers game at QB and constantly be adding to your roster, otherwise you a just a step or two away from a cycle of 4-8 seasons.
You can blame Coach Kingsbury’s 12-13 record in his first 2 seasons on a lot of things, some of which we have discussed on our site, but having to start 4 true freshman QBs in 2 seasons is not a recipe for winning many games no matter who the coach is.
Two is competition but three is a crowd. With that said, NO, it is not essential and there is no need to take a QB with every recruiting class. You already made my argument by stating the following: The college football landscape has changed over the past decade. In today’s game, quarterbacks do not wait around for playing time like they had in the past. They want to play and they want to play now.
My perfect case in point, which consequently resulted in the worst record since I’ve been a Red Raider fan was the Brewer-Mayfield-Webb saga from two seasons ago. The question remains if Kingsbury’s handling of the situation ultimately led to two of the three leaving but that’s kind of my point. Having too many guys that believe they should play introduces risk. When there are two guys in the mix there is always hope of becoming starter by outworking the other or worst case stepping in due to injury. Either way the opportunity is there. Worst case is you are getting a ton of reps in practice to appease the fact you aren't playing in games. When you introduce a third it creates a whole new dynamic especially when you do not establish a clear hierarchy. 2013 proved just that and showed how its effects carried over into the 2014 season.
We've all heard it said before, if you have multiple Quarterbacks you don’t have a Quarterback. We had 3 that the fanbase was split on and while I have no knowledge of this it would lead me to believe the team was split on as well. Couple that with 'miscommunication' from the HC and you’ve got a mess on your hands. The 2013 season spiraled out of control but fortunately we were able to squeak in to a bowl game to mask those current issues but we couldn't cover up the future issue. Despite a bowl game there was consequence and we lost both Brewer and Mayfield. In my opinion their departures are the root cause of a disastrous 2014 season. Webb was anointed despite complete inconsistency the year prior. We had zero depth entering the season behind him. We should have all known a 4-8 season was on the horizon and contrary to belief you can put last season 100% on QB play.
We’ve got two guys between Webb and Mahomes that will go into Fall camp playing for the starting QB position and the other will become the backup. Had we brought in a QB with this class we are looking at another Brewer-Mayfield-Webb mess in the future. It could have reared its ugly head this season but more than likely next season. The result of something like this spans over multiple seasons and is simply something we cannot afford to have at Texas Tech.
To comment on injuries let’s just be honest. If you are playing your third string QB b/c your two top dogs are out you don’t have a shot of winning anyways. This is why you have walk-ons on your roster.
In conclusion I think we are in a perfect position right now at the QB position. We've got two guys, a great dynamic for a football team this up-coming season and next. There will be a natural hierarchy of starter/backup established. This would be my rule of thumb when it comes to recruiting QBs in today’s landscape. If I've got two guys on campus that I truly believe in and both are underclassmen on signing day I do NOT recruit a QB for that class. On signing day next year Davis Webb will be a Junior therefore I do believe there is a need to take a QB in that class. If we still had two Sophomores I wouldn't take one.