This series of articles will break down the Red Raiders roster approaching the 2017 season. Staff members selected their top-15 players currently on the roster and for each one of them there will be a profile with basic information, videos and expectations.
Weight: 225 pounds
Hometown: Corsicana, Texas
Like it or not, but Nic Shimonek will probably be our starting quarterback in 2017, and there are many things to like about that. He might not be a future stare like Patrick Mahomes III, but he’s also not a bust like Patrick Towles or Anthony Jennings.
Shimonek is a fifth-year senior who spent his freshman season in Iowa but decided to transfer almost immediately. He came to Lubbock in 2014, sat out that year according to NCAA transfer rules, and backed up Mahomes in 2015 and 2016. He saw some playing time in his junior season, but he never started a game.
Look to the above video: despite being blitzed and off balance, Shimonek throws the ball 50 yards. This is the first skill of this new quarterback, he knows how to throw the ball with efficiency, and he can throw it deep. Mahomes was well-known for his arm strength but in that category, Shimonek is not too far behind.
On the very next play. Shimonek throws perfectly in front of Coutee, who continues his route without slowing down, avoids the tackle and runs for a 59-yard touchdown. This is the second trait of Shimonek, an unusual precision and a quick release, making him hard to intercept. In his junior season, he completed 65.5 percent of his throws. Let’s compare his numbers to some other famous quarterbacks from last season.
Despite the fact that he does not like to run, Shimonek is elusive inside the pocket and can extend the play, leaving more time to his receivers to find some space. Also when he is under pressure he always keeps his head on straight and can find good options to throw to.
So what should we expect from Shimonek? He’s not Mahomes and he will need some time to settle in, especially in September. That said, he is a somewhat experienced player who enters his fourth year in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense surrounded by a deep and valid group of wide receivers. So, he has everything he needs to make a good impact.
An optimistic take: Texas Tech quarterbacks are often followed with interest by the NFL and if Shimonek will have a good season, he will draw some attention from professional teams. The best comparison is Mitch Trubisky, the former North Carolina quarterback, who played as a starter for only one season and was selected 2nd overall in 2016 draft by the Bears. I do not mean that Nic is first-round worthy, but a 4,200-yards season with limited turnovers could be enough to hear Shimonek’s name in late April.