The quarterback can be the most praised but also the most maligned player on the football field at any given time. He is expected to be the leader of the offense, show poise in the pocket, and make intelligent decisions with the ball in his hand.
With TCU’s installation of an Air Raid offense, the quarterback’s skillset is even more apparent than it was before. An Air Raid quarterback needs to be a quick-thinking distributor with excellent ball placement, as the success of the offense often depends on the quarterback’s decision-making and timing with the receivers.
#2 Trevone Boykin
Junior quarterback Trevone Boykin entered fall camp locked in a position battle with senior transfer Matt Joeckel. Coach Gary Patterson said that both quarterbacks would play in the season-opener against Samford, and both Boykin and Joeckel saw the field.
However, after starting the game and playing the entirety of the first three quarters, it looks as if Boykin will be the primary quarterback for the Frogs this season.
Boykin had a stellar debut in the season-opener against Samford. The junior passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third while leading the Frogs to 555 yards of total offense. Boykin was awarded Big 12 Player of the Week honors for his efforts.
Senior wide receiver David Porter said at Tuesday’s press conference that Bokyin has been more focused and motivated by the competition at quarterback this season.
Porter added that Bokyin is constantly trying to work on the “little things” to make sure that he’s out on the field each week. If Boykin continues to play like he did against Samford, he should have no problem receiving playing time in 2014.
#16 Matt Joeckel
A senior transfer from Texas A&M, Matt Joeckel arrived in Fort Worth this offseason with prior experience in an Air Raid offense. While at Texas A&M, Joeckel backed up two quarterbacks who are now in the NFL: Ryan Tannehill and Johnny Manziel.
The Aggies utilize a similar Air Raid offensive style to the one that the Frogs are running now, and Joeckel’s experience in this system is a valuable asset for him.
Patterson said Tuesday that Joeckel will play against Minnesota, but Boykin will start the game. The amount of playing time Joeckel receives will likely depend on how the Frogs are faring against the Golden Gophers this weekend.
Joeckel had a mixed debut against Samford two weeks ago, throwing a touchdown to receiver Kolby Listenbee, but also throwing an interception that Samford returned for a touchdown.
As a graduate student in the last year of his eligibility, Joeckel has said that he hopes to get his “last shot” at TCU. By not having a degree to worry about, Joeckel said that he is fully focused on football in his first and last year at TCU.
#11 Zach Allen
Although not a fresh face to TCU’s football program, Allen will be seeing his first game action this fall. Allen redshirted in 2013 as a freshman and will serve as the holder for field goal attempts this year. He will also be the third-string quarterback for the Frogs.
Barring any significant injuries to Boykin and Joeckel, it is unlikely Allen will see playing time at quarterback this season. However, if Allen is called upon, he should be more than capable. The redshirt freshman from Temple, Texas was ranked as the No. 12 high school quarterback in Texas by Scout.com. He threw for 24 touchdowns and rushed for 9 more in an abbreviated senior season due to injury. Allen chose TCU over Kansas State, Clemson, Syracuse, Oklahoma State, and Minnesota.
Ones for the Future
#12 Foster Sawyer, #17 Grayson Muehlstein
All signs point to Boykin serving as TCU’s starting quarterback for the next two seasons, but the battle for the next Horned Frog quarterback has already begun in Fort Worth.
First-year students Foster Sawyer and Grayson Muehlstein are both redshirting this year, but the duo is already competing to determine who will be Boykin’s successor.
Sawyer, a four-star recruit out of Fort Worth, was ranked as the second best quarterback in Texas and 13th best nationally by Scout.com. In his senior season, Sawyer threw for 48 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Sawyer chose TCU over schools such as Alabama, Baylor, Missouri and UCLA.
Muehlstein, a three-star recruit out of Decatur, was ranked as the fourth best quarterback in Texas by Scout.com. As a senior, Muehlstein threw for 3,079 yards and 35 touchdowns while rushing for 1,462 yards and 18 touchdowns. Muehlstein chose TCU over Harvard and North Texas.
Even though Boykin and Joeckel are TCU’s main quarterbacks at the moment, Sawyer and Muehlstein are two names to remember for the future.
The first-year redshirts will have the chance to learn and grow this season under the guidance of Sonny Cumbie, the new quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator.