The Big 12's out of nowhere players this spring

May, 20, 2009
5/20/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

As usual, several Big 12 players jumped out of nowhere this spring to make solid contributions and perhaps cement their roles heading into the upcoming season.

Here's a list of some of the more notable players from across the conference:

Baylor T Danny Watkins: The former Canadian firefighter has emerged as the Bears' starting left tackle. He'll fill the big shoes of Jason Smith, the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft.

Colorado WR Jason Espinoza: After arriving at school as a walk-on cornerback, Espinoza hoped to contribute as a punt returner last year before a broken collarbone ended his season. After switching to wide receiver, he emerged as Colorado's top receiver in the spring, punctuating his work with game-high totals for receptions and yardage in the spring game.

Kansas State LB Alex Hrbec: Had the best spring game of any defender in the conference, racking up 19 tackles. That effort should help the walk-on's chances at winning a scholarship before fall practice.

Texas Tech WR Alex Torres: After leaving the Air Force Academy prep school after breaking his wrist, Torres went home to El Paso to work as a server at Red Lobster while he awaited his chance to return to football. He walked on with the Red Raiders, earning the No. 1 slot on the depth chart after spring practice at Michael Crabtree's old flanker position.

Nebraska QB LaTravis Washington: The converted former linebacker emerged as Nebraska's likely backup at quarterback, taking advantage of injuries to Kody Spano and Cody Green to stake his claim for playing time. Washington passed for 191 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game -- perhaps paving the way to enable the Cornhuskers to redshirt Green.

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