Dallas Colleges: Terrance Ganaway

A closer look: Holiday Bowl

December, 12, 2012
12/12/12
3:00
PM CT

As the bowl season approaches, we're going to be looking a little closer at each game. We'll go down the Big 12 bowl schedule in chronological order. Let's start with the Baylor Bears' date with UCLA.

BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION HOLIDAY BOWL

Baylor (7-5) vs. No. 17 UCLA (9-4)

Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, Calif.

When: Thursday, Dec. 27, 9:45 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

About Baylor: Nobody knew for sure what was in store for Baylor after not only losing Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, but also the Big 12's leading receiver and fellow first-round draft pick Kendall Wright, and the Big 12's leading rusher, Terrance Ganaway. What we learned was Art Briles truly is a master of offense and quarterback development. The Bears enter this game as the hottest team in the Big 12, fresh off a dominant win over then-No. 1 Kansas State and wins over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. Baylor looked very unlikely to crack the postseason sitting at 4-5 with three solid teams ahead. Then the Bears proved us all wrong and finished the season with the nation's No. 1 offense.

About UCLA: The first season under Jim Mora Jr. has gone better than almost anyone could have figured. The Bruins drew chuckles when they hired a coach with just one season of college experience among his two-plus decades in coaching, and even that was only GA experience at his alma mater, Washington. The longtime NFL coach proved himself in his first season, helping UCLA reach the Pac-12 title game. A loss to Stanford denied the Bruins a Rose Bowl bid, but there's no question that Mora's first season has been a success.

Bears to watch: The headliner is quarterback Nick Florence, the nation's leader in total offense. He's shown a propensity to toss a pick or two (his 13 are more than all Big 12 QBs except Texas Tech's Seth Doege), but he's a lot more than the only Bear to keep an eye on. Running back Lache Seastrunk broke out late in the season, rushing for 693 yards and five scores in the final five games of the season, grabbing a starting role and looking like the hottest player in the league to end the season. Receiver Terrance Williams is an All-American, the nation's leader in receiving yardage and a Biletnikoff Award finalist. Defensively, linebacker Eddie Lackey grabbed a pair of Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors after returning picks for scores in each of Baylor's final two games.

Bruins to watch: UCLA loves the zone read and quarterback Brett Hundley was a breakout star in the Pac-12 this season. So was running back Johnathan Franklin, who racked up 1,700 yards to finish ninth nationally in rushing. That would have led the Big 12. Hundley threw for 26 touchdowns and ran for nine more. If Baylor's going to win this game, it starts with slowing down those two.

Did you know? Baylor's offense doesn't mess around. The Bears have nine touchdown drives this season that lasted exactly one play. That's ridiculous. Baylor also has 16 touchdown drives that lasted three plays or less. The biggest reason for that? Williams and fellow receiver Tevin Reese. Williams' 22 catches longer than 30 yards are eight more than any player in the country, and Reese is eighth nationally with eight grabs of 40 yards or longer. Another reason for BU's success? The Bears were a rousing minus-11 in turnover margin during their 0-4 start in Big 12 play. Since then, the Bears are plus-10 and went 4-1 in Big 12 play down the stretch.

What we learned in the Big 12: Week 9

October, 28, 2012
10/28/12
3:14
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Here's what I learned during a pretty wild weekend in the Big 12.

Kansas State needs style points or losses by top-five teams. I didn't buy Notre Dame as a team good enough to run the table ... until last night. The Fighting Irish beat Oklahoma convincingly, and in the process won over a whole lot of voters. K-State did its dirty work early, beating the Sooners, West Virginia and then Texas Tech on Saturday. But in the final month of the season, the Wildcats might go without a matchup against a Top 25 team, while BCS challengers Notre Dame and Oregon go head-to-head with USC, and the Ducks also get a shot at Oregon State to close the season. The chances of K-State hanging on to the No. 2 spot if Notre Dame wins out are minimal at best. Oregon will be a nail-biter. It's unfair for the Wildcats, but somebody has to get left out if there are three or four undefeated teams. As it stands, K-State looks like the team that will get stuck on the outside looking in. That said, there's still a month of football left to be played. Nobody thought Oklahoma State would lose to Iowa State last year, or that West Virginia would lose to Pitt back in 2009. Anything can happen.

[+] EnlargeMack Brown
AP Photo/Reed HoffmannSkies could be sunnier for Mack Brown and Texas even though the Longhorns improved to 6-2.
Texas' season is hanging by a thread. The Longhorns narrowly avoided disaster, but there are still quality teams left on Texas' schedule. The Longhorns wouldn't have beaten any of them playing like they did on Saturday, needing a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback led by Case McCoy to beat Kansas, a team with a 16-game losing streak in the Big 12. A loss to Kansas would have legitimized all the talk about Mack Brown being on the hot seat. He's OK for now, but if Texas stumbles to another eight-win season, will that still be the case? As one fellow scribe reminded me on Saturday, if you change two fourth-quarter throws on fourth down, Texas would be slumming at 4-4. It's 6-2 instead, but not a very impressive 6-2.

Oklahoma State might be preparing for a late-season charge. Quietly, the Cowboys beat up on good teams at the bottom of the Big 12 standings. TCU and Iowa State aren't that far off from being Top 25 teams, and the Cowboys beat both by three touchdowns. When OSU runs the ball, it's really hard to beat. Texas looks overrated, but Arizona knocked off USC on Saturday, and OSU will get its chance to prove just how good it really is with a trip to K-State next week, then a visit from West Virginia the following week. Then it's Texas Tech and OU. That's a whole lot of Top 25 teams, but OSU is going to be a tough out.

Baylor is in big, big trouble. The Bears looked to have the offensive firepower to withstand the losses of Robert Griffin III, Terrance Ganaway and Kendall Wright, but I'm not so sure any more. The defensive deficiencies are catching up to Baylor, and the offense isn't playing well enough to keep up. The Bears are now 0-4 in Big 12 play, joining Kansas as the only teams to lose every league game so far. Baylor talked a big game about validating what RG3 did for the program, but has fallen flat to this point.

Winning at Oklahoma doesn't seem so hard anymore. Oklahoma lost two games under Bob Stoops in Norman from 1999 until the 2011 season. Before this season, it had never lost to a ranked team at home under Stoops. But now? Texas Tech pulled a huge upset last year, and ranked foes K-State and Notre Dame walked into Norman and outplayed the Sooners. The mystique from that 39-game home winning streak is gone, and Notre Dame beat the Sooners by 17 on their home field, dominating the line of scrimmage and the fourth quarter. Ugly stuff. It's worth noting that OU's two losses came to teams that are among just six undefeateds left in college football, but Oklahoma hoped it would be among the nation's elite this season. It's not.

Big 12 top 25 players: Unsung guys

September, 3, 2012
9/03/12
6:36
PM CT
We wrapped our top 25 players list last week, including a list of the guys who just missed.

Here's a few names you'll probably see on the list at season's end:

Trey Metoyer, WR, Oklahoma: Metoyer didn't have the debut many hoped, but count me among those who still see the potential. He caught just four passes for 21 yards after getting shut out in the first half against UTEP, but in his first game action, he wasn't the only Sooners receiver who looked out of sorts. It'll get better, and Metoyer may be a force in this league by season's end.

Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron, RBs, Texas: Brown and Bergeron, both sophomores, were much more effective in Texas' 37-17 win over Wyoming. The depth of running backs in this league is weak, and Bergeron and Brown have as much talent as any in the league. They need solid play from the offensive line and quarterback David Ash to offer some support, though. Both topped 100 yards in their first game of 2012, though. That was Bergeron's third 100-yard game, and Brown's fourth.

Wes Lunt, QB, Oklahoma State: I predicted Lunt would throw for 4,000 yards this year, and through no fault of his own, he's off to a slow start. Still, 4,000 yards would be enough to put the true freshman on my top 25 players list. He won't be the first true freshman to be benched in his first start, but he might be the first in a long time to be benched despite not throwing an incompletion. Why was he benched? Oklahoma State was up 35-0 at the end of the first quarter. Lunt finished 11-of-11 for 129 yards.

Shawne Alston, RB, West Virginia: Alston's anything but a young player, but he may be underrated around the league to start the season. That and a speedy, powerful running style are what Alston has in common with Baylor's Terrance Ganaway. He was an unknown a year ago, but ran for 120 yards in the opener against TCU and won the Big 12 rushing title. Alston? The senior ran for 123 yards and two scores in the 69-34 blowout win versus Marshall.

Nick Florence, QB, Baylor: Florence finally got time to prepare for being Baylor's starter. He'd been the Bears' emergency man as a freshman in 2009 and again for a half last season. He looked like a grizzled vet in his first game of 2012, complete with a beard to match. He torched SMU's defense for four touchdowns and 341 yards on 21-of-30 passing in the 59-24 win on Sunday night. Even better, coach Art Briles said that was below his usual performance. Expect big things from him.

Checking in from the Big 12's Week 1 finale

September, 2, 2012
9/02/12
4:41
PM CT
WACO, Texas -- It's been almost five years since Baylor hasn't had Robert Griffin III on its roster, but later tonight, Art Briles begins his first season at Baylor without last year's Heisman winner.

The Bears have plenty of offensive talent returning, though the Big 12's rushing champ (Terrance Ganaway) and receiving champ (Kendall Wright) are gone, too.

What will the new faces look like? We'll find out tonight. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports, and this should be a fun one between two teams that love to open up their offenses and let it fly.

That's what I'm watching today. We know Nick Florence can do it in spots. We saw it last year in the win over Texas Tech, and we saw flashes of it back in 2009 when he filled in for RG3 following his torn ACL early in the season.

Can he do it every week? That starts today. I'm a believer in Florence, in part because of the solid guys in front of him, headlined by center Ivory Wade and tackle Cyril Richardson, who are both All-Big 12-caliber guys. His backs should have plenty of holes and receivers like Tevin Reese and Terrance Williams are speedy, with plenty of experience playing with Griffin the past couple of seasons.

How will the defense handle SMU? The Bears made some strides late in the season in the turnover department, but the last time we saw the Bears, they were giving up 56 points to Washington in the bowl game ... and still finding a way to win. Florence is good, but the loss of RG3 no doubt trims the margin of error for this defense.

Baylor's got to be careful. Cornerbacks K.J. Morton, Demetri Goodson and Joe Williams need to play well against June Jones' run-and-shoot attack, but the bigger concern might be Zach Line up front. Baylor won't face many running backs like him in the Big 12.

Curious Big 12 fans can get a their first look at former Longhorn Garrett Gilbert in his new surroundings. He's a good fit for Jones' scheme, and despite his obvious failures at Texas, there's no denying his physical skills and resume as one of the greatest high school players in Texas history. This is a completely different offense and a completely different challenge. Should be interesting to see how he responds.

I expect the Bears to hang enough points to win this one, but the Mustangs will light up the scoreboard, too, and make it interesting. Either way, this should be a fun one. Let's get started. Stay right here for coverage throughout the night.

What to watch in the Big 12: Week 1

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
9:30
AM CT
video

Here's what I'm keeping an eye on in the Big 12 openers this weekend:

1. Close calls. It happens to somebody every weekend. You never know who, but some heavy favorite is going to get locked in a tight game. You can't really read into it too much later in the season, but you always know there's going to be drama somewhere when teams take the field after nine months off. Who's it going to be? Look out for unexpected excitement on Saturday.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireTexas will be counting on improvement from quarterback David Ash this season.
2. David Ash. No single player has more power to reshape the Big 12 preseason landscape. He might look like a whole new quarterback this season, or he might show the same old mediocrity. The odds probably favor the latter, considering how little experience Ash had in practice before starting last season. How much better will he be?

3. West Virginia's offense. The Mountaineers struggled with consistency last season, for those of you who didn't see WVU play a game last season before its Orange Bowl coming out party. For one, tune in to see how they look in Week 1. For two, I'm betting some of you have legitimately never seen Geno Smith, Tavon Austin or Stedman Bailey play before. Change that on Saturday. The Mountaineers are the only Big 12 game going at noon ET.

4. The youngest gun in the Big 12. Wes Lunt surprised a lot of folks when he beat out two older players to win the Oklahoma State quarterback job. He's got great running backs and should have some good targets. Few people have ever seen Lunt play in this offense. That changes this weekend.

5. Iowa State's quarterback(s). Steele Jantz has been named the starter, and he'll have a long leash, but how will he look? We didn't see much of him late in the season, and it's been a long time since this was really his team. It will be to start the season, but Iowa State's receivers need to help him out. Jantz needs to help himself out and control his turnovers, too. Nothing would put backup quarterback Jared Barnett on the field faster than turnovers.

6. Baylor's running back logjam. This one should be interesting. There's no telling just yet what Baylor will do, but it hasn't used a real committee since 2009, when it didn't have Robert Griffin III. Since then, the Bears have had a pair of 1,200-yard rushers, and Terrance Ganaway won the Big 12 rushing title last season. Will Lache Seastrunk, Jarred Salubi and Glasco Martin form a committee? Or will a featured back emerge. Ganaway broke out in a big way last season against TCU.

7. Kansas' new faces. I've got no idea what to think of Kansas this season. It's anybody's guess. Nobody's seen a complete overhaul this offseason like KU has. Charlie Weis saw a lot of work that needed to be done when he got to Lawrence and he did it. Big upgrades at quarterback and along the defensive line are the biggest change, but suspensions will keep running back Darrian Miller off the team forever, and James Sims for three games. What's Kansas look like? Here's guessing Dayne Crist holds the answer to that question.

8. Collin Klein's arm. Klein put in a lot of work this offseason to progress as a passer, and threw for 480 yards and six scores in the spring game. That's about all we've seen of Kansas State this offseason, but that was against the Wildcats' second-team defense. That said, it was more than a third of Klein's production through the air in all of last season. How much better has he gotten this offseason? We'll get a preview this weekend.

9. Oklahoma's young receivers. Kenny Stills will be the only eligible receiver on Saturday night who has ever caught a pass in a Sooners uniform. Freshman Trey Metoyer and Penn State transfer Justin Brown will start alongside Stills, and we know they'll have a good quarterback in Landry Jones. owever, what can juco transfer LaColton Bester, and freshmen Durron Neal and Sterling Shepard do? Shepard has already drawn comparisons to Ryan Broyles.

10. Texas Tech's health and new defense. Tech already lost one of its most talented special teamers in camp, Aaron Fisher, but can the rest of these guys finally stay in one piece? Art Kaufman has a new defense in place, and we'll get our first look at Eric Stephens on Saturday after a horrific knee injury ended his 2011 season.

Baylor spring wrap

May, 10, 2012
5/10/12
10:00
AM CT
2011 overall record: 10-3
2011 conference record: 6-3
Returning starters: Offense (6), Defense (8), P/K (2)

Top returners: WR Terrance Williams, WR Tevin Reese, S Ahmad Dixon, S Sam Holl, CB K.J. Morton, S Mike Hicks, OL Cyril Richardson, OL Ivory Wade

Key losses: QB Robert Griffin III, WR Kendall Wright, RB Terrance Ganaway, OL Philip Blake, LB Elliot Coffey, DT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, DL Tracy Robertson

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Terrance Ganaway (1,547 yards)
Passing: Robert Griffin III (4,293 yards)
Receiving: Kendall Wright (1,663 yards)
Tackles: Elliot Coffey (114)
Sacks: Tracy Robertson (4.5)
Interceptions: K.J. Morton* (4)

Spring answers

1. Don't sweat the quarterbacks: Anybody who thinks Baylor's destined to go back to 3-4 win seasons in the post-RG3 era isn't paying much attention. Nick Florence had a rough time as a true freshman filling in for RG3 in 2009, but he's grown up a whole lot since then, and he'll get a chance to show it this fall. Behind him, Bryce Petty is itching for a chance, too, but Florence's leadership and decision-making assured him the job in the spring.

2. The receivers are ready to roll: And what about Kendall Wright's absence? He led Baylor in receiving for each of the past four seasons, but Baylor's going to be just fine in his wake, too. Terrance Williams is a future NFL draft pick, and Tevin Reese is ready to see an increased role in the offense, too. Lanear Sampson offers more depth and playmaking ability at the position.

3. Lache Seastrunk is a lot more than just hype: The Temple, Texas, native couldn't quite catch on at Oregon, but he's proving he'll be a factor at Baylor at some point, if not immediately. The backfield is still crowded, but he exploded for 138 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. He's the fastest of the Baylor backs, but he's got to prove he can be the most productive too.

Fall questions

1. How much better can the defense get? Baylor doesn't have the RG3 Express to fall back on anymore. He helped make the Bears the first team to ever win four consecutive games in a single season while also giving up at least 30 points. BU won games in 2011 while giving up 56, 48 and 42 points, too. Phil Bennett's defense has the athletes, but it's got to force more turnovers like it did the second half of the season and get those point totals down. Florence is good, but he's no RG3. If the defense doesn't improve, making a bowl will prove difficult.

2. Can Baylor truly carry on without Robert Griffin III? Baylor has all the pieces in place to get back to a bowl game, but RG3 had plenty of truly intangible attributes that are hard to duplicate. He was a compelling leader who always seemed to make everyone around him better. Florence sounds like he has many of those same things, but will they translate into wins? You never quite know for sure. RG3 was a truly transcendent player unlike anything Waco had ever seen.

3. Will the Bears have a featured running back? Seastrunk made lots of noise in the spring game, but Jarred Salubi and Glasco Martin have a lot more experience, and that could pay off in playing time when it comes to things like pass blocking and doing the little things right. Jay Finley and Terrance Ganaway grabbed starring roles the past two seasons, but will coach Art Briles use a committee come fall? Or will he find a back to lean on?

Looking ahead to the 2013 NFL draft

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
9:00
PM CT


The 2012 NFL draft is over, but it's never too early to look ahead to 2013. I mean, we basically have to, right?

NFL draft guru Todd McShay released his first-round mock draft, Insider and there are plenty of Big 12 talents on the list. You'll need ESPN Insider to see it all, but here's who he pegs as a first-rounder for next year.

No. 3, Minnesota Vikings: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas

My take: This is the first of many times you'll see Jeffcoat's name on draft lists. Jeffcoat came to Texas as the nation's No. 1 recruit in the 2009 class, and next offseason will be the first in which he's available for the NFL draft. He's made good on his potential, but struggled with an ankle injury that slowed an otherwise outstanding first season. He was very solid in 2011, but could be poised for a breakout season in 2012 on the national stage. Either way, I'd be shocked if Jeffcoat wasn't a first-rounder whenever he leaves. If he continues to progress, top five is a near certainty.

No. 12, Seattle Seahawks: Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

My take: Williams has a lot to prove in 2012. He may have had the quietest 900-yard receiving season in history last season, overshadowed by the Big 12's leading rusher (Terrance Ganaway), leading receiver (Kendall Wright, 1,600+ yards), and Heisman winner Robert Griffin III. Can Williams handle the pressure from defenses as the bona fide No. 1 target for a new quarterback in Nick Florence? You have to love Williams' physical attributes, but can he maintain his production? I'm confidently betting yes, but we'll find out next year.

No. 19, Kansas City Chiefs: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

My take: Jones has plenty to prove, too. When Ryan Broyles went down, Jones struggled. He's back, and coaches love what he's done this spring. If he plays well, I could see Jones reinvigorating his stock and rising into the top 10 or top five. If he struggles again, I'd be shocked if he was a first rounder. Of all the Big 12 talents on this list, I'd say Jones' stock is the most volatile.

No. 25, Cincinnati Bengals: Alex Okafor, DE, Texas

My take: Love Okafor's game a whole lot, and admittedly, I regret snubbing him from the Big 12's top 25 players in 2011. The thing with him is, his physical attributes don't wow you like his teammate Jeffcoat's does. That said, he's consistently productive, and that says a lot. He has plenty of help in Texas' defense, and the Longhorns defensive line will be scary this year with Jeffcoat, Okafor and juco transfer defensive tackle Brandon Moore, who teammates pegged as "unstoppable" this spring.
Miss Baylor's spring game on Saturday? We've got you covered.

What happened:
  • Nick Florence ruined the defense's day, completing 14-of-18 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Bryce Petty completed 18-of-27 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown.
  • Lache Seastrunk stole the show with 135 yards on just seven carries, including a 75-yard touchdown.
  • Lanear Sampson caught five passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. Tevin Reese had four catches for 89 yards.
  • Josh Wilson led all tacklers with 10 stops.
  • The Bears ran 112 plays in the 75-minute scrimmage.
  • About 2,750 fans showed up.
What we learned:
  • When I visited Baylor this spring, Seastrunk was the third man in what looked like a pretty balanced backfield by committee. Now, though? If he's that productive for the rest of fall camp, he may be validating that recruiting hype and hoopla that followed his transfer from Oregon. His competition, Jarred Salubi (88 yards, seven carries) and Glasco Martin (58 yards, TD eight carries) were productive, but Seastrunk has that home-run capability. Salubi does, too, but the senior hasn't shown it on the field. Fall camp should be an interesting race. All three could be productive, but Briles prefers to have a featured back in the offense. Jay Finley and Terrance Ganaway were outstanding the past two years, and I like Baylor's chances to have a third 1,000-yard rusher.
  • Color me unsurprised at Florence and Petty's big day. Baylor, Oklahoma and West Virginia all have a case as the league's deepest roster of QBs.
  • The easy rebuttal from those numbers is Baylor's defense is terrible. Well, it was last year. It won't be great this year, and it might not be a ton better. That said, putting up those kinds of numbers is difficult, and my point is this: Baylor's still going to have one of the league's most productive offenses. RG3 had lots of help around him and lots of potential behind him. We'll get a chance to see it this year. The spring game didn't change my mind about Baylor as a 6-8-win team, but this is not a program that's going to flatline without RG3 at quarterback. The receivers are really talented, really deep and really smart. The offensive line should be really good and the running backs will be productive.
They said it:
"I'm learning. I know my teammates are going to keep helping me. As long as I keep my head in the books and keep understanding all the checks and calls, I'll be fine." - RB Lache Seastrunk, on his day

The Big 12's top newcomers in 2012

April, 3, 2012
4/03/12
10:01
AM CT
Across our little blog village here at ESPN, we're taking a look at the top newcomers in college football this year. You (probably) don't know their names yet, but here's who you need to watch this fall in the Big 12.

Will Smith, LB, Texas Tech: The Red Raiders only found Smith while recruiting another possible impact transfer, running back SaDale Foster. The California juco transfer stepped on campus this winter and by the end of spring, coach Tommy Tuberville called him the team's best linebacker. He started playing outside, but Tuberville moved the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder to starting middle linebacker in the middle of camp so he'd be on the field even during passing downs. He'll be important to Tech's new 4-3 scheme. Think K-State's Arthur Brown, a Miami transfer who's almost the exact same size.

[+] EnlargeDayne Crist
Andrew Weber/US PresswireFormer Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist brings experience as a starter to Kansas.
Dayne Crist, QB, Kansas: You probably know this name, but Crist started nine games in 2010 for Notre Dame and appeared in 17 career games. He began 2011 as the starter, but was benched and transferred to KU to play his final season of college football for Charlie Weis, the coach who recruited him to South Bend as the nation's No. 2 quarterback and No. 22 overall prospect in the 2008 class. He threw 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2010.

Brandon Moore, DT, Texas: Moore is part of a changing world in Austin, thanks to a revamped coaching staff with some SEC sensibilites. He and OT Donald Hawkins were the first juco transfers to sign with Texas since 2002 and Moore may be the lynchpin of the Big 12's best defense this year. Teammates have described the "full-grown man" as "unstoppable." Such is life at 6-6 and 330 pounds. Moore has to work on his conditioning, but he's going to wreak havoc on Big 12 offensive lines when he's on the field this year. Look for him to collapse a pocket or two early and often this season.

Trey Metoyer, WR, Oklahoma: Metoyer spent a year in military school after not qualifying academically, but he's already made an impact this spring after finally arriving at Oklahoma. He was the nation's No. 8 receiver in the 2011 class and offers the Sooners some much-needed sure hands. The unit came down with the dropsies late last season, and the FBS career leader for receptions, Ryan Broyles, is NFL-bound. Metoyer is exactly what the Sooners need to keep their offense on pace with the league's best, and he'll be catching passes from a Heisman candidate in Landry Jones.

Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor: Seastrunk's short-lived career at Oregon was marred by a recruiting scandal, but he's back home, 30 miles north of his hometown in Temple, Texas, and ready for a fresh start. Baylor needs a replacement for Big 12 rushing champ Terrance Ganaway, and Seastrunk, the nation's No. 6 running back and No. 40 overall prospect in the 2010 class, is battling Glasco Martin and Jarred Salubi for the chance to be the man.

West Virginia and TCU: Have y'all heard about this? It's gonna be kind of crazy. After losing four teams since June 2010, the Big 12 poached the Big East and added the former Southwest Conference-dwelling Frogs and the Mountaineers, badly in need of a home away from the weakened Big East. Here's how we welcomed the Frogs and did the same for WVU earlier this year.
WACO, Texas--I'm out at Baylor's pro day Wednesday after taking in Texas' on Tuesday, but if you can't be there, you can still watch live via ESPN3 or the WatchESPN App.

Here's the link.

Heisman winner Robert Griffin III will throw today for scouts for the first time after skipping the exhibition during the combine. If he's going to buck expectations and become the No. 1 pick, today will be the day he does it.

RG3's showcase is the main attraction, but it's not the only attraction.

Can Big 12 receiving champ Kendall Wright improve on his disappointing 4.61 40 time at the combine?

Here are the members of Baylor's 2011 team who'll be taking part in all drills today:
RG3 and Wright are both probable first-rounders and should put on a show while they partake in some drills. Big 12 rushing champ Terrance Ganaway and center Philip Blake will also be partial participants. Check it out. We'll have some coverage later in the day.

RG3 on what to expect at Baylor's pro day

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
5:10
PM CT

WACO, Texas -- Heisman winner Robert Griffin III earned accolades for his performance at the podium at last month's NFL combine, but he elected not to throw until his pro day at Baylor.

The day for NFL scouts, GMs and coaches to see it up close and in person has arrived. Or, at least, it will on Wednesday.

[+] EnlargeRobert Griffin III
AdidasRG3 will get his chance Wednesday to show off for NFL scouts, GMs and coaches at Baylor's pro day.
"It’ll probably be the biggest pro day Baylor’s had in awhile," Griffin said on Monday after arriving to campus to take in his former team's spring practice.

Now, when would Baylor have ever had a bigger pro day?

"Well, I didn’t want to say that," Griffin said with a laugh.

Make no mistake, it's the biggest ever. Around 130 media members were credentialed for Wednesday's event, and 60-80 more NFL personnel are expected to arrive. That number was trimmed from around 120 after the Washington Redskins traded up to No. 2 with intentions to select Griffin.

"We’ll see what happens," Griffin said of his future destination. "Either way, if it’s Indy or Washington or whatever happens in the draft, I’ll be excited to play for that team."

The Bears had originally planned to allow fans to attend, and expected around 1,000 to show up and watch Griffin go throw a scripted set of throws, but that plan was scrapped.

Several networks, including ESPN, will broadcast the pro day live. The Big 12 Blog will be on hand, too. It's not only about Griffin throwing, though.

"We’re trying to show [NFL teams] we’ve got two really good running backs in Terrance Ganaway and Isaac Williams. Kendall [Wright]’s going to show off and do his thing and run great routes," Griffin said. "We’ve got a couple older guys coming back in Ernest Smith and Krys Buerck. They’re looking forward to a shot at the NFL, so I’m trying to help, help everybody out, not just show what I can do. Tape doesn’t lie, so I don’t have to prove anything at pro day, it’s about going out and having fun and helping those guys be successful, so we’re looking forward to it."

Griffin's spent the past two-plus months training in Arizona for Wednesday, and explained some of what Wednesday's workout can prove to NFL teams that want to see more than just his extensive, impressive game tape.

"The routes are all different in different systems, but they give you that generic NFL route tree and they want you to go run that and show them, 'Hey, I can run the basics, now teach me everything else,'" Griffin said. "So, just matching the drops to those throws, because they’re not what anybody does in the college level, no matter whether they’re in a pro system or in a spread system.

"I don’t think I’ve ever seen a quarterback go seven [steps], plant and throw -- throw an out route at the college level. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a spread or in a pro style at college. It’s still a different game and I’m excited to go play that game."

He'll get his chance this fall, but even with an adidas endorsement deal, Griffin isn't showing off any newfound cash just yet.

He hasn't made any car or house purchases, and doesn't have any plans to change that just right now.

"Not at all," he said. "I’m still broke."

Thoughts from a visit to Baylor's spring

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
11:16
AM CT
WACO, Texas -- Baylor practiced for about two hours in shoulder pads and shorts on Monday, and I got a chance to see the new-look Bears up close and personal.

I’ll be writing about this in detail in the coming weeks, but first things first: the quarterbacks.

  • It was a windy day with what I’d say were easily 30-40 mph gusts, so the Bears moved inside for the second half of practice, but even in the wind, quarterback Nick Florence looked really good. Throwing into the wind, he hit Terrance Williams and Tevin Reese on consecutive deep balls down the field in one-on-one drills. Reese and Williams, by the way, looked great ... but you already knew that.
  • Bryce Petty is a step above Florence when it comes to physical skills, but Florence isn’t that far behind. Petty has a bigger arm and a bit more velocity, but both quarterbacks can definitely “make all the throws,” as they say. We’ve seen Florence do it in game action, but ultimately, it’s hard to see Florence losing this job. He’s been in this system since 2009, and it shows. He’s decisive. He’s got a quick release. He makes moving the ball in pass skeleton or 11-on-11 look effortless at times and he takes care of the ball.
  • [+] EnlargeNick Florence
    Sarah Glenn/Getty ImagesEarly indications from spring practice shows Nick Florence will be Baylor's starter this fall.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Florence will be a well above average quarterback in this league, but Petty could already start for a handful of Big 12 teams. Bottom line is I think this plays out like most think. This is Florence's team in 2012. Baylor can feel good about that. In 2013 and 2014, this is Petty's team. Baylor can feel really, really good about that. Art Briles has to sleep easy at night when it comes to worrying about quarterbacks.
  • I’ll have more on him today, too, but hyped transfer Lache Seastrunk looks like he’s bulked up a whole lot. It shows in his shoulders and calves, especially. He’s much thicker, which I have to think he understood he needed after an unproductive stop at Oregon before transferring to Baylor. His development will be fun to watch. Right now, he’s getting some reps with the first team, but Jarred Salubi was getting the majority of first-team reps. Surpassing him will be tough, but I think Seastrunk will get a decent chunk of touches this year. He’s got an explosiveness and shiftiness that’s rare; it’s easy to see why he was so highly recruited. But will that mean production? We’ll see. Late in practice, he disappeared in the pile during 11-on-11 drills, but broke outside and outran everybody down the left side for what would have been an 80-yard touchdown run.
  • That wowed the defenders on the sideline. "He’s been hanging out with one of the best backs around, LaMichael James," exclaimed defensive end Tevin Elliott on the sidelines, to no one in particular. “That must be where he gets some of his swag from."
  • That said, don’t let the hype from Seastrunk distract from what looks like a strong effort by Salubi to win this job ahead of Glasco Martin as well. He’s running hard inside the tackles and showcasing a physical style we didn’t see much of last year. Terrance Ganaway provided that all last season, and the Bears need someone to duplicate it. Salubi looks like he wants to answer the call and be known for more than shiftiness on the outside.
  • One scary thing to watch for, Bears: Replacing center Philip Blake. I don’t recall many bad snaps last year, but the first two to Florence during 11-on-11 drills on Monday were bad, and I counted at least six through the rest of the practice. Four with the first unit. There’s a lot of time to fix that, but center is one of those positions people don’t quite appreciate until they don’t have a good one.
  • A rough day for the defense. The athletes are there for the Bears, but the offense moved the ball at will in most of the team drills. Such is life going up against a high-powered set of skill players like the ones the Bears have. You couldn’t get much of a feel for the physicality, however, because players were only wearing shoulder pads.
  • Baylor’s one of the most fun teams in the league when it comes to trick plays; the Bears successfully executed quite a few in wins over TCU and Oklahoma. They’ve got some more fun ones drawn up along the goal line; plays we didn’t see in 2011 and ones I haven’t seen anyone duplicate. Detailing those is a good way to make sure you don’t ever see a practice again, but I’ll say this: They’ll be fun when Baylor busts them out.
  • With Baylor’s pro day looming on Wednesday, lots of the team’s departing seniors were on hand at Monday’s practice, back from training for the combine and pro day. Quarterback Robert Griffin III was on the field and for the first half and in the huddle for some of that period talking with Briles and various players. Receiver Kendall Wright and Ganaway were also on hand, and stuck around to watch the second half of practice indoors.
  • We’ll have some more from Griffin later today, but don’t be surprised if he busts out some bright cleats at his pro day showcase on Wednesday. He showed up Monday toting cleats reminiscent of the “Electricity” uniforms Baylor’s basketball team wore this postseason. Scott Drew would be proud.
It's been a long and winding road, but we've finally met the end.

Sitting at the top of our 25 best players in the Big 12 in 2011 should be no surprise. He won the Heisman Trophy as the best player in all of college football, following it up with one of the most memorable speeches in Heisman history.

Without further ado, time to crown the best player of 2011.

No. 1: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

2011 numbers: Completed 291-of-402 passes (72.4 percent) for 4,293 yards, 37 touchdowns and six interceptions. Ran for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns on 179 carries. Also caught one pass for 15 yards.

Most recent ranking: Griffin was ranked No. 5 in our preseason list of the top 25 players, but grabbed the No. 1 spot in the midseason ranking of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Griffin: No quarterback accounted for more of his team's offense than Griffin, who produced 65.4 percent of Baylor's yardage. That's especially impressive considering the Bears' offense ranked No. 2 nationally in total offense. Every time Baylor needed a big play, Griffin provided it.

Need to convert a tough third down on a game-winning drive against TCU? Griffin will catch a pass in the middle of the defense and take a beating, get his wind knocked out and stay on the field.

Need to erase a three-touchdown, fourth-quarter deficit against KU? Griffin will break a long run and throw two touchdowns to force overtime, where, yes, he'll win the game there.

Need to go 80 yards in less than a minute to beat Oklahoma for the first time in school history? Griffin will scramble for almost 30 yards and throw a 34-yard game-winning touchdown pass with seconds remaining.

That doesn't even tell the full story of what Griffin means to the Baylor program he'll leave behind after this season. He changed the game and paved the way for others at Baylor. He restored some faith in the Heisman, proving that the award is a lot more than a figurative honor for the best player on the best team in college football. The best player in the game really does still win, even if his team has three losses.

Griffin's best attribute, though, may be his fierce loyalty to teammates and an unshakeable confidence which was strong and infectious. Griffin believed in his teammates. He knew what they were capable of doing. Time and time again, they proved him right, from his beefy, physical offensive line to Big 12 rushing champ Terrance Ganaway to receiving champ Kendall Wright.

The result was a historic season that made it easy to forget the difficult decade-plus in the Big 12 B.G. (Before Griffin). His arrival signified greater days were ahead. Now that he's gone, will they continue? That's the big question at Baylor, but a bowl win, a 10-win season and a Heisman Trophy assure that Griffin's time in Waco will never, ever be forgotten by the green and gold.

The rest of the list:

Breaking down spring camp: Baylor

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
10:57
AM CT
Baylor's next in line to kick off spring practice, and the party gets started in Waco this afternoon. Here's a closer look on what to watch for.

Schedule: The first of Baylor's 15 practices is today, leading up to the annual spring game on April 14. Baylor's spring game is a controlled scrimmage at the practice field. Practices are open to the media.

What's new: This is the first spring since 2008 that Robert Griffin III won't be on the field at Waco, and the first since 2009 that he's not in the spring as the starter. It'll be a little jarring without his No. 10 jersey on the field making plays, but the time is now for his understudy for much of that time, Nick Florence.

New faces: Special teams/wide receivers coach Dino Babers took the head coaching job at Eastern Illinois, and he was replaced from within. Coach Art Briles promoted assistant Jeff Lebby to a staff position. Baylor is also welcoming two new scholarship players: juco signee Eddie Lackey, a linebacker, and 2012 Recruiting All-Name team MVP Lynx Hawthorne, an early enrolling freshman athlete.

Big shoes to fill: Terrance Williams. The senior might have had the quietest 59-catch, 957-yard, 11-touchdown season of all time last year. He's supremely talented, but Kendall Wright led the Big 12 with 1,662 yards and leaves after leading the Bears in receiving for the past four seasons. Williams made some big catches in 2011, including the game-winner over Oklahoma that will live on as the defining moment of the Bears' dream year that ended with the first Heisman Trophy in school history. Williams has to show he can handle being the No. 1 target for a new quarterback.

Question mark: Will the defense progress? It should in Year 2 under coordinator Phil Bennett, who Baylor aggressively pursued after the 2010 season. The Bears were one of the league's worst defenses in 2011, but had the best player in the country on offense the pick up the slack. Florence is good. He's not the best player in the country. Will the payoff for getting Bennett begin to show up this spring? It was rough last year from what I saw on my trip to Waco. Leading tackler Elliot Coffey and DT Nicolas Jean-Baptiste are gone, but the team returns nine of its top 10 tacklers.

Breaking out: Running back Lache Seastrunk. The Oregon transfer tried to become eligible for 2011, but didn't do so after joining the team just before the season. The Bears didn't need him anyway; Terrance Ganaway rumbled to a Big 12 rushing title. Ganaway's gone now, though, and Seastrunk will try and win the job this spring alongside promising, more experienced backs in Glasco Martin and Jarred Salubi.

All eyes on: Florence. It's pretty obvious. Florence hasn't been handed the job just yet. Bryce Petty is behind him on the depth chart and loaded with potential, too. Florence, though, played most of the 2009 season and looked good in relief of RG3 this year, leading the Bears to a win over Texas Tech on Thanksgiving weekend. I'm betting Florence is above average this year, and he'll have arguably the Big 12's best receiving corps (with apologies to West Virginia), a good offensive line and a great group of backs. In Briles' system, though, the quarterback makes it all go.
Our countdown of the Big 12's top 25 players continues. The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing a new member of the list every day.

Here's a quick rundown on my criteria for this list.

No. 11: Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor

2011 numbers: Carried the ball 250 times for 1,547 yards and 21 touchdowns. Caught six passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.

Most recent ranking: Ganaway was unranked in our preseason list of the top 25 players.

Making the case for Ganaway: After Ganaway bulled his way for a physical 120 yards against TCU in the season opener, I said it was time to line up the 240-pounder for 1,200 yards in 2012. Looks like I was way off. The big man surpassed anyone's expectations entering the season and won the Big 12 rushing title with a huge year in his only season as the team's featured back.

No one quite knew who would replace 1,200-yard rusher Jay Finley from the 2010 team, but Ganaway proved more than capable, rushing for 200 yards in three games and 186 in a win against Missouri. He capped his career with a five-touchdown performance in the bowl win over Washington, stealing the show from Heisman winner Robert Griffin III. He carried the team when RG3 sat out most of a win over Texas Tech with a head injury, rushing for 246 yards and keeping the Red Raiders at an arm's length.

He had the big games, but his season was marked with consistency, which led to his huge season total on the ground. He was held to fewer than 89 yards just four times all season, but scored 11 touchdowns in the final four games of the season.

No surprise: those four games were part of a six-game winning streak to end the season for the Bears.

The rest of the list:

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