If you were looking for the worst-kept secret in college football this spring, it was in Lubbock, Texas.
Sophomore Davis Webb will be Texas Tech's starting quarterback this season. That much was known heading into spring practices, since Baker Mayfield and Michael Brewer opted to transfer out of the program over the past several months.
However, only last week before the Red Raiders' spring game did head coach Kliff Kingsbury make it official.
"It'll never be harder for him mentally than it was last year with that kind of yo-yo of starting, not starting," Kingsbury said via the Associated Press (H/T the Charlotte Observer). "That was as tough as it will ever be for him. It's downhill from here for him as far as mentally."
So while Webb's role as the starting quarterback is a sure thing, depth behind him is not.
The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported Thursday that walk-on quarterbacks Tanner Tausch and Mike Richardson were leaving the program. Tausch will remain at Tech while focusing on academics; Richardson is looking for more playing time elsewhere.
Normally, a pair of departing walk-ons is hardly news worthy. However, that means Webb is, literally, the only quarterback on Tech's roster. The Avalanche-Journal notes that a handful of walk-ons will be joining the team this summer. Still, this isn't an ideal situation to say the least.
The good news is that the Red Raiders have entered the low-key portion of the offseason with only "voluntary" summer workouts. The No. 1 goal for Webb, not unlike the spring, is to stay healthy and wait for reinforcements.
Momentarily, that could have been Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel. The redshirt senior announced on Wednesday through a university release that he would spend his final year of eligibility elsewhere. Since Joeckel graduated in December, he could play immediately.
Tech would have been a great fit for Joeckel, who ran a similar offense at A&M under Kingsbury when he was the offensive coordinator there two years ago. However, Joeckel tweeted on Thursday that he instead was transferring to TCU.
I am now TCU Horned Frog. Go Frogs!— Matt Joeckel (@MattJoeckel) April 17, 2014
Instead, help for Webb will come in the form of 3-star prospect Patrick Mahomes, a two-sport athlete in football and baseball who will join the program later this summer. Immediately, Mahomes would slide into the backup spot, which could be appealing to him.
Kingsbury has shown he can win with a true freshman if need be. He did so last year with Webb and Mayfield, both of whom had nearly identical passing stats through the regular season. What Kingsbury hasn't shown is that he can keep a roster of quarterbacks.
This is Webb's team now, though. Barring injury or a major meltdown, the Tech offense is going to go as he does. Mahomes feels more like an emergency backup if/when he arrives.
If Webb can stay healthy for the next eight months or so, Tech could be breathing much easier in a year. Last month, 4-star dual-threat quarterback prospect Jarrett Stidham verbally committed to the Red Raiders. Not only would Stidham give Tech another badly needed body at quarterback if he signs next February, he would possibly upgrade the position as well.
Since quarterback is officially a position of need for Kingsbury, early playing time will undoubtedly be a strong recruiting pitch he makes to quarterback prospects everywhere. (Or, to their moms. Either one.)
Kingsbury may feel good about Webb as his starting quarterback, but he nevertheless needs to get through the 2014 season unscathed. If Tech can make that happen, well, that's reason to celebrate:
Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand. All recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.