Robert Griffin III: Where Does Baylor QB Rank Among Big 12's Best?

Daniel KockContributor IIIApril 23, 2012

Robert Griffin III: Where Does Baylor QB Rank Among Big 12's Best?

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    Robert Griffin III is just days away from becoming an NFL quarterback and earning millions, after his incredible junior season at Baylor.

    Griffin made big plays with both his arm and his feet during his Heisman season.

    His impressive season helped to put Baylor in the national scene and is one of the reasons Griffin deserves to be in the conversation as one of the best quarterbacks in Big 12 history.

    However, the competition is stiff. Although the conference has only been around for 16 years, there's been a fair share of quality quarterbacks in the conference.

    Before Griffin officially joins a team in the NFL, let's take a look at how he stacks up with some of the past Big 12 quarterbacks.

8. Chase Daniel

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    The former Missouri quarterback, Chase Daniel, kicks off the list at No. 8 in the countdown.

    Daniel was a three-year starter for the Tigers from 2006-08 and put up great numbers each of those years.

    As a sophomore, Daniel finished second in the conference in passing yards a game and fourth in passing efficiency.

    Daniel led the Tigers in 2007 to a school best No. 4 ranking in the final poll by posting 4,306 passing yards and a 68.2 percent completion rate.

    He finished that season as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and fourth in the Heisman standings.

    Although he didn't receive those accolades in his senior season, he managed to have career highs in passing yards, passing touchdowns and quarterback rating.

    Daniel was an impressive quarterback for the Tigers and could have come away with more awards if not for some other great quarterbacks playing at the same time.

7. Graham Harrell

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    Graham Harrell was often overlooked during his college career, but he put up video game numbers while at Texas Tech.

    Like Daniel, Harrell started every game for the Red Raiders from 2006-08. He led the conference in passing yards and total offense all three seasons.

    He threw for 4,555 yards in his sophomore season, which set a Big 12 record for passing yards by a sophomore.

    In 2007, he threw for an absurd 5,705 yards and followed it up the next season by throwing for 5,105. Harrell also completed over 70 percent of his passes in both those seasons.

    Harrell was viewed as a system quarterback and was not recognized nationally as much as other quarterbacks.

    However, his name is scattered across the NCAA college football record books, and is one of the best Big 12 quarterbacks.

6. Eric Crouch

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    Eric Crouch is a debated individual because he was more effective with his feet than with his arm during his time at Nebraska.

    However, Crouch played the quarterback position for the Cornhuskers from 1998-2001 and led them to multiple 10-win seasons and a Big 12 conference championship.

    Crouch rushed for over 800 yards and threw for more than 1,000 yards in each of his last three seasons and won a Heisman trophy following his 2001 season.

    He also won the Davey O'Brien and Walter Camp Awards.

    Crouch and the Cornhuskers reached the title game in 2001 but fell to the No. 1 Miami Hurricanes.

    Crouch is one of just three quarterbacks in Div-1A history to rush for 3,000 yards and pass for 4,000 yards.

    Crouch was the perfect fit for Nebraska's option-style offense, and that combination led to great success for both parties.

5. Jason White

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    The next four quarterbacks on the list are very tough to distinguish. Jason White comes in at No. 5 behind two incredible seasons.

    White suffered ACL injuries in both the 2001 and 2002 seasons, so he didn't complete a full season as the starting quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners until 2003.

    However, he made his last two seasons count by leading the conference in passing efficiency in both seasons and leading the team to the BCS National Championship.

    He threw for 3,846 yards, 40 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions during his Heisman-winning 2003 season.

    He finished third in voting in 2004 after throwing 3,205 yards with 35 touchdowns and only nine interceptions.

    If White could have won a national championship or had better luck with the injury bug, he would have been ranked higher on the list.

4. Robert Griffin III

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    It's tempting to be a prisoner of the moment and rate Robert Griffin III higher on the list, but he belongs at No. 4 on the list.

    He turned in a good freshman and redshirt sophomore season, but his junior season was truly elite.

    Griffin threw for 2,091 yards and rushed for 843 while combining for 28 total touchdowns to just three interceptions.

    He transformed to more of a pocket-passer as a redshirt sophomore and threw for 3,501 yards and helping Baylor get to a bowl game.

    He took another step this season as he put up 4,293 yards in the air while completing 72.4 percent of his passes. Add in 699 rushing yards, 47 touchdowns and just six interceptions and you have a Heisman Trophy winner.

    Griffin single-handedly put the Baylor football program on the map, and was a well-deserving winner of the Heisman this season.

3. Sam Bradford

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    Another Oklahoma quarterback finds his way onto the list.

    Sam Bradford started as a freshman for the Sooners in 2007 and did not disappoint. In his first game, he completed 21 of 23 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns. In his second game, he broke Jason White's record of consecutive completed passes by connecting on 22 straight passes.

    He led the conference in passing efficiency as a freshman which included Chase Daniel, Graham Harrell, Colt McCoy and Josh Freeman.

    He followed up his impressive freshman season by winning the Heisman in 2008. Bradford threw for 4,720 yards and 50 touchdowns to just eight interceptions.

    Bradford and the Sooners couldn't pull out the BCS National Championship against the Florida Gators, and then his 2009 season ended in the first game after suffering a shoulder injury.

    However, Bradford was great in his first two seasons and showed enough for him to be the No. 1 selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.

2. Colt McCoy

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    Colt McCoy doesn't have a Heisman trophy or national championship to his name, but he does epitomize a consistent and great college quarterback.

    McCoy started for the Texas Longhorns four years in a row after taking over the job in 2006 as a freshman.

    McCoy didn't have a great sophomore season but accounted for most of the offense in his years as the quarterback.

    In 2008, he had his best year when he threw for 3,859 yards and 34 touchdowns while running for 561 yards and 11 touchdowns. He just barely missed winning the Heisman that year, finishing second to Sam Bradford.

    McCoy had another productive year in 2009 by leading the Big 12 in passing efficiency and leading the Longhorns to the title game.

    Unfortunately, McCoy injured his arm early in the game and didn't get the opportunity to finish the job.

    McCoy was not a flashy player at Texas, but was steady for his entire four-year career.

1. Vince Young

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    Vince Young owns a national championship, which is what separates him from the rest of the quarterbacks on the list.

    As a freshman and sophomore, Young did most of his damage with his legs for the Texas Longhorns. He rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns combined in his first two seasons, but only threw 18 touchdowns in those two seasons.

    In 2005, Young developed as a passer and threw for 26 touchdowns and 3,036 yards while still rushing for 12 touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards.

    His 2005 season earned him second place in the Heisman race but demonstrated the voters got it wrong, in the BCS National Championship.

    Young carried his team to a 41-38 victory over the USC Trojans by accounting for 467 total yards and three touchdowns, which included the game-winning score on fourth down with 19 seconds left.

    It was one of the most dominating individual performances in college football history, and that capped off an incredible season and career for Young.