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Big 12's spring breakout players

5/5/2015

With spring ball in the books, here are 10 names you're going to need to know this fall. These players are poised to break out big after making serious progress in the spring.

Baylor WR Jay Lee: You've heard about redshirt freshmen Chris Platt and Ishmael Zamora throughout the spring, but Baylor players say they can't wait to see Lee take a big step as a senior. In three scrimmages, Lee combined for nine catches, 108 yards and a score this spring. He's a big, 6-foot-3 target who can get even better after hauling in 41 balls last season.

Iowa State DT Demond Tucker: Paul Rhoads' staff brought him in to be a starter, and Tucker is going to get there sooner than later. When he does, watch out. The junior college transfer nose guard worked to refine his game this spring and should have a big presence in the middle of the Cyclones' defense.

Kansas RB Ke'aun Kinner: A prolific rusher both in high school and junior college, Kinner packs a lot of dynamite into his small, 5-foot-9, 180-pound frame. With Corey Avery currently suspended indefinitely, Kinner is in line for an awful lot of reps in his debut season.

Kansas State LB Elijah Lee: He went outside his comfort zone this spring by moving from defensive end to outside linebacker, but Lee has the quickness and range to make that switch work. After logging 4.5 sacks as a true freshman, he'll be all over the field this fall.

Oklahoma TE Mark Andrews: The 6-foot-6 redshirt freshman is going to cause problems in the Big 12 with his size and versatility. A converted receiver, Andrews has some learning to do as a blocker but will beat linebackers and make plays from the slot.

Oklahoma State LB Jordan Burton: He played safety at Kilgore College, but Burton caught on quickly at linebacker this spring and made Cowboy coaches confident he can make an instant impact. Burton has earned high praise for his work ethic, and surely his experience in coverage is an asset.

TCU CB Ranthony Texada: The Horned Frogs are going to be young in the secondary, no question, but the experience Texada gained as a redshirt freshman starter in 2014 is paying off. Don't be surprised if he establishes himself as one of the conference's top corners by the end of 2015.

Texas DT Poona Ford: With Desmond Jackson out for the spring, Ford had a valuable opportunity to get first-team reps, and he made serious progress. The sophomore already looks like one of Texas' top defensive linemen and will be put in position to shine.

Texas Tech RB Justin Stockton: The problem with Stockton the past season? He needed more confidence as the year went on, and when in doubt, he liked to hit the outside and find the sideline. Now that Tech coaches have him hitting the hole, Stockton has taken his explosive talents to another level. There's a lot of excitement in Lubbock about what's next for the sophomore.

West Virginia WR Shelton Gibson: The former ESPN 300 recruit emerged as a clear-cut starter at outside receiver and continues to build a nice rapport with quarterback Skyler Howard. He doesn't have to be the next Kevin White, but Gibson is going to be a crucial weapon in the WVU passing attack.