It's rare for Oklahoma State to have this many questions at quarterback. However, that's exactly what the Cowboys face in 2014.
Senior Clint Chelf is gone, leaving the quarterback competition up for grabs from spring until preseason camp. If last year was any indication, who starts for Oklahoma State in Week 1 against Florida State will be a mystery up until kickoff. Secrecy is just how head coach Mike Gundy rolls.
What is known is that the Pokes are generally inexperienced at quarterback, though they do have depth on their side. Oklahoma State played two quarterbacks last season—Chelf and J.W. Walsh—but Gundy has shown a preference to stick with one if possible.
Here are the candidates.
J.W. Walsh (Jr.)
Walsh enters the offseason as the most experienced quarterback on the roster with eight starts over two seasons. He's thrown for 2,879 career yards and 22 touchdowns to eight interceptions. He's also a gifted runner, amassing 584 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.
Walsh relieved Chelf during last season's opener against Mississippi State and ended up securing the starting job. However, he regressed as a passer from 2012 to '13. Oklahoma State's offense struggled to get going once the Pokes got into Big 12 play. He was benched in favor of Chelf during the Cowboys' Oct. 19th game against TCU.
Walsh needs to show an improvement in the passing game—specifically in arm strength and decision-making—to complement his athleticism.
Daxx Garman (Jr.)
Garman was a 3-star dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school in 2011, but he hasn't taken game snaps in a long time. He did not play his senior year at Southlake Carroll High School after being ruled ineligible after transferring.
He redshirted his freshman season at Arizona before transferring to Oklahoma State, where he sat out the 2012 season to satisfy NCAA rules.
Richard Lagow (Fr.)
Lagow, a 3-star quarterback, initially signed with UConn out of Plano High School in 2013. However, he transferred from the Huskies' program shortly after arriving. He sat out the '13 season to satisfy NCAA rules.
Mason Rudolph (Fr.)
Oklahoma State announced earlier this month that Rudolph, a 4-star quarterback from South Carolina, had enrolled early. Since Rudolph will take part in spring practices, he is expected to compete right away for the starting job.
Listed at 6'4" and 210 pounds, Rudolph has the physical tools needed for the next level. Gina Mizell of The Oklahoman notes that he also comes from an Air Raid offense at Rock Hill Northwestern High School, so he understands many of the same concepts Oklahoma State uses.
Walsh will be the presumed favorite to win the job given his experience, but Rudolph and even Lagow could push him for playing time. If Walsh doesn't show that he's improved from a season ago, Gundy may decide it's best to start fresh.
It wouldn't be the first time Gundy has started a freshman. He did so in 2012 with Wes Lunt, though Lunt transferred to Illinois after just one season with the Cowboys. Interestingly enough, Lunt would almost certainly be in the starting quarterback mix if he had stayed another season.
It will be interesting to see which quarterback Oklahoma State chooses. With so many Big 12 teams returning signal-callers in '14, it's odd to see the Pokes starting over.
Who knows, maybe a star emerges and quarterback play is a non-issue next season. In the meantime, it's difficult to gauge what to make of this group.
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. All rankings courtesy of 247Sports.com.