Is Oklahoma's Trevor Knight the Nation's Next Great Freshman Quarterback?

Lisa HornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterMarch 1, 2013

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 11:  The Oklahoma Sooner Schooner carries the American flag on the anniversary of September 11  at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Norman, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images


Trevor Knight has never played a collegiate down in football, and yet his star is rising in Norman, Oklahoma. 

The redshirt freshman dazzled teammates and coaches while he played on last season's scout team.

This spring, he figures to challenge Blake Bell and Kendal Thompson for the starting job at quarterback.

So yes, Knight might be the next Johnny Manziel. College football fans would be thrilled to have another exciting youngster lighting up scoreboards across the country.

But is Knight the next Manziel in terms of being the "Big Freshman On Campus"?

No one is perfect, and as Scout's Scott Kennedy noted, Knight has got some work to do:

Runs a spread option system out of the shotgun, but he will also take some snaps under center. He makes good decisions with the ball running the option but can trust his arm too much at times in the passing game. An excellent runner, he must be accounted for if he keeps the ball. A long release that drops below his waist, but Knight still gets good velocity on the ball. Needs to be more consistent in his longer throws.

But if not Knight, who then would be our next heralded freshman quarterback? These four guys have piqued my interest. 


Gunner Kiel, Notre Dame

Gunner Kiel was an Indiana and LSU commit before he settled down in South Bend, Indiana to play for Notre Dame.

Kiel was the top-rated quarterback of the class of 2012. After a year of immersing himself in Brian Kelly's playbook, he should be ready to challenge Everett Golson for the starting spot at quarterback.

The kid also survived a public lashing by LSU head coach Les Miles when he decommitted from LSU, so he may have a lot to prove this spring.

More from ESPN:

"There was a gentleman from Indiana that thought about coming to the Bayou state," Miles said. "He did not necessarily have the chest and the ability to lead a program, so you know," he added to applause. 

Jameis Winston, Florida State

Jameis Winston, another redshirt freshman, is a highly decorated quarterback who has been studying under EJ Manuel for a whole season. With Manuel gone, Winston should contend.

However, Winston is also a baseball player. He was drafted last June by the Texas Rangers in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft.

So which is it for Winston? Baseball or football?

More from ESPN:

Winston already has been deemed the savior at Florida State. He'll be the next Heisman Trophy winner, a bigger, stronger version of Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, a dual threat destined to carry the Seminoles back to the promised land. Hyperbole comes with the territory.

Before all that happens, Winston has to win the starting job, and it's easy to assume that splitting his attention between football and baseball puts him at a distinct disadvantage compared with Clint Trickett or Jacob Coker—two veterans with only the football playbook to occupy their attention.


Max Browne, Southern California

Max Wittek was generally considered to be the heir apparent to Matt Barkley, but things fell apart for Wittek in the 2012 Hyundai Sun Bowl.

Wittek went 14-of-37 for 107 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. In his two starts at quarterback, Wittek has had more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (3)

So he has to be feeling some pressure from not only his teammates but from within. 

Enter Max Browne, the class of 2013's highest-ranked quarterback and a true freshman who has already enrolled early. Browne will be competing for the starting spot in spring practice.

From Scout's Brandon Huffman:

He’s got the best downfield arm in this class and is one of the most accurate passers we’ve seen in the last few years. He’s got the intangibles you want in a quarterback and he wins, plain and simple. 

Bart Houston, Wisconsin

With new head coach Gary Andersen now entrenched in Wisconsin, the quarterback battle in Madison could be very interesting. Someone from the Badgers' roster will win the job, but who does Anderson go with?

The veteran Danny O'Brien?

Joel Stave or Curt Phillips?

How about Bart Houston? 

Houston redshirted last year after he had a cyst removed from his throwing shoulder, but he should be the most interesting prospect to watch in spring practice. Houston was among the top-10 most highly ranked quarterbacks in the class of 2012.

More from Athlon Sports:

Houston is a prototypical pocket passer with a big arm, great size and plenty of experience at one of the top high school programs in the nation. He is no statue, however, as his feet are quick, and he scored 11 rushing touchdowns a year ago.

Of course, some other quarterback will surely come along and challenge for the spotlight this season.

And we welcome it.

Unlike the NFL where the Tom Bradys of the world can dominate a sport for a long time, college football keeps it fresh and exciting. 

The Year of the Freshman is fast approaching. Out with the old, in with the new. Johnny Manziel had a fantastic 2012, but his freshman fame time is upalbeit his sophomore spotlight could be just as bright.

Trevor Knight may finally get Oklahoma fans frothing at the mouth in excitement over a new and more exciting offense, but don't count out those other guys.