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Friday, January 31, 2014
Top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 1

By Jake Trotter

With signing day approaching, we’re closing the book on the 2013 season. The last two weeks, we’ve been counting down the top 25 players in the Big 12 in 2013 through a list collaboratively selected by Jake Trotter, Brandon Chatmon and Max Olson. It’s finally time for our No. 1 player.

No. 1: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

Previous ranking: Amaro was unranked in the blog’s preseason list of the Big 12’s top 25 players.

Jace Amaro
Texas Tech's Jace Amaro was unstoppable this season, setting an FBS single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,352.
Making the case for Amaro: While we considered other players in the No. 1 slot, this was actually a unanimous decision.

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, Kansas State playmaker Tyler Lockett, offensive linemen Cyril Richardson and Gabe Ikard and the defensive trio of Jackson Jeffcoat, Justin Gilbert and Jason Verrett all had tremendous seasons and were worthy of inclusion in the discussion.

Amaro, however, was the one player in the Big 12 who was pretty much impossible to game plan for. Because of his size and 260-pound frame, the flex tight end overpowered safeties. Because of his speed and quickness, he simply blew by linebackers. No defense figured out how to stop Amaro, even with Texas Tech rotating between two true freshmen quarterbacks.

As a result, Amaro finished with 1,352 receiving yards, which set an FBS single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end. Amaro also hauled in 106 receptions, good for second all-time among FBS tight ends. No one else in the Big 12 caught more than 83 passes.

In turn, Amaro was a unanimous All-American -- joining Richardson as the only two Big 12 players to earn such honors.

Recently, the Big 12 has enjoyed a strong tight end tradition, with Jermaine Gresham, Brandon Pettigrew, Martellus Bennett and Jermichael Finley all turning into NFL starters.

Given Amaro’s unique talents, which could make him a first round draft pick, he should very well become the next.


The rest of the list: