Oklahoma Sooners: Byron Daniels

For the past two weeks, we’ve been ranking the best units in the Big 12 by position.

Now, in our weekly poll, we’re asking for your opinion: Who has the league’s best offensive unit regardless of position?

We’re going to exclude the quarterback position, since that’s more about one player than the collective strength of an entire unit.

Sorry, Bryce Petty.

SportsNation

Who has the Big 12's best overall offensive positional unit?

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    19%
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    24%
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    16%
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    19%
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    22%

Discuss (Total votes: 5,751)

Petty’s receivers at Baylor, though, have a strong claim as the best offensive unit in the league. The Bears return four players who finished with at least 30 receptions last season, including Antwan Goodley, who produced 71 catches for 1,339 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013. Baylor will also be adding arguably the deepest and most talented signing class at the position in the country, headlined by ESPN 300 receiver K.D. Cannon.

The Bears, however, aren’t the only ones loaded at receiver.

Texas Tech features the dynamic receiving trio of Jakeem Grant, Bradley Marquez and Reginald Davis, who combined for four touchdowns in the National University Holiday Bowl win over Arizona State. D.J. Polite-Bray emerged over the spring as a downfield burner on the outside. The Red Raiders have also added their top overall recruit from last year to the rotation in Devin Lauderdale, who was forced to attend junior college for a year after failing to initially qualify. Four-star slot receivers Byron Daniels and Ian Sadler will be joining the squad in the summer.

As deep as the Bears and Red Raiders are at receiver, there might not be a positional group in the Big 12 as deep as West Virginia’s running backs.

In their backfield, the Mountaineers have Dreamius Smith (the No. 1 juco back in 2013), Wendell Smallwood (who played as a true freshman), Rushel Shell (who before transferring in from Pitt, set Pennsylvania’s state high school career rushing record), Andrew Buie (the team’s leading rusher from 2012) and Dustin Garrison, the team’s leading rusher from 2011 who had a tremendous spring following a string of injuries the previous three seasons. If that weren’t enough, four-star signee Donte Thomas-Williams will be arriving in Morgantown this summer.

While not as deep, Texas’ three-headed monster in the backfield is more proven than West Virginia’s, though not without questions. Johnathan Gray is coming off an Achilles injury, and Joe Bergeron was barred from the team during the spring due to academics. But when together and healthy, the threesome of Malcolm Brown, Gray (both All-Big 12-caliber runners) and Bergeron is as fearsome as any in the country.

Last fall, the Texas backs ran behind the most experienced offensive line in the Big 12. This season, that distinction belongs to the Sooners, whose offensive line unit caps the poll.

All told, Oklahoma boasts 107 career starts along its offensive line, headlined by senior tackle Daryl Williams and guard Adam Shead, who have been starting since their redshirt freshman seasons. Guard/center Nila Kasitati and tackle Tyrus Thompson are also returning starters on an offense that placed second in the Big 12 in rushing last season.

So who does have the best offensive unit in the Big 12?

Baylor's or Texas Tech’s wide receivers? West Virginia's or Texas’ running backs? Or Oklahoma’s offensive line?
In today's mailbag, we discuss Iowa State's offensive potential, Texas Tech's defensive potential and OU's potential to run the table. There's also major disagreement about which schools I'm actually a homer for.

To the 'bag:

Rusty in Denver writes: Thanks for totaling the position rankings at the end last week. I thought that was a good summary. I do think you missed out on two key aspects for the coming season: schedule and coaching. As a K-State fan, I would push us up for the coaching staff, but take us back down for our schedule. Thoughts?

Trotter: Glad you enjoyed the series, Rusty. But I wasn’t trying to predict records, which obviously coaching and schedule play a big part into. I only wanted to focus on the position groups, and where every team stood relative to the rest of the league. When we try to predict how each team will finish in the league down the line, coaching and schedule obviously will be factored in.


Bryan in Norman, Okla., writes: What do you think of OU’s chances of running the table this year?

Trotter: OU could be favored in every game on its schedule, which obviously would give them a decent chance of running the regular-season table. But the Sooners also have a recent history of dropping games as double-digit favorites, as well (TCU ’05, Colorado ’07, BYU ’09, Texas Tech ’11, Texas ’13). This has a chance to be OU’s best team since 2008. And they are a legitimate threat to make the College Football Playoff. But they won’t get there unless they can avoid the double-digit land mine.


Justin in West Des Moines, Iowa, writes: Am I the only Cyclones fan here that is not sold on Grant Rohach and this "dangerous" wide receiving group with Quenton Bundrage, Allen Lazard and E.J. Bibbs that everyone is hyped about? Not to discredit those three, but isn't this just a replay of what we saw near the end of the 2012 season when Sam Richardson replaced good ol' Steele Jantz and torched Kansas and nearly beat West Virginia? I agree, those three are going to be great targets for Rohach, but they're going to be making him look much better than what I've seen so far. I still feel like to get to the next level (more than 6-7 wins), ISU still needs more than what Rohach can provide.

Trotter: I disagree with your put down of the Iowa State WR corps. Bundrage has proven he can make big plays, Lazard was one of the top-rated WR recruits in the country and Bibbs is the Big 12’s best returning receiving tight end. But the point about the QBs is very valid. Iowa State always seems to find its answer at QB at the end of a season, only to restart its search the next. I don’t know if Rohach is the answer. Maybe he is. Or maybe it’s a healthy Richardson. Or perhaps it’s Joel Lanning. Whoever it is, that quarterback will have some weapons to work with next season. The key will be finding -- and sticking with -- that right quarterback.


Crews in Tyler, Texas, writes: Is there any way possible that Texas Tech's defense is underrated going into next season? Even with a ton of new starters, how much does playing in the same system/coaching staff from the previous season help?

Trotter: Well, there’s no doubt that getting through that first year in coordinator Matt Wallerstedt’s 3-4 scheme is going to help. But I don’t know that I’d term the Tech defense underrated at this point. The Red Raiders gave up 41 points or more in their final four regular-season games, and while the Holiday Bowl showing was impressive, losing the likes of Kerry Hyder, Dartwan Bush, Will Smith, Terrance Bullitt, Tre' Porter and Bruce Jones is going to hurt. I do like the potential athleticism of this defense, though. And they do have the chance to surprise, particularly if some of the juco transfers up front pan out.


Joshua Parsons in Lubbock, Texas, writes: Which freshman will have the biggest impact for this upcoming season for the Red Raiders?

Trotter: It’s possible receivers Ian Sadler or Byron Daniels work their way into the rotation, but I think cornerback Nigel Bethel II will make the biggest impact. The Red Raiders just don’t have a corner on their roster with the speed or playmaking potential of Bethel. He might not start right way, but he will play. And ultimately he will end up starting, perhaps sooner rather than later.


Cliff W. in Madison, W. Va., writes: I heard rumors that Shelton Gibson was an academic non-qualifier this spring -- is there any truth to it? It may be old news but I'm an underground coal miner and I don't get much time to keep myself updated about the drama up in Morgantown.

Trotter: Basically, Gibson was a partial qualifier last season, which means he can’t join the team in an official capacity until this summer. Ultimately, since Gibson redshirted, it won’t matter much. Provided he keeps his grades up, he will still have four years of eligibility left once he joins the team.

Big 12 signing day storylines 

December, 17, 2013
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Consider the countdown a go.

With 50 days from national signing day, a lot of questions about star players have been answered. Some questions, however, are still left to be answered.

Here are 10 signing day storylines that could affect recruiting classes throughout the Big 12:

Best Big 12 recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

The best college football coaches will tell you that when it comes to recruiting, their business is an art. It’s a craft you must perfect if you want to have the best players commit and ultimately sign. Recruiting isn’t for everybody, but those who are good at it -- particularly for building the 2014 class -- should be recognized, as the business is extremely competitive.

Here are 10 of the top recruiters from the Big 12.


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Some athletes simply have recognizable nicknames. Wide receiver Byron Daniels (San Antonio/Madison) is known around his high school as “Scooter.”

“I don’t even know how I got it,” Daniels said. “I was named after my dad, and it was something my family called me. When they called for Byron, both of us turned around.’”

Daniels said his grandfather was the first to call him Scooter. What many probably didn’t know was that the name would fit as a football player. In addition to being quick and elusive, he runs with a level of power that many 5-foot-11, 170-pound athletes don’t have.

That combination of talents has made Daniels a major recruiting target for several college programs. Daniels has seven offers, and he’s looking to earn more as the spring season progresses.


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Q&A: Coach of 2014 WR Byron Daniels 

April, 11, 2013
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Oklahoma has its eyes on landing a receiver from San Antonio (Texas) Madison for the second straight recruiting cycle.

Just months after signing Dannon Cavil, the Sooners are in hot pursuit of Byron Daniels, who holds several offers including Oklahoma State and Nebraska. Madison coach Jim Streety spoke with SoonerNation about Daniels' ability, potential college position and Cavil's potential impact on his recruitment.

SoonerNation: When did you realize Byron would be a special player?


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OU, Norvell building options at WR 

April, 2, 2013
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Not every position has gone smoothly for Oklahoma on the recruiting trail the last few years. But if there’s one spot OU fans can usually feel comfortable with, wide receiver is definitely up there.

Year after year, wide receivers coach Jay Norvell has done a tremendous job bringing in top talent. And every offseason during which the Sooners are able to keep Norvell from taking another job simply means more good things to come for OU.

Nick Alexander
Bob Przybylo/ESPN.comIt's early, but WR target Nick Alexander looks promising for OU, considering two teammates have also committed to the Sooners.
The Class of 2014 was off to a great start with ESPN Watch List receiver Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City) having committed in October. But several top schools have been in pursuit of him and combined with Foreman's desire to play with his brother, he decommitted from the Sooners on Monday night.

Foreman isn't out of the picture. But if he is, that's something OU can adjust to because Norvell has more tricks up his sleeve and already has offered several quality names:


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Every Friday, SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:

  • Could the Sooners add a top receiver at their spring game?
  • A Texas wideout is hoping to visit Oklahoma soon.
  • Texas athlete is focused on a handful of schools.
  • Will an in-state linebacker make another visit to OU?
  • A Sooners signee is "like a big brother" to a 2014 target.
  • What's next for ESPN Watch List safety Steven Parker?
  • A Florida wideout has a connection to a new OU assistant coach.

Read the Sooner Intel after the jump.


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Q&A: '14 WR Byron Daniels has top three 

March, 27, 2013
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San Antonio Madison High has been kind to Oklahoma before. It was the home of former OU running back Jacob Gutierrez. And the Sooners went back to that spot to land ESPN 300 wide receiver Dannon Cavil for their 2013 class.

OU is once again at San Antonio Madison and once again targeting a top offensive target in receiver Byron Daniels.

Daniels, who is 6-foot-1 and 168 pounds, has offers from OU, Texas Tech and Nebraska, among others and has seen his stock increase in the last couple of months. He had 47 catches for 712 yards with a team-leading 13 touchdowns last season.


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NORMAN, Okla. -- There had been a noticeable trend in Oklahoma's recruiting for the last couple of seasons. The Sooners were stepping out of Texas and going national.

With a winning tradition like OU has, it makes sense. You can offer a recruit in California or Florida and just say, “We’re OU. We want you.”


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WR talks about picking up offer from OU 

February, 26, 2013
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If you’re a quality player from the San Antonio area and hearing from Oklahoma, there’s a good chance assistant coach Bobby Jack Wright is your first contact.

Wright coaches defensive ends for OU, but he has been the man in charge of the San Antonio area at OU for years. And if the Sooners get really serious, that’s when the position coach starts to make his name.


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