All-Big 12 honors, teams released

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
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The Big 12 released its All-Big 12 honors on Wednesday with TCU sweeping the biggest individual honors, as voted on by the league's coaches.

Here’s the rundown of the individual honors and first team: (You can find the entire list including the second team and honorable mention here.)

Coach of the Year: Gary Patterson, TCU
Offensive Player of the Year: QB Trevone Boykin, TCU
Defensive Player of the Year: LB Paul Dawson, TCU
Special Teams Player of the Year: PR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
Offensive Freshman of the Year: RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma
Defensive Freshman of the Year: S Kamari Cotton-Moya, Iowa State
Offensive Newcomer of the Year: ATH Tyreek Hill, Oklahoma State
Defensive Newcomer of the Year: DE Shaq Riddick, West Virginia
Co-offensive Lineman of the Year: T Spencer Drango, Baylor and C B.J. Finney, Kansas State
Defensive Lineman of the Year: DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State

All-Big 12 First team
Offense
QB Trevone Boykin, TCU, Jr.
RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, Fr.
RB Shock Linwood, Baylor, Soph.
FB Glenn Gronkowski, Kansas State, Soph.
WR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State, Sr.
WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma, Jr.
WR Kevin White, West Virginia, Sr.
TE E.J. Bibbs, Iowa State, Sr.
OL Spencer Drango, Baylor, Sr.
OL B.J. Finney, Kansas State, Sr.
OL Daryl Williams, Oklahoma, Sr.
OL Tyrus Thompson, Oklahoma, Sr.
OL Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech, Jr.
K Jaden Oberkrom, TCU, Jr.
KR/PR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State, Sr.

Defense
DL Andrew Billings, Baylor, Soph.
DL Shawn Oakman, Baylor, Jr.
DL Ryan Mueller, Kansas State, Sr.
DL Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State, Soph.
DL Malcom Brown, Texas, Jr.
LB Ben Heeney, Kansas, Sr.
LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma, Jr.
LB Paul Dawson, TCU, Sr.
DB JaCorey Shepherd, Kansas, Sr.
DB Randall Evans, Kansas State, Sr.
DB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma, Soph.
DB Chris Hackett, TCU, Jr.
DB Karl Joseph, West Virginia, Jr.
P Trevor Pardula, Kansas, Sr.

Thoughts and observations
  • Lockett, Drango and Mueller are the only back-to-back first-team selections.
  • TCU’s sweep of the Coach of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year was well-deserved. Patterson did an exceptional job, both in the offseason with his hires of Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie, as well as during the season with TCU's defense. Boykin is a no-brainer and would have won the most-improved award if there was one. Dawson had plenty of competitors for DPOY including Billings, Ogbah, Striker, Brown and Oakman. But it's hard to go wrong with Dawson, who consistently showed up big in TCU's biggest games.
  • The biggest surprise was Ogbah as defensive lineman of the year. I’ve been on the Ogbah bandwagon since before the season began but Texas’ Brown was the guy I expected to walk away with that honor.
  • If the OPOY is not Boykin who could it possibly be? Boykin’s honor joins Perine as the Offensive Freshman of the Year as the easiest picks.
  • Riddick is a good choice for Defensive Newcomer of the Year, although I felt like K-State's Danzel McDaniel deserved that honor. Both are quality options so no major beef with Riddick getting the nod.
  • It’s good to see Cotton-Moya get the recognition he deserved. He’s been good for Paul Rhoads' team all season. The redshirt freshman led the Cyclones with 77 tackles including 55 solo stops.
  • It was a bit of a surprise to see Mueller on the first team after his production dropped as a senior. He had 11.5 sacks in 2013 before recording 5.5 sacks this season.
  • Lastly, I'm not a fan of more than 11 first-teamers on offense or defense, make a decision and live with that decision. It cheapens the honor when you add spots to fit people into the team.
Mariota

Mariota

We'll have to wait until Jan. 12 to find out which team will the inaugural College Football Playoff.

On Saturday night, we'll learn if Oregon's Marcus Mariota will become the latest quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, college football's most revered individual award.

On Thursday night, we'll find out the winners of college football's other top individual honors at the Home Depot College Football Awards (7 p.m. ET on ESPN) at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Here's a look at the hardware that's up for grabs, the finalists for each and who should win:

Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year)

Finalists: Vic Beasley, Clemson; Joey Bosa, Ohio State; Scooby Wright III, Arizona

Who should win: Wright

Who will win: Wright

Talk about Scooby snacks. Wright, who has already won the Bronko Nagurski Award as the country's top defensive player, ranks in the top five among FBS players with 153 total tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 14 sacks and six forced fumbles. He's trying to become the first FBS player since 1999 to finish in the top five in tackles, tackles for loss and sacks.

Biletnikoff Award (outstanding receiver)


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Big 12 season recruiting superlatives 

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
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The Big 12 finished the regular season with a sour taste in its mouth, as TCU and Baylor both missed out on the College Football Playoff. Fortunately, there are still bowl games to play, which means additional opportunities for recruits to watch seven conference teams compete one last time this year.

Here's a look at the Big 12 recruiting superlatives, based on what took place in recruiting this season.

Three reasons why Texas has disappointed 

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
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The University of Texas has the best tradition in the most talent-rich state but has not won 10 games since 2009 and parted ways with head coach Mack Brown after 16 years in 2013. What went wrong?


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Big 12 morning links

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
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How's your holiday shopping coming along? Um, I've got some work to do.
  • Here is a pretty good bowl review from Matt Hinton, our colleague at Grantland including the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl matchup as the Reunion Bowl. I was cheering for the Texas-Texas A&M matchup that many wanted to see, but having the Razorbacks take on former SWC foe UT is a pretty solid matchup. Add the Aggies' battle with West Virginia and it seems like a pretty good second option that will help me overcome no Longhorns-Aggies bowl bonanza.
  • Texas coach Charlie Strong hopes Tyrone Swoopes has been watching the TCU tape, writes Mike Finger of the Houston Chronicle. Strong also said the Longhorns will hold an open competition at the quarterback position heading into 2015. I've felt like Swoopes was not the answer for much of the season and his final regular-season performance against the Horned Frogs didn't do much to change my mind. That said, Swoopes did have his moments when he looked like he could be the future, so I'm not as strong in my belief Jerrod Heard must be the guy behind center in Austin in the future.
  • Does Oklahoma have the worst receivers in the Big 12? The Oklahoman's Jason Kersey considers the question. Even though the Sooners' receiving corps was the conference's least productive but I wouldn't go as far as to call them the conference's worst. Why? The lackluster play from the quarterback position played a major role in that lack of production and taking the ball out of the hands of Samaje Perine and Alex Ross to put it in the hands of inexperienced receivers doesn't make much sense, either. But a lack of playmakers at receiver was a problem in 2014 and it's a problem that needs to be fixed heading into next year.
  • The search committee in charge of finding Kansas' new head coach was so impressed by David Beaty the search essentially came to a halt shortly after his interview, writes Jesse Newell of the Topeka Capital Journal. Beaty's desire to coach at Kansas, one of the reasons I thought Clint Bowen would be a solid choice, has really come through during his first few days in charge. If he can transfer that to those around him in the program, great things could be in the Jayhawks' future.
  • The Heisman finalists were announced on Tuesday with Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Alabama's Amari Cooper and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon getting the nod. All three guys deserve a trip to New York but it sure seems like TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin should be making the trip. His exceptional junior year was a driving force behind TCU's 11-1 season. Boykin was outstanding in every single way. I think he should have been a Heisman finalist, no question about it.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

December, 9, 2014
Dec 9
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video
TCU added to its 2016 class, a four-star quarterback who’s been in the news since parting ways with an SEC program picked up an Oklahoma offer, and Texas hosted a big recruiting weekend -- without playing a game.

These, and more, in this week’s Big 12 recruiting weekend recap:


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David Cutcliffe of Duke said young coaches should turn to Kenny Rogers for advice on how to get ahead on the recruiting trail. Plus, Florida's Jim McElwain has been busy since he was hired.

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Scooby Wright wins Nagurski award

December, 8, 2014
Dec 8
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[+] EnlargeScooby Wright
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsArizona linebacker Scooby Wright, who won the Bronko Nagurski award Monday night, said the Wildcats were the only FBS school to offer him a scholarship.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright won the Bronko Nagurski award, given to the nation's top college defensive player, on Monday night.

Wright was considered a two-star recruit coming out of high school and said the Wildcats were the only Football Bowl Subdivision school to offer him a scholarship.

The 6-foot-1, 246-pound linebacker used that slight as motivation. He took aim at the rest of the Pac-12, turning in a stellar sophomore season with 89 tackles -- 27 for a loss -- and 14 sacks, helping the Wildcats (No. 10 CFP, No. 12 AP) earn a spot in the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl against Boise State.

He became the first underclassman to win the Pac-12 defensive player of the year honor.

He started 12 games as freshman for the Wildcats and had 89 tackles.

"Coming out of high school, I didn't really have too many colleges knocking on my door -- actually nobody really wanted me except Arizona," said Wright, who received the Nagurski award at a banquet sponsored by the Charlotte Touchdown Club. "So I always have that little chip on my shoulder. You always remember those people who didn't think you were good enough. It still motivates me to this day."


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ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (6-6) vs. TEXAS LONGHORNS (6-6)
DEC. 29, 9 P.M. ET, NRG STADIUM, HOUSTON (ESPN)


ARKANSAS BREAKDOWN

Season highlights: The Razorbacks finally handed Bret Bielema his first SEC win on Nov. 15 when they shut out LSU 17-0, ending the program’s 17-game conference losing streak. As soon as the game ended, Arkansas players rushed across the field en masse to hoist the Golden Boot trophy that goes to the LSU-Arkansas winner. It was a moment of pure bliss for a program that desperately wanted to prove it was moving in the right direction under its second-year coach.

Season lowlights: Arkansas kept suffering near-misses early in the season, falling in overtime against Texas A&M, being beaten 14-13 by Alabama and losing by a touchdown to Mississippi State. The Razorbacks’ one awful performance during the season came against Georgia, when they trailed 38-6 at halftime before eventually falling 45-32.

Player to watch: Jonathan Williams. Teaming with Alex Collins to give Arkansas one of the SEC’s best rushing attacks, Williams led the team with 1,085 rushing yards and ran for 11 touchdowns. Collins isn’t far behind with 1,024 rushing yards and 12 scores. Between that duo and a tough offensive line, the Razorbacks have a ground game that is difficult for any opponent to stop.

Motivation factor: Arkansas was 3-4 after the Georgia loss and had games remaining against UAB, Mississippi State, LSU, Ole Miss and Missouri. That didn’t look like a positive sign, as the Razorbacks needed three more wins to play in a bowl game. They finally broke through by shutting out both LSU and Ole Miss, with the second of those wins achieving bowl eligibility and Arkansas’ first postseason appearance since 2011.
-- David Ching

vs.
TEXAS BREAKDOWN

Season highlights: Charlie Strong never promised a playoff contender in Year 1. He did promise Texas would play some defense. He turned the Longhorns' D into a top-15 unit nationally in yards per play, pass defense, sacks and goal-line stops. The Horns developed one of the nation’s top linemen, defensive tackle Malcom Brown, and assembled a defense that was responsible for allowing 23.4 points per game in Big 12 play. During a three-game win streak to clinch bowl eligibility, Texas finally put it all together and emerged as a physical, tough-to-beat squad.

Season lowlights: It’s been a rocky road. Texas lost quarterback David Ash to a career-ending concussion. Center Dominic Espinosa and nose tackle Desmond Jackson were lost for the season in nonconference play. Expected starting offensive tackles Desmond Harrison (suspension) and Kennedy Estelle (dismissal) were gone too. Their absences set Texas up to fail early and lose five of its first eight games. Close calls against UCLA and Oklahoma were encouraging. Blowout losses to BYU, Baylor and Kansas State were embarrassing. So was Texas’ 48-10 implosion against TCU on Thanksgiving.

Player to watch: Is Tyrone Swoopes playing for his job in the bowl? Strong and co-offensive coordinator Shawn Watson won’t say that, but they have repeatedly said they need more competition at the quarterback position. They will find some this offseason, and Swoopes will be challenged to take a big step in the spring. Can he bounce back from his five-turnover performance against TCU and end an up-and-down first season as a starter on a positive note?

Motivation factor: Significant, especially for the future. Giving star seniors like Quandre Diggs, Jordan Hicks, Cedric Reed and John Harris a win on the way out would be great. They have endured plenty at UT through all the coaching changes. But Texas also has another shot to do what it couldn’t against the Horned Frogs. A big win means momentum for offseason workouts, recruiting and further affirmation that Strong has Texas heading in the right direction.
-- Max Olson

Best of the visits: Big 12

December, 7, 2014
Dec 7
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The Big 12 ended its regular season on Saturday. Baylor won. TCU won. And then, they lost. Oklahoma State claimed Bedlam honors over Oklahoma. And Texas hosted a huge recruiting weekend without playing a game.

Here’s a recap of what happened with conference recruiting:

Recruits enjoy Texas visit

Who needs a football game?

Texas had one of its biggest recruiting weekends of the year. It says a lot about a program when recruits make their official visit the weekend after the regular season ends.

LBs Malik Jefferson and Darrin Kirkland and WR Ryan Newsome, all ESPN 300 athletes, were three of the seven players on official visits over the weekend. Needless to say they had a great time in Austin. So much, that each player was actually trending in Austin on Twitter.
Of the three, Newsome may be the one who most enjoys the limelight. He loves to document each visit with something specific to the environment. It so happened that he, Jefferson and Kirkland found the Longhorn Network production studio -- and when in Rome ... Jefferson, Kirkland and Newsome are three uncommitted athletes. Also in Austin were Texas OL commits Connor Williams and Garrett Thomas, junior college DE commit Quincy Vasser and juco OL commit Tristan Nickelson Bedlam brings out Oklahoma, Oklahoma State targets

Bedlam didn't go the way Oklahoma wanted, as Oklahoma State scored a 35-28, come-from-behind victory in the state's biggest game of the year.

Louisville DB commit Kareem Orr was one of the athletes in Norman on an official visit. Orr committed to Louisville in June, but the Sooners appear to be making a strong push as we get closer to February. ESPN OL Josh Wariboko is one of Oklahoma's top targets. After decommitting from the Sooners in April, he has kept his word in keeping them high on his recruiting list. Oklahoma was Wariboko's fourth official visit and a chance for him to reunite with the coaching staff. It was Dominique Hearne's birthday weekend, and the Oklahoma OL commit enjoyed it spending time with his future team and coaching staff. Sooners OL commit Cody Ford paid full attention to the offensive line -- a group responsible for Samaje Perine's record-breaking, single-game rushing performance a couple of weeks back. The Sooners produced 304 rushing yards against the Cowboys in the loss. Bedlam has the tendency of being the energy needed to land big-time recruits. It also is able to key in on a few younger players - for both teams. 2017 QB Chaz Ah You was in Norman over the weekend. The Utah standout has an Oklahoma State offer in addition to BYU, Hawaii, Utah and Utah State, and before he took in the game atmosphere, he made a trek to Stillwater for an unofficial visit to Oklahoma State. Recruits watch Baylor, TCU shine

Baylor and TCU ended Big 12 play with identical 11-1 overall and 8-1 conference records. And then early Sunday, they both had their hearts broken by watching Ohio State take the fourth and final spot in the College Football Playoff bracket.

If there's a bright spot in this, both teams will head to big bowls, and both teams will use this as motivation for next year. Both teams also will have stud recruits to help them in their quests.

For TCU, WRs Jaelan Austin and Jarrison Stewart both were in Fort Worth taking in TCU's 55-3 rout against Iowa State. Austin and Stewart were there with 2016 QB Greg Eisworth. 2017 LB Anthony Hines, who has 56 offers, also was in Fort Worth. Hines recently decommitted from Mississippi State. High three-star DB Montrel Wilson, a one-time Baylor commit, took his official visit to Waco over the weekend. In addition to a great game and a great overall experience, Wilson received a cookie cake.

And who doesn't like cookie cake? Junior college DB Jay'Onn Miles also received a cookie cake, in addition to a great overall experience from the official visit. Miles came to Waco from Pierce College in California. The regular season is over for the conference, but look for official visits to still take place. December and January will be perfect opportunities for teams to score 11th-hour commitments before Feburary's signing day.

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 15

December, 7, 2014
Dec 7
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Welcome Oklahoma State to the party!

The Cowboys earned bowl eligibility with an improbable 38-35 overtime win over Oklahoma on Saturday to give the Big 12 seven bowl-eligible squads.

There’s not much movement in the rest of our projections, as nobody really knows what the College Football Playoff committee will do when the top four teams are announced Sunday.

What we do know is TCU entered the weekend at No. 3 in the College Football Rankings and finished its season with a 55-3 win over Iowa State to secure a 11-1 regular season. No. 6 Baylor matched TCU’s 11-1 record with a 38-27 win over No. 9 Kansas State and finished the season as Big 12 co-champions tied with the Horned Frogs at 8-1 in Big 12 play. It’s possible the Big 12 is left on the outside looking in, or TCU or Baylor could find themselves with a playoff berth. There’s plenty of Big 12 intrigue (and debate sure to follow) when the committee’s final decision becomes public on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Kansas State and Oklahoma maintain their places in the pecking order, despite losses along to Texas and West Virginia, who ended their regular seasons last week. OSU sneaks in at the bottom of the projections after its Bedlam triumph.

College Football Playoff semifinal (Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual): TCU
Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Baylor
Valero Alamo Bowl: Kansas State
Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: Texas
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: West Virginia
Cactus Bowl: Oklahoma State
video

National recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton offers the latest on ESPN 300 outside linebackers Roquan Smith, Malik Jefferson and Jeffery Holland.

Big 12's top recruiting visits 

December, 5, 2014
Dec 5
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As the rest of the college football world prepares for conference championship weekend, the Big 12 is preparing for its final week of regular-season play -- a week that happens to have major implications not only for final College Football Playoff placement, but also for the conference’s "One True Champion" motto.

Baylor, TCU and Kansas State enter the final week of the regular season each with one loss. Baylor hosts Kansas State, and TCU, No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings, hosts Iowa State. Baylor, No. 6 in the rankings, could make a move to the top four with a big win and some help in the other conference championship games.

If that isn’t enough, Bedlam takes place this week, as Oklahoma hosts Oklahoma State.

There are only three games taking place, but all three provide quality matchups. All three also are expected to have big visitors in attendance. Additionally, Texas, which has completed its regular season, will have a long list of official visitors this week.


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Big 12 Weekend Wrap: Dec. 9
National recruiting reporter Jeremy Crabtree breaks down the top weekend storylines from the Big 12.
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BIG 12 SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12