For the past three seasons, Texas Tech fans were mesmerized by the amazing plays of Pat Mahomes. Mahomes is now slinging the pigskin for the Kansas City Chiefs which now leaves a void for the Red Raiders. Nic Shimonek is being tasked to fill that void.
Starting Quartback Spot Locked Up
Shimonek wowed fans last season coming in for Mahomes during the second half against Kansas. Shimonek threw for for 271 yards & four touchdowns in less than a half and had more yards per attempt and a better QBR than Mahomes in the game. This combined with his spring camp, including a 273 yards, three touchdown performance at the Star in Frisco, is part of the reason why the program is not worried about this position going forward. Shimonek has been on the Tech roster for the past three seasons and he hopes to have the success of Tech QBs who got their first start in their 5th year. During the mid 2000s, BJ Symons, Sonny Cumbie, and Cody Hodges all made headlines each throwing over 4000 yards in their final and only starting season. Shimonek is hoping to add his name to that illustrious list.
Backup Quarterback Battle
Although the starting quarterback spot is almost comfirmed, it is a crap shoot behind that. Juco transfer Mclane Carter & former walk on Payne Sullins spent most of the spring battling it out for the backup quarterback position. Carter has seemed to pull through as the primary backup however his inexperience in the offense may be troubling. Carter is the only quarterback to have starting college experience on the roster as he threw for over 3000 yards and 30 touchdowns in just 9 games last year for Tyler Junior College. Carter impressed during spring and despite being left handed, uses this and his big frame to his advantage. Sullins has been a relative unknown during his time at TTU, however he has tried to use this time as an opportunity to prove himself. He started the spring strong but looks to have lost ground in the backup QB job job and will be subjugated to a 3rd or possibly even 4th string spot.
The Return of Jett Duffey
The backup QB competition in the spring could be all for not, as Jett Duffey has finally returned after his title IX suspension. Duffey had been pegged as the next air raid apparent until his suspension threw his career into uncertainty. Now that he is back with the team, it is highly unlikely he’ll get the opportunity to be the starter but it will be crucial for him to get back into the swing of things and regain his spot right behind Shimonek. Fall camp will be one big battle between Duffey, Carter, and Sullins for positioning on the depth chart. If Shimonek is to go down with injury, it will be crucial for the backup to be able to come in and the offense not miss a beat, similar to Shimonek’s role last year. This competition will not only be for this season but set up for the future as all three of these quarterbacks are eligible to play in 2018 once Shimonek leaves the program.
With the quarterback whisperer, Kliff Kingsbury, still leading the team, there’s no reason to believe this group won’t be just as successful as they’ve been for the previous four seasons. It will be important for Shimonek and company to continue to sling the ball in Kingsbury’s Air Raid.