- David Ubben, College Football
- 0 Shares
Last season, Geno Smith turned heads by being named the Big 12's preseason offensive player of the year without playing a down. He lost out on the postseason award to Heisman finalist Collin Klein, but the preseason pick wasn't far off. Smith tossed 42 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon won the preseason award in 2011 and won the Biletnikoff Award, but lost out on the postseason award to Robert Griffin III. A year earlier, Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson won the preseason award, but was benched in midseason for Ryan Tannehill after never quite recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
Sam Bradford's preseason honor in 2009 didn't last long after a shoulder injury and an abbreviated junior season before becoming the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
So what about this year? Who gets your nod as the league's preseason offensive player of the year? It's a wide-open race, but take your pick of these five players (Note: I'm not putting a player on this list who hasn't been a significant starter for at least half a season):
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor: Seastrunk was 2 yards away from being the Big 12's leading returning rusher, but he was most definitely the hottest player in the Big 12 to close 2012. He rushed for more than 800 yards in the final six games of the season once he took over the featured back role, averaging more than 138 yards a game and finished the season averaging 7.73 yards a carry.
James Sims, RB, Kansas: Sims has yet to experience a conference victory as a starting running back, but it doesn't change the fact he's been extremely productive over the past three seasons. He's been the most consistent offensive weapon for the Jayhawks and has 2,482 rushing yards over that span heading into his senior season. Despite missing the first three games of 2012 because of a suspension, he hit the 1,000-yard mark and is the league's leading returning rusher.
Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State: Stewart was overshadowed last season by standout receivers like Tavon Austin, Terrance Williams and Stedman Bailey, who all put up huge numbers. This time around, Stewart quietly enters 2013 with almost 150 more receiving yards in 2012 than any Big 12 returning player. He did that with three different quarterbacks throwing him the ball, but he figures to have some more stability this year.
John Hubert, RB, Kansas State: Stewart wasn't the only major player overshadowed last season. Hubert didn't earn as many headlines sharing an offensive backfield with Klein, but he's got 1,922 rushing yards in the past two seasons, the highest of any returning player in the Big 12. He may be relied on to carry K-State's offense this season.
Eric Ward, WR, Texas Tech: Ward earned his first 1,000-yard receiving season in 2012 and is the first returning 1,000-yard receiver at Texas Tech since Michael Crabtree in 2008. In a fast-paced offense and with Ward's experience, he could be due for big numbers this season, but he's got 1,853 receiving yards in the past two seasons.
Vote in our poll. Would you vote for someone else? Let us know in the comments.
7dBrandon Chatmon and Max Olson