Quarterback Percentiles Thru October

We're suckers for comparative data and percentile ranks. Yep. We like to party. The season is basically 2/3 of the way done, we're into November, it seems like a good idea to look at how the Texas FBS quarterbacks are doing. For the sake of sanity, we're dividing our quarterbacks into groups, our first grouping are the seven quarterbacks who've seen time in the Big 12, SEC, and AAC. 

We've put everything in a handy dandy spreadsheet and only included quarterbacks that have played in four or more games and thrown 14 or more passes per game. We took all those quarterbacks, 144 in all and determined the percentile rank for each quarterback in multiple statistical categories.

The five categories we're concerned about today are:

Completion %: The bench mark of efficient quarterback play. The top 20 to 25 percentile complete passes at a 62% clip or better. 

Yards Per Attempt: Again, another bench mark of efficiency, it's one thing to have a high yardage per completion, it's another to have a high yardage per throw or attempt. 

Interception Rate: No single statistical category is more important than turnovers. Interception rate measure interceptions per attempt. 

Sack Rate: Sacks aren't solely the fault of the quarterback nor are they fault of the offensive line, but sacks are a great measure of overall offensive efficiency and where a quarterback is able to throw the football away. As Bill Belichick says, there no such thing as a bad incompletion. 

Yards Per Play: This stat takes into account the dual threat nature of quarterbacks and the running abilities and the passing abilities combined to determine how much a quarterback influences a game play to play. 

We take all those stats and create a percentile rank for each player, the higher the rank, the better. The lower the rank, congrats you're Kansas. 

Patrick Mahomes

Name Comp. % Yard Att % Int Rate % Sack Rate % Yds Play %
Patrick Mahomes II 93% 92% 77% 73% 90%

Ok, this guy's good. Real good. How good, if you took all the percentile ranks and averaged them he ranks sixth. (For trivia sake La Tech's Ryan Higgins, from Hutto, ranks first and Baker Mayfield ranks fifth.) He's elite at just about everything. Which brings us to our buzz kill moment of the day, is Patrick Mahomes the college equivalent of the Ewing Effect? i.e. 

  1. A star athlete receives an inordinate amount of media attention and fan interest, and yet his teams never win anything substantial with him. 
  2. That same athlete leaves his team (either by injury, trade, graduation, free agency or retirement) -- and both the media and fans immediately write off the team for the following season.

We've applied the Ewing Effect to Peyton Manning after his time at Tennessee, when it took the lesser known and less talented Tee Martin to guide the Vols to the promised land.

You'd think that at some point all the awesome would translate into wins. Mahomes is all world, everything, but does his all-worldness change the way the Red Raiders play and are coached? Kingsbury's best year at Tech centered around a quarterback who now plies his craft at Cal. The most talented player in Tech history, yes we're making that statement, might never win more than 7 games or play on a team with a winning record in conference. Cody Hodges won nine games at Tech. Remember Cody Hodges? No you don't.

Regardless, Mahomes is a once in a generation arm talent who's having an incredible season. If only Tech could, you know, tackle people.

Seth Russell

Name Comp. % Yard Att % Int Rate % Sack Rate % Yds Play %
Seth Russell 25% 79% 53% 77% 93%

The Baylor quarterback is back from his broken neck and having a really good season. Russell oozes big play production. Well maybe not, that sounds gross, but he's at the helm of an explosive offense. Russell's yards per play is way up in the 93rd percentile. Baylor's offense averages over seven yards a play with Russell at quarterback, and the kicker is his rushing ability adds a huge variant to the Bear Raid. Russell's put up better rushing numbers than RGIII ever did. That said, Russell's completion percentage is down in the lower quarter of qualified quarterbacks. Other than that, Russell's very efficient and all the way back from 2015's injury. 

Greg Ward Jr. 

Name Comp. % Yard Att % Int Rate % Sack Rate % Yds Play %
Greg Ward Jr. 96% 73% 42% 39% 59%

You know the guy we always forget? Greg Ward Jr. Houston even forgot about him for a while. Tony Levine moved him to wide receiver. Tom Herman arrived on campus and took Ward Jr. and the Coogs to unseen heights. Ward's greatest strength, he's hitting passes at a near 70% clip. Higher than Mahomes, though he's asked to do different things that Mahomes. Still that number is impressive. Herman's offense relies on Ward getting the ball out quick to the perimeter to Houston's playmakers in space. Houston's offensive line issues have caused some sack problems and Ward's rushing production is down from 2015. The other issue that Ward has is at times he prone to throw the ball to the wrong colored jersey. Still, he's having a pretty good year. 

Shane Beuchele

Name Comp. % Yard Att % Int Rate % Sack Rate % Yds Play %
Shane Buechele 87% 86% 49% 34% 70%

Not a bad debut for the freshman from Arlington Lamar. Beuchele is elite when it comes completion percentage and yards per pass and not bad at yards per play. The areas where Beuchele struggles are not uncommon for young players, interception rate and sack rate. Both tend to improve with game experience. Beuchele's sack rate is improved off last year's Longhorn starters, but still below average. Chalk some of this up to line issues, but sacks don't happen in a vacuum. Still, all told Beuchele's performance is impressive. 

Trevor Knight

Name Comp. % Yard Att % Int Rate % Sack Rate % Yds Play %
Trevor Knight 13% 33% 57% 82% 69%

The comp for Knight is Jamelle Holieway from those great 80's OU teams. He fueled the Sooners offense with his legs and his ability to hit the big play with the pass. Knight is very similar. If you're looking for a high completion percentage, look elsewhere. His completion percentage is in the 13th percentile and his yards per play falls in the lower third. Where Knight makes up for his passing numbers are in his ability to avoid negative pocket plays with his legs and his ability to break off the occasional big play in the run game. A&M has used designed quarterback runs to take optimal effect this season even if Knight's passing ability has been less than his predecessors. 

Kenny Hill

Name Comp. % Yard Att % Int Rate % Sack Rate % Yds Play %
Kenny Hill 67% 65% 29% 70% 71%

Speaking of predecessors, there's Kenny "Don't Call Me Trill" Hill at TCU. The A&M transfer has been up and down in the Meachum/Cumbie offense. Thru eight games, Hill is just below elite in almost every statistical category. The one area he's not, interception rate, is a death knell for the position. He's below the 30th percentile in interception rate. It's one of the reasons Hill watched a fair amount of the Tech game from the sideline. His overall production line is trending in the wrong direction since conference play started. If you look at Hill's completion percentage, he hasn't been above 60% since September and has dropped by an average of ten percentage points in October, and his yards per attempt are down by two full yards. 

Ben Hicks

Name Comp. % Yard Att % Int Rate % Sack Rate % Yds Play %
Ben Hicks 9% 23% 13% 69% 32%

We wrote about Ben Hicks three or four starts ago, after the Baylor game. We had concerns about his accuracy and arm strength. We still do. Hicks has been below average in almost every statistical category in 2015, the only area above 32% is sack avoidance. That's great and all, but he's been bad everywhere else. The SMU turnaround has come in spite of Hicks. We'd like to see what SMU could do with improved quarterback play, they probably beat Tulsa and perhaps give Temple a run. SMU's young skill talent rivals anyone in the state. And we mean anyone. The question has been the quarterback. 

More Stuff...