Big 12: 110812 Power Positions

What's the Big 12's power position?

August, 12, 2011
8/12/11
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The Pac-12's quarterbacks are the class of the nation.

In the SEC, 2011 looks like it will be all about the running back.

The Big 12? There's no question what the best position is. Linebacker might have made a reasonable case a few months ago, but the best and deepest position in the Big 12 is wide receiver.

No league can duplicate its talent at the top.

[+] EnlargeOklahoma State's Justin Blackmon
Mark D Smith/US PRESSWIREJustin Blackmon headlines a talented group of receivers in the Big 12 this season. Blackmon caught 111 passes for 1,782 yards and 20 TDs in 2010.
Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State returns after winning the Biletnikoff Award a season ago as college football's best receiver.

He'll be one of the favorites for the award, and with his quarterback, Brandon Weeden, back on campus too, there's no reason to believe Blackmon can't win it again.

The league's second-best receiver? He's also arguably the nation's second-best receiver. Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles was one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award and holds nearly every record in Oklahoma's school record book.

The two receivers were Nos. 1 and 3 nationally in receptions, combining to haul in a staggering 242 passes in a combined 26 starts last season.

Beyond the duo in the state of Oklahoma is physical, 6-foot-4, 215-pound Jeff Fuller at Texas A&M, who became the first Texas A&M receiver to ever record a 1,000-yard season.

Like Blackmon and Broyles, he turned down NFL money for another year in the college game and, you guessed it, he returns his quarterback, too.

Ryan Tannehill is back for the Aggies, who begin the season in the top 10, the program's highest ranking since 1999. Fuller is a huge reason why.

But past the talent at the top is a stable of fantastic receivers that could be set for even bigger seasons.

Missouri's T.J. Moe was the fourth receiver in the Big 12 to record a 1,000-yard season in 2010, and his teammate Michael Egnew (more a receiver than a tight end, anyway) could get close in 2011 after catching 90 passes for 762 yards alongside him.

Ryan Swope works the slot while Fuller dominates outside at Texas A&M, and Swope caught a handful of huge touchdowns, including a fourth-quarter, game-tying TD against Oklahoma State and a game-clinching score against Oklahoma. He finished with 72 catches for 825 yards and four touchdowns.

Baylor's Robert Griffin has a solid set of receivers to find, headlined by Kendall Wright, a speedy sub-6-footer who caught 78 passes for 952 yards and seven touchdowns, his third consecutive season leading the team in receiving.

Oklahoma State's Blackmon isn't alone. Josh Cooper worked the slot for the Cowboys last year and Hubert Anyiam could be in for a big year after battling through injuries in 2010, a year after leading the team in receiving in 2009.

Broyles is great at Oklahoma, but sophomore Kenny Stills broke both of Broyles' freshman records in 2010 with 61 catches for 786 yards. Could he be after more later in the season?

It should be a good year in the Big 12 with plenty of talent. But it's deepest at receiver.

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