When you search for Shane Buechele on Google, the first couple of pictures you get are of him in a Texas uniform. In fact, his profile on Texas Athletics is above his profile on SMU athletics. Buechele is almost completely forgotten now. But, he is a name you are going to be hearing a lot more of next season.
The former Texas quarterback showed a lot of promise where in his first game ever as a Texas Longhorn, he beat Notre Dame. Buechele passes for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns in that game. Texas fans were sure they had found their new starting quarterback. Buechele led the Longhorns to a 5-4 record, showing he was capable of winning on the big stage. In true Texas fashion, they lost their final three games of the season against West Virginia, Kansas, and TCU to make them ineligible for a bowl. Texas finished the 2016 season disappointed at 5-7.
The next season, Buechele split time with freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger. The playing time was pretty even as Buechele had 213 attempts, a little less than Ehlinger's 275 attempts. Both quarterbacks played in 9 games that season where Texas went 7-6, winning their bowl game against Missouri where both quarterbacks played. Going into that offseason, it was clear a decision had to be made between the two quarterbacks. Buechele is more of a pocket passer than Ehlinger. Buechele can still run, but Ehlinger plays a much rougher, tougher version of football. Ehlinger is a much better runner than Buechele and is not afraid to take a hit. Texas drew up very similar quarterback runs to the Carolina Panthers with Cam Newton when Ehlinger started. Ehlinger takes a lot of direct snaps that are designed quarterback runs near the goal line and first down marker.
It was clear that coach Tom Herman chose Sam Ehlinger to be their starting quarterback for 2018. Ehlinger played in every single game that season with Buechele coming in for two games where Ehlinger got hurt. Ehlinger was amazing that season. He led Texas to a 10-4 record with 3292 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, 482 rush yards, and 16 rushing touchdowns. Ehlinger led Texas to an upset Sugar Bowl win over Georgia. This win was very surprising to college football fans everywhere and pretty much guaranteed Ehlinger the started job for the upcoming season. After the game, Ehlinger went into the microphone for the stadium and said "We're baaaaaaack."
Shane Buechele knew Texas was back and he would likely be the backup for the future. Because he only played in two games that season and he graduated that year, the NCAA allowed him to enter the transfer portal as a graduate transfer with two seasons of immediate eligibility. Buechele ended up choosing SMU, where there was a vacant quarterback spot. This spot opened up because former quarterback Ben Hicks decided to transfer to Arkansas. When Buechele transferred to SMU, there was loads of talent at receiver. James Proche, Reggie Roberson, and tight end Kyle Granson made up one of the best receiving corps in America. You might recognize James Proche from being drafted in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens.
With all of this talent, Buechele led SMU to a 10-3 record with wins against TCU, Temple, and Arkansas State. Buechele had 3929 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. The SMU offense was rolling last year. In addition to Buechele's 34 passing touchdowns, the running back, Xavier Jones ran for 23 touchdowns. Buechele showed huge flashes of potential in his games against Temple, Memphis, and East Carolina. Against Temple, Buechele passed for 457 yards and 6 touchdowns. Against Memphis, he passed for 456 yards and three touchdowns. Against East Carolina, he passed for 414 yards and 5 touchdowns. Buechele had these three great performances last year, but if he can have a couple more of these performances, he can achieve stardom.
For the upcoming season, James Proche and Xavier Jones are gone. To fill in for Proche, SMU will rely on a combination of receivers Reggie Roberson and Rashee Rice. Xavier Jones' absence should help Buechele because he will have to pass more in the red zone and in short yardage situations. The head coach of SMU, Sonny Dykes has said he plans to air it out with Buechele this year. Even though James Proche is gone, there are still a lot of excellent receivers on this team for Buechele to throw to. SMU also has 4 out of 5 starters on the offensive line back. SMU's high powered offense should be able to propel them to the American conference championship and possibly even a New Years Six bowl game. With all of Buechele's weapons, he will have every opportunity to become a star for SMU and could be in the argument for the nation's best quarterback.