The All-Big 12 team was released on Wednesday morning and the preseason poll drops later today. But here's how I voted for the All-Big 12 squad and the league awards.
Offensive Player of the Year: Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
He's capable of doing things nobody else in the Big 12 can do, and there's no arguing with how he played last November when the games counted most. He should have a big year ahead, and he's an easy selection for this award.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Devonte Fields is the obvious pick here, but upon closer inspection, Fields' 2012 season isn't as impressive as the raw numbers look. He was largely neutralized in games against Kansas State and Oklahoma and eight of his 18.5 tackles for loss came in nonconference play. Just 5.5 of his 10 sacks came in Big 12 play. In league play, he was one of the league's best defenders, but he wasn't way out in front of everyone else. Meanwhile, Verrett had three more pass breakups (16) in league play than anyone else in the Big 12, and the lack of true lockdown corners across the league makes him so valuable in Big 12 play. I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I cast my vote for Verrett.
Newcomer of the Year: Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
I get the Sims selection, but there's more opportunity in the passing game at West Virginia, and I expect White, a juco transfer, to be a big beneficiary. He had a strong spring and proved his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands since arriving on campus. Those are the kinds of guys that Dana Holgorsen's offense looks to highlight and I'd look for him to be emphasized early on in Morgantown.
QB: Casey Pachall, TCU
RB: Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
RB: John Hubert, Kansas State
Tough call going with Hubert ahead of James Sims, who missed three games and still rushed for 1,000 yards in an offense with no real threat in the passing game. That production is hard to argue with, but Hubert bested Sims' yards per carry last year and I don't see Sims doing a lot of things Hubert can't. Both are great backs and both are deserving of a spot on the preseason team.
WR: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State
WR: Eric Ward, Texas Tech
Only two Big 12 receivers had 1,000-yard seasons a year ago and return for 2013: Ward and Stewart.
TE: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Stud. Injuries have prevented him from realizing some of his potential, but at his best, he has no real competition at tight end the Big 12. Ernst Brun Jr. and Jordan Najvar are good players, but they're not in Amaro's league.
C: Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
OL: Cornelius Lucas, Kansas State
OL: Cyril Richardson, Baylor
OL: Trey Hopkins, Texas
OL: Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech
Not much to add here. Richardson is the best of the bunch and the best candidate to win a national award. Mostly solid elsewhere, but I don't see a completely dominant player in this group.
DL: Devonte Fields, TCU
DL: Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State
DL: Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
DL: Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech
I always prefer to put two defensive ends and two tackles on this list, but some years, the lack of talent at tackle and the depth at the end spots just won't allow it. Glad we could get back to that. Hyder is sort of a hybrid, but he's 281 pounds. Barnett is solid and Jeffcoat and Fields are as talented as any defensive end in the country.
LB: Corey Nelson, Oklahoma
LB: Jordan Hicks, Texas
LB: Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
I'm excited to see what Lewis can do in Oklahoma State's new defense under Glenn Spencer. I'd expect him to be allowed to blitz a bit more this year, and a healthy Jordan Hicks is as talented as any linebacker in the Big 12. Nelson's probably not a common pick here, but he was limited by Oklahoma's schemes last season and I doubt that happens again. I love what I've seen from him when he's had opportunities thus far in his career.
DB: Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State
DB: Jason Verrett, TCU
DB: Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
DB: Quandre Diggs, Texas
Similar to the defensive line, I don't like when the positions get out of balance, but Verrett, Colvin and Diggs are more impactful than any of the safeties across the league. Zimmerman's a stud and I felt bad leaving off Karl Joseph. Anyone who wants to put him on the team ahead of Diggs has a case, but it's definitely close.
P: Kirby Van Der Kamp, Iowa State
PK: Jaden Oberkrom, TCU
PR: Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State
KR: Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
Not much competition for these four spots. Very little thought necessary in casting any of these votes.