Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 18
By ESPN.com staff
Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't, and who lands where.
The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.
Next up on the list:
No. 18: Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma
2011 numbers: Caught 61 passes for 849 yards and eight touchdowns. Also returned eight punts for 38 yards (avg. 4.75 yards).
Most recent ranking: Stills was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players, but checked in at No. 22 in our 2011 preseason list.
Making the case for Stills: Last season didn't end the way Stills wanted it to, but that was the case for everybody in crimson and cream. The Sooners lost two of their final three regular season games, including an embarassing blowout loss to in-state rival Oklahoma State, and it was all preceded by the loss of Ryan Broyles, the FBS all-time leader in receptions. Stills had to move to the slot, where he'd never played before, and had trouble creating space like Broyles could, and his ability to stretch the field was limited. Stills was uncomfortable. It showed. He and his fellow receivers all came down with the drops.
That was a short stretch, though. There's no denying Stills' production elsewhere, even though his sophomore season was a slight disappointment following a 786-yard freshman year that broke Broyles' freshman receiving record.
One third of Oklahoma's famed Cali Trio, the Encinitas, Calif. native is still one of the Big 12's most talented receivers with its most recognizable hairdo (and one with its own Twitter feed), a mohawk he says could feature some special changes this season.
Stills had a full offseason to adjust to the loss of Broyles now, instead of a week. He'll be the leader of an inexperienced receiving corps, but the All-Big 12 returnee looks due for a much better follow up to his sophomore season, motivated this offseason by 2011's unsatisfying end.
The rest of the list:
- No. 25: Justin Gilbert, CB/KR, Oklahoma State
- No. 24: Ben Habern, C, Oklahoma
- No. 23: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
- No. 22: Josh Boyce, WR, TCU
- No. 21: Cyril Richardson, OL, Baylor
- No. 20: Trey Millard, FB/TE, Oklahoma
- No. 19: Quandre Diggs, CB/KR, Texas