- David Ubben, College Football
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We took a look earlier today at five players with the most to prove in the Big 12. Here are five more from the remaining Big 12 programs.
Darius Reynolds, WR, Iowa State
Reynolds was a highly-recruited juco prospect, but broke his leg after a strong start to the 2009 season and caught just 25 passes in 2010. This spring, coach Paul Rhoads went out of his way to note the improvement his 6-foot-3, 190-pound receiver made, and the Cyclones need him to prove Rhoads right. These receivers were the worst in the Big 12 in 2010, and they'll be breaking in a new quarterback in 2011. Can Reynolds prove he's a viable go-to receiver in this league?
Bryce Brown, RB and Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
There's no question about this one. This pair, despite not playing a down of Big 12 football yet, have attracted a ton of attention because of their accomplishments in high school back in Wichita and their modest careers at Miami (Arthur Brown) and Tennessee (Bryce Brown). But none of that matters now. Can these two prove they're more than just recruiting hype, and get Kansas State back in the postseason?
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Jones made big strides as a sophomore in 2010, both as a passer and a leader, but there's no getting past his struggles. He's prone to bad stretches and questionable decisions, and a fourth quarter at Missouri and the first half against Texas A&M cost Oklahoma two losses in 2010. If the Sooners are going to win the national title in 2011, Jones will have to be the guy to lead them there, and those kinds of lapses can't happen. Can he prove he's past them, and give the program its eighth national title and, perhaps, its sixth Heisman winner?
Garrett Gilbert, QB, Texas
I don't recall a player falling further short of his hype as Gilbert did in 2011. Place the blame (media, Gilbert, Greg Davis, Texas O-line, Alabama's second-half defense, etc.) where you'd like, but nobody thought he'd be a player who threw 10 touchdowns to 17 interceptions in his first year as a starter. Now, he finds himself in a quarterback competition that might end with him on the bench. Can he prove he's the top-flight quarterback Texas recruited, or will he lose his job to a younger teammate?
Alex Torres, WR, Texas Tech
Torres had a huge freshman year (67 catches, 806 yards, 6 TD), but injuries kept him from getting going at the same rate as a sophomore in 2011, when he finished with just 39 catches for 481 yards and three scores. The Red Raiders top two receivers are gone now, though, and they'll be breaking in a new quarterback, Seth Doege. For Torres, now is the time. Can he prove he's capable of keeping the Texas Tech offense humming at the same rate it's done for the past decade and longer?