- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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TCU linebacker Paul Dawson, Kansas State receiver Tyler Lockett and Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty are just a few of the Big 12's best who starred during the bowl season. Several other Big 12 standouts showed their skills during the holiday break while finishing their careers or setting themselves up as potential breakout players in 2015.
Here are the Big 12's unsung heroes during the bowl season.
Baylor linebacker Bryce Hager. Overshadowed by fellow linebacker Taylor Young, Hager was outstanding in his final game for the Bears. He finished with 13 tackles, including six solo stops and one tackle for loss, and two quarterback hurries in Baylor’s 42-41 loss to Michigan State in the GoodYear Cotton Bowl.
Kansas State defensive end Ryan Mueller: The senior went out in style despite the Wildcats’ 40-35 loss to UCLA in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Mueller had seven tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss and half of a sack. His forced fumble in the third quarter was one key to K-State’s comeback bid.
Oklahoma defensive tackle Charles Walker: One of the few bright spots in OU’s 40-6 loss to Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl, Walker finished with five tackles, including half of a sack. The redshirt freshman could play a key role for the Sooners in 2015 with Jordan Phillips declaring early for the NFL Draft. Walker could be a name to watch in the Big 12 next fall.
Oklahoma State running back Desmond Roland: James Castleman was the star of the Cowboys' 30-22 TicketCity Cactus Bowl win over Washington, with Mason Rudolph as a close second after playing the best game of his true freshman season. Yet Roland, a senior, looked like the running back who excelled for Mike Gundy’s team as a junior while bringing balance to the OSU offense. The senior finished with 32 carries for 123 yards in his final game for OSU.
TCU safety Derrick Kindred: The Horned Frogs defense was full of unsung heroes in TCU’s 42-3 win over Ole Miss in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, but Kindred stands out above the crowd. He finished with five solo tackles, including a tackle for loss and a key first quarter interception. The least talked-about safety in TCU’s secondary, Kindred finished third on the team in tackles (79), with only standout linebackers Paul Dawson (136) and Marcus Mallet (100) making more stops.
Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown: The Longhorns junior showed why he is considered one of the nation’s top defensive tackles in UT’s 31-7 loss to Arkansas in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. Brown had eight tackles, including half of a tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries as one of the few Longhorns that showed up in the postseason. He's NFL-bound after declaring for the draft on Thursday.
West Virginia linebacker Wes Tonkery: The Mountaineers linebacker has been an overshadowed, yet productive, playmaker throughout the season and it continued in the 45-37 Autozone Liberty Bowl loss to Texas A&M. Tonkery had seven tackles, including six solo stops and 2.5 tackles for loss, and two quarterback hurries in his final game for the Mountaineers.
A look at the unsung heroes of the Big 12 bowl season.