The Davis Webb era will officially begin this coming season at Texas Tech, as the sophomore has been named the team’s starting quarterback after sharing snaps with freshman Baker Mayfield last season. But Mayfield and backup Michael Brewer transferred out of the program in January after a clear starter never emerged. Webb completed 62.6 percent of his passes last season for 2,718 yards, 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions and was named MVP of the Red Raiders 37-23 Holiday Bowl victory over Arizona State, throwing 403 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Mayfield’s departure cleared the way for Webb to take the reins this season, but the two freshmen signal callers were so equally talented last season that first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury played them both, igniting a quarterback controversy for the bulk of the year. In an interview with NBC, Kingsbury said Webb will have a much easier time of it this year now that the quarterback controversy is behind him.
“It’ll never be harder for him mentally than it was last year with that kind of yo-yo of starting and not starting,” Kingsbury said. “That was as tough as it will ever be for him. It’s downhill from here for him as mentally.”
Before the start of the 2013 season, sophomore Michael Brewer was expected to be the starter, mostly because of seniority, given that the the only other quarterbacks on the depth chart wee two freshman. When Brewer went down with an injury in training camp, freshman walk-on Baker Mayfield got the start. Then when Mayfield suffered an injury in week 5, Davis got the nod and impressed to such a degree that Mayfield never got his job back and he ended up transferring to Oklahoma. In an interview after leaving Texas Tech, Mayfield said the fierce competition with Webb for the start caused him to leave Lubbock.
“Going from week to week not knowing whether I was going to play or not or how short the leash would be if I had an average half, how quickly I would be pulled,” Mayfield said in an interview,” It was making me uncomfortable and I just didn’t want to be there anymore.”
In Texas Tech’s annual Read Black spring game, Webb put an already comfortable Kingsbury even more at ease with his decision by completing 20 of 24 for 258 yards and 4 touchdowns in the first half and finishing 25 of 37 for 354 yards. He reportedly wowed coaches and spectators with a variety of throws and has been the model of consistency all spring. Through three scrimmages, he’s passed for 13 touchdowns to zero picks.
A Texas native out of Prosper High School in the northeastern part of the state, Webb led Prosper to a state championship as a senior in 2012, earning All-District first team honors and All-State honorable mention. In his junior year, he passed for 2,682 yards and 26 touchdowns and 2, 658 yards as a senior. In 2012, he was ranked the number 3 quarterback in the state of Texas. Among Webb’s many accomplishments as a college freshman, he was named College Football News Freshman All-America (Honorable Mention), and the Big 12 Broadcasters Conference Freshman of the Year.
Commentary by Rick Sarlat