Thursday, March 7, 2013
Big 12: Reviewing 2012's spring stars
By Jake Trotter
Spring football gives young players and unknowns an opportunity to prove themselves. Many times, success in the spring translates to success into the fall. Other times, however, it does not. Last year's Big 12 spring standouts offered a combination of both. Below are the 2012 spring stars from each Big 12 team:
Baylor: RB Lache Seastrunk
What he did in the spring: The Oregon transfer dazzled with 135 rushing yards on just seven carries, which included a 75-yard scoring scamper.
What he did in the fall: Seastrunk eventually supplanted Jarred Salubi as the starter, then rushed for more than 90 yards in each of Baylor’s final six games to earn Big 12 offensive newcomer of the year honors.
Where he stands now: Seastrunk is a surefire preseason All-Big 12 pick, and with QB Nick Florence and WR Terrance Williams gone, the Bears will be leaning on him to carry the offense.
Kansas: RB Tony Pierson
What he did in the spring: Pierson stole the show in Kansas’ spring game with 141 rushing yards on only seven carries. The highlight of the scrimmage was Pierson’s 88-yard touchdown dash, as he outshined James Sims, who had just 58 rushing yards.
What he did in the fall: Pierson had a very solid season serving as Sims’ sidekick, rushing for 760 yards while averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He was also second on the team with 21 catches and 291 receiving yards.
Where he stands now: Pierson likely will hold a similar role as last season flanking Sims in the backfield.
Kansas State: QB Collin Klein
What he did in the spring: The primary flaw in Klein’s game in 2011 was his passing accuracy. But in K-State’s spring game, Klein showed that was no longer the case as he completed 47 of 56 passes, almost an 84 percent completion rate.
What he did in the fall: Thanks in part to his improved passing, Klein led the Wildcats to one of the greatest seasons in school history, as K-State was in the national title picture until late November. After completing just 57 percent of his passes in 2011, Klein connected on almost 65 percent of his throws last season.
Where he stands now: Klein is trying to make it in the NFL as a quarterback, though he could make a squad at a different position, too.
Iowa State: QB Sam Richardson
What he did in the spring: While all eyes were on quarterbacks Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett, Richardson proved he was on their level, engineering the first -- and only -- touchdown drive of the spring game. He completed 14 of 24 passes for 137 and a score in the scrimmage.
What he did in the fall: Richardson took over the starting job late in the season, and led the Cyclones to a 51-23 win against Kansas, in which he threw four touchdown passes. The dual-threat QB had his moments against West Virginia and Tulsa in the bowl game, too, and finished the season with eight touchdowns to just one interception, and 233 rushing yards.
Where he stands now: Jantz graduated and Barnett transferred, which has left Richardson as the clear-cut quarterback in Ames. The Cyclones are hoping the rising sophomore is a QB they can build their offense around.
Oklahoma: WR Trey Metoyer
What he did in the spring: Metoyer enrolled in the winter after spending the fall at Hargrave Military Academy, and outperformed every other OU skill player. He led all receivers in OU’s spring game with six catches for 72 yards.
What he did in the fall: Metoyer opened the season as a starter, but struggled developing chemistry with QB Landry Jones. He eventually lost his starting job, then fell out of the rotation altogether.
Where he stands now: A new year and a new QB should do wonders for Metoyer, who has all the tools to become a dominant outside receiver. With 2012 starters Kenny Stills and Justin Brown gone, Metoyer will have an opportunity to win back a starting job.
Oklahoma State: WR Charlie Moore
What he did in the spring: After catching just seven passes his entire career, Moore exploded in the Orange-White game with nine receptions, 243 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
What he did in the fall: He won a starting job and finished second on the offense with 35 catches and six touchdowns, and was a consistent performer as the Cowboys shuffled quarterbacks in and out of the lineup.
Where he stands now: The Cowboys figure to have one of their deepest receiving corps in years, and Moore is one reason why.
TCU: CB Jason Verrett
What he did in the spring: During TCU's tumultuous off-season, Verrett continued his momentum from 2011 and turned in a dominant spring.
What he did in the fall: No Big 12 corner was better last season than Verrett, who earned first-team All-Big 12 recognition in TCU’s first season in the league.
Where he stands now: Verrett has been dealing with an injury he suffered in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, but is expected to take part in spring ball soon. Verrett is one of the top returning corners in college football and should vie for All-American honors.
Texas: LB Steve Edmond
What he did in the spring: The 260 pound-plus linebacker was a menace on the front seven all spring.
What he did in the fall: Edmond was one of the bright spots on a Texas defense that overall was porous against the run. He was first among linebackers with 103 tackles, and he forced two fumbles, including a key one in the second half of Texas’ 56-50 win over Baylor.
Where he stands now: Edmond is having to fend off Dalton Santos, who is getting some of Edmond’s first-team reps at middle linebacker this spring.
Texas Tech: LB Will Smith
What he did in the spring: The junior-college transfer led all defenders in the spring game with six tackles and an interception, the only turnover of the scrimmage.
What he did in the fall: Smith locked down a starting job at linebacker and was a key part of Tech’s 6-1 start to the season. He finished fourth on the team with 55 tackles.
Where he stands now: Smith figures to anchor the Tech defense for first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury.
West Virginia: WR Jordan Thompson
What he did in the spring: The 5-foot-7 true freshman was so explosive and electric through spring ball he reminded fans of a young Tavon Austin. Thompson lit up the spring game with a scrimmage-high eight receptions and a touchdown.
What he did in the fall: The Mountaineers were hoping that Thompson would complement Austin and Stedman Bailey as a third receiving option. Instead, Thompson struggled to adjust, and had just one reception after Oct. 13.
Where he stands now: With Bailey and Austin gone, Thompson is in line to be the Mountaineers' No. 1 receiver.