Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday that he expects starting quarterback Nic Shimonek to play “at a high level” this season in place of departed standout Patrick Mahomes, who is projected as a first-round pick in next week’s NFL Draft.
“I feel really good about that position. This is Nic’s fourth year in the program and I think he’s going to play at a high level,” Kingsbury said during Tuesday’s conference call with Big 12 coaches. “I tell him, ‘Don’t try to be Pat. If a play’s not there, throw it away.’ I think our offense will be more of a group approach. Our line will be better and all our receivers are back.”
Shimonek, a fifth-year senior who began his college career at Iowa, threw for 179 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s spring game. But the Red Raiders ended spring drills without a clear-cut backup, in Kingsbury’s estimation. A group of candidates including Payne Sullins, Xavier Martin and Colt Garrett remain in the mix.
Mahomes, who led FBS players in total offense the past two seasons, bypassed his senior season to enter the 2017 NFL Draft and his stock seems to be rising with scouts. Kingsbury expects to hear his name called in the first round on April 27.
“I believe wholeheartedly that he’ll be drafted in the first round,” Kingsbury said.