For the first time since 2011, Texas Tech will hold a truly open competition at quarterback going into the spring. So who are the players jockeying for position in the race? We take a closer look with this edition of The Rap Sheet.
NOTE: Jett Duffey was excluded from this feature because he's suspended from school and will not be with the team during the spring or summer.
Shimonek signed with Iowa out of high school, a Corsicana, Texas native. After spending just one season as a Hawkeye, the QB decided to transfer closer to home in hopes of playing in a more passer-friendly system. Texas Tech then became home, and Shimonek sat out the 2014 season. He was then the third string quarterback as a redshirt sophomore in 2015 behind Pat Mahomes and Davis Webb, elevating himself to backup last fall behind Mahomes with Webb transferring out to Cal.
Shimonek saw significant minutes against Kansas when Mahomes went out with a shoulder injury, going 15 of 21 for 271 yards and four touchdowns in an impressive performance against the Jayhawks.
Shimonek will be a senior this year for the Red Raiders.
Shimonek is a big, physical QB with a stronger arm than most realize. He can make any throw in the book you ask him to, and he's mobile enough to create extra time, move around the pocket, and roll out in the flats while looking for an open receiver if need be. His biggest strength might be as a quick decision maker, however.
He's also a fiery competitor that has quite a bit of cache in the locker room as one of the veteran work horses behind the scenes. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has compared him to B.J. Symons in the past, which in my opinion is an accurate description.
As a senior with three years in the system under his belt and the most versatile skillset of any QB on the roster, Shimonek is likely the hands down favorite to win the starting job at quarterback for the 2017 season, hopefully continuing the legacy of one year starters under center like Symons, Sonny Cumbie, and Cody Hodges.
Carter came out of Gilmer back in 2015 and was actually offered a preferred walk-on spot at Texas Tech by Coach Kingsbury at the time. The QB declined, instead going to Incarnate Word to try his luck. Carter then decided he would like to try his hand at finding a landing spot in FBS again, opting to transfer out to Tyler Junior College in hopes of getting more exposure.
Texas Tech came knocking again, but this time with a full on scholarship offer, Kingsbury taking note of Carter's growth and maturity as a QB since high school.
Carter decided he was ready to be a Red Raider. He threw for 3226 yards, 30 touchdowns, and nine interceptions this season at Tyler, being named the SWCJC MVP as a result of his efforts.
Carter has three years of eligibility and will be a sophomore this season at Tech.
Carter's strength lies in his ability to move around the pocket and find open receivers, showing off solid mobility and a knack for feeling pocket pressure. He doesn't have a big arm, but that's not necessarily a detriment. His feet will be a strength, especially early on in his career as he gets in the swing of things and learns Tech's offense. He also happens to be left handed, something rarely seen at Tech from a quarterback recently.
Carter, while talented and certainly a fit for what Coach Kingsbury likes to do in both the pass and run game, is new to the system and is still only a sophomore. That being said, I expect him to come in and earn the job as the backup behind Shimonek this season before becoming a full-on competitor for the starting job in 2018 as a junior.
Martin led Cibolo Steele to the 6A D2 state title game this season, falling just short of an incredible comeback against DeSoto in what would've been one of the greatest comebacks in Texas state title game history.
Texas Tech found out about Martin when he was a sophomore thanks to then-running backs coach Mike Jinks, who had the young QB come out and camp with the Red Raiders in New Braunfels during the summer of 2014.
Coach Kingsbury and the staff were impressed with Martin from then, offering shortly after where the signal caller committed and has stayed loyal ever since.
He's now slated to come in as an early-enrollee in the coming weeks and will compete and learn about playing quarterback at Texas Tech this spring. Martin passed for 2248 yards, 22 touchdowns, and only threw three interceptions while also running for 739 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns as a senior.
He'll be a true freshman this spring.
Martin is still raw as a technical quarterback, but his talent certainly flashes, and he's electric as a runner. He has elite speed and is likely the fastest quarterback the Red Raiders have ever had in the air raid era. But he also has a big arm, showing a knack for downfield passing and a good early understanding for ball placement. His throwing mechanics will need work early on at Tech, however.
Martin likely won't factor into the race to start at quarterback for the Red Raiders in 2017. However, he will certainly have a great opportunity to learn, grow, and develop as Coach Kingsbury molds and shapes him similarly to the way he did Mahomes when he was a young, raw quarterback out of high school.
It will also be curious to see if Martin could play some receiver early on in his career similar to Trevone Boykin at TCU or Ryan Tannehill at Texas A&M. That's no knock on him as a quarterback, it's simply worth pondering considering the athleticism Martin possesses.