- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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In a conference filled with players who have the opportunities to make big plays on offense, Kansas running back/receiver Tony Pierson isn't the only potential "X factor" in a Big 12 offense this season.
Here's a look at other players who may not be the focus of their team's offense, yet they could be ready to make game-changing plays this fall.
Running back Glasco Martin, Baylor: While Lache Seastrunk garners all the headlines, Martin should be a key weapon for the Bears' offense. BU’s short-yardage specialist scored 14 of his 15 rushing touchdowns in the red zone in 2012. He provides a terrific complement to Seastrunk’s shifty moves with his power and strength. Putting the duo on the field on the same time could be a nightmare for Big 12 defenses.
Receiver Jarvis West, Iowa State: The 5-foot-7 dynamo can create problems for any defense from the slot. Baylor got a glimpse at West’s potential during his seven-reception, 99-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Bears in 2012. Getting the ball in his hands should be a priority for ISU’s offense.
Receiver Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State: Tyler Lockett draws the majority of praise among the Wildcats’ receivers. But Thompson has terrific playmaking ability of his own. He averaged 33.4 yards per kickoff return and 19.75 yards per punt return as he continually changed games with his quickness. If KSU makes a point to get him the ball more, he should reward the Wildcats with even more big plays as a senior.
Running back Roy Finch, Oklahoma: The very talented but seldom used Finch enters his final season with a sense of urgency. If he’s more mature and ready to contribute, Finch could make a major impact in OU’s backfield with his quickness and versatility. If the Sooners strive to get him 5-10 touches per game, he could reward them with one or two momentum-changing plays.
Receiver Blake Jackson, Oklahoma State: With Josh Stewart testing the middle of defenses with his quickness and Tracy Moore returning to the outside as a perimeter threat, Jackson could have plenty of one-on-one situations to use his size and strength to take advantage of overmatched defenders. If he emerges as a consistent pass catcher, OSU's offense could explode.
Running back Malcolm Brown, Texas: The junior is, in some ways, the forgotten man in the Longhorns’ backfield after only playing in seven games as a sophomore while watching freshman Johnathan Gray lead the squad in rushing. Yet, his versatility could allow him to be a terrific complimentary threat in UT’s backfield.
Receiver Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech: One of the fastest players in the conference, Grant tests Big 12 defenses with his speed and quickness. Expect coach Kliff Kingsbury to find creative ways to get him the ball by moving him around and making it difficult for defenses to corral the 5-foot-6 speedster.
Quarterback Trevone Boykin, TCU: It’s hard to imagine Boykin not factoring into the Horned Frogs' offense in some way. Even if he doesn’t win the starting quarterback job, he gives TCU an experienced, athletic signal caller who could be useful in a number of different situations.
FB/TE/WR Cody Clay, West Virginia: Clay brings a unique versatility to the Mountaineers’ offense. He can line up at fullback on first down, tight end on second down and slot receiver on third down. That ability will open up options for Dana Holgorsen to get creative as he aims to attack defenses this fall.
5hJake Trotter and Max Olson
9hSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
1dCraig Haubert and Tom Luginbill
1dCraig Haubert and Tom Luginbill