A too-early look at Big 12 Heisman hopes

December, 27, 2012
12/27/12
8:50
AM CT
The Big 12 couldn't win a second consecutive Heisman Trophy after Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel bested Kansas State's Collin Klein, but the league might have a shot in 2013. Baylor's Lache Seastrunk already says he's going to win the trophy, but just in case he's wrong, let's look at the other possibilities.

There won't be any frontrunners from the Big 12 to begin the season, but the last three winners all came out of nowhere to win the award.

Here are the Big 12's best hopes for the award next season, in no particular order:

Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle will be the most established offensive player in the Big 12 next year if he returns to Stillwater for his senior season. The Big 12's leading rusher already has two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt and if Oklahoma State makes a run back at a Big 12 title, you can bet Randle will earn plenty of Heisman attention along the way.

Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor: Seastrunk talked big, and he might be the best offensive weapon returning from the nation's No. 1 offense. His candidacy next year is largely tied to his huge finish after taking over the starting role for the Bears. He hardly got any touches in the first half of the season but racked up 693 yards over the last five games of the year.

David Ash, QB, Texas: Ash looked like a Heisman contender early in the season, leading the Big 12 in passer rating over the Longhorns' 4-0 start, which included a win at Oklahoma State. He'll have to do that for an entire season to win a Heisman, of course, but he showed major potential in the first half of his sophomore year.

Casey Pachall, QB, TCU: And you thought the debate over Johnny Manziel's legal past got heated this year. Pachall very well may be the Big 12's best quarterback if he returns to the team next year, and TCU looks the part of a Big 12 title contender. If TCU wins and Pachall leads them there, voters may have to decide if they're willing to buy that Pachall is a new man and his drug use and DWI arrest were part of his past.

Blake Bell, QB, Oklahoma: We've got no idea how good Bell really is. Heck, he might not even win the job in the spring. But he's got the biggest name recognition of any of the Big 12's likely new starting quarterbacks in 2013, and despite what his poor attempts in the Belldozer suggest, he really can throw the ball. Playing for a national power and a likely Big 12 title contender help his hopes.

Johnathan Gray, RB, Texas: Gray looked like Texas' most complete back this season and led the Horns in rushing as a true freshman with the Horns' other backs banged up. With Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown on the squad, earning enough carries won't be easy, but don't be shocked if Gray takes over the spot next year. Granted, don't be surprised if Brown does, either.

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