I've mentioned this in the past, but a few Mailbag questions warrant a post all its own. This is one of those posts.
We'll have a Mailbag later today, by the way, so if you'd like to get your two cents in, here's your chance.
David in Austin, Texas asked: Let's say you were the head coach of Ubbeniversity, which sophmores and incoming freshmen would you "recruit" to each position based on the spring games, hype, and single seasons? Bonus: Without taking more 3 players from a single school.
Now, let's not get confused. I named my Big 12 All-Freshman team last year, but those were players who had accomplished something on the field after one season. This team is predicting the future. There are plenty of incoming freshmen who could prove better than their older competition, and other freshmen who have the skill and hype, but lack the opportunity that others got.
So, here we go.
Getting those bonus points might prove difficult, but here's who I'd take:
QB: James Franklin, Missouri
RB: Malcolm Brown, Texas
RB: Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State
WR: Kenny Stills, Oklahoma
WR: Tevin Reese, Baylor
WR: Mike Davis, Texas
FB: Trey Millard, Oklahoma
OL: Nick Demien, Missouri
OL: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
OL: Cyril Richardson, Baylor
OL: Trey Hopkins, Texas
OL: Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
DL: Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
DL: Kony Ealy, Missouri
DL: Tevin Elliot, Baylor
DL: Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
LB: Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
LB: Corey Nelson, Oklahoma
LB: Jordan Hicks, Texas
CB: Quandre Diggs, Texas
CB: Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
S: Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma
S: Ahmad Dixon, Baylor
Well, I couldn't get those bonus points, despite my best efforts, but here's a few thoughts:
Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Texas Tech weren't represented in this group, but Kansas State's Ty Zimmerman nearly made it at safety, and Kansas running back James Sims was on my All-Freshman team last year. Additionally, I nearly added a tight end spot, and probably would have put Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro in it, but I went with a fullback spot, and Trey Millard's value to the Sooners won't be understated any time Bob Stoops talks about him. He touted Millard's perhaps more than any other freshman on his team, and his play made it pretty obvious why.
Though this year's crop of Big 12 running backs looks weak, I was surprised to realize just how many good young running backs nearly made this list. Very, very soon, I think the Big 12 could be loaded at the position. Oklahoma's Brandon Williams and Roy Finch just missed the list, as well as Kansas' Darrian Miller and James Sims, Iowa State's Shontrelle Johnson and Texas Tech's Ronnie Daniels. That's a lot of good running backs.
Not a good group of young quarterbacks in the league. Franklin leads what is a pretty questionable group. Granted, young quarterbacks who haven't gotten real playing time are always a risk, but anyone have a pick to throw him off? Blake Bell? Case McCoy? Jameill Showers? J.W. Walsh? Scotty Young? Michael Brewer?
The biggest unknowns on my team: Ealy, Hopkins, Demien and Diggs.