Thursday, May 9, 2013
The 10 best Big 12 players ever: No. 7
By David Ubben
Over the next couple weeks, we're counting down the top 10 players in the history of the Big 12. I'm sure you'll all agree with my selections.
See more on my criteria here.
Let's move on with the list:
No. 7: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor (2008-11)
Why he's on the list: Griffin made his grand debut in Art Briles' first game as Baylor coach, stepping in to relieve Kirby Freeman and immediately looked special. His numbers weren't eye-popping, but he gave Baylor one big thing: Hope. He gave them a lot more than hope over the next four years, surging back from a knee injury in 2009 to take the Bears to their first bowl game since 1994 in 2010. He tossed 22 touchdowns and just eight picks while running for 635 yards and eight more scores. But his greatest work came in 2011. He put Baylor on the map with big-time upset wins over TCU and Oklahoma at home, keying off a pair of field stormings. The latter upset thrust him back into the Heisman Trophy race, and he won it on the way to a 10-win season and a win in the Alamo Bowl. No player in Big 12 history has changed a program the way Griffin changed Baylor, and that makes him an easy selection for the top 10. His quick wit and thoughtful words with a microphone in his face made him one of the league's most memorable personalities. His Heisman speech will go down as one of the best ever.
His speed made him dangerous, but there was never any doubt that he was a throw-first quarterback. He grew into that role even more after his knee injury. Even with those skill sets, his gigantic third-down reception on a trick play against TCU, that's one of the plays I'll remember him most for. He was drafted No. 2 overall in the 2012 NFL draft and threw one of the prettiest deep balls in college football history.
The rest of the list: