For the first time since 2013 Texas Tech will head into the season with uncertainty at quarterback. With a loaded defense (by Tech standards), an experienced offensive line, a strong trio of running backs, and some promising young receivers, the Red Raiders could finally have the elusive breakout season in the Kliff Kingsbury era. With great quarterback play the team could feasibly hit nine wins in a somewhat down Big 12, however poor play from the quarterback position could spell the end of the Kliff Kingsbury era.
The three main contenders to start at quarterback this fall are McLane Carter, Alan Bowman, and Jett Duffey. All three players are relatively inexperienced, and all three have fairly obvious weaknesses. However, I believe that Jett Duffey should be the starter, as his dual threat ability and ability to throw on the run gives him a skillset similar to Patrick Mahomes, albeit in a much more undeveloped package. Jett Duffey is fit to be starter this year and will thrive.
Duffey has running ability and can throw on the run
Looking at his high school highlights makes it easy to see why Jett Duffey was highly regarded before his off the field issues started. Duffey ran a 4.60 40 yard dash (which ranked second in his class of high school quarterbacks), and his athleticism was on display both running and throwing on the run in his highlights. While some of those plays would be impossible at the college level, it’s not hard to see the comparisons between Duffey and a player like Trevone Boykin. Kliff Kingsbury’s best offenses have come with mobile quarterbacks that specialize at throwing on the run, and Duffey does that much better than either McLane Carter or Alan Bowman.
Duffey’s leadership ability and intangibles
This may seem like an odd advantage that Duffey has, given his off field issues. However, at the high school level and during portions of last year, Duffey showed himself to be a strong influence to his teammates. Duffey led Lake Ridge to the state championship game in 2015, and was named Texas state offensive player of the year by USA Today, Mr. Football Texas and received various regional awards and recognition for his play. Duffey improved his game significantly between his junior and senior years of high school, and improved his passing production by over 500 yards and nine touchdowns, while also running for over 500 yards more. Duffey’s been reported to have a strong work ethic, and with coach Kingsbury having to break in new receivers to go along with the quarterback, it will be important to have week to week improvements and good chemistry.
Duffey has the “It” factor
One of the main reasons Red Raider fans fell in love with Patrick Mahomes as opposed to Davis Webb was due to the highlight plays he regularly produced in key situations. Mahomes seemed to always have the potential to pull of an 80 yard strike to a receiver or an elusive 3rd and 20 conversion. Kliff Kingsbury’s most successful offenses have all been run by an electrifying quarterback. Case Keenum, Johnny Manziel, and the aforementioned Mahomes have all produced tons of highlight plays under Kingsbury, often times igniting the offense and the crowd alike. While Duffey may not be the most crisp player (as evidenced by his scrimmage interceptions), he has the potential to bring a dynamic to the Tech offense that mirrors what Mahomes and Manziel have done in the past. His high school highlights show a player that can make huge plays at any moment.
Who do you think will win the starting job? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!