Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 8/15/12
Somehow it has come to be that the two most powerful college football programs in Texas are about to start a season and neither has a quarterback. In Austin, Mack Brown is trying to talk himself into a two-quarterback system. In College Station, Kevin Sumlin is pushing back his own self-imposed deadline to choose from among three guys who have basically never played. It was going to be two weeks before the first game, until it wasn't. Hard to believe, isn't it? Texas and Texas A&M both in an obvious pickle at quarterback, a position at which you need just one guy. A QB1. Just one guy out of a state of 26 million people. Just one guy from a state known for high school football as much as rodeos and oil and bull horns. Just one guy for a couple schools that can recruit nationally (but hardly ever have to). Where have all the QBs gone? Since 2008 the state of Texas has produced 24 quarterbacks who were ranked among the Top 25 at their position by Scout.com. Nine of those players stayed in state and six chose Texas or Texas A&M. Five went to the SEC. Three even went to Nebraska. Two, UT's David Ash and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, are competing for starting jobs for their home state's marquee schools. But it gets weirder. In 2009 and 2010 the state of Texas produced 12 national Top 25 quarterbacks. Nine of the 12 have since transferred to smaller programs (eight if you don't consider Colorado a smaller program than Texas, although you should). The other three are a wide receiver (Russell Shepard at LSU), a professional baseball player (Zack Lee of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization) and a starting quarterback (James Franklin at Missouri). Those are the guys who should taking over programs right now. Yet most of them are barely even on the map. There are plenty of ways to interpret that data, and probably more than one of those ways are correct. But there seem to be two truths running parallel to each other: 1) Texas and Texas A&M have not done a good job of identifying and signing the best prospects from their own state. 2) Most of the best prospects from Texas have not been worth signing anyway. As for proven players, there was Andrew Luck (Stanford), Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Darron Thomas (who holds Oregon's career passing touchdowns record), Franklin (Missouri) and not a whole heck of a lot else to be had around here. Yeah, there are some non-Top 25 Texas kids out there starting for other teams, but it isn't like you look around the country and see a bunch of "ones that got away." If you are a Texas fan, you do not kick dirt over Seth Doege being at Texas Tech or Casey Pachall at TCU. And it's not like Luck or Griffin III would still be in school anyway. Rather, it appears that the last four years have just plainly been a bad period for quarterbacks in the state of Texas, and the last three years haven't been much better anywhere else. "Jake Heaps was our No. 1 rated quarterback in 2010, but we've all said he would have been, at best, a top 15 quarterback had he come out the year before in that Barkley-Gilbert class," said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman. "There's a three year stretch there, the 2010-12 classes, where quarterback play across the country just wasn't that strong." Of course, you can't spend much time moaning the overall crop if you're supposed to be the cream of it, at Texas and Texas A&M both consider themselves to be. If Stanford can come into Houston and get Andrew Luck, Texas ought to be able to go Santa Ana and get Matt Barkley. Or to New Mexico to get Landry Jones. Or wherever to get whomever. Same applies to A&M. Quarterbacks, Huffman said, are more likely to leave their home state, in part because teams are more likely to have to search far and wide for them than for other players. But at least in Texas' case, recruiting a quarterback nationally was easier said than done when the Longhorns at the time had Garrett Gilbert and Connor Wood in the hopper. It wasn't until the middle of last season that both of them were gone. "They looked like they were set for the future," Huffman said. "On paper it looked like they were doing just fine." And now they don't. Nor do the Aggies. It seems weird because it is. That doesn't appear it will last much longer. In the 2013 class, which Huffman believes is the strongest overall class of quarterbacks since 2009, Texas has a commitment from the No. 4 guy, Tyrone Swoopes and Texas A&M has commitments from No. 19 Kohl Stewart and No. 22 Kenny Hill. The Aggies also have the No. 6 quarterback from 2012, Matt Davis. All four of those guys are from Texas.
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