Next season’s QB race begins as spring practice gets underway

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Graduate transfer from Kansas State Alex Delton is among four players competing for TCU’s starting quarterback job. Photo by Heesoo Yang.

With four potential starters with collegiate talent, the biggest question mark for TCU football in the offseason is the quarterback situation, a tough decision that head coach Gary Patterson has yet to make as spring practices started this week.

“Oh no,” Patterson said Sunday about whether or not he had chosen a starting quarterback. “Really, I like the way all of them—Justin [Rogers], Alex [Delton], Max [Duggan]—really, I like the way all of them are throwing the ball right now.”

Patterson pointed out the group’s attention to detail, something he thinks was missing last year.

Rogers, perhaps the most highly-anticipated of the bunch, is a redshirt freshman who only saw two snaps in his first season in Fort Worth. Ranked as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school, Rogers struggled with a significant knee injury last season that prevented him from seeing hardly any time on the field.

Justin Rogers saw only two snaps for the Horned Frogs in 2018 due to a serious knee injury. Photo by Heesoo Yang.

“He’s not ready to probably scrimmage,” Patterson said of Rogers. “He’s frustrated, but he’ll be okay. He’s got four years to do what he needs to do.” 

The most experienced of the four, Delton is a graduate transfer from Kansas State. The Hays, Kansas, native played four years for the Wildcats and was named a team captain during his time at KSU. His best year came in 2017 when he threw for 637 yards and gained 500 more on the ground. 

Patterson said that his experience has allowed him to adjust to the team faster than others.

On the other end of the experience spectrum is Duggan, who graduated from high school in the winter and joined the Horned Frogs in January. A four-year starter in high school, he was named the 2018 Iowa State Gatorade Player of the Year.

True freshman Max Duggan is the youngest of the players competing for the starting quarterback job. Photo by Heesoo Yang.

“To be honest with you, I think Max [Duggan] has handled it well,” Patterson said. “He’s a competitor.”

The final candidate is Mike Collins, who appeared in nine games for TCU in 2018. Collins entered for the Horned Frogs midway through their matchup with Oklahoma in place of starting quarterback Shawn Robinson. He went on to start four games for TCU before injuring his right leg against Baylor and missing the rest of the season.

The junior has not started practicing with the team because of surgery on his right leg, but Patterson said that he looks forward to the signal caller’s return.

In the end, the guy who wins the starting job will be the guy who walks on the field “and the rest of the offense gets better,” Patterson said.

Turpin may be eligible for TCU’s Pro Day

Patterson also talked about former TCU wide receiver KaVontae Turpin after practice Sunday. Turpin was leading the nation in punt return yards and had caught three receiving touchdowns in 2018 before he was arrested on October 21 on a charge of assault on a family member.

Former TCU wide receiver KaVontae Turpin may be able to run for TCU at their pro day on March 29 to keep his NFL hopes alive. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto.

Two days later, TCU announced that Turpin had been dismissed from the team. Sunday, Patterson said that Turpin will be allowed to run for the Horned Frogs at their pro day on March 29 if he resolves his legal issues.

“I love Turpin. He’s one of ours,” Patterson said. “You love him to death, but all those questions got to get answered before we can say ‘yes’ or ‘no.'”

TCU opens their season on Aug. 31 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.