Big 12: Leonard Davis

Big 12 sending 17 alums to Super Bowl

January, 22, 2013
The Super Bowl doesn't kick off for almost two weeks, but the Ravens and 49ers have officially booked their tickets to the game. How many Big 12 alums are heading to the game? Let's take a closer look.

For the purposes of this post, I only included players who played their college ball in the Big 12. This kind of thing gets complicated, but I'm including former Big 12 teams and not TCU and West Virginia. These guys all actually played in the Big 12.

Baltimore Ravens
San Francisco 49ers

To rank it by team:

T-1 .Texas - 4

T-1. Oklahoma State - 4

T-3. Iowa State - 2

T-3. Texas Tech - 2

T-3. Missouri - 2

T-6. Colorado - 1

T-6. Nebraska - 1

T-6. Texas A&M - 1

The Big 12 and NFL draft history

April, 27, 2011
For just the second time ever, the first round of the NFL draft will be the only part of the draft's first day, set for primetime on Thursday night.

This year, the Big 12 could have as many as five first-round picks, and five players from the league are in New York for the draft.

So, let's take a look back. Since the first NFL draft of the Big 12 era, who has the most first-rounders?

Texas: 16
Oklahoma: 12
Oklahoma State: 6
Missouri: 4
Kansas State: 3
Texas A&M: 2
  • 2003: DT Ty Warren, 13th overall, New England Patriots
  • 2003: DB Sammy Davis, 30th overall, San Diego Chargers
Texas Tech: 1
Kansas: 1
  • 2008: CB Aqib Talib, 20th overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baylor: 1
Iowa State: none since 1973 (George Amundson)

A few thoughts and observations:
  • I doubt many would be surprised that this list is also a reasonably accurate reflection of overall success since the Big 12's inception in 1996. Obviously, Texas and Oklahoma have dominated. Since 2000, Texas has the nation's fourth-most first-rounders. Oklahoma is No. 6. Their success has paralleled that, along with recruiting rankings.
  • In that same breath, it's impossible to look at this list and not once again be impressed with what Mike Leach did. He obviously has the reputation as an overachiever, but looking big picture, he was able to do it with one first-round pick. Nobody beat Texas and Oklahoma more and Leach helped put together what is still the Big 12's longest bowl streak.
  • Texas' consistency sticks out, too. Since just 2001, Texas has had two first-rounders in six different seasons. If you've got two first-rounders on your team, you're probably going to be pretty good. The Longhorns, if you haven't noticed, have been. Those two first-rounders in six seasons are more or as many as half the league has in the history of the Big 12. What else you should note? Texas is unlikely to have a first rounder this year, and after Aaron Williams is drafted, Sam Acho probably will be the next to go, which won't be until the third or fourth round.
  • Oklahoma State and Missouri's rise over the past three seasons has paid off in the NFL draft. Missouri had three first-rounders in the last two seasons and figures to add two more this year after having just one in the 12-year history of the league before 2009. That's quite a streak, and even more proof of what Gary Pinkel has built at Missouri. One more piece of evidence? Despite losing those two first-rounders, Missouri should be back in the preseason polls next year after losing two of its top players. That's definitely something new in Columbia. The Cowboys figure to add more soon with Justin Blackmon at least. As long as Pinkel and Gundy are at the helm for their respective programs, expect them to continue to rise.
  • Don't be surprised by Texas A&M's swoon following R.C. Slocum's departure. From 1990-1998, the Aggies won nine games every season but one. From 1990-96, the Aggies had eight first-round picks. Since 1998? Two seasons with at least nine wins and just two first-round picks.
  • More evidence you can't underestimate the importance of having first-round picks? None for Baylor in the history of the Big 12 before Art Briles. In just three years, Briles may have three if the Bears add two more this year with Phil Taylor and Danny Watkins. Taylor and Watkins both came from unlikely sources. Taylor was a Penn State transfer and Watkins a juco transfer that formerly worked as a fireman in Canada.

12 former Big 12 players make NFL Pro Bowl rosters

January, 27, 2010
Announcements made this week to tweak the rosters because of injuries and Super Bowl replacements have resulted in 12 former Big 12 players from nine different schools making rosters for the NFL's Pro Bowl Sunday night at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

Here's a team-by-team look at Big 12 schools and their alumni who were selected for the game. Some will see action and others will miss the game because of injuries.










Texas' all-decade team

January, 21, 2010
Mack Brown revived the glory at Texas in the last decade, claiming at least 10 victories in each of the last nine seasons, including a 25-2 record in the last two seasons. The Longhorns have finished in the top 10 in five of the last six seasons.

Darrell K. Royal/Texas Memorial Stadium now has more than 100,00 seats. The Longhorns have a designated successor for Brown in place with rising star Will Muschamp. And that pesky problem with Bob Stoops has been alleviated recently with four victories in the last five seasons over the Sooners.

Times are good for Brown.

Here's a look at the Longhorns’ all-decade team during that time.


QB: Vince Young

RB: Jamaal Charles

RB: Cedric Benson

WR: Jordan Shipley

WR: Roy Williams

TE: David Thomas

OL: Justin Blalock

OL: Jonathan Scott

OL: Derrick Dockery

OL: Leonard Davis

C: Lyle Sendlein


DL: Brian Orakpo

DL: Cory Redding

DL: Shaun Rogers

DL: Casey Hampton

LB: Sergio Kindle

LB: Derrick Johnson

LB: Roddrick Muckelroy

DB: Earl Thomas

DB: Michael Huff

DB: Nathan Vasher

DB: Aaron Ross

P: Richmond McGee

K: Hunter Lawrence

KR: Quan Cosby

Offensive player of the decade: QB Vince Young. The most electrifying player of the decade capped his career by scoring the game-winning touchdown to lead his team to the national championship in his final drive. Brown finished with a 30-2 record, 6.040 passing yards and 3,127 rushing yards.

Defensive player of the decade: LB Derrick Johnson. He wasn’t around when the Longhorns won the national championship, but was perhaps the best player at his position at the school since Tommy Nobis. He capped his career with the Nagurski and Butkus Awards after earning All-America honors in each of his last two seasons.

Coach of the decade: Mack Brown. Remember when people used to joke about his inability to win big games or how he coddled his players. That all changed as the decade progressed. Brown got tougher and made some astute moves at defensive coordinator to help his program take the next step with the addition of coaches like Gene Chizik and Will Muschamp.

Moment of the decade: Vince Young’s run leads comeback victory to the 2005 national championship. Young’s game-winning 8-yard TD run with 19 seconds left boosted the Longhorns to a 41-38 victory over USC in the 2006 Rose Bowl, providing the margin of victory in one of the greatest college football games in history. Michael Huff’s fourth-down stop of LenDale White on the preceding drive set up Young’s heroics to snap the Trojans’ 34-game winning streak.

Williams' dramatic run ranks as the Big 12's No. 13 memory

June, 24, 2009

Posted by's Tim Griffin

No. 13

Run, Ricky, run
Nov. 27, 1998
Place: Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas.
Score: Texas 26, Texas A&M 24

Ricky Williams entered the final game of the 1998 regular season needing only 11 yards to break Tony Dorsett's career rushing leader.

But the Texas running back did it in dramatic style, breaking the record on a 60-yard TD run where he broke three tackles.

Williams finished the game rushing for 259 yards on a career-high 44 carries as he later broke Napoleon McCallum's NCAA career all-purpose rushing record -- without the benefit of a kick return to help boost his totals.

With 1:13 left in the first quarter, Williams spun through massive clearing blocks by left tackle Leonard Davis and left guard Roger Roesler. After surging past Texas A&M linebacker Warrick Holdman, Williams took advantage of a lead block by fullback Ricky Brown. That pushed him into the secondary as he streaked down the left sideline.

Williams powered through a tackle attempt by Texas A&M safety Rich Coady at the A&M 12. He then took advantage of a devastating downfield block by wide receiver Wane McGarrity, barging past cornerback Jason Webster's desperate tackle at the end zone.

The game was briefly stopped while Williams received the game ball and was honored by a group of dignitaries including Dorsett, who had set the record 22 years before.

The festivities seemed to affect Williams, who fumbled on the next play after the record run, providing a miscue that enabled A&M to score its first touchdown of the game. A 20-yard pass from Randy McCown to Derrick Spiller on the first play of the second quarter accounted for that score.

But as big as Williams' record-breaking run was, there were other big memories in the game that ranks among the classics between the two bitter rivals.

Williams' record-breaking run remained Texas' only touchdown through three quarters as three Kris Stockton field goals boosted them to a 16-7 lead.

The Longhorns extended that lead to 23-7 on a 10-yard pass from Major Applewhite to Kwame Cavil with 9:46 left.

But Texas A&M, which had already clinched the Big 12 South title coming into the game, charged back with a 30-yard field goal by Russell Bynum 77 seconds later.

And on the play after Williams broke McCallum's all-purpose record -- his career-high 41st carry of the game -- Holdman forced him to fumble again. That led to a 17-yard TD pass from McCown to Spiller that trimmed Texas' lead to 23-17 with 7:39 left.

The Aggies again forced a defensive stop and a 35-yard punt return by Webster to the Texas 25 set them up. McCown then scored on a 1-yard keeper on fourth down with 2:20 left that gave them their first lead at 24-23.

Texas responded with the game-winning drive keyed by Applewhite, who completed 7-of-8 passes for 55 yards on the possession. That set up Stockton's game-winning 24-yard field goal with five seconds remaining.

Factoids to note: Williams finished with 6,279 career rushing yards -- a total that remains a Texas record. He became the eighth player in NCAA history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, tying Marcus Allen's record for most 200-yard rushing games in a career ... Texas A&M linebacker Dat Nguyen provided 14 tackles to push his career total past 500 ... Applewhite completed 24-of-35 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown and an interception ... Stockton's late game-winning kick redeemed him after he earlier misfired on attempts of 50 and 28 yards ... The Texas defense was the underrated story of the game, holding the Aggies to minus-7 yards rushing and 173 total yards ... Texas produced 483 yards in the game against an A&M defense that was ranked second nationally in total defense coming into the game ... The loss snapped a 10-game A&M winning streak after a season-opening loss to Florida State.

They said it, part I: "I had a smile on my face after I broke that one tackle. I knew I had broken the record," Texas running back Ricky Williams on his record-breaking run.

They said it, part II: "It's been a special year because of Ricky Williams. He is the best player I have ever seen. I think he is one of the best, if not the best, college football player ever," Texas coach Mack Brown on Williams, the key player in Brown's first season with the Longhorns.

They said it, part III: "That drive epitomizes what our offense has been the whole year. There was never any doubt we would win the game," Texas quarterback Major Applewhite, about the Longhorns' game-winning drive.

The upshot: Williams' big day cemented his position in the Heisman race, which he won two weeks later. It also catapulted the Longhorns into the Cotton Bowl, where they posted an impressive 38-11 victory over Mississippi State that enabled them to finish 9-3 and 15th in the final Associated Press poll.

Texas A&M didn't mope about the loss very long. The Aggies charged back to claim a dramatic 36-33 double-overtime victory over Kansas State the following week in the Big 12 championship game (but more about that later). The Aggies then played in their first and only BCS bowl game, where they were beaten in the Sugar Bowl by Ohio State, 24-14. A&M finished the season 11-3 and No. 11 in the final AP poll.

The countdown:

14. Wild game, wilder post-game rants when Gundy and Leach meet.
15. Rout 66: No, that score wasn't a typo.
16. KSU finally slays the Cornhuskers.
17. Kingsbury and Long hook up in a passing duel for the ages.
18. Henery and Suh make Colorado blue.
19. Stunning OSU rally leads to Stoops' first home loss.
20. It's never over for Texas Tech until it's over.
21. Reesing to Meier. Again and again.
22. A Texas-sized comeback -- Texas over Oklahoma State in 2004.
23. A Border War unlike any of the rest -- Missouri over Kansas in 2007.
24. Seneca Wallace's wild TD run vs. Texas Tech in 2001.
25. Baylor's "So Much for Taking a Knee" against UNLV in 1999.

Big 12 has eight Pro Bowl representatives

December, 17, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

The Big 12 held up with a good, but not great, showing Tuesday when the Pro Bowl rosters were announced by the NFL.

A check of the rosters of both the AFC and NFC indicated that eight former Big 12 players were selected. That total ranks the conference third among the other conferences.

Here's how the conferences rank in Pro Bowl players.

  • Atlantic Coast: 19
  • Southeastern: 14
  • Big 12: 8
  • Big Ten: 7
  • FCS teams: 7
  • Conference USA: 6
  • Pac-10: 6
  • Big East: 4
  • Mid-American: 3
  • Mountain West: 3
  • Sun Belt: 2
  • WAC: 2
  • Independents: 2
  • Comm. college: 1

Here's a breakdown of how Big 12 schools were represented

And the Big 12 teams hardly ranked among some of the nation's powerhouse programs. Here's a look at how the schools with multiple selections broke down

  • Miami: 6
  • Florida State: 5
  • Tennessee: 3
  • Alabama: 2
  • Auburn: 2
  • California: 2
  • Central Florida: 2
  • Kent State: 2
  • LSU: 2
  • Michigan: 2
  • Mississippi: 2
  • North Carolina State: 2
  • Notre Dame: 2
  • Ohio State: 2
  • Pittsburgh: 2
  • Texas: 2
  • Texas A&M: 2
  • Utah: 2
  • Virginia: 2

Martellus Bennett lays down the smack

November, 26, 2008

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett, a former Texas A&M player whose brother, Michael, still plays on the Aggies' team, hasn't lost the touch.


Martellus Bennett is one of my favorite quotes of all time. His brother isn't far behind. But Bennett is stirring the pot about Thursday's Texas-Texas A&M game and he isn't even in school anymore.

Bennett laid down some bold words to the Dallas Morning News' Brian Davis in the Cowboys' locker room after their game against San Francisco last week about the Longhorns and quarterback Colt McCoy.

It only continued the trash talking that Michael Bennett started the previous week.

Martellus Bennett told Davis and other reporters that he's predicting a 27-24 upset victory for the Aggies in Thursday's game over an opponent he referred to as "yellow bellies."

"We're going to beat Texas, though," Bennett said. "It's going to be an upset. We always beat Texas. It wouldn't be an upset. Well, maybe this year it would be. But we expect to beat Texas, the yellow bellies."

And he also referred to the 2006 game when his brother knocked out Texas quarterback Colt McCoy with a devastating shot.

"My brother [Michael Bennett] knocked McCoy out a while back and we call him Cart McCoy now."

Texas coach Mack Brown said he hadn't hear about Bennett's comments, but expected nothing less from the loquacious rookie tight end.

"It would've surprised me if Martellus didn't have comments this week," Brown said.

Bennett had some more comments Wednesday to the News about why he hasn't made any bets with Dallas teammates and former Texas players Roy Williams and Leonard Davis about Thursday's game.

"Roy doesn't speak English," Bennett told the News. "He's like a Martian or something. He's like a mime. Leonard? He speaks English, but he talks slow."

If his Dallas teammates don't want to muzzle Bennett, maybe his old teammates still playing at A&M might want to. Nothing like disparaging a team and then not playing against them.