Big 12: Jonathan Wilson
Todd Reesing, QB
Reesing entered Kansas undersized and underrecruited. He left as the most prolific passer in school history and an Orange Bowl champion. His 11,194 career passing yards are fifth-most in Big 12 history. A logjam of six candidates, currently led by Kale Pick, Jordan Webb and Christian Matthews, will vy to be Reesing's replacement next fall.
Dezmon Briscoe, WR
A first-team All-Big 12 performer a season ago, Briscoe was a big-time receiver for his final two seasons in Lawrence. As a junior, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder caught 92 passes for 1,407 yards and 15 touchdowns. His encore last season featured 84 catches for 1,337 yards. That was good enough for ninth in the nation in receptions per game.
Bradley McDougald and Johnathan Wilson, WRs
McDougald and Wilson might not be the next Meier and Briscoe, but both posted solid numbers in 2009 and will need to see those numbers grow to support a new starter at quarterback. Wilson caught 35 passes for 449 yards and McDougald caught 33 passes for 318 yards.
Drew Dudley, LB
Dudley, with 88 stops a season ago, is the Jayhawks' leading returning tackler. On a defense devoid of big-time talent, he's the most likely candidate to emerge as a household name on defense.
Runner-up: Jacob Branstetter, K. A two-year starter, Branstetter booted a 57-yard field goal last season against Oklahoma.
Brandon Bourbon, RB
Never mind his automatic qualifier on the All-Name team. Bourbon is a balanced running back, running a 4.48 40-yard dash at 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds. His time could be coming soon, but he could earn at least a few carries in his first season on campus.
Keeston Terry, WR
Terry isn't coming from far away, only a few miles east across the state line in Blue Springs, Mo., but the 6-foot-2, 179-pound receiver could give the Jayhawk receivers some additional depth. Missouri and Kansas State were both after one of the top receivers in the state of Missouri. Turner Gill got him.
More Revolving Door
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here's a look at how I rank the Big 12 offenses heading into the season.
1. Oklahoma State – The conference’s most balanced offense also features the best rushing/receiving combination in Kendall Hunter and Dez Bryant and one of the Big 12's best offensive linemen in Russell Okung. Zac Robinson still has meltdown moments, but he’s gotten much better with experience. The big questions will be finding a No. 2 receiver and a tight end to replace Brandon Pettigrew.
2. Oklahoma: The Sooners have the most productive quarterback in school history in Sam Bradford with the conference’s best backfield combination in Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray and college football’s best tight end in Jermaine Gresham. The offensive line, however, isn’t nearly as good as some from the program's past. The line's development will largely determine if the Sooners can claim four-straight Big 12 titles.
3. Texas: Colt McCoy is back for his fourth season as starter and Jordan Shipley seemingly has been around long enough to collect a pension. That’s a great start. Vondrell McGee has emerged as a steady back who might end up earning the majority of carries running behind a deep offensive line. It will be interesting to see if they can find a tight end who will block consistently enough to keep the team from running multiple wide-receiver sets down the stretch. Developing that bruising running game will be the biggest challenge for the Longhorns.
4. Kansas: Todd Reesing might be the nation’s most underrated quarterback and the development of a tandem backfield in Jake Sharp and Toben Opurum will provide balance to the conference’s best receiving corps. It will be interesting to see how much better Kerry Meier can become by concentrating on offense. He adds with top deep threat Dezmon Briscoe, the underrated Jonathan Wilson and freshman addition Bradley McDougald. The Jayhawks’ title hopes will hinge on better pass blocking, particularly from new left tackle Tanner Hawkinson, a converted high school tight end.
5. Texas Tech: There are more questions with the loss of Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree, although Mike Leach seems very happy with Taylor Potts and his current group. The Red Raiders might be deeper at wide receiver with a collection of players than when Crabtree commandeered most of the catches. Baron Batch’s recovery from an elbow injury will be critical, but the Red Raiders have a big nasty offensive front keyed by All-Big 12 candidate Brandon Carter and the underrated Marlon Winn.
6. Baylor: Robert Griffin makes these guys go and he should be even more comfortable in his second season as a starter. Jay Finley might be one of the least-appreciated backs in the league and a deep collection of wide receivers will help boost production. The biggest concern will be the play of tackles Danny Watkins and Phillip Blake, who will be replacing decorated former starters Jason Smith and Dan Gay.
7. Missouri: This offense will be different from the attack in the Chase Daniel era. Look for new coordinator David Yost to utilize a strong running game keyed by Derrick Washington, who is finally healthy after being hurt most of the second half of 2008. New quarterback Blaine Gabbert obviously doesn’t have the experience in the Tigers’ offense as Daniel, but he might have a better deep arm which will give Yost more chances to attack with long passes. It’s a typically deep collection of receivers with Danario Alexander poised for a breakout season if he can stay healthy.
8. Colorado: Other than the fact that Dan Hawkins can’t decide on a starting quarterback, this unit might be a little underrated and ready to blossom. I really like their collection of running backs with Darrell Scott poised to fulfill his recruiting promise. Rodney Stewart and Demetrius Sumler add different running styles behind a nice line keyed by Ryan Miller, Nate Solder and Mike Iltis. The passing game might sputter early as Markques Simas misses the first two games and Andre Simmons plays his way into the rotation after missing most of fall practice. But it might be surprisingly productive by the time conference play rolls around.
9. Nebraska: Lack of an experienced quarterback and tested running backs behind Roy Helu Jr. cause them to drop a little after Quentin Castille’s dismissal. I’m hearing the Cornhuskers will feature more deep passing with Zac Lee, which might allow receivers Menelik Holt and Niles Paul a chance to go deep. The best part of their offense is their five-headed monster at tight end keyed by Mike McNeill and Dreu Young. Ricky Henry’s emergence at right guard has enabled Jacob Hickman to stay at center where he’ll anchor a developing line.
10. Texas A&M: Jerrod Johnson won the starting quarterback job this summer, but I was surprised that Ryan Tannehill will remain behind him as a backup rather than a wide receiver where he was the team’s leading receiver this season. Jeff Fuller might be one of the Big 12’s most underrated wide receivers and Jamie McCoy is a productive, pass-catching tight end. A bigger, stronger Cyrus Gray will get the start at tailback, although heralded freshman Christine Michael will push him for playing time. The biggest question remains an offensive line that struggled with injuries and produced only 89 yards rushing and 39 sacks. If they are healthy, they might be a surprise after last year’s consistent struggles.
11. Iowa State: New coordinator Tom Herman will attempt to retrofit his no-huddle attack that was so successful at Rice for the Cyclones. He has a tough, savvy quarterback in Austen Arnaud and a multi-talented running back in Alexander Robinson. Keep an eye out for Darius Reynolds who has emerged as the team’s slot receiver as Darius Darks overcomes a training-camp injury. The largest offensive line in FBS will be protecting Arnaud, but needs to do a better job of dominating at the point of attack.
12. Kansas State: Carson Coffman and Daniel Thomas were named as starters today by Bill Snyder. Coffman was effective at times last season as Josh Freeman’s backup, but remains a question mark as he takes over the starting job. The position changes of Lamark Brown and Logan Dold opened up the running back job in training camp and the 227-pound Thomas took advantage. Brandon Banks is a strong player who belies his size as a receiver and kick returner. The offensive line remains a question after a season-ending injury to Brock Unruh leaves only Nick Stringer and a cast of unknowns to share playing time.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Unlike many receivers, Dezmon Briscoe says he doesn't need the adulation or acclaim that comes with being one of the nation's top wideouts.
|J.P. Wilson/Icon SMI|
|Kansas wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe is on his way to breaking records -- but remains humble about his success.|
Briscoe prefers to remain quiet and humble, concentrating on honing his receiving skills rather than showy displays. That attitude emanated from his parents and high-school coaches and has remained his credo even after becoming a key wide receiver for Kansas.
"My mom and dad taught me to do that," Briscoe said. "They told me to just stay like I am. Even when I got to college and started playing, they told me to stay humble and not change."
He hasn't -- even after a career game last week. Briscoe broke school records with 12 receptions for 269 yards in the Jayhawks' 45-31 loss to the Oklahoma. It was also the top receiving yardage effort in the country so far this season.
"Every time the ball went up, I had a lot of confidence I was going to get it," Briscoe said. "It just seemed to build as the day went on."
It's not a stretch to think the sophomore wide receiver could have erupted for even more yardage. One catch that he appeared to have made in the end zone was snatched off his chest for an interception by Oklahoma defender Lendy Holmes.
"Honestly, I believe I caught the ball that they gave him the interception," said Briscoe, who has produced 43 receptions for 700 yards and eight TDs this season. "The calls just went their way. But I am kicking myself I didn't get to 300 (yards)."
Another big game will be important for the Jayhawks and Briscoe as they prepare to meet No. 8 Texas Tech. The No. 23 Jayhawks still lead the Big 12 North by a game and control their own destiny as they attempt to claim their first North Division title.
Briscoe grew up in Dallas where he was a devoted fan of the Dallas Cowboys. His favorite receiver remains Terrell Owens, but he's determined to bring different qualities to the position than the Cowboys' star receiver.
"I like the way he plays, but with the way he talks so much, I don't like his mouth," Briscoe said. "I like a guy like Larry Fitzgerald better, someone who just does his job."
That attitude has marked Briscoe's career. He's quietly only two touchdown receptions away from tying the school career record of 17 set by Willie Vaughn and Bruce Adams. And he's only two away from tying Marcus Henry's single-season TD record of 10 set last season.