Big 12: Stedman Bailey

Best WR tandems in Big 12 history

November, 4, 2013
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The Big 12 has featured some prolific wide receiver tandems over the years.

Baylor’s Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley, however, have a chance to top that list.

[+] EnlargeAntwan Goodley, Tevin Reese
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsAntwan Goodley and Tevin Reese rank 1-2 in the Big 12 in receiving yards per game.
This season, Reese is second in the Big 12 with 118 yards receiving a game. He trails only Goodley, who leads the league with an average of 128 yards receiving. They are a big reason why the Bears are on pace to break the FBS records for points (56.0) and yards (624.9) per game that were set by Army in 1944 and Houston in 1989.

Depending on how they finish, Reese and Goodley could wind up becoming the best duo in Big 12 history. But they aren’t the only big-time duos in the Big 12 this year.

Kansas State’s Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett have been lighting it up since returning from injury. The last two weeks the two have totaled five touchdown catches.

Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard lead the Sooners with five touchdowns apiece. Texas Tech’s Eric Ward and Jakeem Grant are fifth and sixth in the league in receiving. Oklahoma State’s Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore are beginning to warm up with Clint Chelf at QB. And Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis have been stalwarts in this league for years.

But who are the best tandems ever to play Big 12? We lay it out below.

Tight ends were not included (sorry Jermaine Gresham and Chase Coffman). The tandems were evaluated on what they accomplished together, not on whether their careers simply overlapped (eliminating Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander, for example); and, this is a list for duos, not singles, trios or quartets (apologies to Rashaun Woods, and the 2008 Oklahoma and 2010 Baylor receiving corps).

To the list:

1. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, West Virginia (2012): In their only year in the league, this tandem was one-two in the Big 12 in receiving, combining for 224 receptions and 2,914 receiving yards. Bailey himself had 25 receiving touchdowns; nobody else in the league had more than 13. Austin, meanwhile, also rushed for 344 yards in one game at running back. As Bailey tweeted out earlier Monday morning on this topic, “case closed.”

2. Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola, Texas Tech (2007): Crabtree got all the headlines in 2007 on his way to winning his first of two Biletnikoff awards. But out of the slot, Amendola quietly put up 109 receptions for 1,245 yards, as Tech went 9-4.

3. Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby, Texas (2008): Shipley and Cosby starred on one of the three best Big 12 teams that didn’t win a conference title. The two each had 1,000 receiving yards and double-digit TDs from QB Colt McCoy, as the Longhorns finished the year 12-1, their only loss coming on Crabtree’s game-winning touchdown in the final seconds in Lubbock. The two were also prolific on special teams, with Shipley’s kick return touchdown sparking Texas’ 45-35 comeback win over Oklahoma.

4. Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper, Oklahoma State (2011): As with Crabtree-Amendola, Blackmon got all the attention on his way to a second Biletnikoff award. But Cooper was a pivotal piece in OSU’s first Big 12 title team, as he racked up 71 receptions out of the slot. Blackmon, of course, had a monster year with 121 catches and 18 touchdowns.

5. Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams, Baylor (2011): Reese was actually the third wheel to this duo, which shined with RGIII at quarterback. Wright was an All-American with 108 catches, 1,663 yard and 14 touchdowns. Williams was big time, too, finishing fifth in the Big 12 in receiving before taking over the No. 1 role in 2012.

6. Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (2010): Broyles led college football with 131 receptions on his way to becoming the all-time FBS leader in career catches. Stills broke OU’s freshman single-season receiving record, as the Sooners stormed back to capture the Big 12 crown after a pair of midseason losses.

7. Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas (2008): It might be difficult to remember now, but the Jayhawks used to play some ball. Meier tied Crabtree for second in the league with 97 receptions. Briscoe trailed only Dez Bryant with 1,402 receiving yards. This was an underrated duo.

8. Quincy Morgan and Aaron Lockett, Kansas State (1999): On one of the first passing teams in the Big 12, Morgan and Lockett shined. Morgan had 42 receptions for 1,007 yards and nine touchdowns and was a first-team all-conference selection. Lockett, Tyler Lockett's uncle, was a second-team all-league pick for the Wildcats, who went 11-1 and finished the year ranked sixth in the polls.

9. Mark Clayton and Travis Wilson, Oklahoma (2004): Clayton carried the moniker of best receiver in OU history until Broyles came around. Because of Adrian Peterson, Clayton’s numbers dipped in ’04, but he was still an All-American with 66 catches. Wilson led the Sooners with 11 TD grabs, as OU advanced to a second consecutive national championship game.

10. Jarrett Hicks and Joel Filani, Texas Tech (2005): Neither might be a household name around the Big 12 anymore, but these two were both first-team All-Big 12 selections in ’05 along with Iowa State WR Todd Blythe.
So much of the offseason is spent projecting what's going to happen in the fall, but it's easy to forget just how unpredictable every season inevitably becomes. Some of that is based on miscalculated preseason expectations, but many times, it's simply a head-scratching result that the numbers simply did not point to.

Here are the five games from 2012 that nobody saw coming.

1. Baylor 52, Kansas State 24: No result was more head-scratching than this one, and it completely turned the Big 12 season upside down, ending K-State's bid for an undefeated season and making the Wildcats' stop at No. 1 in the BCS standings last exactly one week. Baylor entered this game just 1-5 in Big 12 play, not long removed from a two-touchdown loss to an average Iowa State team in which the Bears scored just 21 points in doing so. This Nov. 17 upset kicked off a stretch that ended with Baylor as the hottest team in the Big 12. Lache Seastrunk also broke out with a career-high 185 rushing yards and a touchdown.

[+] EnlargeBaylor's Lache Seastrunk
Tim Heitman/US PRESSWIREAfter rushing for 185 yards in an upset of K-State, Lache Seastrunk and had plenty to celebrate.
2. Texas Tech 49, West Virginia 14: West Virginia was coming off an emotional victory at Texas and wondering about a Big 12 title (or more) with a 5-0 record and a top-five ranking. Geno Smith might have unanimously won the Heisman Trophy if voting had taken place before this game, but the Red Raiders got off to a hot start and the Mountaineers never answered. They trailed 35-7 at halftime and an ugly game for Smith and the WVU offense kicked off what would become a five-game losing streak that officially branded their first season in the Big 12 as a disappointment.

3. Rice 25, Kansas 24: Everybody knew life would get rough for a Kansas team low on talent once conference play arrived, but even a two-win team from 2011 could expect to beat Rice ... right? The former Southwest Conference program had never beaten a member of the Big 12 since their old league broke up, but embarrassed the Jayhawks with a game-winning field goal as time expired. More embarrassing? The Jayhawks led by eight with just under five minutes to play, and Dayne Crist inexplicably tossed an interception with 3:47 to play that setup the winner.

4. Kansas State 24, Oklahoma 19: Oklahoma had never lost to a ranked team at home under Bob Stoops, and only one team had ever come within single digits while the Sooners racked up a 14-0 record. Oklahoma won those games by an average of 28.2 points, but a costly fumble by Blake Bell on one goal line cost OU a touchdown. Landry Jones' fumble on the other goal line gave K-State a first-quarter lead it never relinquished. K-State was picked to finish sixth in the Big 12, but this game made it clear that the Wildcats were to be taken seriously in the league title race it eventually won.

5. Texas 21, Kansas 17: The Jayhawks lost to Texas 43-0 in 2011 and nobody gave the 1-6 Jayhawks a chance in 2012, but David Ash played his worst game of the season and got benched with the Longhorns firmly on the ropes. The Jayhawks led 14-7 going into the fourth quarter, and answered a Longhorns TD with a field goal to go up 17-14 with just 2:28 to play. Case McCoy completed five consecutive passes for 68 yards off the bench, including an 18-yarder to Jaxon Shipley on fourth down to extend the game-winning drive and help Texas survive what could have been its most embarrassing loss in a long, long time.

What other games from 2012 surprised you?
Read anything about West Virginia this offseason and the names Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey will come up pretty quickly. The problem: All three of those guys will be in the NFL next fall.

The expectation is a natural dropoff.

Colleague KC Joyner at ESPN Insider isn't so sure. Despite losing all of that talent, he says West Virginia's offense can still remain elite Insider.

Dana Holgorsen noted earlier this offseason that his offensive line basically just returned a couple guys at offensive tackle, but the offense could remain one of the nation's best for a couple reasons: One, strong prospects at quarterback. Clint Trickett and former blue-chip recruit Ford Childress are short on experience but long on potential. Holgorsen's already proven twice that he can produce top-tier offenses in challenging circumstances.

Joyner went back all the way to 2008 and noted that Houston's offense was one of the nation's best despite losing four of its top five pass-catchers the previous season. Oklahoma State in 2010 also lost talents like Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant but found new life with Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon.

I don't necessarily agree that this year will see a similar result for two reasons: One, Conference USA defenses that Houston faced are not on par with what West Virginia will face this year. That's been an offensive league for a long time now. The offenses were ahead of the game back when Holgorsen was there and they still are.

Two, Oklahoma State's kind of a special case. Would Weeden and Blackmon's numbers have been anything close to what they were without Holgorsen? No way. That said, they were both special talents that came out of nowhere, exceeding expectations and becoming legends at OSU. Maybe Childress or Trickett and receivers like Jordan Thompson or Kevin White can do that at WVU, but guys like Weeden and Blackmon don't come around every day. The odds are against that happening again this year, even if the possibility looms.

I agree with Joyner that the Big 12 lacks so much experience at QB that WVU won't be far behind trying to replace Smith, but it's hard for me to really believe at the end of the season that WVU will have a case as the Big 12's best offense.

A very good offense? Yes. I buy that. I'd be surprised if WVU finished outside the national top 20 this year in total offense. Last year, though, that was only good for sixth in the Big 12.
Thanks for all the e-mail this week, everybody. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say. Let's get to your mail.

Nicholas in Houston writes: What do you think is roughly the likelihood of the Big 12 champs being decided prior to the last week of conference play regardless of who wins or loses? How likely do you think it is that the winner will lead by more than one game?

David Ubben: We haven't seen this happen since the Big 12 merged divisions after becoming a 10-team league. Granted, that's only a two-year sample size, but the point remains. This year, the scenario you laid out is as unlikely as ever. For a team to run away with the Big 12 like that, it would almost certainly have to go 9-0 in Big 12 play. Even if it was 7-1 going into the final weekend, the next-best team would have to be 5-3 for the Big 12 title to be officially locked up. That is hard to envision.

I don't really see a team that's got legitimate potential to go 12-0 in the Big 12, but there are four teams who could hit 11-1 or 10-2. That is a clustered bunch, and the gap between those four teams (Oklahoma State, Texas, Oklahoma and TCU) is tiny. The league title (or at least a share) will almost assuredly come down to the final weekend.




Gavin in Cleveland writes: Ubbs-What is your take on Ivan McCartney coming back to WVU? I feel like he could be an essential piece of the offense is he gets his head on straight.

DU: Yeah, it's definitely possible. His decision to leave surprised me, mostly because of all the opportunity that awaited this season with Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin in the NFL. He's also part of the pipeline from Miramar High down in Florida up to West Virginia, so he's walking a trail that had already been blazed, knew other guys on the team, and had an offense that gave him tons of opportunity to succeed.

He said he left for "personal reasons."

A lot of good players who leave teams never get another chance (Hello, Austin Haywood and Oklahoma), so McCartney should know he's part of select group. Here's hoping he takes advantage of the opportunity he's been given. Always hate to see talent go wasted.




Pat in Spencer, N.C. writes: David it seems every year there are teams that do better/worse than expected. Which teams do you feel will be those teams this year and why thanks.

DU: Among the league favorites, I'd say the biggest potential for disappointment lies with Texas and TCU. Among the bottom half of the league, the teams with the best chance to exceed expectations and finish in the top three are definitely Kansas State and Texas Tech.




Tom in Austin, Texas writes: Ubbster, In your mailbag last week, it was pointed out that Boise State wasn't on the list of blocked schools by Coach Gundy. We don't play BSU until 2018 and Wes Lunt will have been gone by then. Also, for all those Gundy haters out there ... this doesn't seem to be effecting our recruiting.

DU: I wanted to address this. Pure mistake on my part. When I got the email, I remembered Oklahoma State's first game against Boise State was in 2016. That was incorrect. I'll do my best to make sure mistakes like that don't happen.

To your second point, I don't believe that one elite recruit still wanting to go to Oklahoma State proves anything one way or another. The effects would always be more big-picture, and more of a slight decline with word trickling out periodically. Though it's possible, I don't believe the whole Lunt issue will have a tangible, negative impact on Oklahoma State's recruiting. The only thing that could change that is Lunt telling his side of the story and painting Gundy as a real villain, and lobbing accusations that eventually are proven with documents or something like that. Doing so would be a bad idea that wouldn't have any positive effect for Lunt, so don't bet on that happening.

Will other coaches bring up the Gundy/Lunt issue to recruits? I definitely think so.

Will those recruits and families ask Gundy and his staff about it? Also yes.

They might cause a few raised eyebrows, but Oklahoma State's recent rise on the field is strong enough to outweigh this stuff when it comes to recruiting.
2012 record: 7-6
2012 Big 12 record: 4-5
Returning starters: Offense: 3; defense: 6; kicker/punter: 0

Top returners: S Karl Joseph, LB Isaiah Bruce, OL Quinton Spain, RB Andrew Buie, RB Dustin Garrison, DL Will Clarke, S Darwin Cook

Key losses: WR Tavon Austin, QB Geno Smith, WR Stedman Bailey, C Joe Madsen, LB Terence Garvin, LB Josh Francis, OG Jeff Braun

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Passing: Geno Smith (4,198 yards)
Rushing: Andrew Buie* (850 yards)
Receiving: Stedman Bailey (1,627 yards)
Tackles: Karl Joseph* (102)
Sacks: Terence Garvin (6)
Interceptions: Karl Joseph*, Isaiah Bruce* (2)

Spring answers:

1. Passing weapons found. The Mountaineers sorted out their receivers and found some solid replacements for Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey to help ease the transition to a new quarterback. K.J. Myers and Connor Arlia had solid springs, along with newcomer Kevin White, a junior college transfer. Jordan Thompson closed with a big spring game, but he has to prove he can do it in a real game.

2. Corners hit the reset button. Cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts is gone, replaced by Brian Mitchell. Pat Miller graduated, but the corners are strating from scratch this spring. Brodrick Jenkins reclaimed his starting spot, and a pair of young players in Nana Kyeremeh and Brandon Napolean should be in the rotation on the opposite side, too. This was the biggest problem area for the defense last season, which looked completely overmatched against Big 12 offenses.

3. Strength in (backfield) numbers. Dana Holgorsen has a reputation as a guy who wants to throw it all around the yard, but that's not necessarily true. This year, he may prove it. WVU will throw it plenty, but running back may be this team's biggest strength. Dustin Garrison is finally healthy and 2012 leading rusher Andrew Buie returns. Juco transfer Dreamius Smith provides even more help at the position. WVU couldn't run the ball consistently last season, but look for them to do it often in the fall.

Fall questions

1. Who's the quarterback? The spring closed with a quarterback competition coach Dana Holgorsen described as "wide open." Texas natives Paul Millard and Ford Childress are neck and neck, and that competition will extend into the fall. Millard has more experience. Childress has more arm strength. This one will be unpredictable going into fall. Anything could happen.

2. Is the defense adjusting? All the leadership and experience this season is on the defensive side of the ball, a stark change from last year's team, where the components of the passing game were better than just about anyone in the Big 12. The new league's offenses got the best of WVU's defense last season, but can they prove they learned from those bumps in the road? No guarantees on that one.

3. Sorting out the offensive line. Joe Madsen leaves a big hole at center for the Mountaineers, and just two starters return from last year's unit. Ron Crook came from Stanford to replace departed OL coach Bill Bedenbaugh and the battle to replace Madsen at center is one of the most interesting. Senior Pat Eger closed the spring as the starter, beating out redshirt freshman Tyler Orlosky, but juco transfer Stone Underwood will muddy up that race come fall.

Lunch links: NFL draft links galore

April, 29, 2013
4/29/13
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Today's links: Sponsored by Steph Curry's Heat Checks.
Four Big 12 teams will kick off their spring games this weekend. We'll be offering up a preview of each throughout the day.

West Virginia

When: Saturday, 2 p.m.

What you need to know:
  • Tickets are $10 each.
  • Defense will wear blue, offense will wear gold.
What to watch:
  • The quarterback battle. There's not going to be much settled in this race on Saturday. It's still too close to call, and I'm betting even a dominant performance by Ford Childress or Paul Millard won't be enough for Dana Holgorsen to designate one a starter. Still, this will be one of the first times they take meaningful (in the most relative sense of the word) snaps with a real crowd in the stands at Milan Puskar Stadium. I expect both to put up really good numbers, but just how they do it should be fun to watch.
  • No defensive busts. That was the name of the game for West Virginia's defense last season. Keith Patterson is in charge of playcalling now, and can his maturing defense keep from losing guys over the top? Will it take notice when a running back leaks out of the backfield? Can it make tackles in the open field? All of that was problematic for the Mountaineers last season, but we might be able to see some flashes of progress this time around.
  • Where are the playmakers? Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey have gone on to fry bigger fish (and cornerbacks) in the NFL, and a slew of transfers means WVU is looking for a lot of new faces in the passing game. Sophomore KJ Myers broke through to earn a starting spot for now at one receiver position, joined by juco transfer Kevin White and inside receiver Connor Arlia. Jordan Thompson has been passed up on the depth chart by Arlia after a big spring and quiet fall, but there will be a lot of passes to go around. We might get a clearer picture of how this will shake out after Saturday.
The odds are good that next season will be Geno Smith's first since his sophomore year of high school -- a span of seven seasons -- that receiver Stedman Bailey won't be his teammate.

The duo goes all the way back to Miramar High School in Florida, when Smith talked Bailey into leaving his team and joining Smith's, but Smith is doing his part to extend that relationship as long as possible.

USA Today's Jim Corbett profiled the duo's relationship and reported that Smith accepted an invitation to attend the draft, but will be joined by his longtime friend and teammate in New York City.

From Corbett's story:
Smith could be chosen within the top nine picks. Bailey, at 5-10, 193 pounds, is projected to go in the first four rounds. He'll attend the first-round festivities in New York to share in his best friend's success.

"I want to be there to see Geno shake Roger Goodell's hand, be in his corner like I've always been," Bailey said. "I'm very blessed to have a friend in Geno who is like my brother. Our hard work over the years together got us to where we are."

You can't argue with Bailey's production, but his size is clearly one reason why his NFL stock doesn't match the 25 touchdowns he caught last season, more than any player in college football.

Cool move by both parties to be in the same place for Smith's big moment. The first round of the draft is April 25, and what was already a special night for Smith will be even more special with his best friend there to share in the happiness of a goal officially reached.

Teammate Tavon Austin, West Virginia's other likely first-round pick, will also be in the house to represent the Mountaineers. It's a safe bet coach Dana Holgorsen will be making an appearance as well.

Last season wasn't the fitting followup to a Big East championship and BCS bowl title the program reached in 2011, but there will be plenty of time for West Virginia to grab plenty of attention from prospects on draft night.

Big 12 draft prospects and tiers

March, 18, 2013
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We've still got more than a month of talk before the NFL draft ends.

Colleague Todd McShay continues his breakdown of the field of prospects Insider by breaking them down into tiers like many NFL teams will on the big day.

You'll need Insider to see his comments and more on how this class stacks up all-time, but here's how he slots the Big 12's talents:

No Big 12 players were in Tier 1 or Tier 2, which included just eight players.

Tier 3 -- Good value from picks 10-20
Tier 4 -- Good value late in the first round

No Big 12 players were in Tier 5, who would be value picks in the second round.

Tier 6 -- Good value in the middle of or late in the second round
Tier 7 -- Good value in the third round

Interesting stuff from McShay. Those guys were all great players throughout their college careers, though making the jump is always a bit of a crapshoot. It's tough to really project where guys belong on a national scale when I spend so much time in the Big 12, but don't be surprised if all nine of those guys go on to great NFL careers.

Weak and Strong: West Virginia

March, 14, 2013
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Turnover is an annual tradition in college football, but with that, teams' strengths and weaknesses constantly shift, too. Today, we'll continue our look at the biggest strengths and weaknesses for each Big 12 team.

Next up: West Virginia.

Strongest position: Safety

This will no doubt be a weird exercise, considering how West Virginia looked on the field last year. Thing is, nobody will personify turnover in the Big 12 more than WVU, whose strengths could be markedly different this fall than they were in 2012. As for the strongest position on the team, I say safety. You could make a case for the trio of Dustin Garrison, Andrew Buie and Dreamius Smith at running back, but I'm going with the duo of Darwin Cook and Karl Joseph at safety as WVU's biggest strength right now. Joseph is probably the team's best overall player right now, and Cook is a playmaking senior who made 69 tackles, forced three fumbles, broke up four passes and intercepted a pass last season. Joseph, a true freshman, blew up as the defense's best player. He made 102 tackles, seven tackles for losses, broke up six passes and forced three fumbles for a defense that struggled. The defense should be at least a little better in Year 2 in the Big 12, and so will Joseph as a sophomore in the second year of a new defensive scheme.

Weakest position: Wide receiver

Like I said, this feels really weird. WVU's receiving duo of Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin a year ago might have been the best in the history of the Big 12, but just a few months later, the prospects at the position are grim. This might not be WVU's weakest position once the season begins (hello, cornerbacks), but right now, this unit has a ton to prove and almost no returning talent. J.D. Woods graduated and Travares Copeland transferred along with Ivan McCartney. The team's leading returning receiver is running back Andrew Buie, but the best at the position is sophomore Jordan Thompson, who turned heads last spring but made just 13 catches for 75 yards last season. Will new recruits like Kevin White and Shelton Gibson make an impact? I'm guessing yes, but for right now, this position leaves me wanting a whole lot more from WVU.

Looking ahead to Big 12 pro day schedule

February, 28, 2013
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The NFL scouting combine has come and gone, but there are still plenty of workouts left on the table and guys who can make a name for themselves in the next month and end up getting drafted.

Campus pro days will kick off in March, and here's when the Big 12's teams will be holding theirs, according to NFL.com.

Baylor - March 20

Iowa State - March 26
  • You'll be able to get a look at A.J. Klein and Jake Knott here for sure. Klein missed a few workouts this week after suffering a knee injury, and Knott is still waiting for his shoulder to heal up from surgery. Both should be on display at this workout.
Kansas - March 15

Kansas State - March 12
  • An injury kept Arthur Brown from recording a 40 time and doing a handful of other workouts, so expect a whole lot of NFL teams to show up in Manhattan for this one. We'll see if Collin Klein sticks with his plan to stay at quarterback or does some other position work at pro day, too. I'm betting on the former, but you never know. This is probably the most interesting pro day of any in the Big 12.
Oklahoma - March 13
  • Kenny Stills was blazing and did a nice job on the bench press at the combine, so expect him to take a seat for much of Oklahoma's pro day, but we'll see what Landry Jones has to offer, too.
Oklahoma State - March 12
  • Not a ton of intrigue in Stillwater, but I'm interested in seeing if Joseph Randle can improve on a poor 40 time at the combine. He tallied a 4.63 40 time in Indianapolis. He doesn't have breakneck speed, but that seems about a tenth of a second slow for him. Something in the 4.55 range would help him out. He can get there. Randle should also do some position work and the bench press after sitting out following thumb surgery at the end of the season.
Texas - March 26
  • Marquise Goodwin did some major damage at the combine with the fastest 40 time of anyone in attendance, but his position-specific work could talk more scouts into him and improve his stock. He's got to show a better ability to track the ball and haul it in.
TCU - March 8

Texas Tech - March 6

West Virginia - March 14
  • Not a ton to see here. Geno Smith sounds like he was the best of the QBs at the combine, but USC's pro day when Matt Barkley throws may have more impact on Smith's stock. Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey are who we thought they were after a strong combine.

Catching up on Big 12 and NFL combine

February, 25, 2013
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Two Big 12 receivers were the biggest head-turners on Sunday as the skill position players went through their workouts in Indianapolis at the NFL scouting combine.

Texas' Marquise Goodwin is hoping his 4.27 40 time -- the fastest of any player at the combine -- is enough to outweigh his lack of production throughout his career and convince an NFL team to see his potential. He was well ahead of a trio tied for second at 4.34, a group that included West Virginia's Tavon Austin. The two earned a whole lot of buzz early in the morning when they tied for 4.25 unofficial 40 times, just one-hundredth of a second slower than Chris Johnson's 4.24 time in 2008, the fastest of any player in combine history.

Goodwin caught just 26 passes for 340 yards and three scores last year, which certainly makes one wonder about how well he was used in Texas' offense. The Olympic long jumper was way out in front of the pack in the 40, though, and his time is the second fastest in combine history.

TCU receiver Josh Boyce and Oklahoma receiver Kenny Stills tied with the sixth-fastest time at 4.38. Those are two really strong times, and Stills definitely turned heads.

Baylor's Lanear Sampson was 13th overall with a 40 time of 4.46. Here are some other top performers at the combine from the Big 12, according to NFL.com. You can see the full results here on the NFL's very cool searchable database.

40-yard dash
  • West Virginia QB Geno Smith: 4.59 seconds, fastest among quarterbacks.
  • Kansas State QB Collin Klein: 4.78 seconds, fifth among quarterbacks
  • Oklahoma QB Landry Jones: 5.11 seconds, 13th among quarterbacks
Broad jump
  • Texas WR Marquise Goodwin: 11 feet, second overall
  • TCU WR Josh Boyce: 10 feet, 11 inches, fourth overall
  • Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills: 10 feet, four inches, 13th overall
  • West Virginia QB Geno Smith: 10 feet, four inches, 13th overall
Three-cone drill
  • Boyce: 6.68 seconds, third-fastest
  • West Virginia WR Stedman Bailey: 6.81 seconds, 12th fastest
20-yard shuttle
  • Austin: 4.01 seconds, third overall
  • Bailey: 4.09 seconds, 10th overall
  • Boyce: 4.1 seconds, 12th overall
60-yard shuttle
  • Boyce: 11.26 seconds, third overall
  • Baylor WR Terrance Williams, 11.5 seconds, 12th overall

You can see top performers in every event by position at that database, too, so check it out.

The best individual games of 2012: No. 2

February, 22, 2013
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We're counting down the 10 best individual games for any Big 12 player in 2012. Bowl games and nonconference play count, but these are the performances that topped them all at the end of the season.

We'll reveal the No. 1 performance on Monday.

No. 2: West Virginia QB Geno Smith vs. Baylor

Date: Sept. 29, 2012

Why it's on the list: Sometimes, a stat line doesn't tell the whole story. In this case, though, it's really all you need to know. I don't care what kind of defense was being played on the other side of the ball. Geno Smith turned in a virtuoso performance in West Virginia's 70-63 win over Baylor in a game between two ranked teams. He was the best of a handful of great performances on that day, completing 45-of-51 passes (88.2 percent) for 656 yards and eight touchdown passes without an interception.

I'd kindly ask you to read that stat line over once more. We've seen a lot of great games from quarterbacks in this league, but Smith is up there with the best of them. Baylor rarely blitzed, leaving him facing a three-man rush for much of the game, daring him to pick apart eight men in coverage. He did it. Over and over again, he did it. The Bears looked helpless and every toss from Smith seemed like it was on the money. Short throws, intermediate throws, bombs to Stedman Bailey, who caught five of Smith's eight scores. It was all working. If you're throwing two more touchdown passes than incompletions and you threw the ball 51 times, that's a pretty good day. The game set a Big 12 record for points scored, but Smith's entire stat line rewrote the school record book, as did his streak of 14 consecutive completions during the game. No quarterback had a better day this season than Smith in West Virginia's first Big 12 game ever, one that the Mountaineers won't ever forget.

The rest of the list:
We’re continuing our countdown of the Big 12's top 25 players from the 2012 season. Here's more on my criteria for the list. You can take a peek at how the preseason list looked here.

We're in the top 10 now, so it's about to get heated, I'm sure. If you've got complaints, I've got a mailbag. Let's hear it.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day moving forward.

On with the show ...

No. 3: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

2012 numbers: Caught 97 passes for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Most recent ranking: Williams was ranked No. 23 in our preseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Williams: It's really just this simple: Hundreds of receivers played college football this season. Absolutely zero had more receiving yards than Williams. He grew up fast with Kendall Wright gone to the NFL and helped Nick Florence finish second nationally in total offense by constantly stretching the field and being the nation's pre-eminent deep threat all season long. He caught 32 balls longer than 20 yards, which was eight more than Stedman Bailey, the nation's No. 2 in the stat. He had 22 catches longer than 30 yards, six more than No. 2 Bailey. He topped USC's Marqise Lee by three with 14 catches longer than 40 yards. Nobody seemed to be able to stop him over the top all season long and the 6-foot-2, 205-pound pass-catcher made it clear that he's worth spending a first-round pick on with a season-long exhibition that was better than any receiver in the Big 12, and in the country. He earned my vote for the Biletnikoff Award and earns my vote for the Big 12's best pure receiver.

The rest of the list:

Big 12 combine storylines to watch

February, 22, 2013
2/22/13
9:00
AM ET
The NFL scouting combine is underway, with the first set of physical workouts to begin today. You can see the full schedule here.

A few things you can watch for from the Big 12's talents this week:

Who's the No. 1 quarterback? USC's Matt Barkley isn't throwing at the combine workouts, but West Virginia's Geno Smith surprised some by announcing that he planned to give it a try. If he performs well, he could definitely ascend to the No. 1 spot. He's already close behind Barkley, but his combine performance will have an impact. But in the new NFL where mobile quarterbacks are en vogue, Smith's versatility that WVU didn't use could come into play. He'll put up some very interesting measurables, and his accuracy will show up if he calms his nerves. If not, NC State's Mike Glennon or Arkansas' Tyler Wilson could jump over him in the pecking order.

What about the No. 1 receiver? Baylor's Terrance Williams will be in the house and so will West Virginia's Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson is widely accepted as the top prospect, but could any of the Big 12's heavyweights make some noise with solid workouts and fight their way into first-round status?

Fixed up, but not quite ready to go. Jake Knott is still healing from his shoulder surgery this fall, but TCU's Stansly Maponga and Matthew Tucker should be all healed up from nagging ankle injuries. Knott won't be able to fully work out, but he'll do well in the interview process and was one of the most respected players in the league. It'll be interesting to see what NFL folk have to say about him after this week, despite not being able to see him work out.

Klein catching anyone's eyes (or their passes)? Collin Klein's Senior Bowl snub had fans around the Big 12 fired up and wondering how the Heisman third-place finisher could be left out of the premier postseason exhibition for scouts, but he doesn't quite fit the NFL mold. He's been working with former Denver Bronco Jake Plummer over the past few weeks, though he struggled in his one postseason all-star game experience. Could he build some buzz this week, either at quarterback or another position (receiver, tight end?) and convince an NFL team to fall for him? He'll knock his interviews out of the park.

Fastest man in the building. Could Austin take home the title? What about Marquise Goodwin? We may finally get some answers about who truly is the fastest man in the Big 12, and perhaps all of college football. The combine tells all, and the 40 times are always reliable. Seeing what those two put on the board will be interesting. How close to 4.3 could we see?

Time is money. Tony Jefferson has big-time instincts and plays physically, but he could help himself out in a big way by posting a great 40 time. His straight-line speed is his biggest knock, but he's spent the last month or so working out, and we'll see how much his work has paid off. Some of that speed work is so specifically tailored to 40 times that sometimes it doesn't show up on the field, but silliness aside, Jefferson has a ton to gain in that workout.

Big moving day? Every year somebody wows at the combine and ascends from out of nowhere to becoming a consensus first-round pick. Call it silly if you'd like, but that's the truth. Could any Big 12 talents be that guy this year? Keep an eye out. The Big 12 is likely to be shut out of the top 10 and may only have two to four first-round picks. That could change this week. Here's a few guys who might make that happen.

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