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Baylor Football 2013 Position Previews: Quarterbacks

Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to tackle each of the major position groups on Baylor's 2013 Depth Chart, giving fans a closer look at where things are and how position battles may be working out. We start today with QB, by almost any measure the most important position on the field.

Nick Florence wowed Baylor fans and led the nation in total yards through 12 games.  Bryce Petty hopes to do even better.
Nick Florence wowed Baylor fans and led the nation in total yards through 12 games. Bryce Petty hopes to do even better.

Over the last few years, we as Baylor fans have been blessed to see absolutely stellar QB play, largely due to the influence of our head coach, Art Briles, who many have taken to calling the Quarterback Whisperer. This year, though we are, for the first time since Nick Florence took over as a true freshman after Robert Griffin III's injury, looking to a QB with no previous starting experience, I expect that trend to continue. I have every confidence that Bryce Petty is going to be very good, as does the Man in the Long-Sleeve Shirt himself. In the minute chance he isn't, though, we should probably know a bit more about our other options.

Eligibility Remaining
No. Player Year Ht/Wt. Position 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
14 Bryce Petty JR 6-3/230 Quarterback
6 Andrew Frerking SO 6-3/195 Quarterback
17 Seth Russell RS-FR 6-3/200 Quarterback
13 Chris Johnson FR 6-4/220 Quarterback
19 Cole Edmiston FR 6-0/195 Quarterback

QB Bryce Petty -- JR -- #14 -- 6-3, 230 pounds

Bryce Petty committed to Baylor just before National Signing Day in 2009, after being told by incoming Tennessee Head Coach Lane Kiffin that there was no room for him in Knoxville. Baylor, who had offered Petty earlier in the cycle, offered Petty the chance to greyshirt that coming season, meaning he did not enroll as a full-time student until January 2010, preserving an extra year of eligibility and giving him the chance to go through spring practice in 2010. That Spring would be the first of four at Baylor so far (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013) during which Bryce has had the opportunity to learn under Coach Briles and see first-hand how record-breaking QBs Griffin and Florence go about their business.

There was some concern last year when Petty lost the spring QB competition to senior Nick Florence that Petty might transfer, leaving the Bears with few options for this coming season. Those fears proved exaggerated, and Petty saw limited action in relief of Florence in 2012, throwing 10 passes for 97 yards and 1 TD. This coming season, Petty will take the reins of Briles high-flying offense in his junior campaign as the undisputed starter after spring practice. Baylor and Art Briles expect big things out of Petty due to his excellent size, big arm, and incredible athleticism-- S&C Coach Kaz Kazadi once reportedly said that Petty beat RGIII in every measurement they did except for pure, straight-line speed. Even in that, however, Petty is no slouch; this past Spring he set a personal record with a 4.62 40, a time that would have been good enough at this year's NFL Combine for second place behind Geno Smith (4.59).

Two weeks ago, at the Big 12 Media Days, Art Briles said he expects for Petty to "break every Baylor record there is offensively" during the upcoming season. He said that's what they expect and what Petty is planning to do. So far, the projections here at ODB are a bit more muted, but only a bit; the average projection as of this writing has him completing 66% of his passes for 3800 yards, with 32 TDs vs. just over 9 interceptions. That projects to a QB rating just under 170, and, lest I forget, he's adding 700 yards and almost 12 touchdowns on the ground. You could say Baylor fans are buying Bryce Petty, I guess is the point.

Petty will play this entire season at 22 years old, just as Nick Florence did last year.

Andrew Frerking -- SO -- #6 -- 6-3, 195 pounds

He is Frerking awesome. Period. I shouldn't have left him off of it in the first place. Follow him on twitter.

Seth Russell -- RS-FR -- #17 -- 6-3, 200 pounds

Behind the aforementioned Petty sits Seth Russell, a redshirt freshman fresh off his first spring practice with the team. Like Petty, he committed to Baylor relatively late in his recruiting cycle as a member of our 2011 class. The Bears were able to sway his commitment to Kansas due to their coaching change that year, and Briles spoke positively about him immediately after signing day, saying that of all the QBs who camped with Baylor that year, he was the one they wanted most.

Based on reports we'd heard about Russell's WR-like athleticism (he tested in February with a 39.4" vertical and ran a 4.52 40) some, myself included, wondered whether Russell might make the QB competition interesting. That he didn't shouldn't reflect negatively on him; Petty was just that good. But Russell has significant tools of his own that should blossom over the coming years, and if we get into a position where Petty can't play for whatever reason (knock on wood), I'm comfortable with Russell taking the helm. Because he's not as polished a passer, I would expect, should the unthinkable happen, that you'd see an offense much like ours during RGIII's freshman year, heavy on the read option with single-read passes thrown in to keep the defense honest. It's not the best use of our talent, but Russell could run that system right now and do so effectively. Hopefully, we'll be able to get him more playing time this season than we did Petty last, though I wouldn't expect for Briles to pull Petty early should we start blowing teams out. He needs the work, too.

Chris Johnson -- FR -- #13 -- 6-4, 220 pounds

Freshman QB Chris Johnson arrived at Baylor this past January with a leg up on many similarly-situated recruits; because he graduated in December and enrolled early, he was able to participate in spring drills with the team before his actual freshman year, just as Bryce Petty and RGIII did before him. That experience is likely to pay off the down the road, especially for someone so raw as Johnson.

CJ, as the coaches call him, is quite simply a physical freak. Listed at 6-4 already, he may actually be closer to 6-5, and he's only 18 years old. Right now, he's more a runner than a passer and his mechanics need work, and he's almost certain to redshirt this coming year, giving him four years to play four beginning in 2014. When Petty leaves after 2015, the battle between Johnson, Russell, and whoever we recruit to that point should be awesome to watch.

Because he's a more recent recruit, you don't have to take my word for it on CJ-- you can view his highlight videos for yourself. Be forewarned, his Bryan team was pretty awful his senior year, so there are a ton of broken plays and he looks like a giant playing with dwarfs on occasion.

Cole Edmiston -- FR -- #19 -- 6-0, 195 pounds

No matter what else there is to say about him, he's already achieved more than I ever will with respect to Baylor Football by making the roster. He's a freshman from Gatesville, Texas. He has highlight videos available on HUDL for your enjoyment, and is on twitter.


We're in a fortunate situation, relative to some of our peers in the conference, to have a clear-cut starting QB in Bryce Petty. That means the next few weeks won't be filled with consternation over a battle at that position. Tomorrow's position, RB, will be much of the same, but they all won't be so easy. When we get to the WRs on Thursday, things will really start to heat up.