What would Mizzou be getting in Gerry Bohanon?
Since the end of the 2021 season, Eli Drinkwitz hasn’t been shy about saying he would like to add competition to the Missouri quarterback room. He will hope his third attempt to do so finally bears fruit.
Former Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon took an official visit to Missouri this week, just a few days after he entered the transfer portal. Bohanon, who started 12 games for the Bears a season ago, was on campus Sunday through Tuesday. Sources have indicated to PowerMizzou that he plans to visit South Florida this weekend.
Bohanon entered the transfer portal after he lost the Baylor starting job to Blake Shapen during spring ball. Clearly, the Missouri staff wants to add Bohanon to a quarterback room that currently features two scholarship players in Brady Cook and Tyler Macon. But there’s been some debate among fans about whether Bohanon represents an upgrade from the current duo. So, we took a deeper look at his production at Baylor to assess what he would bring to the Tiger offense.
Bohanon doesn’t appear to have the upside of the likes of Jayden Daniels and J.T. Daniels, the first two transfer quarterbacks Missouri hosted this offseason. Unlike those two players, both of whom started for Power Five schools as true freshmen, Bohanon spent three seasons waiting his turn behind Charlie Brewer at Baylor. When he did get his shot at the starting job, he didn’t put up gaudy numbers, but his team won games.
That’s perhaps the most appealing attribute Bohanon would bring to Missouri: experience starting and winning games at the Power Five level. Each of Cook and Macon has started just one college game, both in losses. Bohanon has been widely lauded for his leadership, which is something a young Missouri offense could use.
Baylor went 10-2 with Bohanon behind center last season, including a win over Oklahoma in the regular season and a victory over Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl. The Bears leaned on a rushing game and a stout defense, both of which ranked among the top 10 nationally, and Bohanon did his part by generally taking care of the ball and making plays when asked.
On the season, Bohanon completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 2200 yards, 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions. While his completion percentage lagged behind that of Connor Bazelak, Missouri’s starter for much of last season, who completed 65.3 percent of his throws, Bohanon averaged more yards per attempt (7.9 to 6.8), had a higher passer rating (145.9 to 130.2) and a better touchdown-to-interception ratio. Following the regular season, Bazelak transferred to Indiana.
Bohanon’s numbers suggest he wasn’t totally a game manager. He showed an ability to push the ball downfield when asked. On passes that traveled more than 20 yards downfield, Bohanon went 23-47, throwing seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Per Pro Football Focus, among all passers nationally who attempted at least 20 such throws, Bohanon ranked 32nd in adjusted completion percentage at 48.9 and 49th in PFF passing grade at 90.4. For comparison, Bazelak logged an adjusted completion percentage of 34.0 and a PFF grade of 74.5 on deep throws. Bohanon’s average depth of target last season was 10.9 yards downfield. Bazelak’s was 7.5, and Cook’s was even lower at 6.0.
Bohanon also provides a threat with his legs. He ran for 323 yards and another nine scores last season, including a 107-yard, two-touchdown rushing performance in Baylor’s win over Oklahoma.
Like Bazelak, however, Bohanon struggled down the stretch last season. That could have been due in part to the hamstring injury that sidelined him for two games. In his first six games, Bohanon passed for 1,332 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. Across the latter six, he threw for 868 yards, seven scores and seven picks. Shapen impressed during two games Bohanon missed, completing 43 of 64 passes for 434 yards and five touchdowns in wins over Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, which set the stage for him to beat out Bohanon during spring ball.
If there’s another knock on Bohanon, it’s that he struggled in the face of pressure. Virtually all passers see their numbers dip when not operating from a clean pocket, but Bohanon’s disparity was stark. When kept clean last season, he completed 70 percent of his passes, averaging 9.2 yards per attempt. He threw 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. When pressured, on the other hand, his completion percentage plummeted to 39.1 percent and his yards per attempt to 5.0. He threw three touchdowns and two picks.
Ultimately, if he does indeed choose Missouri, Bohanon will have to do what he couldn’t do at Baylor this spring: prove on the practice field that he represents an upgrade over the quarterbacks currently on the Tiger roster. But his experience and record last season represent something the returning players lack.