Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy did not wait until fall practice to name the team's replacement for Brandon Weeden, the prolific quarterback who was taken by the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd pick in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night.
The Pokes head coach already saw enough good things from Wes Lunt to make him the starting quarterback in Stillwater.
“I’m overwhelmed. It’s such a humbling experience,” Lunt said in a statement released by the university. “Coming in early, I knew I had a chance to compete for the job and to get it is just overwhelming. I know that we’re still going to compete through summer and two-a-days, so it’s not over.”
The 6-4, 211-pound true freshman from Rochester, Ill., threw for 3,650 yards as a senior last season with 31 touchdowns against just 4 interceptions. He completed 73 percent of his passes in 2011 and won two state titles during his prep career while running a similar offense as Oklahoma State at Rochester High School.
The Class of 2012 pro-style product was the best passer of the bunch vying for the starting job in Stillwater, which included junior Clint Chelf and redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh, so perhaps Gundy wanted to stick with a signal-caller more like Weeden than go with a more mobile QB.
Under Weeden the past two seasons, the Cowboys were No. 2 in passing offense nationally.
“We had to make a decision based on what we thought was best for our offense to score points and then give us the best chance to win football games,” Gundy said. “All three players had good springs, but at some point, the decision is made on the field.
“There’s always a comment about who coaches are going to name as the starter at any position, but the coaches usually don’t make that decision — the decision is made by the players. Wes performed better than the other two quarterbacks in the spring.”
Enrolling early clearly made the difference for Lunt, who will be the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Pokes since Tone’ Jones in 1993. And while Oklahoma State will have to live with the mistakes that go along with starting a true freshman signal-caller, the team should be better positioned for future Big 12 title runs by getting Lunt his reps sooner rather than later.
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