3 Big 12 teams must replace star QBs

MORGANTOWN — The Heisman Trophy winner in 2017 has a new home — Cleveland. The Browns took Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick in last weekend’s NFL draft.
The Pittsburgh Steelers traded up to take Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, in the third round. TCU quarterback Kenny Hill signed with the Oakland Raiders, as an undrafted free agent.
The good news for seven teams in the Big 12 is that those three are now someone else’s problem.
But the Sooners, Cowboys and Horned Frogs are tasked with replacing a few of the most productive quarterbacks in college football.
WVU got a small taste of what O.U. will have in its backfield. Head coach Lincoln Riley decided not to start Mayfield against the Mountaineers on Nov. 25, so Kyler Murray got the nod.
Murray, a former 5-star recruit who transferred from Texas A&M to the Sooners, may not have the arm talent Mayfield does, but he has the speed to add another element to the offense.
Murray had three carries for 80 yards against WVU, and also went 2-for-2 for 52 yards and a touchdown before Mayfield entered the game.
However, Austin Kendall will not go down quietly. Murray and Kendall battled it out this spring, and although Murray beat out Kendall for Mayfield’s backup spot a year ago, Murray was not guaranteed to be the starter.
Kendall redshirted last season and played in two games in 2016. The former 4-star from Waxhaw, N.C., threw for 143 yards.
As for Rudolph’s replacement, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has a good idea of who his likely starter will be.
“We’ve had a number of guys who have been in our program as understudies, in particular our quarterback Taylor Cornelius,” Gundy said.
Cornelius, or “Corn Dog,” as Gundy calls him, will be a senior and has played all three seasons he’s been in Stillwater, albeit sparingly. Keondre Wudtee, who will be a redshirt-sophomore, is another potential player to replace Rudolph.
TCU, like Oklahoma, may have gotten a glimpse of what 2018 will look like at the quarterback position. Shawn Robinson started one game last season, against Texas Tech, while Hill was out with an injury.
While Hill was able to make plays with his legs, Robinson takes it to a whole new level and has the arm strength to be a complete package. The only issue is his lack of experience heading into his sophomore campaign.
The Horned Frogs, though, brought in their highest-rated recruit ever in Louisiana-native Justin Rogers. He is the No. 3-rated quarterback in the class of 2018, according to 247sports.
TCU has been on a hot streak with quarterbacks since moving to a more spread attack. First, it was Trevone Boykin, then Hill, and now it’s between two highly touted players.
“With the type of offense that we have and the type of people we have running it, we can get these guys and we’re pretty excited about it,” head coach Gary Patterson said. “We can get really good players to follow when we have pretty good quarterbacks.”
Former WVU running back Justin Crawford signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent.
Crawford, who ran for 2,237 yards and 11 touchdowns during two seasons with the Mountaineers, was not picked in the NFL draft, to the surprise of many.
A native of Columbus, Ga., Crawford will get a shot with this home state team, though it will be difficult to break the 53-man roster. The Falcons are set at the top of the depth chart with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and they also drafted Southern Miss running back Ito Smith, in the fourth round.

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