Dallas Colleges: Quinn Sharp
Let's have a closer look:
Schedule: Oklahoma State opens fall camp today after players reported on Thursday. They'll be working toward an afternoon opener on Aug. 31 in Houston at Reliant Stadium against Mississippi State.
Setting the scene: OSU won the Big 12 title back in 2011 and had a top-10 team preparing for a big-time opener back in 2009, but the hype around the Cowboys will be a lot different during this camp. They were an afterthought behind OU and Texas entering 2009 and were picked third in the league behind OU and Texas A&M in 2011. With a solid opponent waiting at the end of camp, the focus and urgency is always there during camp.
All eyes on: The coordinators. Mike Gundy brought in Mike Yurcich from the Division II ranks to run what's essentailly Dana Holgorsen's system. Linebackers coach Glenn Spencer was promoted to defensive coordinator after Gundy let Bill Young go at the end of a disappointing 2012 season defensively. Yurcich says he wants to go even faster than Holgorsen and 2012 coordinator Todd Monken, now the head coach at Southern Miss. Spencer balks at the suggestion that his defense will simply be more aggressive, but it'll be interesting to see what OSU preps in the next month ahead of that game against Mississippi State.
Key battle: Whatever you do, do not underestimate the impact of the guys whose feet touch the ball just a few times a game. Look no further than the 2011 upset loss to Iowa State for evidence of that. Quinn Sharp is gone, and now OSU is left to find a new punter, place kicker and kickoff specialist. Making matters tougher is Sharp was the best in the Big 12 at all three. Kip Smith is trying to win the punting and kicking jobs, but Michael Reichenstein (punter) and Bobby Stonebraker (kicker) will be competing as well. They've been Sharp's backups, and newcomer Ben Grogan joins the team for fall camp, too.
On the mend: Justin Gilbert's psyche. The cornerback looked like a rising star in his first year as a starter in 2011, but took big steps backward last season and got called out for his play by his head coach. He's as physically gifted as any corner in the league, even though his cover skills still leave a bit to be desired. The race for the Big 12's top cornerback by season's end will be interesting, but Gundy has expressed encouragement lately for Gilbert's progress since last year's rough go-around. He's got some good corners around him. Kevin Peterson is likely to win the starting job for the No. 2 corner, but Ashton Lampkin and Kansas transfer Tyler Patmon should provide some quality depth there.
Outlook: Oklahoma State brings back 14 starters from last season and for the first time in school history, has been picked to win the Big 12. "It's a tribute to a lot of players that have come before these guys that have worked hard," Gundy said. Expect OSU to be somewhere around No. 15 in the AP poll to start the season, but beginning the year with a target on their back is a brand new feeling for the Pokes.
Quotable: Gundy, on his approach of meddling "very little" in his coordinators' business. "I have a lot of confidence in the coaches on our staff and the decisions they make, and at the end of the day, they're the ones that have to instill it in the players in meetings and get it across to them on the practice field. They have to get them to perform on Saturday."
2012 Big 12 record: 5-4
Returning starters: Offense: 7; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 0
Top returners: QB Clint Chelf, WR Josh Stewart, CB Justin Gilbert, LB Shaun Lewis, LB Caleb Lavey, WR Blake Jackson, DT Calvin Barnett, S Daytawion Lowe, DE Tyler Johnson
Key losses: RB Joseph Randle, LB Alex Elkins, K/P/KOS Quinn Sharp, CB Brodrick Brown, DE Nigel Nicholas, WR Isaiah Anderson
2012 statistical leaders (*returners)
Passing: Clint Chelf* (1,588 yards)
Rushing: Joseph Randle (1,417 yards)
Receiving: Josh Stewart* (1,210 yards)
Tackles: Alex Elkins, Daytawion Lowe* (75)
Sacks: Tyler Johnson* (4)
Interceptions: Lyndell Johnson*, Daytawion Lowe*, Shamiel Gary* (2)
1. The defense's intentions are clear. Bill Young is out. Glenn Spencer is in, and he's all about playing aggressive. Tight coverage and blitzes are the name of the game, and we'll see if it pays off in a Big 12 lacking in quarterback experience. Last season, OSU's parade of turnovers came to an end, but Spencer seems intent on bringing it back. Nobody's stopping Big 12 offenses, but forcing turnover and holding teams to three in the red zone are how you succeed on defense in this league.
2. The offensive line is set ... for now. Center Evan Epstein and guard Lane Taylor are gone, but the Pokes are going with youth at left tackle in sophomore Devin Davis, moving last year's left tackle, Parker Graham, to left guard. Meanwhile, junior Jake Jenkins is sliding up to take Epstein's spot at center. That's how it ended in the spring, but OL coach Joe Wickline is kind of unpredictable, so those guys better continue to bring it in fall camp.
3. Athletic director Mike Holder is still running the show. Gundy and Holder had a disagreement on scheduling that nearly ended with Gundy packing his bags to succeed Derek Dooley in Knoxville. But Gundy's displeasure with Holder helping schedule Mississippi State this year and Florida State next year -- both on neutral fields -- hasn't changed much. OSU just announced a future home-and-home with Boise State. Who knows what Boise will look like then, but the intent is clear: Holder wants attention-grabbing, money-making games to start the season, not home games against patsies to help OSU run up an easy 3-0 mark before conference play begins.
1. Seriously, what's the deal at quarterback? Chelf is the safe bet at quarterback, but Gundy reneged on a statement midway through spring that he would hold onto his starting spot in Week 1 ahead of J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt. Now, Gundy says the starter for Game 1 hasn't been decided, and quarterbacks are off limits to the media with no updates being given until after the season opener. We'll see if Gundy sticks to it, and if Chelf hangs onto the starting job he earned with strong play to close 2012.
2. Is Oklahoma State a new Big 12 power? The Pokes broke through and won a title in 2011, but one title doesn't mean anything in the big picture. OSU is in position to win another and just may be the league favorite to start the season. They are in my book for sure. Two Big 12 titles in three seasons? That's serious, and the Pokes have a chance to do some special things this season.
3. Is Mike Yurcich the next super coordinator at OSU? Mike Gundy's been a head coach less than a decade, but his coaching tree is already way underrated. He's churning out head coaches year after year, highlighted by guys like Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia, Larry Fedora at North Carolina and Tim Beckman at Illinois. Todd Monken just left for Southern Miss, and if Yurcich, who stepped into the new role from a Division II school, keeps the pace for this offense, I'm betting he may attract interest before too long, too. Watching how he handles Year 1 will be interesting. Monken came from being an NFL position coach and made parlaying that into a head coaching job look easy.
Minicamps aren't far away, but players can sign with teams as soon as the draft ends. Many did over the weekend. Here's a look at the Big 12's notable signings.
- Kansas State QB Collin Klein -- Houston Texans
- Oklahoma S Tony Jefferson -- Arizona Cardinals
- Iowa State LB Jake Knott -- Philadelphia Eagles
- Texas Tech QB Seth Doege -- Atlanta Falcons
- Oklahoma RB Dominique Whaley -- Seattle Seahawks
- Oklahoma OL Lane Taylor -- Green Bay Packers
- Texas Tech OL LaAdrian Waddle -- Detroit Lions
- Oklahoma State K/P Quinn Sharp -- Cincinnati Bengals
- Texas Tech S Cody Davis -- St. Louis Rams
- Iowa State DL Jake McDonough -- New York Jets
- Kansas State DE Meshak Williams -- unsigned
- Texas Tech WR Darrin Moore -- unsigned
- West Virginia OL Joe Madsen -- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Kansas QB Dayne Crist -- Kansas City Chiefs
A few thoughts:
- Collin Klein is the obvious headliner on this list, and I'm torn on him. On the one hand, there's nothing like playing quarterback, and that's the position he wants to play and loves to play. On the other, he hasn't looked like an NFL passer at any point in his career, and he did his future career a disservice by not letting scouts get a look at him at receiver or tight end. He's a big body and an athletic, tough guy. If he wants to play quarterback and only quarterback, then fine. That's up to him. If he really is open to doing something else at the next level, he should have done more work at other positions. I don't see him making an NFL roster as a quarterback.
- Safeties Tony Jefferson and Cody Davis should definitely make their respective rosters, however, and I'll be intrigued to see what Jefferson looks like and says once he's in camp. He sounded pretty salty on Twitter over the weekend. "I can't even attempt to express how I feel right now. Y'all really don't know how hurt/confused I am!" he tweeted. "Y'all don't even understand the fire inside of me man." Him going undrafted was definitely the most shocking Big 12 development of the draft for me, but he'll have a whole lot of motivation and a lot to prove.
- I have to think Jake Knott would have gotten drafted if not for his shoulder surgery and being limited in workouts for NFL teams. He makes his name on his smarts, instincts and toughness because he lacks speed and a ton of agility, but being banged up and not testing well certainly didn't bode well for him in the immediate future. Mildly surprised that somebody didn't start drooling over his game tape and take a shot on him in the sixth or seventh round.
- First guy in this group to get paid big soon? My money is on Quinn Sharp, the do-everything special teamer.
- Very surprised to see Darrin Moore and Meshak Williams go unsigned so far. Moore is physically gifted, but lacked production and didn't make a team fall in love with him. Williams, though? I get that he's not exactly ideal size, but for his effort and production, how does some team not at least bring him into minicamp? That's just insane.
- Watching the Big 12 quarterbacks is always interesting. Doege didn't have great arm strength, but had solid accuracy. Crist had the big arm, but his decision-making and accuracy were lacking. We'll see if either of those guys can make a splash with a fresh start in a new spot.
- One final thought: If I have to hear the phrase "chip on their shoulder" another time in the next week, I'm going to lose it. For the record, if you really did have one, I'm fairly certain that's something that would require surgery.
- Geno Smith moved into the No. 1 spot for quarterbacks, ahead of USC's Matt Barkley. We'll see if that changes with a good pro day from Barkley, but Smith definitely has a shot to crack the top 10, especially after Buffalo cut Ryan Fitzpatrick loose on Tuesday and looks as if it's in the market for a quarterback with the No. 8 pick.
- Tavon Austin secured the No. 1 spot with his huge day at the combine, sliding ahead of Cordarrelle Patterson. It's not quite a consensus if you look at other mock drafts, but Kiper's buying what Austin is selling.
- Oklahoma's Lane Johnson is rocketing up draft boards now that scouts have had a chance to see what he can do athletically. He's No. 3 on Kiper's list of tackles, despite not being an All-Big 12 first-teamer a year ago.
- Texas' Kenny Vaccaro is widely considered the most complete safety in this draft, and he held strong with a good combine performance. He's still at Kiper's No. 1 spot.
- Oklahoma State's Quinn Sharp's recent rough pro day wasn't factored in, but he's still No. 4 on Kiper's list.
He changed a bit of that as the main attraction at the Cowboys' pro day Tuesday, posting a much-improved time of 4.51 seconds that puts him right back in mix for running backs in terms of speed. Only five backs at the combine were faster. A thumb injury kept Randle from bench-pressing in front of scouts from 25 NFL teams in attendance in Stillwater, but he did a great job erasing the biggest question mark that surfaced at the combine.
Randle's clearly faster than a 4.63 guy, so his new time seems like a more accurate reflection of what we saw on the field the past three seasons.
Kansas State also held its pro day Tuesday, but it was closed to media and no official results were released. Linebacker Arthur Brown was the main attraction, reportedly recording 21 reps on the 225-pound bench press clocking somewhere in the 4.5-4.6 range on his 40-time, validating his status as one of the draft's top linebackers. He sat out workouts at the combine because of a shoulder injury.
Back at Oklahoma State, offensive lineman Lane Taylor definitely drew some attention Tuesday after posting 31 reps on the 225-pound bench press. Despite being a two-time All-Big 12 talent, Taylor didn't earn an invite to the combine, but his performance on the bench would have been good for seventh among all prospects at the event in Indianapolis last month.
The Pokes weren't short on surprises, too. Hubert Anyiam, the team's leading receiver in 2010, showed up to work out after not catching on with a team in the NFL last season while also battling an ankle injury, but All-Everything special-teamer Quinn Sharp (and the lone specialist I've ever named to my top-25 players list) shanked a pair of kickoffs and missed three consecutive kicks from 45 yards.
Last season, Sharp was 7-of-10 from beyond 40 yards and 19-of-19 from inside 40 yards. He obviously wasn't happy with the performance, but especially for a kicker, his outrageous numbers from the past two seasons will mean a whole lot more than one rough day. I don't know about Sharp's chances to get drafted, but I'd be shocked if he didn't get a real chance in somebody's camp next fall.
This year, a record 333 players have been invited, and the Big 12 landed 30 invitations.
Draft stock can swing wildly during the week, with the main event -- the 40 time -- often serving as the catalyst for that stock. Call it silly, and in some ways it is, but it's the reality of the process. Here's who's headed to Indianapolis from the Big 12:
- Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
- Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia
- Josh Boyce, WR, TCU
- Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
- Anthony Cantele, K, Kansas State
- Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
- Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State
- Tanner Hawkinson, OL, Kansas
- Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
- Lane Johnson, OL, Oklahoma
- Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
- A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State
- Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
- Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State
- Joe Madsen, OL, West Virginia
- Stansly Maponga, DE, TCU
- Bradley McDougald, DB, Kansas
- Stacy McGee, DL, Oklahoma
- Tracy Moore, WR, Oklahoma State
- Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
- Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State
- Lanear Sampson, WR, Baylor
- Quinn Sharp, K/P, Oklahoma State
- Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
- Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma
- Matthew Tucker, RB, TCU
- Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
- Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
- Braden Wilson, RB, Kansas State
- Tom Wort, LB, Oklahoma
Pretty good set of players there. You can see them when the combine kicks off Feb. 20.
1. Sort out the "mess" at quarterback. Let me be clear when I say this: Oklahoma State has a good problem at quarterback. It has three guys who I really think could win a Big 12 title in Stillwater next season, but you've got to make it clear that one is your guy. That's what this spring is about. Clint Chelf will take the tag of starter into his last spring practice as a Poke, but sophomores J.W. Walsh and Wes Lunt will be right there challenging him. Again, this is a good problem to have, and these guys will all make each other better. I don't expect Walsh's short-yardage package to go anywhere regardless of who wins the job, but I still buy Lunt as the future of the position for Oklahoma State, as long as he stays healthy. The game will slow down for him in his second season, and the mistakes will lessen as a result.
2. Adjust to a new face leading the defense, and mature. The Pokes' defense wasn't awful this past season, but they're going to be loaded with talent in 2013. Can that become production? The defense brings back eight starters, headlined by CB Justin Gilbert, LB Shaun Lewis and DT Calvin Barnett. The secondary loses only Brodrick Brown, but Kevin Peterson is a promising player who can help that secondary bounce back from a disappointing 2012. Linebacker Alex Elkins is gone, but new coordinator Glenn Spencer slides into the role after coaching linebackers under Bill Young, who didn't have his contract renewed at the end of the season. Can Oklahoma State get back to forcing turnovers in bunches like it did under Young, but slow opposing offenses better than ever before?
3. Fill a gigantic hole in special teams. Quinn Sharp has done everything for Oklahoma State's special teams for the past two seasons and has been one of the Big 12's best kickers, punters and kickoff specialists all at once throughout that period. He emerged as a punter, but did a fantastic job in all of his roles after replacing Dan Bailey as kicker. Oklahoma State's had the luxury of not worrying about special teams with Sharp there, and it's hoping to have that continue. We'll see what happens this offseason when the Pokes try to replace Sharp. Oklahoma State actually has three kickers returning (Bobby Stonebraker, Matt Green, Cody Phillips) and one punter, Michael Reichenstein.
More offseason to-do lists:
The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day moving forward.
Here goes nothin' ...
No. 25: Quinn Sharp, K/P/KOS, Oklahoma State
2012 numbers: Made 28 of 34 field goals and 72 of 72 extra points. Kicked off 102 times for 71 touchbacks. Averaged 46.3 yards on 44 punts.
Most recent ranking: Sharp was unranked in our preseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players. He was, however, listed on a group of players who "just missed" the list.
Making the case for Sharp: If you've followed this list for long, you know how momentous Sharp's inclusion truly is. Since the birth of these lists, I've refused to include special-teams players on the basis that they're simply not on the field for enough plays to warrant inclusion. Great players, yes. The league's best players? No. Nebraska's Alex Henery was the only guy who nearly made it, but Sharp has officially convinced me, and he's making history. He's a kickoff specialist, punter and kicker, and he's probably the best player in the Big 12 at all three. You could make a case for a few others at punter, but there's no contest for kickoff man and place-kicker. He made 28 of 34 field goals this season, and only K-State's Anthony Cantele made a higher percentage. Still, he made nine fewer kicks this season than Sharp. Sharp also kicked off 102 times, but 71 of those went for touchbacks. His 28 made field goals were three more than any kicker in college football, and his 71 touchbacks were also three more than any player in the country. No other Big 12 kicker had more than 39, though. His 46.3 yards per punt led the league and was fourth nationally, and his 74-yard punt was the second longest of any punter in the league. He was also third nationally in net punting yardage, so you know his big leg wasn't too big for his coverage team to help make a difference.
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.
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.
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.
Six players from the Big 12 have been invited and accepted so far, with later additions still possible. The bowl made some headlines earlier this offseason when a report surfaced that Kansas State's Collin Klein wouldn't be invited, but here's who's going to Mobile from the Big 12.
- Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State
- Quinn Sharp, K, Oklahoma State
- Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
- Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
- Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
- Lane Johnson, OL, Oklahoma
That's a pretty solid group. As the name suggests, only seniors are eligible. Okafor is coming off a strong bowl showing, and Harper, Brown and Jones all have big games still ahead to get some buzz going before building their draft stock.
Without further ado, here's the All-Big 12 team from ESPN.com.
QB: Collin Klein, Kansas State
RB: Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State
RB: James Sims, Kansas
FB: Trey Millard, Oklahoma
WR: Stedman Bailey, West Virginia
WR: Terrance Williams, Baylor
WR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia
TE: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
OL: Cyril Richardson, Baylor
OL: Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
C: Joe Madsen, West Virginia
OL: Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State
OL: LaAdrian Waddle, Texas Tech
DL: Devonte Fields, TCU
DL: Meshak Williams, Kansas State
DL: Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State
DL: Alex Okafor, Texas
LB: A.J. Klein, Iowa State
LB: Arthur Brown, Kansas State
LB: Jake Knott, Iowa State
CB: Jason Verrett, TCU
CB: Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma
S: Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State
S: Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma
PK: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
KR: Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
PR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Honorable mention: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia; Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma; Anthony Cantele, K, Kansas State; Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas; Justin Brown, PR, Oklahoma; Tanner Hawkinson, OL, Kansas; Jake McDonough, DL, Iowa State; Lane Johnson, OL, Oklahoma; John Hubert, RB, Kansas State; Travis Tannahill, TE, Kansas State; Durrell Givens, S, Iowa State; Cody Davis, S, Texas Tech
We'll have a separate post for the All-Big 12 team later today, but you can follow along right here to keep track of the Big 12 award winners. I'll update it as necessary, so keep checking back.
Let's get started:
Chuck Neinas Coach of the Year: Bill Snyder, Kansas State
Snyder has now won the award in two consecutive seasons. This is his fourth coaching honor from the league.
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Cyril Richardson, Baylor.
Richardson was a rock on the front line of the nation's No. 1 offense.
Defensive Lineman of the Year: Meshak Williams, Kansas State
Williams was third in the league with 13.5 tackles for loss and led the league with 9.5 sacks. He earned 8.5 of his sacks in conference play, compared to just 4.5 for TCU's Devonte Fields.
Offensive Freshman of the Year: J.W. Walsh, QB, Oklahoma State
Walsh started three games for Oklahoma State before suffering a leg injury and missing three games. He returned for the final three games of the season with a short yardage package for the Cowboys. He's the first offensive freshman of the year at Oklahoma State since Tony Lindsay in 1997.
Defensive Freshman of the Year: Devonte Fields, DE, TCU
Fields, a true freshman, finished second in the Big 12 with nine sacks and led the league with 17.5 tackles for loss. He was a unanimous selection for the award.
Special Teams Player(s) of the Year: Quinn Sharp, P/K/KOS, Oklahoma State and Tavon Austin, PR/KR, West Virginia
The pair do everything for their respective teams, and will share the award. Austin was the only player in the league to return both a punt and a touchdown for scores this season, and Sharp's 25 field goals were six more than any kicker in the Big 12. He also led the league in punting average and had 71 touchbacks on kickoffs. No other kicker had more than 33. Sharp has won the award in two consecutive seasons now, and it's the first time the award has ever been shared. An Oklahoma State player has won the award in three of the past five seasons.
Offensive Newcomer of the Year: Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor.
Seastrunk began the season quietly, but racked up 693 yards and five touchdowns in his final five games.
The list of finalists for the awards were released, and here's who you can see try and earn a trophy down at Disney World.
Biletnikoff Award (best receiver)
Oklahoma State's Quinn Sharp was left off the finalists list for both the Ray Guy (punter) and Lou Groza (kicker) award. Iowa State's Kirby Van Der Kamp also didn't make the list for the Groza Award.
Davey O'Brien Award (best quarterback)
- Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State; Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
- Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State; Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
- Barrett Jones, Alabama; Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M (Arlington)
We're back again with some trends across the Big 12 paired with nonsensical financial terms. Let's get started.
Rising: Turnovers in TCU games
If you tune into a TCU game, there's probably going to be some wildness going on. The Frogs have forced 26 turnovers, more than all but one Big 12 team (Kansas State, with 27). The Frogs even forced two from K-State last week, and the Wildcats had turned the ball over just four times in their first nine games. The bad news? TCU has four more turnovers than any team in the Big 12. The Frogs have given the ball away 25 times, so their turnover margin of plus-1 is just fourth in the Big 12.
Falling: Kansas buttkickings
There's been a lot of attention paid to Kansas' close calls, but look at the other end of the spectrum, too. Last year, Kansas lost six games by at least 30 points and four by at least 40 points. KU has just two losses of that variety this season. Both came by at least 40 points, but consider this: Both were to Kansas State and Oklahoma, a top-15 team and a national title contender. Last year, KU let seven-win Texas A&M beat it by 54 points and eight-win Texas earned a 43-0 victory. KU is hanging tough just about every week, and mediocre teams aren't beating up on KU these days.
Rising: Josh Stewart
The Oklahoma State receiver is quickly ascending to near elite status among Big 12 receivers. That's a tough group to crack, too. Last week, Stewart grabbed career highs in receptions (13) receiving yards (172) and had his third career game with multiple touchdown passes. That's more than just one game, too. Stewart's topped 120 yards in two of his past three games and has averaged 10 catches a game in his past four games. Stewart never had 100 yards in a game before his third game of this year, his sophomore season. His late rise is a pretty strong signifier of what's to come.
Falling: Punters against Texas
What a weird stat. Texas has faced some of the nation's best punters, including Iowa State's Kirby Van Der Kamp and Oklahoma State's Quinn Sharp. Still, the Longhorns' opponents average just 36 yards a kick against them, the lowest average in college football. Sharp punted twice (avg. 38 yards) and Van Der Kamp booted seven punts on Saturday (37.71 yards) against the Horns. Only two teams all season have averaged more than 40 yards a punt against Texas.
The Big 12 landed four players on the list.
- Anthony Cantele, Kansas State
- Michael Hunnicutt, Oklahoma
- Jaden Oberkrom, TCU
- Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
That's a good list of who's who for Big 12 kickers. All deserving. We'll see who gets it done down the stretch.
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Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley, and Mark Friedman react to Dez Bryant's comments regarding the NCAA's ongoing investigation of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Play Podcast Richard Durrett, Ian Fitzsimmons and Glenn "Stretch" Smith react to Dez Bryant sounding off yesterday after practice about Johnny Manziel and the shadiness of the NCAA.
Play Podcast Former NCAA investigator and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to weigh in on the Johnny Manziel drama and give some insight as to what goes on during an NCAA investigation.