Big 12: Andrew Lewis

Notable undrafted Big 12ers finding homes

April, 27, 2010
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Nine players from the Big 12 were drafted in the first round, but not everybody can make millions. Here's where a few notable Big 12ers ended up after going undrafted:

Baylor

Four-time All-Big 12er will try to fit in with new coach Pete Carroll.

Everyone respects Lake as a hitter, but a lack of speed will likely keep the Thorpe Award candidate from succeeding at the pro level.

Kansas

Might end up in Canada after struggling to show scouts he could compensate for his lack of height.

Kansas State

Banks ran a 4.43 at the combine, the fifth-fastest time recorded by a receiver, but his size will keep him from playing receiver at the next level. Some team will give him a shot as a return man eventually. What he does with it is up to him.

Missouri

NFL teams are waiting on Alexander to pass a physical after undergoing his fourth knee surgery in just over a year. The nation's receiving leader can't seem to catch a break.

Baston and Gregory were second-team All-Big 12ers and Carolina began contacting Gregory during the sixth round, expressing its interest in signing him.

Nebraska

Turner and O'Hanlon make five Blackshirts who ended up on NFL rosters after leaving Nebraska. DT Ndamukong Suh, S Larry Asante and LB Phillip Dillard were drafted.

Oklahoma

An ankle injury ended English's season early and any chance the defensive end, who was named to the All-Big 12 first team as a freshman, had of being drafted.

  • DT DeMarcus Granger - Seattle
Former blue-chip recruit never recovered from offseason back surgery before last season and didn't play until the bowl game.

Solid runner led the Sooners in rushing the past two seasons. Might be able to slip into Josh McDaniels' uncertain situation at running back. Lesser accomplished backs have done it in Denver in the past, but that was under Mike Shanahan, who's now in Washington.

Oklahoma State

Toston stepped in after Kendall Hunter was injured and ran for over 1,000 yards.

Lewis began the season on the cover of SI, and Bond came to Oklahoma State after playing eight-man football. Both are now on current NFL rosters.

Texas

The most accurate kicker in Texas history, Lawrence doesn't seem likely to beat out the solid Connor Barth, who took over the job midseason last year, for the starting job. But impress during minicamp, or stay on the roster through training camp, and other teams could take notice.

Ulatoski has the size (6-foot-6, 310 pounds) to succeed in the NFL, he just has to prove it with the Texans. Tanner and Ulatoski have a handful of All-Big 12 honors heading into the next level.

Texas A&M

McCoy caught 35 passes for 367 yards and two scores and made the All-Big 12 second team.

Texas Tech

Sharpe finished second in the Big 12 with 15 sacks.

Carter, most known for his hair and makeup, turned an All-Big 12 first-team effort in 2009 into a free-agent deal with the world champs.

Weak & Strong: Oklahoma State

March, 19, 2010
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Here, we’ll take a look at one area where each team in the Big 12 can expect to succeed, and another that needs improvement.

Weak: Offensive line

Oklahoma State must replace four starters on the offensive line, including likely top 10 pick LT Russell Okung and SI cover boy C Andrew Lewis. (Yes, that counts.) Left guard Noah Franklin and right tackle Brady Bond also don't return.

For Oklahoma State to be successful, they'll need the new line to gel with a first-year starter at quarterback. Kendall Hunter returns with hopes of a big year, but if the line plays poorly, he'll have to do it with plenty of shovel passes.

Juniors Nick Martinez, Levy Adcock and Jonathan Rush join senior Anthony Morgan as new starters this spring, and last year's lone returning starter, Lane Taylor, moves over to center to begin spring practice. Taylor began 2009 near the bottom of the depth chart, but took over at right guard during his freshman season.

Runner-up: Linebacker, where Oklahoma State loses quality linebackers in Andre Sexton, Donald Booker and Patrick Lavine.

Strong: Kicking game

Punter Quinn Sharp and kicker Dan Bailey could both be in for big years. Sharp was named All-Big 12 honorable mention as a freshman, when he averaged 45.1 yards on 67 punts, the second-best average ever for an Oklahoma State punter and fifth in the nation. He also had 35 touchbacks as a kickoff specialist.

Bailey will be a four-year starter at kicker and has not missed any of his 131 extra-point attempts in over almost three seasons since becoming starter as a freshman. Perhaps most importantly, he's 24-of-26 on kicks inside 40 yards. He also has a career-long of 51 yards.

More Weak & Strong:

'The Punisher' plays big in Texas' victory in Nation All-Star Game

February, 8, 2010
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Oklahoma State safety Lucien "The Punisher" Antoine provided a big game in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Challenge game.

Antoine produced two tackles and an assist for the Texas team, which rolled to a 36-17 victory over the Nation at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.

Several other former Big 12 players participated in the fourth annual February all-star game.

Here's a look at what the Big 12 players accomplished in the game. All of them played for the Texas team.
  • Texas A&M FB Jamie McCoy: Rushed twice for 12 yards and produced one catch for 5 yards.
  • Iowa State P Mike Brandtner: Two kicks for a 33.0 yard average. His longest was 43 yards and he had one pooch kick inside the 20.
  • Baylor S Jordan Lake: Two assists, a shared tackle for a loss and one pass broken up.
  • Missouri WR Jared Perry: One reception for 16 yards.

Several players who appeared on game rosters earlier in the week did not participate. Among those who were missing included Baylor wide receiver David Gettis, Oklahoma State guard Andrew Lewis, Texas A&M center Kevin Matthews, Texas Tech defensive end Brandon Sharpe and Texas Tech tackle Marlon Winn, according to the official statistical game book that was posted at the game's web site.

After the game, organizers told the El Paso Times that they were disappointed with an announced crowd of 26,041 for the game. That attendance was down significantly from last season's attendance of 42,000.

Game CEO Kenny Hansmire told the Times the game could be headed for San Antonio or Dallas because of the attendance decline.

Six Big 12 schools represented in all-star game

February, 5, 2010
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Some of the nation's more underrated draft prospects will see action at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Challenge game at 2 p.m. ET Saturday at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.

The Big 12 will be represented by a group of players looking to make some pre-draft buzz.

Here's a look at the prospects representing the Big 12 schools, who will participate on the Texas team in the game.

Baylor

WR David Gettis

S Jordan Lake

Iowa State

P Mike Brandtner

Missouri

WR Jared Perry

Oklahoma State

S Lucien Antoine

G-C Andrew Lewis

Texas A&M

FB-H-back Jamie McCoy

C Kevin Matthews

Texas Tech

DE Brandon Sharpe

T Marlon Winn

Former Dallas Cowboys standout Bill Bates and Florida Atlantic University head coach Howard Schnellenberger will serve as the coaches at Saturday's game.

Big 12 South recruiting needs

January, 21, 2010
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Here's a look at what each of the South Division teams need to address in terms of recruiting with signing day fast approaching.

Baylor

Defensive line: After losing starters Jason Lamb and Trey Bryant and having Phil Taylor and Earl Patin entering their senior seasons, the Bears need to add immediate depth. Xavier Ruben and Anthony Gonzales will help shore up the deficiencies and the Bears still are in the hunt for top prospects like Carlos Thompson and Byran Jones.

Secondary: Starters Jordan Lake and Jeremy Williams have graduated and four juniors in the two-deep roster will start their senior seasons. Coach Art Briles has already lured surprising strength in the defensive backfield with Ahmad Dixon, Tyler Stephenson and Prince Kent. That trio makes it one of the finest positional groupings for Baylor in recent history.

Robert Griffin’s redshirt season has lessened the immediate need at quarterback: With Griffin now having three years of eligibility remaining, recruits now see only a two-season window to play. But another Robert Griffin should help the Bears as well. Baylor coaches see the other Griffin, a junior college transfer from Coriscana Junior College, being able to contend for the starting position at right tackle from his first day in the program.

Oklahoma

Running back: With Chris Brown graduating and DeMarco Murray entering his senior season, the Sooners need some producers at the position. Bob Stoops has never hesitated to playing top freshman players in the past if they can help. Don’t be surprised if top recruits like Brennan Clay and Roy Finch get an early chance in 2010 with the Sooners.

Receiver: Ryan Broyles is entrenched in the slot, but the Sooners are looking all over for pass catchers who can challenge existing players. Recruits Kenny Stills, Joe Powell, Julian Wilson and Sheldon McClain all should challenge this summer to battle their way into the rotation.

Defensive tackle: Injuries and NFL declarations have riddled the Sooners’ depth at the postion. Gerald McCoy will leave early for the NFL draft with JaMarkus McFarland ready to take over. Adrian Taylor was set at the other position, but his nasty ankle injury sustained in the Sun Bowl has depleted the Sooners’ depth. Redshirt sophomore Casey Walker and four incoming freshmen are all that is in place as far as depth at the critical position.

Oklahoma State

Offensive line: The Cowboys lose four senior starting offensive linemen from the Cotton Bowl team, including the left side of their offensive line in tackle Russell Okung, guard Noah Franklin and center Andrew Lewis, as well as right tackle Brady Bond. Mike Gundy needs some immediate help at the position, both from existing players and incoming ones.

Defensive tackle: Starters Swanson Miller and Derek Burton both will graduate and top backups Shane Jarka and Chris Donaldson both will be senior this season. Defensive coordinator Bill Young needs to find some defensive linemen who can challenge for playing next season.

Linebackers: Young also will have to rebuild this group after the underrated group of Andre Sexton, Donald Booker and Patrick Lavine helped sparked the Cowboys’ surprising defensive growth last season. All will be gone this season, putting pressure to add some more contributors to add to the returning mix of players including James Thomas, Tolu Moala and Justin Gent.

Texas

Defensive end: With Sergio Kindle graduating and Sam Acho and Eddie Jones both entering their senior season, the Longhorns need a talent boost here. It also just happens to be the position where top target Jackson Jeffcoat would immediately fill the rather sizable hole.

The left side of the offensive line: Tackle Adam Ulatoski, guard Charlie Tanner and center Chris Hall combined for 114 starts during their careers.The Longhorns has some strong arriving talent, but they’ll still miss the leadership and savvy that this trio provided over the years.

Quarterback: Even with Garrett Gilbert seemingly entrenched as the Longhorns’ quarterback of the future, the Longhorns added depth with the commitments of Connor Wood and Colt’s little brother Case McCoy. It will make for some interesting competition this spring and fall as the rotation sorts itself out.

Texas A&M

Defensive end: The Aggies received a huge boost when Von Miller announced he would return for his senior season, but A&M needs to prepare for his departure -- particularly after losing starting defensive end Matt Moss and Miller’s backup Matt Featherston as departing seniors from 2009.

Tight end: Starter Jamie McCoy graduated and top replacements Kenny Brown and Craig Raschke both will be seniors next season. Adding at least one player would be beneficial as the Aggie coaches hope they can find a combination blocker/receiving threat at the position like McCoy was.

Offensive tackle: The Aggies lose bookend senior starters Michael Shumard and Lee Grimes. They do have Stephen Barrera and Danny Baker in the depth chart but would like more depth to help the line develop.

Texas Tech

Defensive line: The Red Raiders’ biggest need is at defensive end where all three players in the two-deep roster -- Brandon Sharpe, Ra’Jon Henley and Daniel Howard were seniors. At defensive tackle, Richard Jones departs as a senior and Colby Whitlock will be a senior next season. New coordinator James Willis needs to find some productive players in the trenches quickly.

Linebackers: Starters Bront Bird and Brian Duncan will be back as seniors next season, but Tech loses departing starter Marlon Williams on the other side. They need some depth to help build for the future at the position.

Quarterback: Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield will wage one of the closest-watched battles for playing time in the nation during the spring and summer. But both will be seniors, meaning the Red Raiders need to prepare for their departure by grooming some young talent like Scotty Young, a recent commitment at the position.

Best and worst of the Big 12's bowl games

January, 11, 2010
1/11/10
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Here a look back at some of the highs and lows of the Big 12's bowl games.

Best game: In the grand scheme of things, Iowa State’s 14-13 triumph over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl was a matchup of two 6-6 teams. But the Cyclones’ pulsating victory still provided much excitement for the Cyclones. Alexander Robinson rushed for 137 yards in the victory that was settled by a late fumble recovery by ISU cornerback Ter’ran Benton, who was playing in his first game since breaking his leg on Oct. 24. Benton pounced on the turnover by Minnesota’s MarQueis Gray and the ISU did the rest with a clock-killing drive that provided an unexpected bowl victory for coach Paul Rhoads. Yes, that’s the same team that was expected to struggle to stay out of the North Division cellar before the season.

Best relief performance: Texas Tech starting quarterback Taylor Potts had a strong game in the Valero Alamo Bowl, but the Red Raiders needed a spark as they trailed Michigan State 31-27 early in the fourth quarter. Backup quarterback Steven Sheffield responded by completing his first six passes after relieving Potts, driving for two touchdowns to claim the victory. Potts earned the game’s most valuable player honors, but Sheffield finished by completing 9-for-11 passes for 88 yards as he directed the comeback.

Best use of bowl practice: Nebraska’s maligned offense showed some unexpected punch against Arizona in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson took advantage of bowl preparations to rebuild quarterback Zac Lee’s confidence and incorporate freshman Rex Burkhead into the Wildcat formation. The result was a 33-0 victory over the Wildcats with 223 yards of rushing -- most for the Cornhuskers since the first game of the season.

Best bow to youth: Injuries forced Oklahoma to employ freshmen defenders including defensive linemen David King, defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland and cornerback Demontre Hurst against Stanford in the Brut Sun Bowl. The trio came up big throughout the game to spark the Sooners’ 31-27 victory over the Cardinal. “The future’s bright,” Oklahoma defensive ends coach Chris Wilson understated to the Oklahoman after the game.

Most significant injury: Texas moved the ball smartly against Alabama, gaining 26 yards on five plays with Colt McCoy in charge. But McCoy went down with nerve damage to his right shoulder, the Longhorns’ offense unraveled during the rest of the half with backup Garrett Gilbert at quarterback. Alabama took advantage to charge a 24-6 halftime and take control of the Citi BCS National Championship Game.

Worst reaction to a defensive formation: Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green dared Missouri to run the ball by using an alignment with two down linemen. Even with Derrick Washington in the backfield, the Tigers could produce only 65 yards rushing as they repeatedly passed and sputtered in a 35-13 loss to the Midshipmen.

Worst finish: Mississippi’s defense took over down the stretch, forcing turnovers on the Cowboys’ final six turnovers. Zac Robinson’s offense contributed four interceptions and his team lost two fumbles as the Rebels claimed a 21-7 victory over Oklahoma State in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

Worst play call: Texas could have gone to halftime trailing by only 11 points. But Texas coach Mack Brown elected to have Garrett Gilbert attempt a seemingly safe shovel pass to D.J. Monroe. The ball was batted around and finally ended up in the arms of Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, who then stiff-armed Gilbert to the ground and pirouetted around Kyle Hix en route to a 28-yard touchdown return.

Worst officiating call: With about nine minutes remaining in a tie game, Oklahoma State had the ball on the Ole Miss 19-yard line and appeared poised to claim the lead. Ole Miss defensive tackle Jerrell Powe looked to have obviously jumped offsides on a snap as he charged past center Andrew Lewis before the snap was completed. Feeling that he had a free play, Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson threw to the end zone, where he was intercepted by Ole Miss free safety Kendrick Lewis in the end zone. Robinson begged to have the call overturned, but the officials didn’t do it. The Cowboys unraveled from that point in the game.

Worst special teams: Texas A&M’s struggles on special teams were the biggest reason the Aggies dropped a 44-20 loss to Georgia in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl. The Bulldogs blocked a field-goal attempt, returned a kick for a touchdown and blocked a punt in the first half. The Aggies capped the debacle by snapping the ball over A&M punter Ryan Epperson's head in the third quarter, leading to another Georgia touchdown. The special-teams meltdown was the major reason the Aggies dropped their 11th game in their last 13 bowl games.

Instant analysis: Ole Miss 21, Oklahoma State 7

January, 2, 2010
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Oklahoma State’s hopes of claiming its first bowl victory since 2007 were undone by an embarrassing rash of fourth-quarter mistakes in the Cowboys’ 21-7 loss to Mississippi in the AT&T Cotton Bowl. Here’s a look at what went wrong for the Cowboys and right for the Rebels.

How the game was won: Ole Miss took advantage of six Oklahoma State turnovers on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions to blow the game open. The Rebels got the ball back via interceptions by free safety Kendrick Lewis on consecutive drives, followed by back-to-back fumble recoveries and then interceptions by Patrick Trahan and Fon Ingram during a run in which the Rebels scored the game’s final 14 points.

It’s notable: Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt becomes the first coach to win back-to-back Cotton Bowls since Lou Holtz at Notre Dame in 1993 and 1994.

Turning point: With about 9 minutes remaining in a tie game, OSU had the ball on the Ole Miss 19-yard line and appeared poised to claim the lead. Ole Miss defensive tackle Jerrell Powe looked to have obviously jumped offsides on a snap as he charged past OSU center Andrew Lewis before the snap was completed. Feeling that he had a free play, Robinson threw to the end zone, where he was intercepted by Lewis in the end zone. The Cowboys unraveled from that point in the game.

Player of the game: Oklahoma State’s defense was gearing to stop Ole Miss running back Dexter McCluster. And it still didn’t matter. McCluster rushed for 185 yards on 34 carries, including touchdown runs of 86 and 2 yards to account for both of the Rebel’s offensive touchdowns. He also produced five receptions for 45 yards, becoming the first player in Southeastern Conference history to account for 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the same season.

Unsung hero: Patrick Trahan capped the victory with two pivotal fourth-quarter plays. He recovered a fumble by OSU wide receiver Hubert Anyiam and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown to give the Rebels a 21-7 lead. He then provided an interception on OSU’s next possession to ice the victory.

Stat of the game: The two teams combined for 12 turnovers, but it didn't top the Cotton Bowl record of 13 that was set when Alabama claimed a 29-21 victory over Texas A&M on Jan. 1, 1942.

What it means: Oklahoma State failed to tie a school record with a 10th victory. The Cowboys’ late collapse in the final two games was a disappointment, but OSU overachieved considering their injury and suspension losses over the course of the season. The Cowboys lose key players like Robinson, Russell Okung, Keith Toston, Perrish Cox and starting linebackers Andre Sexton, Donald Booker and Patrick Lavin next season. But they will try to rebuild around a retooled offense that will should be centered around running back Kendall Hunter, who looked to regain his form Saturday after struggling with injuries all season.

Ole Miss didn’t achieve its preseason goal of contending for an SEC championship, but the Rebels claimed back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time since 1959 and 1960. And they likely will have Jevan Snead back for another season as well.

Big 12 helmet stickers, Week 11

November, 15, 2009
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It was tough to limit my choices to only five players, so I split up a couple to include strong groups or duos.

Here are my choices for the coveted Big 12 weekly award:

Nebraska I-back Roy Helu Jr.: Rushed for 156 yards on 28 carries and scored three touchdowns to pace the Cornhuskers’ 31-17 victory over Kansas. Helu scored on touchdown runs of 20 and 14 yards -- both in the fourth quarter -- and also added another touchdown when he recovered a fumble by Zac Lee in the end zone earlier in the game. Helu accounted for 86 yards in the fourth quarter to pace Nebraska’s comeback, pushing his season rushing total to 962 yards.

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones and running back DeMarco Murray: Both were key in the Sooners’ 65-10 victory over Texas A&M. Jones passed for a career-high 392 yards and five touchdowns. Murray rushed for 80 yards on 18 carries and added a career-high 143 receiving yards on five catches, two of which went for touchdown. Murray produced a career-long 67-yard reception for a touchdown.

Oklahoma State’s offensive line: The Cowboys dominated in the trenches in the second half of their 24-17 victory over Texas Tech thanks to O-line's work. Senior tackles Russell Okung and Brady Bond, guards Noah Franklin and Lane Taylor and center Andrew Lewis helped the Cowboys claim the gritty comeback victory. Three different rushers produced at least 68 yards for the Cowboys as they rolled up 243 rushing yards in the game. But the line's work was especially noticeable in the second half, when OSU put the game away with 207 yards on the ground and more than 22 minutes of time of possession.

Missouri wide receiver Danario Alexander: Produced 10 catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns to help boost the Tigers to a 38-12 victory over Kansas State. Alexander scored on touchdown receptions of 54, 16 and 80 yards from Blaine Gabbert to enable the Tigers to gain bowl eligibility. Alexander has produced 414 yards in his past two games, including back-to-back 200-yard receiving games for the first time in school history.

Iowa State’s defense: It’s hard to split this sticker among the group that sealed the Cyclones’ 17-10 victory over Colorado, earning them bowl eligibility for the first time since 2005. The ISU defense notched three second-half turnovers and held its third conference opponent to 10 points or less in the victory.

These Big 12 positions need the most help

May, 26, 2009
5/26/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

All questions aren't settled during the course of spring practice as teams still have much work to upgrade their weaknesses heading into the season.

Obviously, some will receive a boost from incoming freshmen who will arrive later. But here's how each team's biggest liability shakes out heading into the summer.

Baylor: The Bears are desperately looking for help at offensive tackle after losing No. 2 overall draft pick Jason Smith and Dan Gay as their starters. Former Canadian firefighter Danny Watkins has established himself at Smith's old position protecting Robert Griffin's blind side. And on the right side, junior Chris Griesenbeck and redshirt freshmen Cameron Kaufhold are competing for the starting job with Tyler Junior College's Phillip Blake and Blinn College's Marquis Franklin set the arrive later this summer.

Colorado: Wide receiver has been a question mark for the Buffaloes throughout Dan Hawkins' coaching tenure. The Buffaloes return four scholarship wide receivers and had a chance to work out several new players with Scotty McKnight injured during the spring. Josh Smith and Markques Simas are the top playmakers coming out of the spring. Non-scholarship players like Jason Espinoza and Ryan Maxwell emerged, but the Buffaloes definitely need a big upgrade at the position from their arriving freshman class.

Iowa State: The Cyclones will be facing a big hole at left tackle, where two-year starter Doug Dedrick departs. It could be filled by Matt Hulbert, who started two games last season when Dedrick was hurt. Or it could be massive 354-pound junior Hayworth Hicks or freshman Brayden Burris at the position. Whoever emerges will face a huge challenge in filling Dedrick's experience as he protects the blind side of the Iowa State quarterbacks.

Kansas: Coach Mark Mangino will be facing a few huge rebuilding job at linebacker, where the Jayhawks lose key contributors Joe Mortensen, Mike Rivera and James Holt from last season. Mangino is talking about using a two-linebacker set as his base defense with fifth-year senior Jake Schermer and senior Arist Wright getting the starting jobs leaving spring practice. Sophomore Steven Johnson and converted running back Angus Quigley were competing for playing time during the spring and another boost is expected when junior linebacker Justin Springer, who is recovering from a torn ACL last season, returns in the fall.

Kansas State: Carson Coffman appeared to have claimed the starting job at quarterback -- at least for a few weeks -- after a strong effort during the latter stages of spring practice. But Coffman's late binge has to be tempered considering he is playing against the weak Kansas State secondary. So it's fair to say there are some lingering questions at the position. Coffman apparently has beaten back the challenge of challengers Collin Klein, Joseph Kassanavoid, Trey Scott and Milton McPeek. But the arrival of South Florida transfer Grant Gregory and heralded junior-college transfer Daniel Thomas will mean more competition in the summer.

Missouri: The Tigers will be facing a challenge of replacing NFL first-round draft pick Evander "Ziggy" Hood at defensive tackle to play opposite nose tackle Jaron Baston. Redshirt sophomore Terrell Resonno appeared to have claimed the job out of the spring, with Dominique Hamilton, Chris Earnhardt and converted linebacker George White perhaps earning their way into the rotation.

Nebraska: After the graduation of top receivers Todd Peterson and Nate Swift from last season, the Cornhuskers need to fill both positions. Leading returning receiver Menelik Holt appears to have a hammerlock on one position, but Niles Paul lost a chance to take a big step forward after missing the spring after he was suspended for driving under the influence. Antonio Bell was the biggest surprise, but converted I-back Marcus Mendoza, Chris Brooks, Wes Cammack and Curenski Gilleylen all showed flashes during the spring.

Oklahoma: There was concern before spring practice, considering the Sooners were replacing four-fifths of their starting offensive line with only Trent Williams back from last season's starters. And it got worse when Bob Stoops called out the young replacements because of their lack of diligence in their preseason conditioning. Williams emerged at left tackle with Brian Simmons and Stephen Good at guards, redshirt freshman Ben Habern at center and either LSU transfer Jarvis Jones or Cory Brandon at right tackle. The depth took a hit when center Jason Hannan left early in training camp and sophomore guard Alex Williams chose to leave after spring practice. The group struggled against the Sooners' talented defensive line, allowing Sam Bradford to be touch-sacked twice in three possessions in the spring game and produced only 27 rushing yards in 52 carries.

Oklahoma State: The loss of veteran center David Washington produced a huge hole in the center of the Cowboys' interior line. Andrew Lewis returns to his natural position, leaving Oklahoma State needing two new starters at guard. Noah Franklin and Jonathan Rush have staked claims to the starting positions with Anthony Morgan and Nick Martinez getting repetitions inside. This group needs to improve if it hopes to equal the standards of previous seasons, when the Cowboys led the Big 12 in rushing each of the last three seasons.

Texas: The tight end was rarely used for the Longhorns after Blaine Irby dislocated his kneecap last season against Rice. He still wasn't ready to go during the spring as Greg Smith, Ahmard Howard, Ian Harris and D.J. Grant all got work. None of them emerged. And with Irby's return remaining iffy, it means the Longhorns again could reduce the use of the tight end and utilize four-receiver sets when they want to move the ball. Don't look for the Longhorns to use the tight end much unless this production improves.

Texas A&M: T
he Aggies were wracked with injuries during the spring as projected starters Lee Grimes, Kevin Matthews and Lucas Patterson were sidelined all spring as A&M was down to only nine healthy offensive linemen for some practices. It still doesn't excuse the lack of offensive production for A&M's starting unit, which produced only 9 yards rushing on 24 carries against Texas A&M's first-string defense. Coach Mike Sherman will be counting on immediate production from an impressive group of incoming freshman at fall practice, but it's fair to characterize the Aggies' offensive line as the team's biggest spring concern -- especially after allowing 39 sacks last season and ranking last in the conference in rushing yards per game.

Texas Tech: The loss of productive starters Daniel Charbonnet and Darcel McBath left a gaping hole at safety for the Red Raiders. Junior Franklin Mitchem earned the free safety position leaving spring practice and redshirt freshman Cody Davis emerged at strong safety. Jared Flannel, Brett Dewhurst and converted linebacker Julius Howard also got some snaps at safety. It will still be a challenge to combat the explosive Big 12 defenses with such an inexperienced group at the position.

Harrell earns 4.0 GPA, heads All-Big 12 academic team

November, 25, 2008
11/25/08
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas Tech's record-setting quarterback Graham Harrell's success hasn't been limited to the football field. Harrell was among six players who earned a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and were nominated for the 2008 Academic All-Big 12 football team.

Other players who were nominated with a 4.0 GPA include Nebraska senior linebacker Tyler Wortman, Nebraska sophomore linebacker Thomas Grove, Oklahoma State redshirt freshman linebacker Jared Glover, Oklahoma State senior guard Andrew Lewis and senior running back/wide receiver James Griffin of Texas Tech.

Texas placed a league-leading 22 players on the squad, with 17 on the first team and five on the second.

Here's a list of the entire 137 players selected for the first and second team by the conference.

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