Shane Buechele hasn’t officially been named Texas’ starter for 2017 yet, but it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which a healthy Buechele doesn’t get the nod against Maryland on Sept. 2.
The Longhorns sophomore was simply too good as a true freshman to ignore.
How good? This chart put out by the analysts over at Pro Football Focus helps put things in perspective. Among true freshman quarterbacks who played at least 240 snaps in 2016, Buechele graded higher than all but three.
Freshman QB Justin Herbert was good for the our No. 25 Ducks last year. So good he led all true freshman QBs in overall PFF grade in 2016. pic.twitter.com/bfvbo3LMwK
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) August 1, 2017
If you follow college football closely, something about this chart should catch your eye. The top two quarterbacks on this list, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Mississippi’s Shea Patterson, had an advantage that Buechele didn’t.
Herbert waited four weeks before recording a stat for the Ducks, and didn’t make his first start until Week 5 against Washington. Meanwhile, the Rebels didn’t pull Patterson’s redshirt until Week 10, when he filled in for injured Chad Kelly.
Buechele, like Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, got thrown to the fire Week 1, performing admirably while also suffering through some of the ups and downs expected from a true freshman jumping straight from high school into the Power Five.
Some of those growing pains were brought on by real pain, with injuries playing a factor. In the final three weeks of the season, Buechele threw only two touchdown passes to five interceptions as the Longhorns went 0-3.
In the end, Buechele (2,958 passing yards, 21 TDs, 11 INTs) finished with more passing yards than the three guys ahead of him. That includes Hurts, who played three extra games.
One could argue those extra games were worth more than a few points on a grading scale, but only time will tell as this talented sophomore crop enters year two under center. A new semester is about to begin, and it won’t be graded on a curve.
The post Ahead of the curve: PFF grades Shane Buechele among nation’s best true freshman QBs in 2016 appeared first on HookEm.
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