Shortly after new Kansas Football Coach Charlie Weis arrived on campus, he made quick work in upgrading the talent pool. Starting at the quarterback position, Weis landed two transfer quarterbacks in Dayne Crist and Jake Heaps that were easily the two best QB prospects to ever settle in Lawrence.
But to much less fanfare Weis also snuck in City College of San Francisco quarterback Turner Baty whose name could become much more relevant quicker than anyone believes.
Turner Baty is a smart guy.
This comes naturally to guys that play the quarterback position well but it’s often taken for granted. Coming out of high school Baty had offers from several Ivy League schools including Stanford but had bigger ambitions.
Not only did Baty want to branch out from the Bay Area he had spent time in growing up but he had bigger goals—like starting for a BCS program.
His father Greg, who played 8-seasons in the NFL, had emphasized the difference between dreams and goals from a young age. Dreams were something to strive for but goals were something that you attacked today; right now.
So when it came time for Baty to make a decision on where to play collegiate football he set his goal: to become a better quarterback.
Sure Baty had dreams of following his father’s footsteps into the NFL but he had to stay focused on the task at hand. That led him to CCSF.
“I think junior college is a great route for under recruited guys especially”, Baty told TheShiver.com. “It gives you a chance to showcase your skills. When you don’t have all the stars on Rivals and don’t have the height or whatever it’s good to get somewhere where your performance alone will create opportunities for you”.
And perform he did.
As a grayshirt freshman, Baty raked up 2,410 yards and 23 touchdowns through the air, with just five interceptions, and added 249 yards and 7 touchdowns rushing. Following the 12-0 season, the Division I offers started rolling in.
But Baty says it didn’t take long for Kansas to show up on his radar. Baty had been recruited to Notre Dame by then quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus who took over the same position at Kansas when Weis was hired. But what sealed the deal for Baty was when he arrived in Lawrence.
“When you haven’t been to Kansas and you haven’t been to Kansas City or the Midwest you don’t know a lot about it”, says Baty. “You think Toto and Dorothy. But for me coming out on the visit was huge. When they first offered me I was excited about Coach Weis but I was still looking around. But as soon as I came out on a visit and saw how beautiful the Midwest was and the campus I knew that KU was where I wanted to be and I’m so excited. I think it’s going to be the absolute best place for me.”
Baty will arrive in Lawrence in June behind quarterbacks Crist and Mike Cummings and Blake Jablonski on the depth charts. Though Baty is aware of Crist’s choke hold on the starting job, he says he will compete as if he is battling to oust Crist from his spot.
“I never want to get comfortable with ‘Oh you’re not going to see the playing field’. You always have to be ready no matter what. The bottom line is I want to help the team win so if that’s being ready at anytime I’ll do that and if it’s stepping in and playing than I’ll do that too.”
Baty witnessed his new team up close and personal at KU’s 2012 Spring Game but will continue with his training regimen that Kansas Strength and Conditioning Director Scott Holsopple sent him. Until he returns to Lawrence in a few weeks, Baty will also continue to breakdown film of Coach Weis’ most notable protégé Tom Brady.
Baty had the opportunity to work out and throw with Brady recently and was encouraged by their similarities.
“It was cool to see how he operates and how he prepares. It was like ‘Oh cool this guy does this the same way I do’ as far as mechanics go. He approaches the mechanics to the game the same way I do so it was cool to see that. It works for me and it works for Tom Brady. It was just a great experience.”
Though Baty says he would love to follow in the footsteps of Brady (and who wouldn’t?) he says he is just focusing on his short term goals for now. The first of which is to start competing at Kansas right away.
Baty has 4-years to play 3 and is still eligible for a redshirt exemption if needed. But with quarterback Jake Heaps already ineligible for the 2012 season, having a player the caliber of Baty ready to jump in at anytime is a luxury.
If Crist stays healthy throughout the 2012 season it will likely set up a memorable battle for the starting QB job in 2013 with Baty still having 3-years to play. Though a healthy Crist for the entirety of the 2012 would play into the favor of Baty, Kansas fans can sleep well knowing another stud quarterback is waiting in the wings.