Quarterback race still open heading into fall camp

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Mike Collins played in 9 games last season before suffering a career injury ending against Baylor. Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto.

The biggest question mark for TCU football heading into the 2019 season is the quarterback position.

With six weeks remaining until TCU’s opening game against Arkansas Pine-Bluff and six quarterbacks on the roster, head coach Gary Patterson has yet to name a starter.

“We were young a year ago, but after everything we went through at the end of last season we’re excited to get back,” Patterson said.

The race for the starting job is still wide open and Patterson said the high level of competition for the starting job will improve the teams on the field product once a starter is named.

“I always found when you have a high competition level you end up with a better product,” Patterson said. “The best part about it is they all get along.”

Of the six, only two have taken snaps as a Horned Frog and three transferred in this offseason from other Division 1 programs.

Both of the quarterbacks familiar with the Horned Frog system are coming off of injuries and their status for the beginning of the season remains uncertain.

Mike Collins is the only quarterback in the room that has played significant time for the Frogs. The junior played in nine games last season, taking the starting job from Shawn Robinson before he suffered a season-ending injury against Baylor.

Collins threw for 1,076 yards and six touchdowns and ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns last season.

While only taking one snap for the Horned Frogs last season, Justin Rogers is familiar with the TCU system after being in Fort Worth for over a year. The former four-star recruit has been forced to sit out due to an ACL tear.

Patterson said this week that he is still recovering from a severe knee injury that he suffered during his senior year of high school.

“Justin is somewhere around 90 percent (healthy), he was able to go through spring and take reps,” Patterson said. “One of these days the nerve [in his knee] just wakes up, it’s not completely awake yet, but it’s a lot farther along than it was a year ago.”

Coming out of high school, Rogers was the No. 34 player in the country and the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback according to 247Sports.

The quarterback in the room with the most experience is Alex Delton, a graduate transfer from Kansas State. Delton is a dual-threat quarterback who played in 20 games and started six during his time at Kansas State. He threw for 1,202 yards, and five touchdowns while rushing for 868 yards and 11 touchdowns as a Wildcat.

“To have a guy that knows how to handle himself, how to prepare, how to do things, I think has made that position a lot better,” Patterson said of Delton.

The youngest name on the list is Max Duggan, a true freshman out of Iowa. Duggan was ranked as the No.3 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by 247Sports and threw for over 2,100 yards and 24 touchdowns during his senior season.

The final two passers on the roster are Matthew Baldwin, a redshirt freshman transfer from Ohio State and Matthew Downing, another redshirt freshman transfer from the Georgia.

Baldwin is a pro-style quarterback who completed 70 percent of his passes for 4,000 yards and 44 touchdowns during his final year of high school. He has yet to be granted eligibility for this season by the NCAA.

Downing will be eligible to play this season.

Regardless if it is a five or six man competition, Patterson said that it will be cut down to three during the early parts of fall camp.

“You can’t give guys enough reps to get where you need to be without doing that,” he said.

Entering his 19th season at TCU, Patterson is excited to watch the quarterback completion unfold.

“I think all six guys have handled themselves really well, they all have a chip on their shoulder and I’m excited to see how everybody does,” he said.