You've got to love the fresh look every season brings. For all the preseason prognosticating, you never really know what the fall will bring.
In 2010, the league's biggest breakout player was easily Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, who raced to a Biletnikoff Award and proved himself as the Big 12's best player over the course of the season.
Last year, there was once again no question. Kansas State's Collin Klein entered the season with modest expectations, and finished it as a record-holding touchdown machine, cashing in on 27 scores throughout the year, carrying Kansas State to 10 wins and a Cotton Bowl berth, despite being picked to finish eighth in the Big 12.
Who will earn that nod in 2012?
Colleague KC Joyner says among first-year starters, it'll be Texas receiver Jaxon Shipley. Shipley started a few games as a true freshman last season, but against BCS conference opponents, Shipley was extremely productive in the short passing game (see Joyner's full article for a chart on just how productive he was).
Comparing Shipley's yards per attempt to the 2012 receiver class would have placed him at No. 7, which is even more impressive considering the revolving door of inexperience that was the quarterback position at Texas last season.
That's impressive, and I'd lean toward agreeing with Joyner. The biggest star? Maybe not. There's no question in my mind that Shipley's due for a big year. He's instinctive and to me, stuck out as the best player on Texas' offense last year, even with Malcolm Brown crashing the party.
Will Shipley be the Big 12's biggest breakout star in 2012? Vote in our poll, and if you don't think so, name your pick in the comments.