Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

True Freshman QBs Show They Belong

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Southern Methodist

You’re probably wondering who that is in the above picture, unless you are a Big 12 fan or a fan of walk-on true freshman quarterbacks. Yes, that is Baker Mayfield, the Texas Tech Red Raider’s starting quarterback who also happens to be a walk-on. Mayfield’s not your average walk-on; he quarterbacked a Texas state championship football team but because of baseball season he wasn’t able to take any recruiting visits, realized all 456 Texas colleges had signed their upcoming QBs and decided to show up at Tech pro bono. If you finished that paragraph about Texas Tech and you’re ready to comment that this isn’t TexasTechSportsRadio, hear me out. True freshman quarterbacks have become  all the rage, and they’re finding success early in the season. What does this mean for UK? It means it isn’t too far-fetched that Drew Barker comes in next year and starts the season under center.

Take a look at Mayfield’s passing stats for example:

Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 9.58.23 AM

Sure, it’s not exactly like they played Alabama and LSU to start the season but it is nonetheless impressive that a QB can throw for 780 yards and 7 touchdowns in the first two Division I football games of his career. How about the California Golden Bear’s (not this Golden Bear) true freshman starting quarterback Jared Goff?

Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 9.58.41 AM

Goff, while throwing for 930 yards in two games, also fell just 19 yards shy of throwing for the most yards in a single-game at Cal, thanks to new coach Sonny Dykes’ high-octane offense, which brings me to my second point – the Air Raid offense.


Texas Tech’s Mayfield plays for co-offensive coordinators Eric Morris and Sonny Cumbie, one (Eric) who played under TTU coach Mike Leach and the other (Sonny) who coached under Leach after finishing his college career. California’s Goff plays for Sonny Dykes, who was a former UK receivers coach in 1999 under Hal Mumme  before joining….Mike Leach at Texas Tech in 2000. The Air Raid coaching tree extends throughout college football but there isn’t a better example of two quarterbacks playing in a system similar to the one Coach Brown is installing in Lexington than Mayfield and Goff.


The coaches have repeatedly said that the offense used this year will be altered to fit the personnel they have on the field. When Drew Barker arrives at UK for the 2014 season it will not be an impossible task for him to win the starting position as a true freshman. The Air Raid offense has been around long enough that it has extended into the high school levels, meaning that QBs like Barker, Mayfield and Goff have probably at one time or another played in the system before arriving on campus. The offense isn’t the hardest to learn, meaning any previous experience can equip a quarterback with the necessary skills before facing their first D-1 defense. Admittedly, two games aren’t exactly the best sample size to definitively call this a trend, so it will be interesting to watch the season unfold for these quarterbacks; next year, UK fans could find themselves in a similar situation with a true freshman, Air Raid QB who finds early success in the system.

Passing stats from


@Tyler JohnsonKSR

Article written by Tyler Johnson

10 Comments for True Freshman QBs Show They Belong

  1. TimA
    9:54 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Barker will redshirt.

  2. Bunny
    10:01 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Texas Tech and Cal aren’t in the SEC. Barker should redshirt. Period…

  3. NL
    10:18 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    I hope he can come in and live up to the hype right away. I think it may take him a couple of years to adjust to the game though. I have faith in him, but let’s not put the weight of the program on his shoulders just yet

  4. Deacon
    10:23 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    While I would normally agree with a redshirt, I think Barker has indicated he will graduate early, be here for spring semester / spring practice, and, then, have a full summer under his belt before fall camp. If he can beat out the others and is a special as we hope he is, I say turn him loose.

  5. WGY944
    10:23 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Well, Barker is coming in January, so he’ll also have Spring Practice under his belt. I doubt he’s coming in early if he doesn’t plan on competing for the job. Of course, he’s still got to win it.

  6. ebell55
    10:27 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    Lets play this season out first. This type of logic and Towels would be starting now. Starting positions should be earned not given to!!

  7. bobolopolis
    10:50 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t see it happening brochachos.

  8. TexasCatFan11
    11:49 pm September 8, 2013 Permalink

    As a Texas Tech student and a lifelong UK fan (and KSR reader since Patterson/Lucas), I can’t tell you how cool it is to see Tech mentioned on here.

    That being said, Mayfield starting these first 2 weeks are a direct result of Michael Brewer being hurt. His only competition for the starting job was another true freshman, Davis Webb. However, the kid has played lights out against SMU and SFA (especially considering he didn’t play a down in the second half against SFA), which will make it an interesting battle once Brewer is healthy. But Kingsbury’s philosophy is that he will start the quarterback that gives the team the best chance to with the game, a philosophy that I hope that Neal Brown has next season. Whether that QB is Smith, Whitlow, or Barker, I hope the QB is chosen on performances in practices/scrimmages and not on age.

    Also, I said this on a few posts early in the year and I think Western kind of proved my point last week, but after a big offensive game, I think it needs to be said again. Please, please, please temper your expectations on Neal Brown and his “Air Raid” offense. Tech is printing shirts just like Kentucky touting the “return of the air raid,” which should tell you something. If you think the days of bubble screens, (very) questionable play calls, and poor game management are gone, prepare to be let down. Don’t get me wrong, Brown is definitely an upgrade from Joker and I’m glad he’s at Kentucky, but I’m also glad he isn’t at Tech anymore.

  9. lonnieb
    9:23 am September 9, 2013 Permalink

    The Texas Tech kid is a true freshman walk on which makes it even more impressive.

    I dont know the Goff kid…but he played well against the scrub and got picked 3 times vs NW.

    If he is as good as the others he should play immediately…he is the future. Next year will still be rebuilding year…might as well let him figure it out playing in the games

  10. SKat
    11:39 am September 9, 2013 Permalink

    Will Towles be transferring? No knock on Barker, but Towles had all the same hype coming out of high school. Having watched him play at Highlands, I really thought he had the size, savvy and arm to start at UK. Now he’s the missing man. Can someone offer an educated opinion on Barker versus Towles?