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Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Steele's All-Big 12 team features unknowns

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

College football pundit Phil Steele has released his All-Big 12 team, and on the first and second teams, you'll see plenty of names you recognize.

Malcolm Brown
Expectations are extremely high for incoming Texas Longhorns running back Malcolm Brown.
Oklahoma's Landry Jones snagged the first-team quarterback honors, joining the league's three top receivers, Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State, Ryan Broyles of Oklahoma and Jeff Fuller at Texas A&M.

Broyles and A&M cornerback Coryell Judie even appear on the first team twice, as punt and kick returners, respectively.

But the story of Steel's team is no doubt his confidence in a handful of unknowns, headlined by Texas incoming freshman Malcolm Brown grabbing a first-team spot at running back.

Brown, the nation's No. 2 running back in the 2011 class and No. 7 overall prospect, is expected to arrive on campus next month.

His spot seems reminiscent of North Carolina basketball player Harrison Barnes, the first freshman to be named a preseason All-American since 1986.

As Texas struggled to run the ball last season, failing to have a 600-yard rusher for the third consecutive year, Brown's commitment was welcome news. The Longhorns' 5-7 season placed even more hopes on Brown, who will compete with Fozzy Whittaker and Cody Johnson for carries once fall camp begins.

The uncertainty of the depth chart, which currently resembles an amorphous blob, will help Brown make it on the field, but he's apparently earned Steele's confidence.

He's not the only one.

Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown, a Miami transfer who made waves this spring, cracks Steele's first team, too, despite not playing a snap of Big 12 football. His brother, Wildcats running back Bryce Brown, made the second team without playing a down in the Big 12, too.

Oklahoma safety Aaron Colvin, who spent last season as a backup cornerback, is on Steele's second team. Sooners freshman running back Brandon Williams enrolled early and also has never played, but made the second team.

All of those players should have an opportunity to make an impact, and Steele believes they'll all take advantage. Looking back at Steele's preseason team last year, he didn't always take these kinds of chances.

Missouri tight end Andrew Jones was the only player on the first team before last season that would have drawn a gasp, and his teammate, Michael Egnew, ended up being a finalist for the Mackey Award as college football's best tight end.

Last year's preseason team didn't have a single newcomer or freshman on the top two teams, but could the Big 12 be chock full of new faces this time around?

I'd say about half of those players make the postseason All-Big 12 teams, but Steele sees big seasons in store for players that you ought to know before September.

Here's the first team (notoriously potent offenses and stingy defenses, thanks to 12-man sides) in its entirety:

OFFENSE

QB: Landry Jones, Oklahoma
RB: Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M
RB: Malcolm Brown, Texas
WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
WR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
WR: Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
TE: Michael Egnew, Missouri
C: Ben Habern, Oklahoma
G: Lonnie Edwards, Texas Tech
G: Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State
T: Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State
T: Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State

DEFENSE

DE: Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
DT: Kheeston Randall, Texas
DT: Tony Jerod-Eddie, Texas A&M
DE: Brad Madison, Missouri
LB: Arthur Brown, Kansas State
LB: Keenan Robinson, Texas
LB: Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
LB: Zaviar Gooden, Missouri
CB: Coryell Judie, Texas A&M
CB: Demontre Hurst, Oklahoma
S: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
S: Blake Gideon, Texas

SPECIAL TEAMS

K: Grant Ressel, Missouri
P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
KR: Coryell Judie, Texas A&M
PR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma

Here's how many players each program had on the Steele's All-Big 12 first-fourth teams combined:

1. Texas A&M - 19
2. Oklahoma - 16
3. Missouri - 11
3. Oklahoma State - 11
3. Texas - 11
6. Baylor - 7
7. Kansas State - 6
8. Iowa State - 5
8. Kansas - 5
8. Texas Tech - 5