According to reports the Texas Tech Red Raiders will do the unthinkable for a major-conference FBS team: they will start a true freshman walk-on at quarterback. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury has decided to go with Baker Mayfield under center Friday night when the Red Raiders take on SMU.
Sophomore signal-caller Michael Brewer has an injured back and won’t be able to go, and Mayfield beat out fellow freshman Davis Webb (who does have a scholarship) for the start. The two had been splitting time with the first-team offense until last week, when Mayfield began taking the majority of the snaps.
SMU will counter with senior quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who transferred away from Texas after losing the Longhorns’ starting job. Gilbert is in his second season with the Mustangs.
Oddly enough, Gilbert and Mayfield both went to Lake Travis High School in Austin. And they each put up big numbers in high school.
In two seasons as the starter at Lake Travis, Mayfield threw for 6,255 yards and 67 touchdowns, while leading the team to a 25-2 record. But for some reason, his recruitment never took off and his only FBS scholarship offers were from Florida Atlantic and New Mexico. He decided to walk on at Texas Tech instead.
Virtually everyone in Lubbock expected Brewer to run away with the starting quarterback job, but he has been dealing with a stress fracture of a vertebrae since the summer. Texas Tech is hoping Brewer will be back after the team’s bye week in early October, but his return is completely up in the air.
Mayfield stands at 6-2 and 220 pounds, so he has the right size for the position, and many believed he could have earned a scholarship quickly at another FBS school. If he performs well as the starter you can bet he’ll get one from Texas Tech in no time.