Dallas Colleges: 2012 preseason top 25 players

Just missed: Preseason top 25 players

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
2:00
PM CT
Earlier today, I crowned Geno Smith the Big 12's best player entering the 2012 season.

That completed our preseason countdown of the league's top 25 players, but making these lists is always difficult. A lot of deserving players had to be cut. Here's some that I couldn't put on the list?

Casey Pachall, QB, TCU: Pachall set a school record with 2,921 yards last year, but in the Big 12, he'd better be ready to break his own record. With 50 fewer yards, he would have ranked just seventh in the Big 12 last year, ahead of Collin Klein and behind Missouri's James Franklin, who also rushed for 981 yards last year. Pachall's good, but the bar is much, much higher for QB play in this league. The first step: Get Pachall more attempts. He only threw the ball 343 times last year, which would have also ranked seventh in the Big 12 in 2011.

Tevin Reese, WR, Baylor: Reese is going to make a run at 1,000 yards next season, and Nick Florence will be the man to help him. He's small at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, but his speed gives teams reason to fear him.

Seth Doege, QB, Texas Tech: Doege topped 4,000 yards passing last year, even though his receivers and running backs and offensive line were constantly in the training room and in surgery last year. He takes care of the ball, too, throwing just 10 interceptions to 28 touchdowns in 581 attempts, the most in the Big 12 last year.

Quinn Sharp, K/P/KOS, Oklahoma State: I'm against putting special teamers on my top 25 list, but Sharp's come closer than any kicker ever, surpassing Nebraska legend Alex Henery. Sharp's the league's best kicker, best punter and led the nation in touchbacks by 21.

Eric Ward, WR, Texas Tech: Ward seemed like the last man standing in a receiving corps that lost Darrin Moore and Alex Torres last season. He was a constant for Doege, grabbing 84 passes for 800 yards and 11 scores, third-most in the Big 12.

Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State: Lewis cracked into the 2010 postseason list after a huge freshman year, but his numbers stayed pretty constant in 2011, and he got passed up by some of the league's other linebackers. He's still a huge talent, and may be on this list by season's end.

Eric Stephens, RB, Texas Tech: Stephens might have won a Big 12 rushing title last year if he hadn't suffered one of the worst knee injuries of the season. I'm a believer in Stephens, and here's hoping he's back to his usual self this fall. He scored eight touchdowns and had 565 yards last year in just over five games.

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 2

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
3:25
PM CT
Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

We're now in the top 10, so these picks might get a little ugly. Got a beef? Let's squash it. Send your complaints here.

Tomorrow, I'll reveal the No. 1 player in the Big 12 to begin the 2012 season.

Next up on the list:

No. 2: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

2011 numbers: Completed 355-of-562 (63.2 percent) passes for 4,463 yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

Most recent ranking: Jones was ranked No. 13 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Jones: I've said it before, I'll say it again: Every time Jones' name comes up, the conversation inevitably turns to what Jones is not, rather than what he is.

He's not Sam Bradford. He's not unflappable. He's not careful enough.

All true. Still, it's unfair. Jones has had a crazy career already, and should break plenty of Oklahoma's passing records this season. That's what happens when you're a four-year starter. Yes, Jones has thrown too many interceptions (41) in his career. Yes, last season was a disappointment. He completed a lower percentage of his passes and threw more interceptions and fewer touchdowns on fewer attempts than when he was a sophomore in 2010. His numbers dipped when Ryan Broyles left, though the importance of his touchdown drought late in the season was overstated, considering the success of the BellDozer.

Bob Stoops defended Jones' late-season slide this offseason when he mentioned Jones' failure to get much support. Stoops is absolutely right. His receivers looked lost without Broyles, and the drops had to be infuriating.

Count me among the believers in Jones, and the believers in his new receivers. They're a better unit than last year, and Jones' numbers will show it in 2012.

He's not the greatest quarterback to ever play for Oklahoma. Still, he's one of the nation's best quarterbacks, and might state his case as the Big 12's best by season's end.

Keep watching.

The rest of the list:

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 6

August, 24, 2012
8/24/12
1:00
PM CT
Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

We're now in the top 10, so these picks might get a little ugly. Got beef? Let's squash it. Send your complaints here.

Next up on the list:

No. 6: Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State

2011 numbers: Carried the ball 208 times for 1,216 yards and 24 touchdowns. Caught 43 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns.

Most recent ranking: Randle was ranked No. 18 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Randle: Randle showed big potential in a supporting role back in 2010, but he returned with a huge sophomore season. Now, he's the Big 12's leading returning rusher and should be a constant for one of the league's top offenses.

Randle was used mostly in the passing game as a freshman, making a handful of big plays, and that's still a big part of his arsenal, but I don't know if anyone expected Randle to have the kind of breakout season he did in 2011. He's deceptively strong for his size at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, and plays a lot bigger.

Now, Oklahoma State needs him to be even better than he was last year. My money is on him answering the bell. The Wichita, Kan. native averaged nearly six yards a carry last year, and he can probably count on toting the ball more than 208 times this year. He topped 120 yards in his first three games of 2011 and ran for more than 150 yards in wins over top 25 opponents and 10-win teams Oklahoma and Baylor. Both were blowout wins. The Baylor win featured a career-high four touchdowns, too.

The rest of the list:

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 7

August, 23, 2012
8/23/12
10:00
AM CT
Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

We're now in the top 10, so these picks might get a little ugly. Got beef? Let's squash it. Send your complaints here.

Next up on the list:

No. 7: Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State

2011 numbers: Made 115 tackles (73 solo) and intercepted two passes. Made four tackles for loss, forced three fumbles and broke up two passes.

Most recent ranking: Knott was ranked No. 12 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Knott: Last year, Knott was banged up and not as productive as he could have been. This year, he's healthier than he's ever been and leapfrogs his teammate, A.J. Klein on the list based on total career accomplishments. Remember, the preseason accounts for the entire career. The postseason is just for the previous year.

Knott was playing through a painful shoulder injury and still finished third in the Big 12 in tackles. Back in 2010, he earned honorable mention as the league's defensive player of the year, and don't be surprised if he gets enough votes to make it interesting this year. Even with the injuries, the 6-foot-3, 253-pounder made one of the biggest plays of last season. He tipped the Brandon Weeden pass in double overtime that Ter'Ran Benton grabbed for the interception to set up the game-winning touchdown from Jeff Woody.

He popped his shoulder back into place twice against Baylor last year, and still had one of his most productive games of the season. All this came after he underwent surgery on a broken arm in the spring, but he was back on the practice field supporting teammates 24 hours after the injury happened.

Knott is, without question, the toughest player in this league.

The rest of the list:

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 8

August, 22, 2012
8/22/12
10:30
AM CT
Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

We're now in the top 10, so these picks might get a little ugly. Got beef? Let's squash it. Send your complaints here.

Next up on the list:

No. 8: Kenny Vaccaro, DB, Texas

2011 numbers: Made 82 tackles, eight tackles for loss and had two sacks. Intercepted two passes and broke up eight more.

Most recent ranking: Vaccaro was ranked No. 20 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Vaccaro: It's close, but I'm taking Vaccaro as the most talented player on an absolutely loaded Texas defense. The 6-foot-1, 218-pound Brownwood, Texas native is equal parts speedy and physical. He's the hardest hitter on the Longhorns' defense, and its most versatile player.

He can play traditional safety, but Texas loves to bring him up closer to the line of scrimmage. He plays bigger than 218 pounds and can help in run support, but the man they used to call Machete (Vaccaro requested via Twitter the nickname be axed this offseason. "I feel like zorro or something," he wrote.), was a runaway pick for the All-Big 12 first team and earned honorable mention for Defensive Player of the Year.

In 2012, he just might win the whole thing. Quarterbacks have to know where he is before the snap on every play, but all too often, it seems like he's everywhere. Expect a big season from Vaccaro, who easily cracks our top 10 entering his senior season. He's been a contributor for all three seasons and became a first-year starter in 2011. Expect an ascension to stardom this season, and for the rest of the league outside Austin to recognize it.

The rest of the list:

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 9

August, 21, 2012
8/21/12
9:00
AM CT
Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

Next up on the list:

No. 9: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas

2011 numbers: Made 71 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and eight sacks. Also broke up three passes.

Most recent ranking: Jeffcoat was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Jeffcoat: Jeffcoat showed up to Texas with the sky-high expectations that come with being the nation's No. 1 recruit. So far, he's lived up to much of the hype. He's already established himself as one of the league's best defenders, but his junior year might be the one when he makes the leap to superstar and top 10 NFL draft pick.

A promising freshman season was hurt by a bum ankle, but he was healthy most of last season despite missing a start with an injury and missing the spring after having surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle. If he's healthy all year, he'll blow up on Texas' loaded defensive line next to Big 12 preseason Defensive Player of the Year Alex Okafor and tackles Ashton Dorsey, Brandon Moore, Desmond Jackson, Malcom Brown and Chris Whaley.

Jeffcoat is 6-foot-5, and 245 pounds, but somehow looks like he plays both bigger and faster than you'd expect from his size. It's uncanny. He's the league's most disruptive defensive end, with a great shot to win All-American honors by the end of the season. And don't be surprised if he takes home the hardware for the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

His ceiling isn't in sight, and now it's up to him to reach it. He'll have every advantage to make it happen.

The rest of the list:

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 11

August, 17, 2012
8/17/12
11:00
AM CT
Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

Next up on the list:

No. 11: Carrington Byndom, CB, Texas

2011 numbers: Made 58 tackles, eight tackles for loss. Broke up 15 passes, intercepted two passes, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.

Most recent ranking: Byndom was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Byndom: Byndom's the Big 12's best corner and grabs the No. 11 spot on our list for his big 2011 season. Texas started 2011 with a big question mark at cornerback after the losses of Chykie Brown, Curtis Brown and Aaron Williams, but by the end of the season, it became a strength.

Never doubt Texas' status as the nation's resident DB U. Byndom and teammate Quandre Diggs, along with hard-hitting, versatile Kenny Vaccaro are carrying on that tradition. Byndom will absolutely erase receivers, and did so against Oklahoma State when he held the Pokes' Justin Blackmon, a two-time Biletnikoff winner, to just 48 yards on four catches. He won the team's Defensive Player of the Week award four times last year, and made one of the biggest plays of Texas' season when he intercepted Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill early in the second half, returning the pick 58 yards for a touchdown to swing the momentum of the eventual comeback win.

He broke up three passes that game, had seven tackles and added a tackle for loss. Expect more games like that in Byndom's future, and a possible spot in the top 10 of our postseason list. His upside is enormous after just one year of being a permanent starter.

The rest of the list:

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 13

August, 15, 2012
8/15/12
4:30
PM CT
Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

Next up on the list:

No. 13: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma

2011 numbers: Made 74 tackles (52 solo) and had 7.5 tackles for loss. Picked off four passes and made 4.5 sacks. Also forced a fumble and broke up three passes.

Most recent ranking: Jefferson was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Jefferson: No. 13 on this list feels low for Jefferson when it comes to total talent, but for Jefferson the production has to be there too. I expect that to be the case this year, and for Jefferson to make his case as a top 10 player, if not a contender for Defensive Player of the Year.

Why? He's moving back to his more natural position under new coordinator Mike Stoops. Jefferson will be patrolling the free safety spot instead of spending so much time at the nickel back spot. Teammates know that's where Jefferson's strength lies, and we'll see it on display this year. The Sooners have a solid replacement for him at nickel back in Joseph Ibiloye, and the Sooners move arguably their most talented defender to the spot where help is needed most.

The back of the defense was exposed far too often last season, and on big stages. Jefferson's move should plug that up, and give him more freedom to roam where he's far more comfortable. Jefferson shared the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year Award in 2010, but was relatively quiet last season. Three of his four interceptions came on consecutive possessions against Ball State.

This year, I hope you're not expecting the 5-foot-11, 212-pound California native to stay quiet for long.

The rest of the list:

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 14

August, 14, 2012
8/14/12
9:15
AM CT
Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

Next up on the list:

No. 14: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas

2011 numbers: Made 58 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Broke up three passes, forced two fumbles, recovered one.

Most recent ranking: Okafor was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Okafor: Admittedly, I'm not as high on Okafor as most. The Longhorns' senior defensive end won preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors, which I found shocking considering I don't believe Okafor is the best player at his position on his own team.

That said, he's still a huge talent and the Big 12's second-best defensive end. He's consistently disruptive and fits what you'd want out of an end at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds. The coaches made him a unanimous All-Big 12 selection last year, and he's certainly in position to do it again. Texas has an unbelievable defensive line full of talent, which means you're taking a big risk in double-teaming anyone. The Longhorns are five deep in the two-man rotation at defensive tackle, which will create plenty of room for Okafor to wreak havoc. He'll spend a whole lot of time in offensive backfields this season.

The rest of the list:

Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 16

August, 10, 2012
8/10/12
11:30
AM CT
Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

Next up on the list:

No. 16: Stansly Maponga, DE, TCU

2011 numbers: Made 55 tackles (33 solo), including 13.5 tackles for loss. Had nine sacks and forced five fumbles. Also broke up two passes.

Most recent ranking: Maponga was (obviously) unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Maponga: Maponga is a beast and far too few people who follow the Big 12 know about it. That'll change pretty quick. The 6-foot-2, 265-pounder from just outside Dallas is a mature junior who should prove as one of the most disruptive forces in the Big 12 by season's end.

Or so we think, anyway. He was a wrecking ball in the Mountain West, and he's still got to prove he can do it in the Big 12, but that's the case for pretty much every Horned Frog these days. Maponga earned first-team All-Mountain West honors after last season after finishing second in the league in sacks by just half a sack. He was third in the league in tackles for loss and his five forced fumbles ranked sixth nationally. That was enough to give him first-team All-Big 12 honors in the preseason, the only Frog to earn that designation.

With Tanner Brock off the team, Maponga is the most talented member of the Horned Frogs' defense, and finally, he'll have a much more suitable stage to prove it as the Frogs move back into big time college football.

The rest of the list:

    Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 17

    August, 9, 2012
    8/09/12
    9:50
    AM CT
    Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

    The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

    Next up on the list:

    No. 17: Brodrick Brown, CB, Oklahoma State

    2011 numbers: Made 68 tackles (59 solo), intercepted five passes and made four tackles for loss. Broke up 15 passes, recovered two fumbles against Baylor and returned them for a total of 47 yards.

    Most recent ranking: Brown was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

    Making the case for Brown: It's a fairly heated debate, but I put Brodrick Brown a little higher on this list than his teammate, Justin Gilbert. Gilbert has the more eye-popping physical attributes and the bigger upside. But for now, I'll take Brown's cover skills and toughness ahead of Gilbert's raw speed.

    It's close between the two, and don't be surprised if Gilbert surpasses his teammate by season's end, but Brown's proved his ability to go up against much bigger receivers at just 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, earning him his "Bulldog" nickname. He's tough and a big hitter for his size, earning him All-Big 12 honors last season. It's going to be a tough battle at the top to win those honors in 2012 with great talent in Stillwater, Austin and Norman, but Brown will be among a handful of cornerbacks contending to be the league's best.

    The rest of the list:
    Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't, and who lands where.

    The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

    Next up on the list:

    No. 19: Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas

    2011 numbers: Made 49 tackles (32 solo), three tackles for loss, broke up 19 passes and intercepted four passes. Also forced two fumbles. He returned 19 kicks for 371 yards (avg. 19.53 yards) and returned nine punts for 181 yards (avg. 20.11 yards).

    Most recent ranking: Diggs was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

    Making the case for Diggs: Diggs showed up early last spring and displayed a ton of potential. By fall, he made good on those hopes he could one day blossom into an All-American. Diggs, the younger brother of San Diego Charger and former Longhorn Quentin Jammer (a unanimous All-American in his day), stepped in as a true freshman and started 11 games, unheard of for the Longhorns.

    Along the way, he nabbed four picks to lead the team and finish in a tie for fourth place in the league. That included interceptions in comeback wins over BYU and Texas A&M, and another in a shutout win over California to close the season in the Holiday Bowl. His 19 PBUs were third-most in college football. And this guy's supposed to be a true freshman? Unbelievable.

    He'll return as a sophomore as one of the Big 12's best defensive backs, and the 5-foot-10, 200-pound Angleton, Texas native plays much bigger than his size, more than willing to challenge the bigger receivers across the Big 12.

    The rest of the list:
    Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't, and who lands where.

    The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

    Next up on the list:

    No. 20: Trey Millard, FB/TE/H-back, Oklahoma

    2011 numbers: Carried the ball 24 times for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Caught 13 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Made 16 tackles.

    Most recent ranking: Millard was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

    Making the case for Millard: Don't you dare look at Millard's modest stat line and say, "Huh? What's he doing on this list?"

    Millard's the personification of what the folks around the league like to call "a football player." Millard does a little bit of everything, but he's one of the league's toughest, complete players and the most versatile player on Oklahoma's roster.

    You've heard of the Belldozer, right? You may not know that Millard's maybe the biggest piece that makes it all work, the 6-foot-2, 256-pound battering ram that clears the way for Blake Bell, who scored 13 touchdowns out of the short-yardage formation last season.

    That's not all he did. Far from it.

    "Trey Millard is as good of a player as I've been around," Oklahoma offensive coordinator Josh Heupel told reporters at OU's media day this weekend. "He played three different positions last year."

    Millard may add a fourth this season. He's expected to play a little bit of tailback. The Sooners coaches want the ball in his hands more often.

    Millard, entering his junior season, mastered the fullback position and helped out the Sooners at tight end as well as H-back. When the new defensive coordinator takes notice within a few days, you know he's making a big impact, despite rarely touching the ball.

    "He's ‘The Slash'," Sooners coordinator Mike Stoops said this spring. "I don't know how he remembers it all, but he does."

    He remembers it, and then he goes out and does it. Better than just about anybody. Millard doesn't get enough glory around the league for what he's doing for the Sooners, but don't be surprised if that changes very soon.


    The rest of the list:
    Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't, and who lands where.

    The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

    Next up on the list:

    No. 21: Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor

    2011 numbers: Helped Baylor lead the Big 12 in total offense. Was third on the team with 70 knockdowns, and graded out at an average of 80.8 percent on the season.

    Most recent ranking: Richardson was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

    Making the case for Richardson: Versatility always gives a boost to any offensive lineman's stock, and Richardson's proving that this offseason. As a sophomore, he started at left tackle for all 13 games of Baylor's historic 2011 season, but he's on the move this offseason, shifting over to guard for his junior season.

    He started four games there and appeared in 12 during the 2010 season, but became a huge piece of one of the league's best offensive lines last season at tackle. Now, he's on the move again. Impressive stuff for the 6-foot-5, 335-pound Fort Worth, Texas native. Baylor has sent a string of offensive linemen to the NFL that's only getting longer. Jason Smith started it, but it's continued with Danny Watkins, J.D. Walton, Philip Blake and Robert T. Griffin.

    Expect Richardson to join that group soon. He earned All-Big 12 honorable mention last season, but he might state a case as the league's best offensive lineman by the time this season is done. Guarding the blind side for a Heisman winner is a bit more glamorous than playing guard for a relative unknown in new quarterback Nick Florence, but you're still going to get the same production out of the big man. Probably better.

    The rest of the list:

    Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 22

    August, 2, 2012
    8/02/12
    10:15
    AM CT
    Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

    The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

    Next up on the list:

    No. 22: Josh Boyce, WR, TCU

    2011 numbers: Caught 61 passes for 998 yards and nine touchdowns.

    Most recent ranking: Boyce was (obviously) unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

    Making the case for Boyce: I remember well the first time I saw Boyce up close. He took over in the fourth quarter against Baylor in the season opener to key a comeback, even though the Horned Frogs' defense couldn't close the deal against RG3 & Co. The Bears couldn't cover him and he finished with nine catches for 96 yards and a touchdown, followed up by another jump ball for the two-point conversion.

    Boyce finished with 998 yards to lead the Mountain West Conference in receiving, but consider this: His QB, Casey Pachall, attempted just 343 passes. That would have ranked seventh in the Big 12, ahead of only Kansas' Jordan Webb, Kansas State's Collin Klein and Iowa State's QB duo, which combined for 479 attempts. If Pachall throws it more this year (And trust me, he'll have to. A lot.), expect Boyce's numbers to balloon alongside those attempts. That Boyce nearly topped 1,000 yards on that few of targets says plenty about his skill, but his targets are about to go up. So, I presume, will his stock as one of the Big 12's best receivers. Prepare for a show in Fort Worth this season.

    The rest of the list:

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