Digging into my All-Big 12 picks

Earlier today, I unveiled my selections for the All-Big 12 team, along with some honorable mentions. Here's some leftover thoughts from that group.

  • The honorable mentions weren't one per position. I selected guys I thought had seasons good enough to merit a spot on the first-team in most years, but not good enough to surpass a better player at their positions this season. There's only one spot available on our team, and it had to go to Collin Klein. Geno Smith and Landry Jones weren't far off, but you can't make a case for either over Klein.

  • Had to go with James Sims ahead of John Hubert. Sims' yards-per-carry average wasn't as high, but KU had no passing threat this season and Sims still managed his first 1,000-yard season, despite missing the first three games. KU gave him tons of carries (as they should have), but KU was in several games solely because of Sims' efforts.

  • No contest for the receivers. Those three are in a league of their own.

  • Went with tight end Jace Amaro ahead of Travis Tannahill. Tannahill's blocking nearly put him on my list, but Amaro is the league's only true game-changer at the position. He'll really excite whoever replaces Tuberville in Lubbock. His late injury was frustrating for him, but he still deserved the spot.

  • Not a ton of tough calls on the offensive line. Gabe Ikard moved around, so I moved him in one of the four offensive line spots and just named Joe Madsen my center.

  • The same defensively. I felt good about every selection in the front seven. The only tough call in the secondary was Ty Zimmerman over Texas' Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro's the more physically talented player, but Zimmerman's penchant for forcing turnovers gave him the edge in my book.

  • Houston, we have a defensive tackle! I went all defensive ends in my preseason All-Big 12 team because the crop of DTs in the Big 12 was so poor. Oklahoma State's Calvin Barnett didn't turn in a huge season statistically, but he was disruptive all year and had a big impact in his first season, despite some penalty issues early on.

  • Tavon Austin is shifty as all get out, and WVU worked to get him the ball. That earned him my punt return spot, narrowly ahead of Oklahoma's Justin Brown, who was really productive, but didn't even return punts the whole season. At kick returner, though, you've got to go with Tyler Lockett. Teams worked to get the ball away from him, but he still had a higher average per return than Austin and took two of his 16 returns for scores, compared to just one for Austin on 28 attempts.