Dallas Colleges: Chris McAllister

Big 12 undrafted free-agent signings

May, 12, 2014
May 12
4:30
PM CT
Seventeen Big 12 players heard their names called during the 2014 NFL draft. Many other Big 12 alums will have a chance at the next level as undrafted free agents.

Below is a list of undrafted players who reportedly have agreed to free agent deals. This is not a final list, as teams are still working to sign undrafted free agents. But these are the players we know of so far.

Baylor
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas State
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
TCU
Texas
Texas Tech
West Virginia

Season report card: Baylor

January, 6, 2014
Jan 6
3:00
PM CT
Baylor had one of the best seasons in school history, winning 11 games for the first time, making its first BCS bowl and winning the Big 12 for the first time. Those accomplishments easily could have been forgotten with the Bears' horrible showing in their 52-42 loss to UCF in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, but this season will be remembered fondly in Waco, Texas.

Offense: A+

[+] EnlargePetty
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesBryce Petty led Baylor to a nation's-best 52.4 points per game.
Is there anything higher than an A-plus? What more could Bryce Petty & Co. do? The Bears averaged 52.4 points per game, 618.8 yards per game and 7.49 yards per play as their offense led the Big 12 in nearly every offensive category. During his first season as the starting quarterback for Baylor, Petty earned Big 12 offensive player of the year honors and was the driving force behind the Bears' title run.

The running backs were superb, with Lache Seastrunk, Shock Linwood and Glasco Martin each finishing with at least 500 rushing yards, helping Baylor lead the conference in rushing. The receivers were just as good, with Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese ranking among the Big 12’s top receivers and Levi Norwood, Corey Coleman and Clay Fuller providing quality depth.

The foundation was the offensive line, led by Lombardi Award finalist Cyril Richardson. Their offensive front allowed Petty’s accuracy to draw praise, Seastrunk’s shiftiness to frustrate defenders and Reese’s deep speed to scare Big 12 secondaries.

Defense: A-

The defense was the biggest reason the Bears won their first Big 12 title. In recent history, the Baylor offense has been good consistently, always explosive. This season, the defense held up its end of the bargain, finishing among the top 10 nationally in yards per play at 4.75, ranking ninth among FBS teams.

Safety Ahmad Dixon was the emotional leader of the defense and set a tone for its aggressive approach with his physical presence in the secondary. Cornerback K.J. Morton was a playmaker on the outside and linebackers Eddie Lackey and Bryce Hager were versatile tackling machines in the middle of the field.

The defensive line did its part as well, leading the Big 12 with 99 tackles for loss and recording 31 sacks. Defensive ends Shawn Oakman and Chris McAllister were active throughout the season and defensive tackle Beau Blackshear was an underrated presence in the middle.

The lone reason the Bears don’t get an A-plus was their performance in Baylor’s two losses. They allowed 594 yards to Oklahoma State and 556 yards to UCF. As good as Baylor's defense was in 2013, it took a step backward on the big stage against the Cowboys and Knights.

Special teams: C

Baylor’s special teams weren’t special; they were average. The Bears finished ninth in the Big 12 in field goal percentage, seventh in kickoff returns and eighth in punt returns. Baylor did have two punt returns and one kickoff return for touchdowns this season, but its special teams units didn’t win games. But the Bears didn’t need their special teams do to anything but operate efficiently and allow their offense and defense to perform.

Overall: A+

The Bears will receive rings that say "Big 12 champions" on them. What more could you ask for from a team that opened the season picked to finish fifth in the conference?

Baylor defense makes statement against OU

November, 8, 2013
11/08/13
2:25
AM CT

WACO, Texas -- The Phil Bennett who held court with reporters late Thursday night was telling stories and laughing and glad-handing anyone who approached.

He looked like a proud papa, and not just because of his bright yellow V-neck sweater.

"I told the kids today: This is a validating game," Bennett said. "Validation of who we are and who we want to be."

The only thing that shocked the veteran defensive coordinator about his Baylor defense on Thursday night, in a 41-12 victory over No. 10 Oklahoma, might've been the ice-cold bath safety Ahmad Dixon and his teammates dumped on Bennett's head in the game's final minute.

He reacted with stunned, wide-eyed silence as Dixon and the rest of the Bears defenders jumped and screamed. But Bennett at least can appreciate their affection.

"After the way I work 'em, it's amazing they even speak to me," he joked later.

But he has people talking about his defense. The Bears aced their first serious test of this 8-0 season.

The game could've swung in the opposite direction quickly on this night. Baylor's offense got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, and its defense was put in some tough spots early.

[+] EnlargeBlake Bell
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsThe Baylor defense hounded Oklahoma's Blake Bell into 15-for-35 passing with two interceptions.
The Sooners had four chances to score from 7 yards out after three Baylor personal-foul penalties. Blake Bell was stuffed on fourth and goal at the 1.

They got another opportunity for six points minutes later, with first and 10 at the 12, and settled for a field goal.

And on their next possession, the Sooners got three plays from the Baylor 31. Three incompletions and another field-goal attempt, this one missed.

When this Baylor team gives an opponent those kinds of chances, especially at home, touchdowns are a must. Oklahoma could've gone up 17-3 midway through the second quarter, putting real pressure on a team that doesn't have much experience playing from behind.

"You're not going to come here, get one touchdown and think you're going to win," OU coach Bob Stoops said.

Those goal-line stops proved to be the game-changer. Baylor put up 21 points in the second quarter and was never tested the rest of the way.

"I feel like that really set the tone," Baylor cornerback K.J. Morton said. "I feel like we had our back against the wall. We went out there on third down and were like, 'Come on. Everybody come together and do their job.'

"We practice really hard on the goal line, so everything we saw we'd worked on in practice. We already knew what they were going to do before they did it."

That's the kind of confidence Bennett has instilled in this defense. The starters have given up only nine touchdowns in eight games. They stopped the Sooners run game from the start, allowing 87 yards on 34 rushes. Oklahoma went 4-for-17 on third downs.

And this was not another cupcake opponent for Baylor. It wasn't a top-50 offense entering the night, but it was one that had nearly two weeks to prepare an attack that would expose this much-improved unit. Didn't happen.

"I think we just showed we can play defense and compete with any team in this conference and the nation," BU defensive end Chris McAllister said.

Bennett believes his defense really bought into that belief after a 35-25 win at Kansas State, perhaps the unit's worst defensive showing of the season. A new standard was set for what his players were willing to accept.

"We're taking it one game at a time," Bennett said. "If you do that, every game gets better and bigger. I do believe we can play with anybody in the country. Time will tell."

This is his third year in Waco. The first two, he said, required some of the best coaching he's ever done in a career that began in 1979. And that was just to build a foundation, to build trust and experience and develop leaders.

Now eight of his starters are juniors or seniors, and the depth behind them has never been better. Now Baylor is really playing some defense.

"We're not a tradition," Bennett said, "but we're going to be here awhile, the way this thing is going."

They had the attention of the nation on Thursday night, of folks skeptical that their improvements would hold up against a top-10 team.

"Keep doubting us," Dixon said. "We'll earn your respect sooner or later."

They might not convince everyone else until later, but on Thursday they at least got the Sooners.

Bowl win sparks Baylor defense

October, 23, 2013
10/23/13
2:00
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Confidence in Baylor’s offense hasn't been hard to come by in recent seasons. Robert Griffin III, Kendall Wright, Josh Gordon and Terrance Williams are just a few of the former Bears making plays for NFL offenses every Sunday.

[+] EnlargeShawn Oakman
John Rivera/Icon SMIDefensive end Shawn Oakman, who transferred from Penn State, has helped the Bears' defense this season.
Confidence in the Bears’ defense? Well, that’s been a longer journey but one that was kick-started ten months ago. Its success this season has been a surprise to some but it has been rooted in a four-game winning streak to finish the 2012 season including a 49-26 win over UCLA (Or if you listen to the Bears, a 49-19 win). That stretch, particularly the victory over the Bruins, helped give the Bears the confidence they could get it done this season.

And they have.

Overshadowed by an offense that is averaging 64.7 points and 714.3 yards per game, BU’s defense has more than held its own this season. The Bears lead the conference in points allowed (16.2), yards per play (4.25), yards per rush (3.0), sack percentage (10.5 percent) and red zone efficiency (38.9 percent).

“That [UCLA] game basically showed the defense what we are capable of doing when we have a game plan and execute it for four quarters,” defensive end Chris McAllister said. “We feel like we played pretty well that game.”

In some ways it was a foreshadowing of the 2013 version of the Bears as they cruised to a 35-10 halftime lead while their offense averaged almost 8 yards per play and their defense held the Bruins to 3.4 yards per play.

“We had a vision and a plan heading into that bowl game and for after that bowl game,” running back Lache Seastrunk said. “We always had confidence and swagger, you just have to go into the game and play one play at a time and we’ve been doing that, especially after that bowl game, to take it a day at a time to get where we want to be.”

The Bears offense in 2012, much like this season, had been consistently productive. Yet when its defense found more consistency, they reeled off four straight wins to end the year.

“There were ups and downs throughout the season,” McAllister said. “But to have a string of games at the end of the season where we played good defense and to cap it off in the Holiday Bowl the way we did, it showed we can play defense for a stretch, more than one game. That motivated guys to try to do that for the whole season and keep that momentum going through this season. We saw that if we play defense like that, we have a real good chance to achieve our goal of winning the Big 12.”

That confidence carried over into the offseason and helped the Bears enter summer workouts with the belief that no goal was out of their reach this fall.

“It was humble yet confident around here,” McAllister said of the vibe around the program this summer. “We knew we had enough [talent] to achieve all our goals this season. We knew we had to work hard, knew it was not going to be given to us but at the same time we were very confident that it’s not something that’s impossible, it’s something we can do.”

The impressive win over UCLA, the Pac-12 South champions, also sent an early message to the nation that the Bears could be on the rise heading into 2013.

“I think people noticed that we’re changing the culture here at Baylor,” McAllister said. “This is becoming a really good football team and one that people should take notice of.”

All of this matters because, as good as the offense is, there will be moments when the game rests on the shoulders of the defense. Baylor's 35-25 win over Kansas State on Oct. 12 was an early example as the Wildcats took the field with a three-point deficit and the opportunity to win the game with just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter before Ahmad Dixon’s interception sealed the Bears’ win.

“The game is on us regardless of what the offense does,” McAllister said. “That’s how we look at it and how we approach things.”

Baylor season preview

August, 20, 2013
8/20/13
11:30
AM CT
Today, we break down Baylor, which finished the 2012 season as one of the hottest teams in the country.

BAYLOR BEARS

Coach: Art Briles (67-58 overall, 10 seasons; 33-30 at Baylor, five seasons)

2012 record: 8-5 (4-5 Big 12)

Key losses: QB Nick Florence, WR Terrance Williams, WR Lanear Sampson, C Ivory Wade, S Mike Hicks

Key returnees: RB Lache Seastrunk, RB Glasco Martin, WR Tevin Reese, TE Jordan Najvar, G Cyril Richardson, DE Chris McAllister, LB Eddie Lackey, LB Bryce Hager, S Ahmad Dixon

Newcomer to watch: The Bears return two starters at defensive end, but Penn State transfer Shawn Oakman is going to be a factor. Oakman is massive at 6-foot-9, 270 pounds. Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett calls him “violent,” which is not the worst thing for a D-end to be termed.

[+] EnlargeBaylor's Lache Seastrunk
Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY SportsBaylor ran away from opponents at the end of 2012, and running back Lache Seastrunk is back as the Big 12 preseason offensive player of the year.
Biggest games in 2013: Two games loom large on Baylor’s schedule. If the Bears can escape Manhattan, Kan., on Oct. 12 with a win, they have a very good chance to be undefeated going into a Thursday night clash with Oklahoma in Waco on Nov. 7. Baylor also plays host to Texas in the regular-season finale Dec. 7.

Biggest question mark heading into 2013: The Bears had the second-worst defense statistically in college football last season. But the defense in late November was a far cry from the one that got torched for 70 points at West Virginia in September. During the Bears’ four-game winning streak to end the season, they forced eight interceptions and 18 tackles for loss.

With all the returning firepower on offense, the Bears are going to score points. But can they keep playing solid defense? That answer will determine whether Baylor can finally emerge as a viable Big 12 title contender.

Forecast: Few teams finished the 2012 season hotter than Baylor did. The Bears routed No. 1 Kansas State, outlasted Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, then annihilated UCLA in the Holiday Bowl.

Going into this season, the Bears feature the Big 12 preseason offensive player of the year (Seastrunk), return seven defensive starters and have a favorable start to the schedule. Maybe it’s time to take Baylor seriously as a Big 12 title contender. ESPN’s new advanced stats metric, EPA (expected points added), certainly appears to.

According to EPA, which accounts for the opposing unit's strength, Baylor had one of the top two offenses in college football in 2012, along with Texas A&M. The Bears also rapidly improved their defensive EPA late in the season by forcing negative plays against top-tier offenses.

There’s no reason Baylor can’t roll the momentum of last season into this one, either.

After topping 100 yards in five of his final six games in 2012, Seastrunk enters this season a Heisman hopeful. He and Martin, who added 15 touchdowns last season, supply the Bears with a lethal one-two punch out of the backfield.

The receiving corps appears loaded, too. Williams is gone, but Reese seems primed to take over as a viable No. 1 threat. Speedy freshmen Robbie Rhodes and Corey Coleman have been dynamic so far through fall camp, too.

The only unproven part of the offense is quarterback Bryce Petty. But Briles is confident Petty can keep his offense humming. Petty has prototypical size (6-foot-3, 230 pounds), an NFL arm, and three years in Briles’ system learning from Robert Griffin III and Florence. What is a reasonable expectation for Petty? Briles answered, “To break every Baylor record there is offensively.”

If Petty is as good as Briles advertises -- and the Bears keep playing opportunistic defense -- Baylor will be a force to be reckoned with. And a legit conference title threat.

The Big 12's sack masters in 2013

May, 29, 2013
5/29/13
10:30
AM CT
Double digits are something of a benchmark for pass-rushers, but we won't limit this list just to players who will be hitting double digits.

We talked top rushers, passers, receivers and tacklers this month, and I'll take a look at the guys fighting to get into the offensive backfield today. Here are my picks for the five best pass-rushers in the Big 12 for 2013:

1. Devonte Fields, TCU: Fields isn't short on question marks. His two-game suspension to start the season might cost TCU a huge win against LSU and isn't becoming of a future team leader. He also had just 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in his final six games after a huge start to last season. At this time, though, I'd like to remind everyone that Fields has been on TCU's campus and part of the team for less than a year. He's way ahead of everybody else in his class, and even if he's still got some things to prove over the rest of his career, you can't argue with production. He's No. 1.

2. Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas: Jeffcoat doesn't have the hardware of the man directly above him on this list, but for me, Jeffcoat is a more gifted pass-rusher who has been hampered by injuries. He definitely has a chance to be better than Fields this season. Jeffcoat can't seem to stay healthy for an entire season, but if he finally does, he's going to make a huge impact for the Longhorns and be on the short list for the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year.

3. Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech: Hyder came out of nowhere last season after an average 2011 to be one of the Big 12's best pass-rushers. He earned a bit of starting experience in 2010, and he's ready for what could be a huge season as a third-year starter and senior in 2013. The 6-foot-2, 281-pounder had 5.5 sacks last season and was fifth in the league with 14 tackles for loss. He'll be a lynchpin of a new defense in a new era of Texas Tech football.

4. Dartwan Bush, Texas Tech: Bush isn't far behind as Hyder's partner in crime. The 6-foot-1, 256-pound defensive end equaled Hyder's sack total last season with 5.5. He also added 12 tackles for loss. He had multiple tackles for loss in three games, and a tackle for loss in seven consecutive games. Bush helps Tech boast one of the Big 12's best overall defensive lines after the Red Raiders struggled along the defensive front for much of the past few seasons.

5. Chris McAllister, Baylor: McAllister is an underrated player in the league with almost no name recognition, but he's coming off a great first year as a starter in 2012, when he had six sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, six pass-breakups and two forced fumbles. His six sacks are second-most among returning Big 12 players, behind only Fields. He has a ton of quickness at 6-foot-3 and 255 pounds, and has crazy-good instincts for getting his hands up and batting down passes.

6. Tyler Johnson, Oklahoma State: I'm taking a bit of a flyer here on Johnson, but I love his athleticism, instincts and nose for the ball. He was a one-man wrecking crew in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and he might be the best first-year starting defender in the Big 12 this season. Like former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, Johnson, now 27, played baseball after high school. The 6-foot-1, 245-pound defensive end didn't have a start in 2012, but had two sacks and two forced fumbles in the bowl game, finishing with six tackles for loss and an interception.

Baylor Bears spring wrap

May, 1, 2013
5/01/13
11:15
AM CT
2012 record: 8-5
2012 Big 12 record: 4-5
Returning starters: Offense: 6; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners: OL Cyril Richardson, RB Lache Seastrunk, S Ahmad Dixon, WR Tevin Reese, LB Eddie Lackey, DE Chris McAllister, LB Bryce Hager, K Aaron Jones

Key losses: WR Terrance Williams, QB Nick Florence, WR Lanear Sampson, S Mike Hicks, C Ivory Wade, DT Gary Mason Jr.

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Passing: Nick Florence (4,309 yards)
Rushing: Lache Seastrunk* (1,012 yards)
Receiving: Terrance Williams (1,832 yards)
Tackles: Bryce Hager* (124)
Sacks: Chris McAllister* (6)
Interceptions: Eddie Lackey* (4)

Spring answers:

1. Bryce is the guy. It was going to take a lot for Bryce Petty to lose his starting spot, but he looked like a guy who suited up for his fourth spring this year and cemented his status as the heir apparent to a crazy-good quarterback tradition under Art Briles. He'll follow Robert Griffin III and Florence, who both set school records for passing yards.

2. Defense changes its identity. The Bears didn't have a ton of speed in the secondary last season, and as a result, relied heavily on zone and didn't play a lot of tight coverage. To start fixing the problem, Dixon moved back to traditional safety, and as the defense's most physically skilled talent, that was a wise decision. Baylor wants to play more man and play tighter this year, and we'll see if it pays off in the fall.

3. Offense finds its playmakers. Williams is gone and so is Sampson, two of the team's top three receivers. Reese returns, but Antwan Goodley and Jay Lee emerged to win starting spots this spring, and both look like big-time targets for one of college football's best offenses. Count on those guys and Clay Fuller to keep the tradition going.

Fall questions

1. Can the defense prove itself? The Bears were definitely one of the best defenses in the Big 12 over the last month of the season. The same unit, however, was also a big reason why Baylor limped to an 0-5 start in conference 12 play before ripping off four wins to end the season. The defensive line should be improved and young talents like Javonte Magee and Shawn Oakman could make names for themselves this fall.

2. Is the offensive line deep enough? Baylor's history under Briles at this position makes me pretty confident, and the Bears have a solid starting five. But losing Troy Baker this spring is a big knock, and the Bears only had 10 healthy offensive linemen this spring. Come fall, more injuries could force the Bears to force inexperienced players into the rotation. This was probably the biggest concern for Briles all spring.

3. Just how good is Petty? He looks good for now, and was productive and impressive during the spring. That's also the spring. RG3 and Florence broke school records for passing yards in consecutive seasons, though, so the bar is sky-high. There's every reason to believe in Petty, but expectations are high and reaching them won't be easy. The good news is he has a huge talent in Seastrunk and a solid receiving corps around him to support his efforts.

Breaking down spring camp: Baylor

March, 1, 2013
3/01/13
9:00
AM CT
Baylor kicks off its spring practice later today. Let's take a closer look at what you can expect.

Schedule: The first of Baylor's practices will be today, concluding with a spring game in Waco on April 6. The Bears usually hold a controlled scrimmage at the practice field as part of a day-long festival, rather than a game at Floyd Casey Stadium.

What's new: Not a whole lot beyond the loss of skill position talent, which is welcome news for the Bears. There weren't any staff changes for Baylor this offseason, and we'll talk a bit more later about the factors that could make Baylor a dangerous team carrying the Big 12's longest winning streak (four games) into the 2013 season. No one else in the league has a streak of more than one game.

New faces: Baylor is welcoming four players onto the practice field this spring as early enrollees from its 2013 recruiting class. Junior college transfer Gus Penning brings some size to the tight end spot at 6-foot-5 and 245 yards, and he's joined by quarterback Chris Johnson, the nation's No. 5 dual-threat passer. Receiver Kiante' Griffin and linebacker Brian Nance are also suiting up this spring.

Getting defensive: This is Year 3 under Phil Bennett, but we saw some major, major improvement late in 2012. The Bears had a similar jump in 2011, but it didn't stick through 2012. The pieces are in place with guys like Chris McAllister, Bryce Hager, Eddie Lackey and Ahmad Dixon, but every time I visit Waco in the spring, the defense gets worked over. We may get an idea of their progress this spring in scrimmages and workouts. Progress has to happen now if Baylor's ever going to take the leap to Big 12 title contender.

Question marks: Does Baylor have enough firepower at receiver to keep its offense rolling? We'll talk about quarterbacks later, but the Bears lose Terrance Williams and Lanear Sampson, and I don't necessarily buy Tevin Reese as a ton more than a deep threat who stretches the field. Can guys like Levi Norwood or Antwan Goodley become big threats underneath? Look out for tight ends Jordan Najvar and Jerod Monk to play a bigger role in the offense, too. They've got tons of experience.

Breaking out: LT Spencer Drango. He had a great first season on Baylor's offensive line, but look out for the former blue-chip recruit to start looking like one of the Big 12's best offensive linemen alongside Cyril Richardson. He's already solid, but he may blossom into a star this offseason.

Much to prove: RB Lache Seastrunk. He turned heads and produced headlines when he predicted he'd win the Heisman next season, but Baylor's got a solid group of backs and we'll see how he handles the bulk of the first-team reps and the attention that comes with his bold proclamation. He's got the skills to back it up, but it'll be interesting to see what kind of tone he strikes in interviews this spring.

All eyes on: QB Bryce Petty. If Baylor's going to continue this run, it simply has to be excellent at quarterback. I'm not ready to completely write off Seth Russell, but I love what I've seen from Petty in my visits to practice in Waco the past couple springs. He's got a big, NFL-quarterback body at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, and a big arm, but decision-making and ability to move the offense is something you can't tell until it's time to take over the team. That time is now for Petty.

Offseason to-do list: Baylor Bears

February, 13, 2013
2/13/13
2:09
PM CT
Each season, there's lots of turnover and change for every college program. What do the Big 12 teams need to do before next fall? Let's close the series with the Bears down in Waco.

1. Shore up the defense. Baylor saw some major growth late in the season, beginning with an eye-popping dominant performance against Kansas State. Phil Bennett's defense brings back a lot of talent from last year's team in linebackers Eddie Lackey and Bryce Hager, as well as talented safety Ahmad Dixon and defensive lineman Chris McAllister. The pieces are in place for some growth that would help Baylor make a lot more noise than it did in last year's eight-win season. You know about the offense, but developing and improving the defense over the offseason will be huge for this team's hopes in 2013.

2. Figure out what it has at quarterback. I think there's tons of promise ahead of Bryce Petty, but you never quite know for sure. You can't quite count out Seth Russell, who hailed from the same town as Nick Florence, but I'd be very surprised if Petty isn't clearly the guy once spring hits full speed. The bar is really high, though, after the last two seasons have seen Baylor's school record for passing yards fall. What can Petty do? What in this offense suits him best? How much do Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin need to carry the load while the junior gets used to handling this high-powered offense? Baylor needs to get a feel for that during the spring.

3. Find some help for Tevin Reese. Baylor's never had a shortage of weapons in this offense, but it needs to find some guys to fill in. The receivers aren't quite ready-made to step into a prime role like Terrance Williams was from 2011 to 2012. Reese is speedy, but he needs more help from the receivers underneath and in the intermediate routes in this offense. Baylor needs to find weapons, but incoming freshman Robbie Rhodes may make an impact come fall, too.

More offseason to-do lists:

Postseason position rankings: Defensive line

February, 5, 2013
2/05/13
11:30
AM CT
We're back ranking the top 10 players at positions across the Big 12. Today, we'll turn our eyes to the defensive lines across the Big 12. Here's what you've missed so far:

Here's what you've missed so far:
Let's get to it.

1. Devonte Fields, TCU: You could make a case for either of these two guys, and Fields wasn't as productive in conference play, but Fields' raw talent is eye-popping. I give him the No. 1 spot on this list after leading the league with 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.

2. Meshak Williams, Kansas State: Williams' motor runs higher than anyone else's in this league, and the juco transfer made a ton of the talent he was given to win the Big 12's Defensive Lineman of the Year Award. He was second in the league with 10.5 sacks and added 15.5 tackles for loss.

3. Alex Okafor, Texas: Okafor finished his career in unbelievable fashion, making 4.5 sacks and dominating Texas' Alamo Bowl win over Oregon State. That jolted him into the Big 12 title with 12.5 sacks and he was second in the league with 16.5 sacks. His career has been a bit up and down, but this was a fitting crescendo to a big talent.

4. Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State: Barnett was the league's best interior defensive lineman this year, constantly getting a push and generally being a handful for offensive lines. He fixed his early-season penalty issues and finished with nine tackles for loss.

5. Jake McDonough, Iowa State: McDonough wasn't too far behind. He was a breakout star in the middle for Iowa State this season, pushing his way to two sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss. You can't grade interior linemen on numbers, but watch Iowa State's defense sometime. McDonough freed up a lot of space for the rest of the defense, one of the league's most underrated.

6. Adam Davis, Kansas State: Davis doesn't have the name recognition around the league that Williams did, but he was solid on the other side of the line, ranking fourth in the league with six sacks and eighth in the league with 11.5 sacks. K-State's defense was one of the Big 12's best last year. The D-line was a huge reason why.

7. Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech: Hyder was a breakout star this season for the much-improved Tech defense. He was fifth in the league with 14 tackles for loss and seventh with 5.5 sacks. The 6-foot-2, 281-pounder is versatile along the defensive line and could be due for a big 2013.

8. Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas: Jeffcoat's junior year came to a sad end when he injured his pectoral and underwent surgery, but even with the abbreviated season, he still had four sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss in just six games. Ridiculous. He could be a top 10 pick next April after electing to return to Texas for his senior season in 2013.

9. Stansly Maponga, TCU: Maponga was a little underwhelming this year, but still turned in a solid effort when you look from a wide angle and not from the high expectations he brought in as the Frogs' only preseason All-Big 12 selection and an All-Mountain West first-teamer. He battled injuries all year and finished with four sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss.

10. David King, Oklahoma: Maximus was mighty for the Sooners this season, who needed him to do a lot. Injuries and suspensions forced him to move all over the place on the defensive line. He was inside, outside and every other possible side. He finished with 2.5 sacks this season.

Honorable mention: Dartwan Bush, Texas Tech; Vai Lutui, Kansas State; Chris McAllister, Baylor; Chucky Hunter, TCU

The All-Big 12 Bowl Team

January, 10, 2013
1/10/13
11:00
AM CT
The Big 12 had nine teams in bowl games this season, and here is the best of the best in the Big 12's postseason. Let's get to it.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Brendan Maloney/USA TODAY SportsDavid Ash's big plays fueled Texas' comeback against Oregon State.
QB: David Ash, Texas: He edges out Clint Chelf because of his game-changing plays in the Longhorns' win against Oregon State. Ash had the best play of the entire bowl season with a crazy escape and acrobatic touchdown pass to Johnathan Gray, and he hit Marquise Goodwin on a 36-yard bomb to put the Longhorns ahead in the final minutes. He finished 21-of-33 with 241 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 22 yards and a score.

RB: Lache Seastrunk, Baylor: Seastrunk helped Baylor rout UCLA with 138 yards and a score on 16 carries in the Bears' Holiday Bowl win.

RB: Glasco Martin IV, Baylor: How many rushers did the Big 12 have this bowl season who had at least 95 yards? Two, and both played for Baylor. Martin scored three touchdowns in the Holiday Bowl and carried the ball 21 times for 98 yards. Heck of a night for the Bears backs.

WR: Darrin Moore, Texas Tech: Moore was the most consistent receiver in the bowl season with 11 catches for 84 yards, keeping the chains moving for the Red Raiders in their Meineke Car Care Bowl win against Minnesota.

WR: Stedman Bailey, West Virginia: Despite playing in a snowstorm, Bailey had the best performance of any Big 12 receiver. He caught eight balls for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It wasn't enough to get the Pinstripe Bowl win, but no other Mountaineer scored a touchdown.

WR: Marquise Goodwin, Texas: The track star's touches were limited, but he had a huge impact. His 36-yard grab with 2:24 to play proved to be the game winner, and he finished with four catches for 68 yards. He also had one carry -- which he turned into a 64-yard touchdown, looking as fast as any player in college football while streaking to the end zone.

TE: Ernst Brun Jr., Iowa State: Brun caught four passes for 102 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown, to get the first-quarter party started for the Cyclones, which scored 17 points in the quarter. The rest of the game was forgettable, but Brun had one of the longest plays of Iowa State's season.

OL: Cyril Richardson, Baylor: The Bears' left guard was a big reason why Baylor had so much success running the ball. Baylor racked up 306 yards on the ground against UCLA.

OL: Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State: Purdue's Kawann Short is a stud and arguably the team's best player, but Taylor helped Oklahoma State rack up 58 points and helped hold the Boilermakers defensive tackle to just one tackle and one sack. Short had minimal impact throughout the game.

OL: LaAdrian Waddle, Texas Tech: The Red Raiders ran the ball well -- on the few occasions they did -- and Seth Doege had plenty of time. Waddle was a big reason why for both.

OL: Lane Johnson, Oklahoma: Texas A&M wrecking ball Damontre Moore declared for the NFL draft before the Cotton Bowl, but credit Johnson at tackle, who helped hold him to five tackles, one tackle for loss and zero sacks, despite Landry Jones throwing 48 passes.

OL: Ivory Wade, Baylor: Those 306 yards rushing for the Bears didn't come easy. Most of them came on the interior, and Wade was a solid presence in the middle of the line.

DEFENSE

DL: Chris McAllister, Baylor: He was one of a handful of guys to hold UCLA's Johnathan Franklin to 34 yards on 14 carries, had five tackles, including two sacks, and batted down a pass to help keep UCLA's passing game grounded.

DL: Alex Okafor, Texas: Okafor is my defensive MVP of the Big 12 bowl season. He gave Oregon State's offensive line nightmares and helped the Longhorns stage a late comeback with 4.5 sacks, five tackles for loss and eight stops. He also forced a fumble.

DL: Meshak Williams, Kansas State: The Wildcats had a rough night against Oregon, but Williams played pretty well with nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.

DL: Terrance Lloyd, Baylor: Lloyd was part of the Baylor gang who helped UCLA have its worst running game of the season. He had four tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack. No zone read for you.

LB: Terence Garvin, West Virginia: Garvin was everywhere for the West Virginia defense, which largely struggled in a blowout loss to Syracuse. He forced a fumble, recovered a fumble, broke up a pass, had two sacks, made three tackles for loss and had 15 tackles.

LB: Tyler Johnson, Oklahoma State: Johnson blew up what Purdue likes to refer to as its "passing game." He made six tackles, had two sacks and forced two fumbles, including a huge hit on Purdue quarterback Robert Marve.

LB: Eddie Lackey, Baylor: Lackey was another part of Baylor's defense that put together one of its best games of the season. He made 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and five tackles.

DB: Jason Verrett, TCU: Most of Michigan State's night was frustrating in the passing game before some late success, and Verrett was a big reason for those struggles. He broke up two passes, made a tackle for loss and had 12 tackles.

DB: D.J. Johnson, Texas Tech: Johnson made 14 tackles and is on this team for one of the biggest plays of Texas Tech's season. The defense hadn't forced a turnover since Oct. 20, but Johnson picked off a Gophers pass in the final minute with Minnesota driving and the game tied. He returned it 39 yards, helping to set up the winning field goal as time expired.

DB: Jeremy Reeves, Iowa State: Reeves returned a Cody Green interception 31 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter of the Liberty Bowl loss. He had six tackles with a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.

DB: Daytawion Lowe, Oklahoma State: No second-half comebacks for Purdue. Lowe opened the half with a 37-yard fumble return for a score and made seven tackles with half a tackle for loss.

SPECIALISTS

KR: Jakeem Grant, Texas Tech: This one is pretty simple. Grant returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score, giving Texas Tech a 7-3 lead early in the first quarter of its Meineke Car Care Bowl win.

PR: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State: Purdue faked a punt to keep its opening drive alive but punted on its next set of downs. The always-shifty Stewart delivered a 64-yard punt return, giving Oklahoma State the ball on the Purdue 19-yard line. The Cowboys scored for a 7-0 lead to kick off the Heart of Dallas Bowl rout.

K: Jaden Oberkrom, TCU: He edges out Texas Tech's Ryan Bustin, who kicked a 28-yard winner, for making all three of his attempts, including a crazy 53-yarder for a 16-14 lead with 2:42 to play. He also made kicks of 47 and 31 yards.

P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State: He narrowly edges out Oklahoma's Tress Way (five punts, three inside 20, long of 58 yards, average 49.4 yards) for this award after pinning Purdue inside its 20-yard line on two of his three punts. He boomed a 65-yarder and averaged nearly 53 yards on his three punts. He was more valuable for Oklahoma State because field position mattered to Purdue. It didn't to Texas A&M.

Video: Big 12 On the Spot, Week 4

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
2:03
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David Ubben says Baylor's defensive ends are on the spot this week against Louisiana-Monroe.

Big 12 position rankings: Linebackers

July, 2, 2011
7/02/11
11:00
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We've taken a look at the Big 12 offensive skill positions in our position rankings, and we'll circle back along to the lines eventually. For now, though, we'll flip to the defensive side of the ball, starting with linebackers.

There's a lot of turnover in this space, and the bottom half was pretty hard to sort out. We haven't seen a lot of these new faces on the field for extended periods of time, so it's somewhat of a crapshoot. I don't feel like there's a wide gap between teams 7-10, and each of those squads have at least one linebacker who could be due for a huge year and shoot them up this list.

I see Nos. 1-3 possibly being great, with dropoffs before the No. 4 and No. 7 teams.

Also, if you missed them, here are the other position rankings we've done so far.
So, without further ado, here's how I ranked the linebackers. (Nickel backs are included in this list, hybrid DE/LBs will be with defensive lines)

[+] EnlargeTravis Lewis
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireOklahoma's Travis Lewis is the Big 12's top returning defender.
1. Oklahoma -- The Sooners boast the Big 12's top returning defender in Travis Lewis, who has notched at least 100 tackles in each of the past three seasons, and he'll be joined by the Big 12's co-Defensive Freshman of the Year, Tony Jefferson. Tom Wort and Corey Nelson are both loaded with potential, and will fill out the rotation, after the starter at middle linebacker, Austin Box, died on May 19.

2. Iowa State -- The Cyclones boast two of the Big 12's best in Jake Knott and A.J. Klein, who combined for more tackles than any two teammates in the Big 12 last season. They had 241 stops, and, after healing from a broken leg suffered midseason last year, Matt Tau'fo'ou should join them at middle linebacker.

3. Texas -- Texas' offense may be lacking, but the defense will be strong once again, led by two others likely to earn spots as some of the Big 12's best. Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho were Texas' top two tacklers last year with 187 stops, and return as likely captains come fall camp. Texas' depth chart is wide open, but look for former blue-chip recruit Jordan Hicks to emerge as another star this year, despite being forced to sit out spring camp with a broken foot. Dravannti Johnson played some defensive end last year at the Buck position for the Longhorns, but may find his way back to linebacker. Tevin Jackson was ineligible last year, but he's ready for 2011, and could make an impact.

4. Oklahoma State -- The Cowboys "Star" linebacker is occupied by co-Defensive Freshman of the Year Shaun Lewis, and sophomore Caleb Lavey is charged with replacing Orie Lemon, the leader of last year's defense. Oklahoma State has questions on the weak side, but LeRon Furr and Chris Dinkins will compete next fall. Kris Catlin could be a factor, too.

5. Texas A&M -- The Aggies must replace their leading tackler, Michael Hodges, and don't have a clear replacement heading into fall camp. The good news: They've got two others with lots of experience in the linebacking corps that look like budding stars. Garrick Williams should be one of the defense's leaders and Sean Porter returns after making 74 tackles last year to rank third on the team.

6. Missouri -- The Tigers have lots of experience at middle linebacker, where a pair of seniors (albeit frequently injured seniors) Will Ebner and Luke Lambert will be on the field a lot. One of the Big 12's most exciting players, junior Zaviar Gooden, will hold down the weakside and perhaps become a household name by season's end. Sophomores Andrew Wilson and Donovan Bonner, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, will likely compete for strongside duties in fall camp. Andrew Gachkar, the team's leading tackler, is gone, but here's guessing Gooden emerges as the defense's top playmaker.

7. Kansas -- The Jayhawks linebackers were solid last year, and could be pretty good again, despite losing Drew Dudley and Justin Springer, two of the team's top four tacklers. Steven Johnson, the team's leading tackler in 2010, is back and he'll be joined by possible star Huldon Tharp, who missed all of last season with a leg injury. Fellow sophomore Darius Willis earned a starting role after spring.

8. Kansas State -- K-State's front seven struggled last year, but will get a big boost from Arthur Brown. One man won't be enough to totally fix the Wildcats rush defense problems, though. K-State gave up 26 more yards on the ground per game than any other team in the Big 12 (more than 231 per game) but Brown may be playing in a 4-3 next fall rather than the 4-2-5 the Wildcats have employed since Snyder's return. Alex Hrebec, Emmanuel Lamur, Tre Walker and Blake Slaughter will likely fill the rotation along with Brown.

9. Baylor -- Baylor's defensive depth chart, like Texas', is a bit amorphous after bringing in a new coordinator, but Elliot Coffey figures to be the Bears biggest playmaker at linebacker. Chris McAllister should be solid and Ahmad Dixon is promising at nickelback, too. Brody Trahan is a great story, but him going from third-string quarterback to starting linebacker isn't a ringing endorsement for Baylor's depth at the position.

10. Texas Tech -- Tech will be moving to a 4-2-5 this year under new coordinator Chad Glasgow, and could rise up this list, but the Red Raiders lose a lot of talent from last season's team, which ran the 3-4. Bront Bird and Brian Duncan are both gone, and youth will be a big factor with this group. Cqulin Hubert's outstanding potential is matched by his more outstanding first name, and freshman Blake Dees showed promise after arriving early this spring. They'll likely be the rotation at middle linebacker spot alongside Daniel Cobb and Zach Winbush. Terrance Bullitt could be a playmaker at his new safety spot, listed as a strong safety but with plans to spend lots of time near the line of scrimmage, a la nickelback.

Spring superlatives: Baylor

March, 23, 2011
3/23/11
2:51
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We'll kick off a series today looking at the weakest and strongest positions for each team in the Big 12. First up: the Baylor Bears.

Strongest position: Wide receiver

Key returnees: Kendall Wright, Josh Gordon, Terrance Williams, Tevin Reese, Lanear Sampson

Key losses: None, although tight end Brad Taylor graduated after catching 20 passes for 269 yards last year.

Analysis: Quarterback Robert Griffin III keys Baylor's offense, but he's got plenty of targets to throw to, and last year he distributed the ball well. All five of his top receivers had at least 40 receptions and 390 yards, and Wright led the group with 79 receptions for 952 yards and seven scores. Wright is already one of the Big 12's best receivers. Gordon could become one this year after emerging as a big red-zone target at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds. Former blue-chip recruit Darius Jones also looked impressive during my visit to Waco for spring practice last week. Because Griffin has so many targets and isn't forced to rely on just one, none of the five may ascend to the Big 12's absolute elite, but Gordon and Wright both have that potential. At worst, all five will be solid and keep Baylor's passing game a huge boost to the Bears hopes at being a Big 12 title contender.

Weakest position: Linebacker

Key returnees: Elliot Coffey, Chris McAllister

Key losses: Antonio Johnson, Chris Francis, Earl Patin

Analysis: Baylor already ranked ninth in the Big 12 in rush defense last season, and loses Francis and Johnson, two of four Bears to make at least 70 tackles last season. Johnson was also one of the defense's leaders. The Bears' D has had problems stopping the run early in spring practice, and needs someone to help solidify the defense's second line. McAllister has plenty of potential after a strong freshman season in 2010, but he'll need to turn that potential into production to help the linebackers eliminate their status as a weakness before the season. Baylor loses both safeties -- the team's two leading tacklers from last season. Though the depth chart is still very much in flux, there's plenty of talent on the back line, as Ahmad Dixon and Mike Hicks that could be ready to replace Tim Atchison and Byron Landor.

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