Big 12: Stephen Good
Here's what each team across the Big 12 needs. You'll find Texas A&M and Mizzou on the SEC blog and West Virginia on the Big East Blog.
Quarterback: This one's pretty simple. Robert Griffin III is taking his talents to the NFL early. Nick Florence is waiting to take over, and the Bears have Bryce Petty behind him, but more reinforcements at quarterback are needed. Dual-threat quarterbacks, ideally.
Defensive tackle: Baylor already was one of the nation's worst teams (102nd nationally) at stopping the run. Now it'll need to replace both its interior linemen, Nicolas Jean-Baptiste and Tracy Robertson.
Offensive linemen: Baylor's offensive line, meanwhile, has been solid. It loses junior college transfer and two-year starter Robert T. Griffin, as well as All-Big 12 center Philip Blake. John Jones, a reserve guard, also has exhausted his eligibility.
Receiver: This has been a weak spot for the team for several years, and its top overall talent, Darius Reynolds, is gone. Darius Darks is, too. Aaron Horne and Josh Lenz will be the team's best weapons in 2012, but the pair of shifty slot guys will be seniors. This position needs reinforcements.
Defensive back: The DBs have been a quiet strength for ISU, especially in 2011. Cornerback Leonard Johnson and safety Ter'Ran Benton both have exhausted their eligibility, though, and defensive backs coach Bobby Elliott left for Notre Dame. You'll see plenty of new faces in the Cyclones' secondary next year.
Defensive line: Experienced starters Stephen Ruempolhamer and Jacob Lattimer are both gone, and Iowa State has struggled to stop the run consistently the past few seasons.
Quarterback: Kansas landed high-profile transfers Dayne Crist (Notre Dame) and Jake Heaps (BYU), but this is still a huge position of need. Last year's starter, Jordan Webb, left the team. Quinn Mecham is out of eligibility. Heaps is sitting out his NCAA-mandated year after transferring. Crist is the starter, but he badly needs a backup, especially if Brock Berglund's transfer appeal allows him to leave.
Wide receiver: Kansas lacks a big threat at this position. It needs a talent upgrade in a big way. Oklahoma transfer Justin McCay is joining the team, but he's no guarantee to a) be granted immediate eligibility or b) become an impact player.
Defensive tackle: Kansas is thin here, too. Richard Johnson, Patrick Dorsey and Michael Martinovich are gone, and Kansas couldn't stop much of anything on defense. Some push up front could help make everything look better. A late addition to the 2012 class from a junior college seems like a no-brainer. The Jayhawks need physically mature players to contribute immediately.
Offensive line: K-State's offensive line was much better in 2011 and could be again in 2012. It needs help replacing All-Big 12 lineman Clyde Aufner, though. Starter Colten Freeze is also gone.
Defensive line: Kansas State is bringing back about as many starters as anyone in the Big 12, but the biggest losses are along the defensive line. Kick-blocking specialist (five in 2011) Ralph Guidry is gone, along with tackle Ray Kibble. Juco transfer Jordan Voelker exploded onto the scene this year, but he's gone, too.
Defensive backs: Cornerback David Garrett leaves a huge hole behind. Tysyn Hartman may not be as talented as teammate Ty Zimmerman, but his experience leaves a big hole. Zimmerman will have to mentor a younger safety in the near future.
Receiver: The Sooners are thin here in a big way. That was obvious late in the season when Ryan Broyles' storied college career ended a few weeks early with a knee injury. The team also lost Justin McCay (transfer) to Kansas. Jaz Reynolds and Kenny Stills are the likely top two targets, but they need help.
Tight end: This position inspired a bit of panic at the end of the season. Seniors James Hanna and Trent Ratterree are gone. Austin Haywood wasn't allowed back on the team, and two more tight ends left the team for various reasons. That left the Sooners suddenly without a scholarship player at the position returning in 2012.
Offensive line: Starting tackle Donald Stephenson must be replaced, as will guard Stephen Good, who moved in and out of the starting lineup throughout his career. The Sooners bring back a lot of talent and aren't dying for depth there, but those two will leave holes. Three more offensive line starters will be seniors in 2012.
Offensive line: The Cowboys need a whole lot of help here to fill in behind young players stepping into the starting lineup. Starters Levy Adcock, Nick Martinez and Grant Garner are gone. Backup center Casey LaBrue is gone, too. Those are two All-Big 12 linemen who leave big shoes to be filled.
Receiver: Justin Blackmon surprised no one by leaving a year early, and Josh Cooper leaves with perhaps the most underrated career of any receiver in school history. In OSU's offense, there's always room for depth here. Nine receivers had at least 19 catches in 2011. Blackmon and Cooper combined for 192, though.
Defensive ends: The pass rush was solid for Oklahoma State this year, but both starters, Jamie Blatnick and Richetti Jones, are gone. Replacing both is a necessity.
Receiver: Texas lacks a true game-changer at the position, though Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis may develop into that role in 2012. Former blue-chip recruit Darius White left for Missouri, too.
Quarterback: David Ash and Case McCoy didn't show a ton of potential at quarterback this year, though Ash may grow with an offseason to prepare as starter. Garrett Gilbert got a big chunk of the work in the spring, summer 7-on-7 and fall preseason camp. Even if Ash does grow, the Longhorns need reinforcements at the position.
Linebacker: Two senior impact players are gone. Texas is left trying to replace Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson, though Jordan Hicks may mature into a star in 2012.
Offensive line: TCU's offensive line is headed for some major turnover. OT Robert Deck, OG Kyle Dooley and OG Spencer Thompson are gone. Two more starters, OG Blaize Foltz and C James Fry, will be seniors in 2012.
Defensive linemen: TCU isn't losing a lot at this spot, but Ross Forrest and D.J. Yendrey will be seniors in 2012. The Horned Frogs would be well-served to prepare, and offer some depth next year.
Specialists: TCU will have to break in a pair of new starters on special teams next season. Kicker Ross Evans and punter Anson Kelton have exhausted their eligibility.
Receiver: The Red Raiders' offense requires a lot of depth here. Tramain Swindall is the only loss at the position, but three more (Alex Torres, Cornelius Douglas, Darrin Moore) will be seniors. Douglas moved to cornerback this year after the team was racked with injury, but we'll see whether he moves back this offseason.
Offensive line: Tech has a huge need here. Four players won't be returning in 2012. Lonnie Edwards, Mickey Okafor and center Justin Keown must be replaced.
Defensive linemen: Tech's Donald Langley and Scott Smith are both out of eligibility, and juco transfer Leon Mackey will be a senior.
You can take a look at those here:
- Big 12 signees in the 2006 ESPNU 150
- Big 12 signees in the 2007 ESPNU 150
- Big 12 signees in the 2008 ESPNU 150
- Big 12 signees in the 2009 ESPNU 150
- Big 12 signees in the 2010 ESPNU 150
- Big 12 signees in the 2011 ESPNU 150
That was before the 2011 season. Now, our recruitniks have taken it upon themselves to provide a new update for the 2008 class.
You'll need ESPN Insider to see the full updates for each player group, but here's how the Big 12 players have done:
Prospects ranked from 1-25
No. 6 Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State (via Miami): Brown committed to Miami (Fla.), where he struggled to see the field in 2008 and 2009. He transferred to Kansas State and was named Big 12 newcomer of the year in 2011 after recording 95 tackles, two sacks and an interception (of Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III).
No. 7: Jermie Calhoun, RB, Oklahoma: Calhoun's career never got off the ground at Oklahoma after he redshirted as a true freshman. He appeared in 16 games and rushed for 242 yards on 56 carries. He tore his ACL early in his sophomore season (2010) and decided to transfer to Football Championship Subdivision program Angelo State University.
No. 11: R.J. Washington, DE, Oklahoma: Washington has appeared in 25 games (no starts) for the Sooners, and has 20 tackles and 3.5 sacks. His 13 tackles, three sacks and five pass breakups in 2011 are all career highs.
No. 13: Josh Jarboe, WR, Oklahoma: Jarboe was arrested for bringing a weapon onto his high school campus before enrolling at Oklahoma. His career with the Sooners didn't last long, as he was kicked off the team after a YouTube video emerged with him rapping about guns and violence. Jarboe resurfaced at Troy but couldn't escape the negative headlines and was dismissed in 2009. After a year at Northeast Mississippi junior college, Jarboe returned to the Football Bowl Subdivision ranks at Arkansas State, and had 54 receptions for 730 yards and two touchdowns this season
No. 16: D.J. Grant, WR, Texas: After redshirting in 2008, Grant suffered season-ending knee injuries in 2009 and 2010. He finally got on the field in 2011 and started six games, finishing the season with 16 receptions for 180 yards and three touchdowns.
No. 17: Dan Buckner, WR, Texas: Buckner had 50 receptions for 526 yards and six touchdowns in two seasons with Texas. He was arrested on charges of criminal trespassing and resisting arrest in January 2010 and decided to transfer to Arizona. Buckner had 42 catches for 606 yards and two touchdowns this season for the Wildcats.
Prospects ranked 26-50
No. 38: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri: It was once thought that Gabbert would be redshirted as a freshman in 2008. Instead, he was the third-string quarterback for the Tigers. He is now a starting NFL quarterback, playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. During his career at Missouri, Gabbert threw for more than 6,800 yards and 40 touchdowns. He left for the NFL after his junior season.
Prospects ranked 51-75
57. Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M: Gray closed out his junior season with seven consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, and he added two more to that streak to open his senior campaign. He missed the final two games of the Aggies' season, but he closed out his career with 312 yards and five scores in his final two games. He was named to the 2011 All-Big 12 second team, and ran for nearly 3,300 yards and 30 touchdowns in his career.
No. 72: Jameel Owens, WR, Oklahoma: In two years with the Sooners, Owens caught four passes for 44 yards. He then transferred to Tulsa before the 2010 season, receiving a transfer waiver so he did not have to sit out a season. But he lasted only one season for the Hurricanes, as he was granted a leave of absence during spring drills in 2011 and never returned to the team.
Prospects ranked 76-100
No. 79: David Snow, OL, Texas: Snow came right in and played as a true freshman. When it was all said and done, he appeared in 51 games, starting 31 at center and both guard positions. He received a Big 12 honorable mention this past season.
No. 84: Stephen Good, OL, Oklahoma: Good has been an active member of the Sooners' offensive line since he arrived in 2008. He was in the two-deep since day one, playing both guard positions.
No. 91: Derrick Hall, ATH, Texas A&M: Hall never made it to College Station because he failed to qualify academically. He went on to Navarro Junior College, where he rushed for more than 2,200 yards and 29 touchdowns in two seasons. Hall then signed with Tulsa, but the NCAA ruled him ineligible.
No. 92: Daniel Franklin, ILB, Oklahoma: Franklin redshirted his freshman season, and has since been a career backup and special-teams player in Norman.
No. 95: DeSean Hales, WR, Texas: Hales redshirted his freshman season in Austin. Through the next three years, he played in 31 games, catching 13 passes for 87 yards. He has one more season of eligibility.
No. 100: Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas: Acho started every game this past season for the Longhorns, leading the team in tackles with 131. He also recorded 19 tackles for loss and three sacks. Acho was named first-team All-Big 12 in 2011, and finished his career with 269 tackles, 40 tackles for loss and eight sacks.
Prospects ranked 101-125
No. 106: Jordan Fields, CB, Texas A&M: Fields committed to Texas A&M but never signed with the Aggies. He enrolled at Blinn JC (Texas) following high school and has yet to sign with an FBS school.
No. 114: Nolan Brewster, OLB, Texas: Brewster played in all 13 games as a true freshman, mainly on special teams, and had eight tackles. He had 24 tackles and an interception as a backup safety as a sophomore and then redshirted his junior year after undergoing shoulder surgery. As a senior, Brewster played in Texas' first four games but had to retire from football due to multiple concussions and post-traumatic migraine headaches.
No. 117: Kye Staley, RB, Oklahoma State: Staley redshirted and then suffered a knee injury that wiped out his 2009 season. He quit the football team and didn't play in 2010 but rejoined the team the following year. He played in 13 games this past season, catching 10 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.
No. 118: Kendall Wright, ATH, Baylor: He made an immediate impact as a true freshman, leading the team in catches, yards and touchdowns. He earned second-team All-Big 12 honors his sophomore year, catching 66 balls for 740 yards and four touchdowns. Wright broke school records his junior season, catching 78 passes for 952 yards and seven touchdowns to again earn second team All-Big 12. As a senior, Wright earned several All-American honors after catching 108 passes for 1,663 yards and 14 touchdowns, all school records. He's rated as a potential first-round draft pick in April's NFL draft.
No. 122: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Jones will likely shatter every Sooners passing mark after surprisingly deciding to come back for his senior year. He started 10 games his redshirt freshman season after starter Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams) suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. He set a school freshman record, throwing for 3,198 yards and 26 touchdowns, including a school-record six in one game. He earned All-American honors as a sophomore after throwing for 4,718 yards and 38 touchdowns and led the Big 12 in total offense. Jones' numbers were down a bit his junior season, but he still threw for 4,463 yards and 29 touchdowns.
No. 125: Justin Johnson, RB, Oklahoma: Johnson's Sooners career was short-lived as he transferred to Abilene Christian following his freshman year. He rushed for 103 yards and had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score as a sophomore but transferred following that season to McMurry, a Division III school. Johnson rushed for 771 yards and eight touchdowns to go with 40 catches for 352 yards and four more scores for the War Hawks as a junior last year.
Prospects ranked 126-150
No. 138: Dravannti Johnson, LB, Texas: Johnson decided to transfer from Texas last month, having already graduated. The junior defensive end saw limited action, playing in only seven games and registering just four tackles, one for a loss. Johnson's most productive season came in 2010, when he started five games and recorded 23 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack and six quarterback pressures. He is expected to transfer to a smaller school for more playing time.
No. 143: Rodrick Davis, DT, Texas A&M: After two uneventful seasons at Texas A&M, Davis transferred to Fort Scott (Kansas) Community College before transferring again to New Mexico following the 2011 season. Davis played in eight games last season for Fort Scott and recorded 28 tackles. He redshirted in 2008 so he has one year of eligibility remaining and can play this season.
- Levy Adcock, OL, Oklahoma State
- Lonnie Edwards, OL, Texas Tech
- Stephen Good, OL, Oklahoma
- Ben Habern, OL, Oklahoma
- Tony Jerod-Eddie, DL, Texas A&M
- Luke Joeckel, OL, Texas A&M
- Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State
- Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
- Brad Madison, DL, Missouri
- Kelechi Osemele, OL, Iowa State
- Kheeston Randall, DL, Texas
- Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas
- Jacquies Smith, DL, Missouri
- Garrick Williams, LB, Texas A&M
It's a big list, and it's preceded by the best definition of any award in sports, one I'm always reminded of each fall and December.
Got a notepad? Here are the eligbility requirements:
Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense of defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, and linebackers who set up no father than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage. All candidates also must be eligible to play college sports under the rules and regulations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Wonderful. The Lombardi Award is also my favorite trophy among the college football awards. Good gracious, granite. (I think.)
The Big 12 has won two of the past three Lombardi Awards, courtesy of Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Texas' Brian Orakpo. Suh was Nebraska's fifth winner, but Tommie Harris in 2003 gave Oklahoma its third winner, tied with Texas for the most of any current Big 12 team.
Well, it's the same for the recruits who came to campus with high rankings and high profiles. Going back to 2006, here's how every Big 12 commit from the ESPNU 150 turned out. We'll eventually get to 2010 and the current class, 2011, around signing day, but here's how the 2008 class breaks down. Jermie Calhoun, RB, Oklahoma. Has 242 yards and a touchdown on 56 carries. Missed final two months of sophomore season in 2010 after tearing ACL against Colorado on Oct. 30.
No. 9: Darrell Scott, RB, Colorado. Transferred to South Florida after 2009 season because of lack of playing time. Ran for just 95 yards on 23 carries as a sophomore after running for 343 yards and a touchdown on 87 carries as a freshman in 2008.
No. 11: R.J. Washington, DE, Oklahoma. Has seven tackles and half a tackle for loss in two seasons after redshirting his first year on campus.
No. 16: D.J. Grant, WR, Texas. Redshirted in 2008, missed all of 2009 season with knee injury. Still trying to fully recover from injury, per former offensive coordinator Greg Davis at a November news conference.
No. 17: Dan Buckner, WR, Texas. Caught 50 passes for 526 yards in two seasons, including 45 for 442 as a sophomore in 2009. Transferred to Arizona after the season, less than 24 hours after an arrest in College Station, Texas.
No. 38: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. Two-year starter who threw for 6,822 yards and 40 touchdowns in his three-year career, which featured two All-Big 12 seasons. Projects as early first-round pick in 2011 draft.
No. 57: Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M. Earned All-Big 12 honors in 2010 with seven consecutive 100-yard games to close the season. Has 2,253 yards and 18 touchdowns for his career. Also caught 72 passes for three touchdowns and more than 500 yards.
No. 66: Jarvis Humphrey, DT, Texas. Forced to withdraw from the University of Texas because of a kidney condition.
No. 72: Jameel Owens, WR, Oklahoma. Caught four passes for 44 yards in 2008 before transferring to Tulsa after the season.
No. 79: David Snow, OG, Texas. Appeared in all 38 career games, including 13 starts at center (11 in 2010) and five at right guard.
No. 84: Stephen Good, OT, Oklahoma. Became a starter in 2009 and was second on the team in knockdowns that season. Part of the Sooners' rotation at guard in 2010.
No. 91: Derrick Hall, ATH, Texas A&M. Did not qualify academically. Enrolled at Navarro College before signing with Tulsa out of junior college.
No. 92: Daniel Franklin, ILB, Oklahoma. Reserve linebacker has seen playing time on special teams.
No. 95: DeSean Hales, WR, Texas. Has 11 career receptions for 77 yards. Appeared in 20 games over three seasons.
No. 98: Jon Major, LB, Colorado. Missed entire freshman season with torn ACL in fall camp. Became a starter in 2010. Has 54 career tackles with three pass break-ups and two tackles for loss.
No. 100: Emmanuel Acho, OLB, Texas. Has 11 career starts and was an All-Big 12 performer in 2009 as a sophomore. Has 135 career tackles, 21 tackles for loss, four sacks, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
No. 114: Nolan Brewster, OLB, Texas. Reserve safety has appeared in 27 games, including special teams, over career. Has 32 tackles, one interception and two tackles for loss.
No. 117: Kye Staley, RB, Oklahoma State. Missed all of 2009 with knee injury and left the team before the 2010 season.
No. 118: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. Two-time All-Big 12 performer has 194 career catches for 2,341 yards and 16 touchdowns.
No. 122: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma. Became starter as redshirt freshman in 2009 after Sam Bradford injured a shoulder in the season opener. Earned All-Big 12 honors in 2010. Has 7,916 career yards with 64 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.
No. 125: Justin Johnson, RB, Oklahoma. Transferred in June 2009 to Abilene Christian after playing sparingly as a freshman in 2008.
No. 138: Dravannti Johnson, LB, Texas. Made 21 tackles in 2010 after redshirting in 2008 and not playing in 2009.
No. 143: Rodrick Davis, DT, Texas A&M. Reserve lineman redshirted in 2008, accumulated no stats in 2010.
No. 150: Lynn Katoa, OLB, Colorado. Transferred in May 2009 after academic issues. Was ineligible for 2008 season.
Offensive Player of the Year: Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M
Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska; and Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
Newcomer of the Year: Toney Clemons, WR, Colorado
QB: Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M
RB: DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
RB: Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
WR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
WR: Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
TE: Mike McNeill, Nebraska
OL: Ryan Miller, Colorado
OL: Nate Solder, Colorado
OL: Tim Barnes, Missouri
OL: Tanner Hawkinson, Kansas
OL: Stephen Good, Oklahoma
OL: Kyle Hix, Texas
PK: Alex Henery, Nebraska
KR: Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M
DL: Aldon Smith, Missouri
DL: Jared Crick, Nebraska
DL: Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma
DL: Sam Acho, Texas
LB: Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
LB: Von Miller, Texas A&M
LB: Keenan Robinson, Texas
LB: Brian Duncan, Texas Tech
DB: Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
DB: Aaron Williams, Texas
DB: Quinton Carter, Oklahoma
DB: Blake Gideon, Texas
DB: Curtis Brown, Texas
P: Derek Epperson, Baylor
PR: Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
A few notes/thoughts from the team:
- Only three players were unanimous selections: Jared Crick, Travis Lewis and Jeremy Beal. Other guys I'm surprised didn't earn that distinction: Ryan Broyles at receiver, Aaron Williams, Von Miller and Nate Solder.
- Ties at linebacker, defensive back and offensive line forced the conference to make room for an extra spot.
- The media's opinion of DeMarco Murray is somewhat divided, so I was a little unsure who would nab the second spot on the ballot. I'd be interested to see how close it was between him, Roy Helu, Kendall Hunter and Alexander Robinson.
- Home run selection of Toney Clemons as Newcomer of the Year. If I'm guessing, the fact that he was the No. 1 pick in Colorado's spring game helped him earn this honor. An action like that by players speaks pretty loudly.
- I definitely prefer football over basketball in these situations, which doesn't have to deal with freshmen on the preseason all-conference team.
- I'm interested in how close the vote was between Missouri's Grant Ressel and Nebraska's Alex Henery. Henery's punting skills make him the clearly more valuable player, but talking strictly place-kicking, it's pretty close, and Ressel's additional accuracy is quantifiable.
1. Oklahoma - 7
2. Texas - 6
3. Nebraska - 4
3. Texas A&M - 4
5. Missouri - 2
5. Colorado - 2
7. Baylor - 1
7. Kansas - 1
7. Kansas State - 1
7. Texas Tech - 1
11. Oklahoma State - 0
11. Iowa State - 0
But even if Steele is overrating the Sooners, who finished last season 8-5, it's far from an insane pick. Call it a leap of faith in a group of five guys.
It's not hard to see why they're a top-10 team. They have a deep group of running backs with an experienced feature back. They have a quarterback in Landry Jones who threw for 3,198 yards and 26 touchdowns while being thrust into sudden action when Sam Bradford played only sparingly after suffering a shoulder injury in the season opener. He could be set for a big year.
They also have the conference's best receiver in Ryan Broyles, who caught 15 touchdowns in 2009, second-most in college football. He also emerged as Jones' safety blanket, catching 89 passes and notching fewer than seven receptions in just three games, including a loss to Miami when he was injured after a 37-yard reception on the opening drive.
The defense should have one of the best front fours in the country, headlined by defensive end Jeremy Beal. Junior linebacker Travis Lewis has taken control of the Sooners' leadership role after leading the team in tackles as a freshman and sophomore, and will line up next to a pair of promising young linebackers in Tom Wort and Ronnell Lewis, or experienced junior Austin Box.
The same goes for the secondary, which returns both safeties and should be deep at corner with Demontre Hurst, Jonathan Nelson, Jamell Fleming and Gabe Lynn.
In short, Oklahoma is well above average at nearly every unit.
But there's a unit missing from that breakdown, the unit Steele clearly must have faith in: the offensive line.
I can't speak for Steele's reasons, but if the offensive line doesn't improve -- and that's a big if -- then Steele's prediction is outrageous.
Oklahoma's current offensive line consists of Jarvis Jones, Stephen Good, Ben Habern, Tyler Evans and Cory Brandon. That's absent two NFL draft picks in Trent Williams and Brody Eldridge, along with outgoing senior Brian Simmons.
If last year is any indication, that lineup will change. The Sooners started nine different combinations on the offensive line in 2009, in part because of injury and in part because of injury.
Steele put Good, who started just seven games last season, on his All-Big 12 first team. He put Brandon on his second team. Habern made the third team and Jones, who missed the last four games of last season with a fractured heel, was on his fourth team.
Jones earned an All-Big 12 honorable mention nod, but the others on Steele's list didn't make any postseason lists.
As his preseason poll indicates, he disagrees with those assessments.
And we'll have to wait three more months to find out if he's right. And I'll wait for e-mails from Alabama fans ripping me for not calling Steele a houndstooth-hating fool.
Here's where the rest of the Big 12 sits on Steele's top 25:
No dice for the Tigers or Aggies, who've slipped into the top 25 in a few pre-preseason polls.
Here's a look at who made each team.
- DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
- Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
- Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska
- Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
- Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
- Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
- Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
- Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma
- Alex Henery, Nebraska
- Kyle Hix, OT, Texas
- Sam Acho, DT, Texas
- Blake Gideon, S, Texas
- Ryan Broyles, PR, Oklahoma
There are four All-Big 12 teams, but I'll just list the first-team in the interest of space.
QB Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M
RB Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
RB DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
WR Niles Paul, Nebraska
WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
WR Uzoma Nwachukwu, Texas A&M
TE Andrew Jones, Missouri
C Tim Barnes, Missouri
OG Ryan Miller Colorado
OG Stephen Good, Oklahoma
OT Nate Solder, Colorado
OT Kyle Hix, Texas
DE Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma
DT Adrian Taylor, Oklahoma
DT Jared Crick, Nebraska
DE Sam Acho, Texas
LB Von Miller, Texas A&M
LB Keenan Robinson, Texas
LB Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
LB Brian Duncan, Texas Tech
CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
CB Curtis Brown, Texas
S Blake Gideon, Texas
S Quinton Carter, Oklahoma
K Alex Henery, Nebraska
P Derek Epperson, Baylor
KR Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M
PR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Texas has to replace quarterback Colt McCoy and star receiver Jordan Shipley. Oklahoma loses 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford and tight end Jermaine Gresham, who didn't play much at all last season, and Oklahoma State said goodbye to quarterback Zac Robinson and receiver Dez Bryant.
With spring practice right around the corner, here's a look at five position battles to watch in the Big 12 this spring:
1. Oklahoma State quarterback
Robinson leaves after breaking most of the school's passing records. He'll probably be replaced by 26-year-old junior Brandon Weeden, who was a second-round draft choice of the New York Yankees in the 2002 amateur baseball draft. Weeden played well at times last season, when he filled in while Robinson was hurt. If Weeden can grasp new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen's spread offense quickly, he should hold off heralded incoming freshman Nathan Sorensen during fall camp.
2. Texas defensive line
The bad news for Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp: star defensive end Sergio Kindle and tackle Lamarr Houston departed for the NFL draft. The good news: ends Sam Acho and Eddie Jones, who combined for 15 sacks in 2009, are both coming back. Jones might be the leading candidate to replace Kindle, but he'll have to hold off Russell Carter and promising sophomore Alex Okafor. Replacing Houston's productivity might be more problematic. Sophomore Calvin Howell, who had four tackles and one sack in 2009, was the No. 2 tackle at season's end.
3. Oklahoma offensive line
The Sooners were banged up on the offensive line last season, which contributed to their unexpected slide to 8-5. Now, OU coach Bob Stoops has to replace left tackle Trent Williams, right guard Brian Simmons and center/tight end Brody Eldridge. Will the Sooners stick with their starting tackles against Stanford in the Sun Bowl? Converted tight end Eric Mensik and rising senior Cory Brandon started against the Cardinal. Junior Jarvis Jones, who split time between guard and tackle last season, is recovering from a broken heel and might not be ready for the start of spring practice. Junior Donald Stephenson, who was suspended all of last season, might be the wild card. Junior Stephen Good and senior Tavaris Jeffries have to get better in the interior line if OU is going to improve up front in 2010.
4. Kansas quarterback
Todd Reesing, who broke about every passing mark in the Kansas record book, is gone after starting the last three seasons. Sophomore Cale Pick might remind new coach Turner Gill of his playing days at Nebraska. Pick averaged 11.9 yards per rushing attempt in seven games last season, while throwing only five passes. Pick will have to hold off junior college transfer Quinn Mecham, who enrolled in classes in January. Mecham threw for 3,091 yards with 40 touchdowns and 11 interceptions at Snow College in Utah last season.
5. Nebraska defensive line
How do you replace one of the best defensive tackles in school history? That's the dilemma Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini will face when his team opens spring practice. All-American Ndumakong Suh is gone, along with senior defensive end Barry Turner. The good news for Nebraska is that it played several young players on the defensive line last season. Starting tackle Jared Crick had 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss and was a star in his own right. Sophomore Baker Steinkuhler and junior Terrence Moore will battle for the other tackle spot. Sophomore Cameron Meredith, who had five tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in limited time last season, is the top candidate to replace Turner on the edge.
Trent Williams, the Sooners' best lineman, will miss today's game after sustaining a concussion in practice earlier this week.
Stephen Good started in his place against Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Monday that versatile offensive lineman Brody Eldridge will miss Saturday's game against Texas A&M because of a shoulder injury sustained in the Sooners' 10-3 loss at Nebraska on Saturday.
His absence is another obstacle for Oklahoma's injury-riddled offense. The Sooners already are missing Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford (shoulder) and preseason All-America tight end Jermaine Gresham (knee) with season-ending injuries.
Eldridge's absence will be particularly bad for an inexperienced Oklahoma offensive front struggling with penalties and productivity.
Both Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson have said that Eldridge has been the Sooners' highest-graded lineman since moving from tight end to guard before the Sooners' Oct. 17 game against Texas.
The Sooners could move right guard Stephen Good to left guard and move right tackle Jarvis Jones into Good's spot. Or they could insert freshman Tyler Evans, who has been struggling with an ankle injury since he claimed the starting job earlier in the season.
Or Tavaris Jeffries could be inserted back into the lineup. Jeffries started three games earlier this season before he was suspended before the Sooners' Oct. 24 victory at Kansas. Jeffries suited up the following week against Kansas State but missed the Nebraska game with a family emergency, team officials said.
Stoops also said that defensive end Auston English is questionable for the A&M game after injuring his ankle early in the Sooners' loss at Nebraska.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here are some of the tidbits that people are talking about across the Big 12 heading into games this week.
- After his receivers struggled to get acclimated in rainy conditions at Missouri, Nebraska receivers coach Ted Gilmore told his team to ditch the gloves and hand warmers and catch bare-handed. The biggest beneficiary was Niles Paul, who bounced back after two earlier drops to snag a pair of touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to key Nebraska’s rally.
- Iowa State coaches are enthused despite their 0-2 conference start. The biggest reason is the recent play of quarterback Austen Arnaud after the Cyclones have utilized a ground-heavy attack from the spread for most of the season. If Arnaud can continue to boost his passing, don’t be surprised if the Cyclones notch an upset or two that might be considered a surprise now.
- Robert Griffin’s knee surgery earlier this week ended any hopes he might have had of playing this season. What will be more important will be how Baylor coach Art Briles handles his starting quarterback job during the rest of the season. Blake Szymanski should get the nod as soon as he’s healthy to play. But it will be interesting to see if there’s a point later this season where Briles figures it’s more advantageous to get freshman Nick Florence the majority of the work to build for his future, rather than playing Szymanski, who is a senior.
- Colorado coaches believe that Tyler Hansen will be a different quarterback this season than the one who briefly claimed the starting position for the Buffaloes late last season. Hansen, they believe, won’t be quite as prone to run after progressing through his checks on offense. That maturity should help the Buffaloes become more productive offensively.
- The secret to Todd Reesing’s early success this season is the lack of hits he’s taken from opposing defensive linemen. Reesing’s diminutive size always makes that a concern -- particularly when the meat of the Big 12 schedule kicks in. After this week’s game against Colorado, the Jayhawks will play Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Kansas State to start a punishing finish that also will include games against Texas, Nebraska and Missouri. If he can remains well protected and upright during that time, Mark Mangino’s pitch for postseason honors for his senior quarterback won’t be out of line.
- One reason why Missouri’s ground game has struggled so much this season has been the Tigers' struggles with penalties. It’s been difficult for the Tigers to thrive in unfavorable down-and-distance situations. The Tigers were penalized for offensive holding four times last week against Nebraska. In 2008, the Tigers were flagged for 10 offensive holding penalties in a 14-game season.
- The key to success in the Texas-Oklahoma game Saturday -- as it almost always seems to be -- will be running the ball. Since the Big 12 was formed in 1996, the team that rushed for the most yardage has won 11 of the 13 games, including every game but once since 1997. Both teams will struggle against fearsome run defenses, but the team that is the most patient should have the most success.
- With the injury to starting guard Brian Simmons for the Texas game, look for Oklahoma offensive line coach James Patton to go with a player-by-committee rotation to fill in. Don’t be surprised if Tyler Evans, Stephen Good and Tavaris Jefferies all get a shot at snaps at Simmons’ position.
- Keith Toston’s role as the most valuable backup running back in the conference was re-emphasized with his big game against Texas A&M. He produced 204 yards of total offense and helped take the pressure off a young group of receivers with two critical big gains on screen passes early in the game.
- The experiment of moving Texas A&M tight end Jamie McCoy into the backfield as a running threat worked well enough that Aggies coaches plan to keep tinkering with the alignment. McCoy showed strong running as he picked up 24 yards on four carries in his first work as a ball carrier since playing briefly in the 2006 season as a quarterback.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Oklahoma's depth chart for Saturday's game against BYU comes with one big surprise as converted tight end Brody Eldridge is listed as the Sooners' starter at center.
He'll replace freshman Ben Habern, who has been hobbled with an inflamed back during fall camp and just returned to practice last week.
Eldridge, a 6-foot-5, 265-pounder, is considered by Oklahoma coaches as the Sooners' top blocker and a key producer. He moved to the offensive line earlier in camp. Eldridge came to the Oklahoma program as a walk-on defensive end before switching to fullback and H-back.
Another switch on the depth chart has former LSU transfer Jarvis Jones beating out sophomore Stephen Good for the starting position at right guard.
Good had been No. 1 on the Sooners' depth chart at the position since the spring. But Jones has been a key contributor in camp and repeatedly pleased Oklahoma coaches at his new position.
Good also has received work at center and could be included with Eldridge at the position if Habern continues to be hampered.
The Sooners' offensive line was thought to be their primary question mark entering the season. Oklahoma returns only starting tackle Trent Williams from the team that dropped a 24-14 decision to Florida in the BCS National Championship Game last year.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had called out the offensive line for its lack of commitment before spring practice. But he said Monday he was pleased with the development of the group in recent weeks.
"I think they have continually come together more and more," Stoops said. "I've noticed the progression and really in the past week, their conditioning after practice is maybe the best of our linemen in the last five or six years. All of that, there's some positives there."
In another development on the Sooners' depth chart, junior Brandon Caleb has nosed past heralded junior college transfer Cameron Kenney at one wide receiver spot. Also, Chris Brown is listed ahead of DeMarco Murray at running back. Murray missed most of the Sooners' early practice work as he recovered from a hamstring injury.
At strong safety, sophomore Sam Proctor appears to have won the job in front of freshman Javon Harris. And freshman Demontre Hurst, one of the revelations of fall camp, is listed as No. 2 at the Sooners' boundary cornerback position behind starter Brian Jackson.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
NORMAN, Okla. -- When first asked to play center several practices ago, Oklahoma senior tight end Brody Eldridge had one thought before making his first snap.
"Man, I just hope I wouldn't jam [Sam Bradford's] fingers when I snapped the ball back to him," Eldridge said, chuckling. "[Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson] promised to get the ball in my hands more this season. I guess he really meant it."
Eldridge has been pressed into duty at center for the past several practices because first-string center Ben Habern suffered a lower back injury.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops expects Habern to return to practice early next week and has been shuffling through several potential replacements while his playing time has been was limited.
One of them has been the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Eldridge, who has adapted well to his new position.
"He's the one guy I really hate going against in practice," Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said.
If it's any consolation, Eldridge hasn't liked blocking the Sooners' preseason All-America defensive tackle much either.
"He's the one guy I really hate going against, too," Eldridge said. "It's a challenge going against him every day."
The decision to move Eldridge to the offensive line isn't so surprising, considering his adaptability. He has played fullback and tight end during most of his career with the Sooners after starting as a scout-team defensive end. He has never played offensive line before the move.
"I don't mind where they play me," Eldridge said. "Blocking is blocking."
Habern's injury isn't a major concern for the Sooners. Sophomore guard Stephen Good has gotten most of the snaps there with the first-team offensive live the last several days. Senior tackle Trent Williams and sophomore tackle Jarvis Jones also have worked at center.
"It's been a little bit different than playing guard and getting your footwork down," Good said. "The guy is right on you. But I'm getting used to it. I really like it."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Both Colorado and Oklahoma were careful not to reveal too much in open practices Thursday.
The Buffaloes scored only one touchdown -- a 1-yard jaunt by tailback Demetrius Sumler -- in a 126-play scrimmage that accounted for 579 total yards.
"We didn't do anything we've been doing in practice," Hawkins said. "When I was looking at the ready list today, it was unbelievably vanilla."
Hawkins completed 21 of 29 passes for 184 yards and no interceptions in his battle with Tyler Hansen, who completed 10 of 15 passes for 137 yards.
Hawkins also was the leading rusher in the scrimmage with 58 yards coming on scrambles. Sumler accounted for a team-high 37 yards to pace the rushing backs. And tailback Darrell Scott led the receivers with six catches for 47 yards.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops allowed the public to watch the first hour of the Sooners' work Thursday evening.
The Sooners' special teams showed flashes during the brief glimpse of their work. Sophomore kicker Jimmy Stevens producing field goals of 50 and 53 yards while the crowds were watching.
And redshirt freshman Tress Way appeared to outkick Cameron Kenney in the battle for the punting job, the Tulsa World reported. Kenney also started in the Sooners' three-wide receiver groupings in Thursday's practice.
With projected starting center Ben Habern still hobbling, sophomore Stephen Good worked with the Sooners' first unit that also included tackles Trent Williams and Cory Brandon and guards Brian Simmons and Jarvis Jones. Williams, the team's most experienced returnee at offensive line, also got a few snaps at center.
And on defense, middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds appears to be rounding into form after missing the second half of last season with a knee injury. Reynolds wore pads, but was replaced by Mike Balogun during the team parts of the drill.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
All questions aren't settled during the course of spring practice as teams still have much work to upgrade their weaknesses heading into the season.
Obviously, some will receive a boost from incoming freshmen who will arrive later. But here's how each team's biggest liability shakes out heading into the summer.
Baylor: The Bears are desperately looking for help at offensive tackle after losing No. 2 overall draft pick Jason Smith and Dan Gay as their starters. Former Canadian firefighter Danny Watkins has established himself at Smith's old position protecting Robert Griffin's blind side. And on the right side, junior Chris Griesenbeck and redshirt freshmen Cameron Kaufhold are competing for the starting job with Tyler Junior College's Phillip Blake and Blinn College's Marquis Franklin set the arrive later this summer.
Colorado: Wide receiver has been a question mark for the Buffaloes throughout Dan Hawkins' coaching tenure. The Buffaloes return four scholarship wide receivers and had a chance to work out several new players with Scotty McKnight injured during the spring. Josh Smith and Markques Simas are the top playmakers coming out of the spring. Non-scholarship players like Jason Espinoza and Ryan Maxwell emerged, but the Buffaloes definitely need a big upgrade at the position from their arriving freshman class.
Iowa State: The Cyclones will be facing a big hole at left tackle, where two-year starter Doug Dedrick departs. It could be filled by Matt Hulbert, who started two games last season when Dedrick was hurt. Or it could be massive 354-pound junior Hayworth Hicks or freshman Brayden Burris at the position. Whoever emerges will face a huge challenge in filling Dedrick's experience as he protects the blind side of the Iowa State quarterbacks.
Kansas: Coach Mark Mangino will be facing a few huge rebuilding job at linebacker, where the Jayhawks lose key contributors Joe Mortensen, Mike Rivera and James Holt from last season. Mangino is talking about using a two-linebacker set as his base defense with fifth-year senior Jake Schermer and senior Arist Wright getting the starting jobs leaving spring practice. Sophomore Steven Johnson and converted running back Angus Quigley were competing for playing time during the spring and another boost is expected when junior linebacker Justin Springer, who is recovering from a torn ACL last season, returns in the fall.
Kansas State: Carson Coffman appeared to have claimed the starting job at quarterback -- at least for a few weeks -- after a strong effort during the latter stages of spring practice. But Coffman's late binge has to be tempered considering he is playing against the weak Kansas State secondary. So it's fair to say there are some lingering questions at the position. Coffman apparently has beaten back the challenge of challengers Collin Klein, Joseph Kassanavoid, Trey Scott and Milton McPeek. But the arrival of South Florida transfer Grant Gregory and heralded junior-college transfer Daniel Thomas will mean more competition in the summer.
Missouri: The Tigers will be facing a challenge of replacing NFL first-round draft pick Evander "Ziggy" Hood at defensive tackle to play opposite nose tackle Jaron Baston. Redshirt sophomore Terrell Resonno appeared to have claimed the job out of the spring, with Dominique Hamilton, Chris Earnhardt and converted linebacker George White perhaps earning their way into the rotation.
Nebraska: After the graduation of top receivers Todd Peterson and Nate Swift from last season, the Cornhuskers need to fill both positions. Leading returning receiver Menelik Holt appears to have a hammerlock on one position, but Niles Paul lost a chance to take a big step forward after missing the spring after he was suspended for driving under the influence. Antonio Bell was the biggest surprise, but converted I-back Marcus Mendoza, Chris Brooks, Wes Cammack and Curenski Gilleylen all showed flashes during the spring.
Oklahoma: There was concern before spring practice, considering the Sooners were replacing four-fifths of their starting offensive line with only Trent Williams back from last season's starters. And it got worse when Bob Stoops called out the young replacements because of their lack of diligence in their preseason conditioning. Williams emerged at left tackle with Brian Simmons and Stephen Good at guards, redshirt freshman Ben Habern at center and either LSU transfer Jarvis Jones or Cory Brandon at right tackle. The depth took a hit when center Jason Hannan left early in training camp and sophomore guard Alex Williams chose to leave after spring practice. The group struggled against the Sooners' talented defensive line, allowing Sam Bradford to be touch-sacked twice in three possessions in the spring game and produced only 27 rushing yards in 52 carries.
Oklahoma State: The loss of veteran center David Washington produced a huge hole in the center of the Cowboys' interior line. Andrew Lewis returns to his natural position, leaving Oklahoma State needing two new starters at guard. Noah Franklin and Jonathan Rush have staked claims to the starting positions with Anthony Morgan and Nick Martinez getting repetitions inside. This group needs to improve if it hopes to equal the standards of previous seasons, when the Cowboys led the Big 12 in rushing each of the last three seasons.
Texas: The tight end was rarely used for the Longhorns after Blaine Irby dislocated his kneecap last season against Rice. He still wasn't ready to go during the spring as Greg Smith, Ahmard Howard, Ian Harris and D.J. Grant all got work. None of them emerged. And with Irby's return remaining iffy, it means the Longhorns again could reduce the use of the tight end and utilize four-receiver sets when they want to move the ball. Don't look for the Longhorns to use the tight end much unless this production improves.
Texas A&M: T
he Aggies were wracked with injuries during the spring as projected starters Lee Grimes, Kevin Matthews and Lucas Patterson were sidelined all spring as A&M was down to only nine healthy offensive linemen for some practices. It still doesn't excuse the lack of offensive production for A&M's starting unit, which produced only 9 yards rushing on 24 carries against Texas A&M's first-string defense. Coach Mike Sherman will be counting on immediate production from an impressive group of incoming freshman at fall practice, but it's fair to characterize the Aggies' offensive line as the team's biggest spring concern -- especially after allowing 39 sacks last season and ranking last in the conference in rushing yards per game.
Texas Tech: The loss of productive starters Daniel Charbonnet and Darcel McBath left a gaping hole at safety for the Red Raiders. Junior Franklin Mitchem earned the free safety position leaving spring practice and redshirt freshman Cody Davis emerged at strong safety. Jared Flannel, Brett Dewhurst and converted linebacker Julius Howard also got some snaps at safety. It will still be a challenge to combat the explosive Big 12 defenses with such an inexperienced group at the position.
BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
2:00 PM ET Washington State Colorado State 3:30 PM ET 20 Fresno State 25 USC 5:30 PM ET Buffalo San Diego State 9:00 PM ET Tulane Louisiana-Lafayette
6:00 PM ET Pittsburgh Bowling Green 9:30 PM ET Utah State 23 Northern Illinois
2:30 PM ET Marshall Maryland 6:00 PM ET Syracuse Minnesota 9:30 PM ET Brigham Young Washington
12:00 PM ET Rutgers Notre Dame 3:20 PM ET Cincinnati North Carolina 6:45 PM ET Miami (FL) 18 Louisville 10:15 PM ET Michigan Kansas State
11:45 AM ET Middle Tennessee Navy 3:15 PM ET Ole Miss Georgia Tech 6:45 PM ET 10 Oregon Texas 10:15 PM ET 14 Arizona State Texas Tech
12:30 PM ET Arizona Boston College 2:00 PM ET Virginia Tech 17 UCLA 4:00 PM ET Rice Mississippi State 8:00 PM ET 24 Duke 21 Texas A&M
12:00 PM ET Nebraska 22 Georgia 12:00 PM ET UNLV North Texas 1:00 PM ET Iowa 16 LSU 1:00 PM ET 19 Wisconsin 9 South Carolina 5:00 PM ET 5 Stanford 4 Michigan State 8:30 PM ET 15 UCF 6 Baylor
7:30 PM ET 13 Oklahoma State 8 Missouri 8:30 PM ET 12 Clemson 7 Ohio State