A quarterback competition could be on the way at TCU, but not between the players many expected.
The Horned Frogs opened up spring practice to the media on Sunday, and Penn transfer Michael Collins caught people’s attention. He and sophomore Shawn Robinson, a former 4-star recruit who served as TCU’s backup in 2017, took reps with the first-team offense, according to multiple reports.
Robinson came into spring practice as the expected starter after getting reps as a freshman. That’s still the case, but Collins is impressing after having to sit out the 2017 season due to NCAA transfer rules. 247Sports’ Jeremy Clark said on The Frog Cast that he thought Collins looked like the best quarterback on Sunday.
“Overall analysis from today, I would give the nod to Michael Collins,” Clark said. “That guy just has more zip and more velocity on all of his passes than the other quarterbacks on the roster. He had a lot of great passes in the pass [skeleton]. Found some open receivers, threw some absolute darts, and has a really great deep ball.
“The one thing I can say about his passes is they’re never wobbly. They are 100-percent tight spiral every single time. He throws a really, really catchable ball. … I would say, just watching him today, he’s definitely in the mix.”
The other two quarterbacks who could compete for spots in the rotation are senior Grayson Muehlstein and 4-star freshman Justin Rogers. Muehlstein is a career backup who has yet to throw a collegiate pass.
Rogers may be the most talented quarterback of the group, but he’s still recovering from a knee injury that ended his senior season. He’s throwing passes this spring but is not a full participant in practice.
“What I was told specifically is he’s only doing throwing drills, and he’s not doing anything else as far as team reps or anything like that,” Clark said. “When I saw him [Sunday], he was doing some throwing drills, throwing some one-on-ones. Had a few nice throws, but you could tell that he’s still a long way as far as getting that leg recovered. And like I said before, they’re not going to rush that thing.”
The early work by the quarterbacks has impressed Patterson.
“Best first two days of spring we’ve had in two years,” Patterson told Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “All three have done a great job the first two days.”
It’s possible TCU could redshirt Rogers in 2018 to give him more time to recover from his injury.
David Ubben of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football echoed what Clark said about Collins. Since Rogers isn’t fully healthy, he pegged Collins as the most likely quarterback to win the backup job and possibly push Robinson for the starting job.
However, if anyone pushes Robinson, look for a brand-new name to do it. Michael Collins, at 6-5, could have been Penn’s starting quarterback last season. Instead, he followed his ex-high school teammate, tackle Lucas Niang, from Connecticut and transferred to live out a dream of playing high-level college football.
He sat out last year after transferring, and it doesn’t take long to see he’s got as live an arm as any quarterback on the roster. The ball jumps out of his hand, and he’s accurate on throws all over the field.
Robinson is still the favorite to win the starting job. He won his lone start last season while filling in for an injured Kenny Hill. It should be noted that in every quarterback competition TCU has had since 2013, Patterson has gone with the player with more starting experience.
But it sounds like Robinson may have to do more work than many anticipated in order to lock up the No. 1 spot. TCU will hold its annual spring game on April 7. That may be when the state of TCU’s quarterback situation becomes more clear.