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Top 5 Texas Tech quarterbacks of the decade

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Kicking off our week of honoring the past decade, we put the most recognizable Texas Tech position to the test.

Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl - Minnesota v Texas Tech Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

This has been a long decade, but despite how you may think back on Texas Tech football between 2010 and 2020 there were certainly great athletes throughout. Viva the Matadors will be revealing our top 5 players of the decade in each position group throughout the week - starting with the most recognizable position of the bunch: quarterbacks.

5. Jett Duffey, 2016-2019

Career: 4,077 yards passing, 26 TD (18 in 2019) 587 yards rushing, 5 TD

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The number five spot for this position is ripe for controversy and lively debate, but even when asked to do the impossible Jett Duffey did more. We never got to see Duffey (2016 redshirt) ball out in 2017, but in 2018 he saw significant playtime after replacing an injured Bowman. The substitution and subsequent campaign led towards a schism in the fanbase against Duffey. Whether it was from mythologizing Bowman’s abilities after playing subpar teams or having overly critical expectations is negligible now. Duffey’s turnover-prone 2017 campaign had fans groaning, but he still completed 67% of his passes for a respectable 1,221 yards and 8TD. His off season became highly motivated as he moved down the depth chart behind Bowman, McIvor, and Tyner - but fate called again and he was ready. With fourth-string Duffey at the helm, Texas Tech remained competitive in the transitional 2019 season. Contrary to his prior moniker, Duffey outdid himself by completing 65% of his passes for 2,840 yards, 18 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions on the season. Duffey finished a top 30 quarterback in the nation in 2019, and despite his decision to transfer he will be remembered as one of the best Double-T wearing gun-slingers we’ve seen this decade.

4. Davis Webb, 2013-2015

Career: 5,557 yards passing, 46 TD

NCAA FOOTBALL: SEP 05 Sam Houston State at Texas Tech Photo by Zackary Brame/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Speaking of transferring their last-year, Davis Webb makes this list at number four. Webb, like Duffey, got his time to shine when then-starter Baker Mayfield went down with injury. In his first start, Webb put up 415 yards and 3 touchdowns to mark the fourth most yards passing for a first-time starter in school history. He followed that performance with another record-setting performance against West Virginia, collecting 462 yards and 2 touchdowns. That made Webb the first quarterback in Tech history to pass for over 400 yards twice in their freshman season, also breaking the freshman passing record for Tech and the Big 12 conference. Against no. 15 Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl, Webb finished with 403 yards and four touchdowns to tie the Holiday Bowl touchdown record and earn MVP honors. The 2014 season was similar regarding his excellence in passing, and in two full season Webb amassed over 5,000 yards through the air for 44 touchdowns. After being benched behind the no. 1 on this list, Webb transferred to Cal but left Texas Tech with the full support of the fans.

3. Taylor Potts, 2006-2010

Career: 7,835 yards passing, 62 TD

NCAA FOOTBALL: JAN 01 TicketCity Bowl - Northwestern v Texas Tech Photo by Ray Carlin/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Taylor Potts was Texas Tech’s transition into the new decade, and even though his final season is the only eligible year for this list I remain unapologetic. In 2010, Potts came in as the starter after battling Steven Sheffield for the spot during the off season and without skipping a beat put up the best performance of his career at Tech. He finished 2010 with 3,762 passing yards off of 369 passes with 35 touchdowns, all during a time where Texas Tech was transitioning into Tommy Tuberville’s style of play. In his time as a starter for Tech, Potts earned a 17-9 overall record and two bowl-season MVP honors. One for the 2009 Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan State, and the other for the 2011 TicketCity Bowl victory over Northwestern. The 2010 season for Potts helped solidify him as Texas Tech’s fourth-ranked all-time leader in passing yards and the third ranked all-time leader in touchdown passes thrown.

2. Seth Doege, 2009-2012

Career: 8,636 yards passing, 69 TD

Texas Tech vs. Baylor at Cowboys Stadium Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

If this list were based on the passing percentage, Seth Doege would be the unequivocal number one. Doege has the fifteenth highest passing completion percentage of all time, only led by one other Red Raider: Graham Harrell - but he doesn’t count here! This quarterback often gets swept under the rug of Red Raider memory because of his low-profiled nature coupled with his cut-and-dry play style. Make no mistake, Doege is one of the best to don the Scarlet and Black. In his first year as a starter, Doege walked into Norman, Oklahoma and threw for 441 yards, 4 touchdowns to beat the Sooners 41-38. It was the first time since 1996 since Tech had won in Norman. Doege earned a flood of accolades for that game but it didn’t stop there. In his 2012 Doege was put on nearly every watch list he could be: the Davey O’Brien, the Walter Camp, the Manning, the Maxwell, and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Awards all had eyes on Doege. His career high 504 yards and 6 touchdowns came in the massive 49-14 upset of the no. 5 ranked West Virginia Mountaineers (flood of accolades again). The 2012 season wrapped up with Doege finishing third in passing yards with 4,205 and second in touchdown passes with 39, completing 380 of 541 passes (70.2%) on the season. His career totals put him third in Texas Tech’s history for passing yards, passing touchdowns, passing attempts (1187), and passing completions (819). Additionally, Doege became the second quarterback in Tech history to pass for more than 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons behind Harrell.

1. Patrick Mahomes, 2014-2016

Career: 11,252 yards passing, 93 TD, 845 rushing yards, 22 TD

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 22 Oklahoma at Texas Tech Photo by Sam Grenadier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Before you even clicked the article you knew who number one was. Hell, if anybody not remotely interested in the Big 12 saw this article even they would know Patrick Mahomes was number one. That’s the illustration of the impact that Mahomes has had on Texas Tech both as a football player as well as an ambassador. Mahomes took over for Davis Webb in 2015 for the final three games of the season, collecting a Big 12 freshman record after throwing 589 yards and 6 touchdowns against Baylor. It was obvious he would continue to be the guy for Texas Tech, and in 2015 he really began to prove that he was a cheat code to this whole football thing. Mahomes collected 4,653 yards and 36 touchdowns, topping the yearly conference rankings for passing completions, yards, and touchdowns. His final season with the Double T would only further solidify his legacy. In 2016, Mahomes threw for over 5,000 yards and collected 41 touchdowns to lead the country in yards per game, passing yards, total offense, points responsible for, and total touchdowns. Against Oklahoma, he set multiple NCAA, Big 12, and Texas Tech records after putting up 819 yards of total offense, 734 of those through the air. Even with all of those stats Mahomes still only finished the season with the Sammy Baugh Trophy (nation’s top passer). With 11,252 yards and 93 touchdowns on his stat sheet, Patrick Mahomes is statistically the best quarterback for Texas Tech this decade. But even beyond the stat sheet Mahomes’ agility in the pocket, cannon of an arm, and leadership of the Texas Tech offense leave no doubt in our minds that the number one spot always belonged to Patrick Mahomes II.