Big 12: Leonard Davis
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.
- Billy Bajema, TE, Oklahoma State
- Chykie Brown, CB, Texas
- Sam Koch, P, Nebraska
- Kelechi Osemele, OL, Iowa State
- Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
- Justin Tucker, K, Texas
- Ryan McBean, DT, Oklahoma State (injured reserve)
- Reggie Stephens, C, Iowa State (practice squad)
- Tarell Brown, CB, Texas
- Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State
- Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
- Leonard Davis, OG, Texas
- Tony Jerod-Eddie, DT, Texas A&M
- Darcel McBath, S, Texas Tech
- Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
- Justin Smith, DE, Missouri
- Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State (injured reserve)
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
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?
- 2010: S Earl Thomas, 14th overall, Seattle Seahawks
- 2009: DE Brian Orakpo, 13th overall, Washington Redskins
- 2007: S Michael Griffin, 19th overall, Tennessee Titans
- 2007: CB Aaron Ross, 20th overall, New York Giants
- 2006: QB Vince Young, third overall, Tennessee Titans
- 2006: CB Michael Huff, seventh overall, Oakland Raiders
- 2005: RB Cedric Benson, fourth overall, Chicago Bears
- 2005: LB Derrick Johnson, 15th overall, Kansas City Chiefs
- 2004: WR Roy Williams, seventh overall, Detroit Lions
- 2004: DT Marcus Tubbs, 23rd overall, Seattle Seahawks
- 2002: OL Mike Williams, fourth overall, Buffalo Bills
- 2002: CB Quentin Jammer, fifth overall, San Diego Chargers
- 2001: OL Leonard Davis, second overall, Arizona Cardinals
- 2001: DT Casey Hampton, 19th overall, Pittsburgh Steelers
- 1999: RB Ricky Williams, fifth overall, New Orleans Saints
- 1997: CB Bryant Westbrook, fifth overall, Detroit Lions
- 2010: QB Sam Bradford, first overall, St. Louis Rams
- 2010: DT Gerald McCoy, third overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 2010: OT Trent Williams, fourth overall, Washington Redskins
- 2010: TE Jermaine Gresham, 21st overall, Cincinnati Bengals
- 2007: RB Adrian Peterson, seventh overall, Minnesota Vikings
- 2006: OL Davin Joseph, 23rd overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 2005: OL Jammal Brown, 13th overall, New Orleans Saints
- 2005: WR Mark Clayton, 22nd overall, Baltimore Ravens
- 2004: DT Tommie Harris, 14th overall, Chicago Bears
- 2003: CB Andre Woolfolk, 28th overall, Tennessee Titans
- 2002: S Roy Williams, eighth overall, Dallas Cowboys
- 2001: Stockar McDougle, 20th overall, Detroit Lions
- 2010: OL Russell Okung, sixth overall, Seattle Seahawks
- 2010: WR Dez Bryant, 24th overall, Dallas Cowboys
- 2009: TE Brandon Pettigrew, 20th overall, Detroit Lions
- 2004: WR Rashaun Woods, 31st overall, San Francisco 49ers
- 2003: DE Kevin Williams, ninth overall, Minnesota Vikings
- 1998: CB R.W. McQuarters, 28th overall, San Francisco 49ers
- 2010: LB Sean Weatherspoon, 19th overall, Atlanta Falcons
- 2009: WR Jeremy Maclin, 19th overall, Philadelphia Eagles
- 2009: DT Ziggy Hood, 32nd overall, Pittsburgh Steelers
- 2001: DE Justin Smith, fourth overall, Cincinnati Bengals
- 2009: QB Josh Freeman, 17th overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 2003: CB Terence Newman, fifth overall, Dallas Cowboys
- 1997: DB Chris Canty, 29th overall, New England Patriots
- 2003: DT Ty Warren, 13th overall, New England Patriots
- 2003: DB Sammy Davis, 30th overall, San Diego Chargers
- 2009: WR Michael Crabtree, 10th overall, San Francisco 49ers
- 2008: CB Aqib Talib, 20th overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 2009: OL Jason Smith, 2nd overall, St. Louis Rams
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.
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.
- Dallas C Andre Gurode (starter/injured)
- Dallas CB Terence Newman (starter/injury replacement)
- San Francisco DE Justin Smith (injury replacement)
- Tennessee DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (starter/Super Bowl replacement)
- Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson (starter)
- Minnesota DT Kevin Williams (starter/injured)
- Dallas G Leonard Davis (starter)
- Pittsburgh DT Casey Hampton
- Washington OLB Brian Orakpo (starter)
- Tennessee QB Vince Young (injury replacement)
- Oakland P Shane Lechler (starter)
- New England WR Wes Welker (injured)
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.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Run, Ricky, run
Date: 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.
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.
Posted by ESPN.com'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
- Texas 2 -- Dallas G Leonard Davis, Cleveland DT Shaun Rogers
- Texas A&M 2 -- Oakland P Shane Lechler, Minnesota DT Pat Williams
- Colorado 1 -- Dallas C Andre Gurode
- Oklahoma 1 -- Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson
- Oklahoma State 1 -- Minnesota DT Kevin Williams
- Texas Tech 1 -- New England WR Wes Welker
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
Posted by ESPN.com'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.