Texas Longhorns: Arthur Brown

HornsNation is breaking down Texas' 2013 football schedule every Monday this summer. This week: The Longhorns' fourth game of the season vs. the Kansas State Wildcats on Sept. 21.

Question of the Week: Scariest UT games 

May, 16, 2013
5/16/13
8:00
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AUSTIN, Texas -- There was a time when Texas would strike fear in future foes rather than have its fans be stricken with it when studying the schedule.

But times, personnel, records, well, let’s just wrap it up by saying a lot, has changed at Texas. These days, instead of having all those gimme games, worry and dread often accompany games way beyond the Red River Rivalry.

Of course, Texas coach Mack Brown has done his best to assuage those fears by continually pointing to 2013 as the year when Texas gets back to being Texas. Then again, an increasingly skeptical fan base probably needs more words to help cease its cuticle chomping. But there won’t be anything but words until Aug. 31. Words and, well, fear.

It is that fear HornsNation is ready to pounce upon with this week’s question of the week: Which team on Texas’ 2013 schedule should fans worry about most and why?


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Trending up or down: Big 12 in 2013

December, 18, 2012
12/18/12
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Colleague Phil Steele checked in with our ESPN Insider folks for a look at all 70 bowl teams Insider... in 2013.

What can they all expect next season? You'll need Insider to see his full comments, but he weighed in on the nine Big 12 bowl teams.

Baylor's stock: Down

My take: I'd lean more toward even for the Bears. They're losing Nick Florence and Terrance Williams, but Tevin Reese is a strong candidate to continue the receiver tradition at Baylor under Art Briles, and Lache Seastrunk might end up being the Big 12's best back next year. Don't be surprised if new QB Bryce Petty is even better than Florence. It's very easy for me to see Baylor winning seven (or more) games next year, and once again, it's hard to see the defense getting worse.

WVU's stock: Even

My take: The record might be the same (7-5) next year, but I would lean toward trending down for WVU, just because it won't have the upside or potential of this year's team. WVU was good enough to win 9-11 games this year, but with a new QB, no Tavon Austin and no Stedman Bailey, it's tough to see next year's team being able to make that claim.

Texas' stock: Up

My take: How up depends on David Ash's development, once again. When he played well early in the season, Texas looked like it could beat a whole lot of teams. When he struggled against KU and Oklahoma, Texas didn't look like it could beat anyone. The defense can't be any worse.

TCU's stock: Up

My take: Way, way, up. Maybe more up than any team in the country. TCU was 70 percent freshmen and sophomore this year and still managed to go 7-5. It has tons of talent on both sides of the ball, and running back Aaron Green, a blue-chip transfer from Nebraska, will be on the field. Quarterback Casey Pachall may return, too. Big 12 title contenders.

Iowa State's stock: Even

My take: I'd agree. Sam Richardson showed some promise, but I don't know if I see a true impact player there. ISU still has to improve its skill position talent in a big way to truly make the jump from fringe bowl team.

Oklahoma State's stock: Up

My take: Other than TCU or Texas, no Big 12 team's stock should be more up next year. OSU can absorb the loss of Joseph Randle if he leaves, and if he stays, OSU will likely have the Big 12's best offense with a good O-line, maturing QBs and experienced backs. They'll go from seven wins to a Big 12 title contender.

KSU's stock: Down

My take: Agreed here. It's pretty simple. This is a very, very experienced team with two huge talents in Collin Klein and Arthur Brown that will be difficult to replace. K-State has a lot of potential at QB in Daniel Sams and juco commit Jake Waters, but Chris Harper will be gone, too. John Hubert and Tramaine Thompson will have to play big, and the offensive line will have to lead the way.

Podcast: Maisel with big names from Big 12

July, 27, 2012
7/27/12
2:45
PM ET
Ivan Maisel talks to some players from the Big 12 including Bob Stoops, Landry Jones, Geno Smith, Jackson Jeffcoat, Joseph Randle and Arthur Brown.
The Big 12 preseason awards have been announced. West Virginia's Geno Smith won the preseason Offensive Player of the Year Award. Texas defensive end Alex Okafor won Defensive Player of the Year and Oklahoma wide receiver Trey Metoyer won for Newcomer of the Year.

Here's how I voted:

Offensive Player of the Year: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. In talking with people involved with the conference voting process this week at media days, I learned that the final vote between Smith and Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones was very, very close. I went with Geno. It's pretty close, but I didn't debate this one very much. Smith was inconsistent at times last year, sure, but when it mattered most, he was great. Jones faltered in big spots. Sure, Jones doesn't have the same quality of targets for all of last season after Ryan Broyles went down, but when it came to numbers, Smith dominated. Additionally, he takes care of the ball much more efficiently than Jones. That counts for a lot. Even though Smith has never played a down in the Big 12, I went with the Mountaineers' man for the preseason award.

Defensive Player of the Year: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State. There's no slam dunk here. You could probably make a case for no fewer than seven or eight guys. After a lot of debate, I voted for Brown. I mostly did so because of his importance to Kansas State's defense. His speed in the middle and locked-in tackling make him more valuable to his team than any other player in the league. The SnyderCats aren't loaded on depth and athletes, but Brown has the measurables to play for anybody in the league. He's irreplaceable for Kansas State and his speed and athleticism make him a specimen anybody would love to have. Anybody else remember him hurdling a blocker in the Cotton Bowl against Arkansas? Not many guys can do that.

Newcomer of the Year: Trey Metoyer, WR, Oklahoma. This was a tough vote, too. You hear a lot about these guys and have to go by players' words in these days of closed practices. For me, Newcomer of the Year comes down to opportunity and need, though. Metoyer has been hyped by coaches and teammates since he arrived on campus as a freak athlete, but he's got to do more than contribute. Oklahoma needs him to be a huge factor, and he'll have every opportunity to do so. He's got a Heisman candidate in Jones throwing him the ball, an established weapon in Kenny Stills to take some attention from defenses and a great offensive line. All the pieces are in place for him to be very, very productive. For me, that earned him my vote just ahead of guys like Wes Lunt and Blake Jackson at Oklahoma State, Dayne Crist at Kansas, Brandon Moore at Texas, Will Smith and SaDale Foster at Texas Tech and Lache Seastrunk at Baylor.
The Lombardi Award, which has my personal favorite description for its award, released its 145-man preseason watch list (you'll see why in a bit) and the Big 12 landed 17 players on it.

Here's who's eligible:
That's quite a hefty list. Here's the description I love to hear every year for who can win the award:
To be considered for the Rotary Lombardi Award players must be a Division I college football team member and meet the following qualifications:
  • Be a down lineman, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, setting up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball at the time of snap.
  • Be a linebacker on defense, setting up no farther than 5 yards deep from the line of scrimmage.
  • May not come out of the offensive backfield and set up on the line of scrimmage as a blocker or receiver, or be listed as a back or receiver.
  • Shows leadership, courage, desire, respect for authority and discipline.

The voting electorate is made up of the head coaches from all Division I schools, sports media personnel from across the country and former winners and finalists of the Rotary Lombardi Award. Currently the total number of voters is approximately 500.

Complicated, no? It's fun anyway. It also has my favorite trophy of any of the college football awards. I'm an unashamed Lombardi Award lover, folks.

Boston College's Luke Kuechly won the award last season. Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh (2009) was the last player from the Big 12 to win the award. Texas' Brian Orakpo (2008) was the last player from the current Big 12 configuration to win it.

Oklahoma and Texas both have three winners all-time, tied for the fourth-most nationally. Nebraska's five winners is second all-time behind only Ohio State (six).
The Nagurski Trophy, given annually to college football's best defender, has released its 84-man, preseason watch list. From the Big 12:
That's a hefty list. My only possible additions? Quandre Diggs of Texas and maybe Shaun Lewis of Oklahoma State. Other than that, it's basically a who's who of the best defenders in the Big 12.

The league's 13 candidates are third-most among conferences, behind only the SEC (19) and the Big Ten (14).

Texas and Oklahoma are tied for the nation's most Nagurski Trophies, with two. Brian Orakpo in 2008 and Ndamukong Suh in 2009 are the last Big 12 talents to take home the hardware.

Luke Kuechly of Boston College won the award last season.

More awards watch lists:
We're breaking down the Big 12's benchmark performers next season, and we're on the defensive side of the ball now.

For defenders, 100 tackles is the dividing line of a productive season, even though plenty of other big talents don't hit the triple digits.

As for the ones who will in 2012?

College football had 86 players top 100 tackles in 2011. Only eight from the Big 12 reached that benchmark. Here's who will do it next year:

1. Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State: Knott's the most physical defender on Iowa State's defense, and he's already got two 100-tackle seasons under his belt. He'll add a third this year alongside his teammate, A.J. Klein, who's brought the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year hardware to Ames in 2011.

2. A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State: Klein will do the same thing Knott will in 2012: earn his third consecutive 100-tackle season. Iowa State's defensive line leaves a bit to be desired, but the Cyclones backer duo brings a punch, even if they're not behind the line of scrimmage too often. Klein's the better athlete between the two, but these two will go head to head again for the Big 12 tackles title.

3. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State: Brown's speed and sure tackling will pay off again in his second year as the cornerstone of the K-State defense. The Wildcats need him to shut down open spaces, and nobody in the Big 12 closes them faster than Brown.

4. Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas: The Longhorns are losing 215 tackles at linebacker without Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho. The time is now for Hicks. Texas' defense will be salty, but Hicks, a former five-star recruit from Ohio, may be a household name very, very soon.

5. Mike Hicks, S, Baylor: Baylor won't have two safeties with 100 tackles this year, but they'll still have one, and Hicks will be that guy for the Bears. The defense will be better in Year 2 under Phil Bennett, but not all that much better. Big plays will happen against Baylor, but Hicks can keep them from being backbreaking plays.

6. Alex Elkins, LB, Oklahoma State: Elkins' story is incredible, and he'll finish it with 100 stops as a senior. Not bad for a guy who responded to an open tryout at junior college. Now, he'll be a lynchpin of a much-improved defense in Stillwater.

Do you see anybody else hitting triple digits?
College football guru Phil Steele is previewing his must-read offseason magazine, and with it, he's releasing his all-conference and All-America teams.

Here's who he slated as his first-team All-Big 12 squad:

OFFENSE

QB: Landry Jones, Oklahoma
RB: Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State
RB: Malcolm Brown, Texas
WR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia
WR: Kenny Stills, Oklahoma
WR: Stedman Bailey, West Virginia
TE: Jordan Najvar, Baylor
C: Ben Habern, Oklahoma
OL: Lane Taylor, Oklahoma State
OL: Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
OL: LaAdrian Waddle, Texas Tech
OL: Cyril Richardson, Baylor
  • I'd probably go with Geno Smith ahead of Jones, but it's close. You could definitely make a compelling case for both.
  • I'd also lean more toward Terrance Williams at Baylor for that third receiver spot ahead of Stills. Stills' upside is still really high, but again, it's close between those two.
  • Good grief, the tight end spot in the Big 12 is a rough. Navjar is a good selection. Travis Tannahill at Kansas State could grab that spot, too. You're almost better off picking a sixth offensive lineman or a fullback like Trey Millard at Oklahoma, who's more valuable than any of the league's tight ends.
DEFENSE

DL: Alex Okafor, Texas
DL: Stansly Maponga, TCU
DL: Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
DL: Jamarkus McFarland, Oklahoma
LB: Jake Knott, Iowa State
LB: Tom Wort, Oklahoma
LB: A.J. Klein, Iowa State
LB: Arthur Brown, Kansas State
CB: Nigel Malone, Kansas State
CB: Brodrick Brown, Oklahoma State
S: Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
S: Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma

SPECIALISTS

P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
K: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
PR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia
KR: Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
  • No complaints among the specialists, but I'd definitely have kept a more traditional three linebackers. You could afford to leave Tom Wort off that list. Not so with the other three.
  • After a sad group of cornerbacks in 2011, the position looks pretty loaded this year. There's no fewer than five guys in my book who deserve strong consideration and probably a spot on the first team. It's too bad there are only two spots. Clearly, Malone and Brown are deserving, but so are Justin Gilbert, Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs.
  • Safeties are both loaded. Maybe two of the best defenders in the league.

Here's who Steele tabbed as All-Americans, too.

FIRST TEAM
  • Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
SECOND TEAM
  • Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
  • Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
  • Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
  • Quinn Sharp, K, Oklahoma State
THIRD TEAM
  • Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma
  • Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia
  • Lane Taylor, OL, Oklahoma State
  • Quinn Sharp, P, Oklahoma State
  • Tyler Lockett, KR, Kansas State
FOURTH TEAM
  • Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  • Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State
  • Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
  • Gabe Ikard, OL, Oklahoma
  • Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
  • A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State
  • Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma
  • Tavon Austin, KR, West Virginia

100 Days Countdown: Big 12

May, 22, 2012
5/22/12
11:30
AM ET

As part of “College Football Live’s” 100 Days Till Kickoff countdown, here’s a look at the top 10 players in the Big 12.

Note: This is a separate list from our preseason top 25 players. We'll tackle that later. It might be a lot different. It might be much of the same.

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia: Geno's a newcomer to the Big 12, but putting up big numbers is nothing new for the senior, who threw for 4,385 yards last season. Only one quarterback threw for more, but Smith had two more touchdown passes and eight fewer interceptions than the No. 2 quarterback on this list. Smith also completed nearly 3 percent more of his passes.

[+] EnlargeGeno Smith
Kim Klement/US PresswireGeno Smith led the Big East last season in pass efficiency and average passing yards per game.
2. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma: Jones checks in at No. 2 as the Big 12's leading returning passer, and will try to climb back in 2012 to give the Sooners another Big 12 title. Jones is the Big 12's most experienced quarterback, which should pay off the fall.

3. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State: Klein was the league's No. 4 rusher and threw for 1,900 yards? You can't argue with that production, and Klein accounted for 69.8 percent of the Wildcats' offense. That's insane. His importance to K-State can't be understated.

4. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia: Austin's the most dangerous playmaker in the Big 12, a true triple threat as a receiver, runner and kick/punt returner. He's the Big 12's No. 2 returning receiver, but he also returned two kicks for touchdowns in 2011, joining two other Big 12 returners who duplicated that feat last season.

5. Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State: Knott was outplayed by teammate A.J. Klein last season, but not by much. Knott was also playing through injuries. He's a superior talent, and like Klein, there's no arguing with his production. He's made 244 tackles in the past two seasons.

6. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle is the Big 12's leading returning rusher and should see an increased workload from his 208 carries last season. He turned those into 24 touchdowns to come three short of the Big 12 record.

7. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State: Brown's one of the league's most impressive freak athletes, a cruise missile of a linebacker who doesn't miss tackles in the open field and gets there faster than any true linebacker in the league. (You nickelbacks don't count.)

8. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas: Vaccaro's the most versatile talent on a loaded Texas defense, and as a roaming nickelback, offenses must account for where he is on every snap. He's also got a case as the hardest hitter in the Big 12.

9. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas: Who has two last names and is the Big 12's returning sack leader? This guy. His 8.5 sacks were 1.5 more than any other returner in the Big 12, and he made four more tackles for loss (17) than any other returner, too.

10. Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia: Bailey's a more traditional receiver in WVU's offense and he's taken advantage. He's the league's leading returning receiver and offers the Mountaineers a steady, dangerous target with sure hands who will help make WVU arguably the league's most dangerous offense.
Let's get this out of the way right now: None of these guys can win the Heisman.

It's a new day, and simply put, we'll never see a defensive player win the Heisman. If Ndamukong Suh couldn't win it (and I would have voted for him if I'd had a Heisman vote that year), then nobody could.

It wouldn't stop me from voting for a defender who deserved it, but lots of voters just won't make it possible. Charles Woodson did it in 1997, but we live in a new day full of high-powered, fast-paced offenses and he was a dynamic return man, too.

Buuuuuut, what if defenders could win the Heisman? They can certainly have an impact. That much is clear.

Our man Chris Huston at HeismanPundit.com broke down his top 10, which featured three possible winners from the Big 12:
5. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas – Jeffcoat had a fine sophomore season with 63 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 8 sacks. Despite those stellar numbers, one gets the sense he still hasn’t come close to fulfilling his potential. He might get there as a junior, which could result in some Heisman attention.
My take: Everyone, myself included, keeps waiting for Jeffcoat to explode. If it happens this year, and it very well might, I'd agree that he's going to blow up on the national stage, too. He's a junior with a ton of experience. He's in the second year of a fairly complex scheme under Manny Diaz. It's all there for him if he stays healthy.
6. Tony Jefferson, S/LB, Oklahoma – Jefferson is a versatile and explosive defender in the mold of past Sooner hybrid-type defensive backs like Roy Williams and Donte Nicholson. He had 74 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and 4 interceptions as a 2011 sophomore. If he improves on those numbers and helps the Sooners to the Big 12 title, he might make some noise in the Heisman race.
My take: I feel bad for Jefferson, who's expressed some frustration at being snubbed for All-Big 12 honors and awards in the past. The only reason is he's moved around. Anyone who watches OU knows how obvious it is that Jefferson's one of the most gifted defenders in the Big 12. Now, he's been moved back to traditional safety, where he can wreak all kinds of havoc. Will he stay there in new DC Mike Stoops' scheme? We'll find out.
7. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State – Brown really came into his own as a 2011 junior, as the former highly-touted recruit made 101 tackles with 9.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and an interception (of Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, no less). Brown is the latest in a stellar line of fast and tough K-State linebackers, so look for a ton of honors to flow his way if he comes through with a special senior season.
My take: Brown's biggest asset is his sure tackling. That's exactly what linebackers have to do in the wide-open Big 12 full of offenses whose sole goal is to get playmakers the ball in space. Brown makes sure that space is eliminated, and with his speed, does it quickly. He held together K-State's defense last year, and if the Wildcats get on a winning run again, he'll definitely get much-deserved attention.
NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. broke down his top-five prospects at each position among juniors and seniors entering the 2013 draft.

You'll need ESPN Insider to see both (here are the juniorsInsider) (and here are the seniorsInsider), but here's a taste of what you can find among the seniors.

Quarterbacks
Fullbacks
Receivers
Offensive tackles
Centers
Inside linebackers
Cornerbacks
Punters
We're moving on with our postseason position rankings. Today, it's time for linebackers. If you missed it, here's how I ranked them in the preseason.

At this position, depth is a major factor in these rankings. Additionally, I included nickelbacks in this grouping. Hybrid defensive end/linebackers will be grouped with defensive lines.

[+] EnlargeJake Knott
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireIowa State linebackers Jake Knott, 20, and A.J. Klein combined for 231 tackles in 2011.
More postseason position rankings: 1. Iowa State: The Cyclones top the list after a huge year from their outstanding duo, Jake Knott and A.J. Klein. They combined for 231 tackles in 2011, both finishing among the top four in the Big 12 in tackles. They had 241 together in 2010, but this season Knott played through injuries and Klein was awarded co-Defensive Player of the Year honors from the league's coaches.

2. Texas: The Longhorns will sorely miss an outstanding duo of their own with tons of experience. Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho are both NFL-bound after combining for 215 tackles.

3. Oklahoma: The Sooners weren't quite as good as expected in 2011, but part of that was because of a Travis Lewis preseason toe injury that slowed him for much of the season. Lewis, Tony Jefferson and Tom Wort all topped 70 tackles in 2011, and are a solid group.

4. Kansas State: Arthur Brown reinvigorated this group, finishing eighth in the Big 12 with 101 tackles, but the Wildcats linebackers were more than just Brown. Tre Walker and converted safety Emmanuel Lamur combined for 135 stops and helped lead one of the league's most underrated units and a much-improved run defense.

5. Texas A&M: The Aggies' backers were big pass-rushers, though they struggled in coverage this season. Sean Porter was the Big 12's sack champion with 9.5, and Caleb Russell and Jonathan Stewart combined for six more. Damontre Moore is the rawest talent of the bunch, but built on that in 2011, making 72 tackles.

6. Oklahoma State: OSU's group was good, but not great. Alex Elkins' crazy story came to an end with 90 stops in 2011. He showed up everywhere for the Cowboys, but reigning Big 12 Freshman of the Year Shaun Lewis didn't quite have the sophomore season some had hoped. Caleb Lavey added some solid play for the turnover-hungry unit, producing 74 tackles and five tackles for loss.

7. Missouri: Zaviar Gooden wasn't quite the impact player Mizzou had hoped, but he was solid alongside a group that's been injury prone over the past two years. Sophomore Andrew Wilson emerged as the team's top tackler with 98 stops, and Luke Lambert added 82 more. A high ankle sprain in the season opener kept Will Ebner off the field, but he'll be back in 2012 after the NCAA granted him a fifth year of eligibility.

8. Kansas: Steven Johnson led the Big 12 with 119 tackles, but the rest of the unit left a lot to be desired. Darius Willis has some potential, but the rest of the team's linebackers have their work cut out for them in 2012. Tunde Bakare also returns from a unit that ranked ninth in the Big 12 in rushing defense.

9. Baylor: The Bears needed help just about everywhere. Elliot Coffey was solid, and finished tied for fourth with 114 stops, but Baylor was eighth in the Big 12 in rush defense. Baylor has solid athlete in the secondary and on the defensive line, but at linebacker, Rodney Chadwick and Brody Trahan leave a bit to be desired. Ahmad Dixon was better in 2011, but still has a lot of potential that needs to be filled.

10. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are looking for a new defensive coordinator and the 4-2-5 made a short stop in Lubbock. The Red Raiders were awful everywhere on defense, but especially up front. Nobody in college football was worse at stopping the run, and D.J. Johnson, Daniel Cobb and Cqulin Hubert turned in forgettable performances. Time to get better for 2012.

The Big 12's top returning NFL talents

January, 27, 2012
1/27/12
12:00
PM ET
This week's Senior Bowl and next month's NFL scouting combine will help decide who will hear their names called, and when, in April's NFL draft, but what about next year?

Mel Kiper unleashed his top five returning players for 2012, the top prospects at their positions in next year's draft.

Lots of interesting names. Here's where the Big 12 talents sit.

Quarterbacks
Fullbacks
My take: Good to see Wilson's name on this list. He's impressed coach Bill Snyder from the start, and Wilson was an underrated reason for K-State's success running the ball the past two seasons with Daniel Thomas in 2010 and Collin Klein/John Hubert in 2011. One of the Big 12's toughest players.

Receivers
My take: Both of those names made me do a double take. Williams was a great player this season, and you perhaps best know him as the player who caught the game-winning touchdown to beat Oklahoma, but he's never looked to me like a player who could be the first receiver drafted. We'll see how he does in 2012 as Baylor's No. 1 receiver, with Nick Florence throwing him the ball instead of Robert Griffin III. Williams could become a star.

Austin always struck me as an undersized player, but there's no denying his playmaking ability. Few can match his game-breaking ability with the ball in his hands.

Offensive tackles
Centers
Defensive ends
My take: No surprise there. Okafor burst on the scene this season, and has that combination of size and speed you rarely see outside of players who become first-round picks.

Inside linebackers
Outside linebackers
Cornerbacks
Punters

Who's in, out of the Big 12 in 2012?

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
11:00
AM ET
Sunday was the final deadline for players to enter the NFL Draft, so here's a look at who's in and who's out for 2012.

Leaving early for the NFL:

[+] EnlargeJustin Blackmon
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesOklahoma State's Justin Blackmon is headed to the NFL, as expected.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: Blackmon's decision was mostly a formality all season. Coach Mike Gundy intimated several times that he expected Blackmon, who held a dramatic news conference before the 2011 season, to leave and advised him to do so. Blackmon went through Senior Day festivities as a junior, and made it "official," I suppose, right after the Fiesta Bowl, announcing his intentions in a postgame interview.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: Griffin's stock skyrocketed faster and more dramatically than anyone in the draft over the last half of the season, and after winning the Heisman Trophy and the Alamo Bowl, Griffin said he felt it was time to go. He's right. He said he felt like he needed to go after breaking down in the locker room after the bowl win, and he'll leave the Big 12 as one of the league's all-time greats. Both Blackmon and Griffin are projected as top 10 picks easily. Both could realistically go in the top five.

(Read full post)

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