facebook-pixel

Where does BYU’s QB situation stack up in the Big 12?

Eye on the Y: A QB who is turnover prone vs. a QB who is hurt, BYU’s options are limited

(Jaren Wilkey | BYU) Quarterback Jake Retzlaff participates in BYU football practice in Provo, Friday, March 8, 2024.

Depending on how generous you’re feeling, you could describe BYU’s quarterback situation a few different ways.

At best, it can be called unsettled. At worst, it is one of the weaker quarterback units in the Big 12 going into 2024.

The Cougars are waging a quarterback battle between Jake Retzlaff and Gerry Bohanon. Utah State transfer McCae Hillstead entered the mix too.

Retzlaff started four games last year, but was turnover prone. Bohanon didn’t play at all in 2023 due to an injury. Hillstead has no Power Five experience.

With that in mind, this is my ranking of the Big 12′s quarterback situations and where BYU falls.

1. Arizona — Noah Fifita

Arizona quarterback Noah Fifita, right, throws a pass as Colorado defensive end Taijh Alston pursues in the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The best quarterback in the Big 12 this year could be a newcomer to the league. Noah Fifita is leading a new-look Arizona team after a breakout freshman year.

He snatched the starting job away from veteran Jayden de Laura a month into the season. He proceeded to throw for nearly 3,000 yards, 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions. His passing efficiency was above 165 and he completed a staggering 72 percent of his throws.

Arizona will have a new coach after Jedd Fisch left for Washington. That is a big question mark. But Fifita will have his favorite target back, Tetairoa McMillan, and an entire offseason as the full-time starter.

2. Kansas — Jalon Daniels

Daniels was never healthy last year. But in his one game where he was at full strength, he tore BYU’s defense apart. He ended up playing in just three games.

Daniels was the pre-season Big 12 offensive player of the year in 2023 for a reason. At his best, he can run and throw. Now, he just has to stay on the field.

3. Colorado — Shedeur Sanders

The talent is all there for Sanders. He took good care of the ball too, only throwing three interceptions to 27 touchdowns.

The Buffalos fell apart after a hot start. But Sanders is still one of the more exciting players in the new-look Big 12.

4. Utah — Cam Rising

(Courtesy of Utah Athletics) Quarterback Cam Rising throws during Day 1 of Utah football spring practices on Tuesday, March 12, 2023 at the University of Utah.

Rising won’t have played football in almost two years by the time Utah kicks off in August. Still, he is the most accomplished quarterback in the league now. He’s been to two Rose Bowls and won the Pac-12 twice.

He isn’t the athlete that Daniels is, but he is mobile. The question is, how is his health?

5. UCF — KJ Jefferson

Arkansas’ dynamic run-and-pass weapon is heading to the Big 12. He’s already given BYU fits for the last two years. Now he will play the Cougars a third time.

Jefferson can sometimes struggle with accuracy and timing. He completed 64% of his passes last year. But he is a superb athlete who can take over games. With plenty of talent around him, Jefferson could be one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

6. West Virginia — Garrett Greene

Greene’s revitalization shouldn’t go unnoticed in Morgantown. While the coaching staff went from the hot seat to getting extensions, Greene was good too.

He pushed the ball down field, averaging eight yards a throw, and accounted for over 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. His completion percentage is in the 50s, which is not ideal. But he makes that offense go.

7. Iowa State — Rocco Becht

Becht was the freshman of the year in the Big 12 a year ago. He took over an Iowa State team in complete disarray and brought them to a bowl game.

Becht’s college debut was good for over 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns. Now he’ll settle in as the starter.

8. Oklahoma State — Alan Bowman

Finally, Bowman has some consistency. The college football veteran is going into his seventh year, but has never been the starter at one place for more than two seasons.

His first year at OSU was solid. He threw for over 3,000 yards. He was turnover-prone, throwing 14 interceptions to 15 touchdowns. But the Pokes have a strong run game and he will have more time in the system.

9. TCU — Josh Hoover

TCU quarterback Josh Hoover (10) looks to pass with blocking against BYU linebacker AJ Vongphachanh (10) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Hoover’s start to his career was lights out. He came out and threw for almost 500 yards against BYU.

He tailed off down the stretch. But the Horned Frogs will be deeper. Hoover has to take a step too.

10. Kansas State — Avery Johnson

Johnson didn’t play much last year. But when Will Howard — now at Ohio State — was hurt, he came in and played well. He made just 68 throws, but he was efficient. K-State will have a new offensive coordinator.

11. Houston — Donovan Smith

Houston had its moments where it moved the ball well last year. Smith has been injured during the offseason. Getting him back to health will be key.

12. Texas Tech — Behren Morton

Tech was down last year after a strong 2022. Morton showed flashes of being the quarterback they wanted. He ended up throwing for just under 2,000 yards.

13. Baylor — DeQuan Finn

Baylor’s resurrection needs to come quickly if Dave Aranda is going to keep his job. He brought in a Toledo transfer, DeQuan Finn, to compete as the starter.

14. Cincinnati — TBD

Cincinnati brought in a transfer quarterback, Indiana’s Brendan Sorsby, to earn the job. But it is still up in the air.

15. BYU — TBD

Oklahoma linebacker Danny Stutsman (28) tackles BYU quarterback Jake Retzlaff (12) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

BYU finds itself in a similar situation.

16. Arizona State — TBD

Jaden Rashada is gone for the Sun Devils. It could stunt their progress in year two under Kenny Dillingham.