Scintillating Griffin ranks as Big 12's fifth-best player

April, 28, 2009
4/28/09
8:03
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

No. 5

It's hard to fathom the development of Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin in such a short period of time.

Griffin, who turned 19 in February, had one of the most memorable freshman seasons in Big 12 history. He made the Baylor program relevant  and was one of the conference's most exciting players from his opening start. 

But his next step this season will be an even bigger challenge. He'll be counted to help carry the Bears in contention for a bowl berth for the first time since the Big 12 was formed.

Considering all of the other talent-laden programs in the Big 12 South Division, it will be a huge test for the Bears. 

Look for Griffin should be up for the quest -- particularly if he keeps building on his fantastic early start.

Player: Robert Griffin
Team: Baylor
Position: Quarterback
Vitals: 6-foot-3, 210 pounds; So.; Copperas Cove, Texas

Why he was picked: As the nation's youngest starting quarterback in 2008, Griffin developed into one of the nation's most explosive players. Griffin picked up a multitude of newcomer of the year awards, including two national first-team Freshman All-America selections. Griffin established an FBS record by throwing 209 passes without an interception to start his career, passing for 2,091 yards and 15 touchdowns and three interceptions. He was also a breakaway threat as a runner, setting school records for rushing yards by a quarterback (843) and rushing touchdowns (13). Griffin ranked fifth nationally among quarterbacks in rushing yards (70.3 yards per game) and second in rushing touchdowns.

What 2009 will hold: A bigger, stronger Griffin will be counted to improve on his huge freshman season. A similar leap forward might be enough to catapult Baylor into bowl contention for the first time since 1994 - longest drought in the Big 12 and tied for the longest among teams in BCS-affiliated conferences. Griffin must improve his abilities to get his teammates involved, which is traditionally one of the hardest parts of the maturation process of a young quarterback. If Griffin can improve his running and passing skills, Griffin could be poised to become the greatest player at his position before leaving school.

The countdown:

6. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh
7. Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy
8. Oklahoma State RB Kendall Hunter
9. Oklahoma LB Travis Lewis
10. Kansas QB Todd Reesing
11. Oklahoma RB-KR DeMarco Murray
12. Oklahoma State T Russell Okung
13. Texas DE-LB Sergio Kindle
14. Oklahoma T Trent Williams
15. Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon
16. Baylor LB Joe Pawelek
17. Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson
18. Texas WR-KR Jordan Shipley
19. Oklahoma RB Chris Brown
20. Nebraska I-back Roy Helu Jr.
21. Texas Tech DT Colby Whitlock
22. Kansas WR-KR Dezmon Briscoe
23. Oklahoma DE Jeremy Beal
24. Kansas S Darrell Stuckey
25. Texas Tech RB Baron Batch
26. Kansas QB-WR Kerry Meier
27. Texas T Adam Ulatoski
28. Oklahoma State LB Andre Sexton
29. Missouri G Kurtis Gregory
30. Missouri RB Derrick Washington
31. Texas Tech LB Brian Duncan
32. Texas S Earl Thomas
33. Kansas State WR-KR Brandon Banks
34. Oklahoma LB Keenan Clayton
35. Baylor S Jordan Lake
36. Oklahoma State CB-KR Perrish Cox
37. Texas C Ch
ris Hall
38. Texas Tech DE-DT McKinner Dixon
39. Kansas State DE Brandon Harold
40. Oklahoma FB Matt Clapp

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BIG 12 SCOREBOARD

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