It didn't take long for the Matt Joeckel situation to go from speculative, to probable. With Joeckel's visit today, we have to ask ourselves, "is it really the best fit for TCU?" While this may be a safe bet, the long-term effects are questionable. But Joeckel brings plenty of positives, but then again, so do the other five quarterbacks.
So get out your campaign button and let The Great Quarterback Debate of 2014 begin...
Easing the Transition: Matt Joeckel
Joeckel's playing time last year was minimal, but effective. As a junior, Joeckel went 22-of-37 for 293 yards and threw for two touchdowns. Getting time under the Sumlin and Kingsbury system, which has significant overlap with the Cumbie and Meacham system, it's possible that Joeckel could fit right in with the new system.
Like Winston "The Wolf" in Pulp Fiction, Joeckel could be the fixer TCU needs to help them ease into a new offense. But with great power, comes great responsibility...and a lot of pressure. If Joeckel's going to come in and stir the pot, he better be ready to immediately prove his worth. If something's twenty minutes away, Joeckel better be there in ten.
Here's the best play-out of The Joeckel Situation:
Win: Even as a Pro-Style quarterback, Joeckel fits in very well with Meacham and Cumbie's fast-paced offense. The offensive line is significantly improved and the defense finally gets some wiggle room to work with.
Joeckel's maturity and experience is also a huge plus. He spent considerable time in College Station learning from one of the best offensive minds in college football in Kevin Sumlin and shadowed arguably the greatest college player of all-time in Johnny Manziel.
Win: Boykin, whose athletic ability makes him one of the best weapons on the team, finds his true niche as a slot receiver and fills the void that Brandon Carter will likely leave open.
Win: Rather than being thrown into the fire as freshmen, Grayson and Foster get to learn the system, as does Zach Allen. The spirit of competition and familiarity of the system helps them improve their craft and the race in 2015 is not as manic.
Go With Experience: Trevone Boykin
I'm not going to harp on the importance of the offensive line too too much, but if the line comes together and improves from a dismal 2013 season, a Boykin-led offense could really look nice.
The line is the first step in the process in getting a fully optimized Meacham-Cumbie offense. With the line even a shred better, the Cumbie-Meacham offense could unlock the Boykin we saw in the Baylor game. A Boykin that makes smart passes, is confident in the pocket, and doesn't immediately roll out.
The confident, Baylor-Boykin is the best Boykin. But even the Boykin from the Texas game in 2012, The Game-Manager Boykin, was brilliant. Neither offense looked particularly pretty, but Boykin was as good as he needed to be...rushing for a team high of 70 yards. He didn't even break 100 yards passing...but then again he only passed nine times (Insert Ed Rooney voice). But as the commander of the Frogs' offense, he did everything perfectly. He was exactly the quarterback TCU needed him to be that game.
The Hometown Hero: Foster Sawyer
Sawyer is already being hailed as the next great TCU quarterback. He knows it. We know it. These expectations are already a heavy load on Sawyer's shoulders, and for a kid who's not even at school yet, it's not good for anyone. It echoes Ryan Perriloux and we all know what happened, or better yet didn't happen with him.
But it's also not insane to think that Foster's the Golden Child that a lot of the Frog Faithful are touting him to be. In his senior season at All Saints, Sawyer threw for 3,183 (289.5 per game) with 48 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Sawyer's mechanics are so sharp they could cut a diamond, and has arm strength that is unmatched of any incoming freshman in the country. But time will tell if his SPC-experience will translate at the next level.
The Warrior: Grayson Muehlstein
The more I read and write about Muehlstein, the more I like him. Listed as a "Pro-Style" Quarterback, his mechanics aren't quite as sharp as Sawyer's, but Muehlstein easily holds the advantage on foot. Muehlstein's got a gunslinger vibe as throws the ball on the run very well and has a keen ability to hit his targets in tight spaces. Muehlstein's dynamic mix of passing skills and shiftiness on the run might be the best fit for the Meacham/Cumbie offense.
I hate using this word, but the perhaps the biggest thing Muehlstein brings is swagger. Yes he's mobile, but Muehlstein's grit and ability to punish defenders using his lower body strength is something no one else on this list does.
The Wildcard: Zach Allen
Like Muehlstein, Zach Allen fits in somewhere between a dual-threat and pro-style quarterback. The Temple native jumped a Syracuse commitment over a year ago, enrolled early at TCU, and has been getting some solid-reps and experience under his belt. Allen's got quick feet, but with the spin and pop he puts on the ball, and the accuracy he puts behind it, Allen's mobility works best as a pocket-passer.
Scouts also noted Allen's strong leadership capabilities.
At the end of the day I trust GP, Meacham and Cumbie. If Joeckel's the guy, then I'm on board. I just don't think Boykin, Sawyer, Muehlstein, and Allen should be so easily dismissed. I love Boykin in the slot, but if there isn't a confident guy throwing to him, what's the point? It's like owning a muscle car, but not knowing how to drive stick.
Meacham and Cumbie are the brilliant mechanics restoring a piece of junk, an improved offensive line is our new engine, we have plenty of wheels, and once the driver learns manual, the possibilities are endless. Either way, we all know what our defense can do; it's our insurance. It will keep being our defense and it will be glorious.
So who's your choice for 2014?