Texas Longhorns: Terrance Williams

Best WR tandems in Big 12 history

November, 4, 2013
11/04/13
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The Big 12 has featured some prolific wide receiver tandems over the years.

Baylor’s Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley, however, have a chance to top that list.

[+] EnlargeAntwan Goodley, Tevin Reese
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsAntwan Goodley and Tevin Reese rank 1-2 in the Big 12 in receiving yards per game.
This season, Reese is second in the Big 12 with 118 yards receiving a game. He trails only Goodley, who leads the league with an average of 128 yards receiving. They are a big reason why the Bears are on pace to break the FBS records for points (56.0) and yards (624.9) per game that were set by Army in 1944 and Houston in 1989.

But Reese and Goodley aren’t the only big-time duos in the Big 12 this year.

Kansas State’s Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett have been lighting it up since returning from injury. The last two weeks the two have totaled five touchdown catches.

Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard lead the Sooners with five touchdowns apiece. Texas Tech’s Eric Ward and Jakeem Grant are fifth and sixth in the league in receiving. Oklahoma State’s Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore are beginning to warm up with Clint Chelf at QB. And Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis have been stalwarts in this league for years.

But who are the best tandems ever to play Big 12? We lay it out below.

Tight ends were not included (sorry Jermaine Gresham and Chase Coffman). The tandems were evaluated on what they accomplished together, not on whether their careers simply overlapped (eliminating Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander, for example); and, this is a list for duos, not singles, trios or quartets (apologies to Rashaun Woods, and the 2008 Oklahoma and 2010 Baylor receiving corps).

To the list:

1. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, West Virginia (2012): In their only year in the league, this tandem was one-two in the Big 12 in receiving, combining for 224 receptions and 2,914 receiving yards. Bailey himself had 25 receiving touchdowns; nobody else in the league had more than 13. Austin, meanwhile, also rushed for 344 yards in one game at running back. As Bailey tweeted out earlier Monday morning on this topic, “case closed.”

2. Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola, Texas Tech (2007): Crabtree got all the headlines in 2007 on his way to winning his first of two Biletnikoff awards. But out of the slot, Amendola quietly put up 109 receptions for 1,245 yards, as Tech went 9-4.

3. Jordan Shipley and Quan Cosby, Texas (2008): Shipley and Cosby starred on one of the three best Big 12 teams that didn’t win a conference title. The two each had 1,000 receiving yards and double-digit TDs from QB Colt McCoy, as the Longhorns finished the year 12-1, their only loss coming on Crabtree’s game-winning touchdown in the final seconds in Lubbock. The two were also prolific on special teams, with Shipley’s kick return touchdown sparking Texas’ 45-35 comeback win over Oklahoma.

4. Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper, Oklahoma State (2011): As with Crabtree-Amendola, Blackmon got all the attention on his way to a second Biletnikoff award. But Cooper was a pivotal piece in OSU’s first Big 12 title team, as he racked up 71 receptions out of the slot. Blackmon, of course, had a monster year with 121 catches and 18 touchdowns.

5. Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams, Baylor (2011): Reese was actually the third wheel to this duo, which shined with RGIII at quarterback. Wright was an All-American with 108 catches, 1,663 yard and 14 touchdowns. Williams was big time, too, finishing fifth in the Big 12 in receiving before taking over the No. 1 role in 2012.

6. Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills, Oklahoma (2010): Broyles led college football with 131 receptions on his way to becoming the all-time FBS leader in career catches. Stills broke OU’s freshman single-season receiving record, as the Sooners stormed back to capture the Big 12 crown after a pair of midseason losses.

7. Kerry Meier and Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas (2008): It might be difficult to remember now, but the Jayhawks used to play some ball. Meier tied Crabtree for second in the league with 97 receptions. Briscoe trailed only Dez Bryant with 1,402 receiving yards. This was an underrated duo.

8. Quincy Morgan and Aaron Lockett, Kansas State (1999): On one of the first passing teams in the Big 12, Morgan and Lockett shined. Morgan had 42 receptions for 1,007 yards and nine touchdowns and was a first-team all-conference selection. Lockett, Tyler Lockett's uncle, was a second-team all-league pick for the Wildcats, who went 11-1 and finished the year ranked sixth in the polls.

9. Jarrett Hicks and Joel Filani, Texas Tech (2005): Neither might be a household name around the Big 12 anymore, but these two were both first-team All-Big 12 selections in ’05 along with Iowa State WR Todd Blythe.

10. Mark Clayton and Travis Wilson, Oklahoma (2004): Clayton carried the moniker of best receiver in OU history until Broyles came around. Because of Adrian Peterson, Clayton’s numbers dipped in ’04, but he was still an All-American with 66 catches. Wilson led the Sooners with 11 TD grabs, as OU advanced to a second consecutive national championship game.

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.
Numbers, it's said, rarely lie. With that thought in mind, HornsNation -- with a healthy assist from the ESPN Stats and Info crew -- will dig into the numbers each week and pull three stats that could play a significant role in the outcome of Texas' game. This week the focus is on Iowa State, a team that has lost three of its last four games.

1. 176
Iowa State started fast with a 4-1 record. But once the Cyclones hit the meat of the Big 12 everything started to turn slightly rancid. The Cyclones are 1-3 in their last four. A big reason for that is that they are being outgained by an average of 176 yards per game in their last four games.

Film review: Five stops that beat Baylor 

October, 22, 2012
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Longhorns coach Mack Brown has made it perfectly clear that Texas’ defense is now operating under simplified standards.

“The only thing we're evaluating now is wins,” Brown said after Saturday’s game.

Stats are out the window, he says. Texas beat Baylor 56-50 on Saturday night. That is all. The rest is what it is. Let’s judge this win, then, by the new standard.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Five storylines for Texas as it plays Baylor Saturday night at DKR.

1. Watch out for Williams
Baylor wide receiver Terrance Williams has proven to be the most explosive player at his position in FBS. Williams has eight receptions that have gained 40 or more yards. Seven of those eight 40-plus yard gains were on balls throw at least 20 yards in the air, meaning Williams uses speed to beat a defender off the line. That also means that the defense needs help with a safety over the top. And this is where Texas could have issues.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

AUSTIN, Texas -- Longhorns cornerback Quandre Diggs didn’t need an embarrassing team effort against Oklahoma to get riled up. He was peeved before he even got to the Cotton Bowl.

“I am one of those guys that is wired different than a lot of people,” Diggs said. “I am always mad. Even just walking around campus.”

[+] EnlargeCarrington Byndom
John Albright/Icon SMITexas cornerback Carrington Byndom said the Longhorns are frustrated with their defensive performance.
Factor in Texas’ dismal performance in its 63-21 loss to the Sooners, then, and his anger meter has to be on the verge of combusting.

“It’s not acceptable to go out and get beat like that and give up that many yards,” he said.

How many yards, you ask? The Longhorns allowed Oklahoma to wrack up 677 of them, which is the most they’ve given up in a game since Houston put up 733 in 1992.

The difference in this Texas team than that one, which finished 6-5 in John Mackovic’s first season -- the Longhorns still beat the Cougars, 45-38.

Turns out this Longhorns team had a better chance at winning a carnival game than ending their two-game losing streak in the Red River Rivalry.

“It is more frustration [than anger],” said cornerback Carrington Byndom. “We know what we are capable of. It just hasn’t shown.”

If blame were a blanket it would have covered the entire Texas sideline on Saturday. Nestled underneath, without question, would be a Longhorns secondary that has not lived up to the preseason expectations placed upon them.

Texas has the third-worst pass defense efficiency rating in the conference at 140.3. The Longhorns have allowed 59.4 percent of opponents passes to be completed (104-of-175) and have given up the third-most passing yards (1,443) despite seeing the second-fewest number of pass attempts.

Those would be alarming statistics anywhere in the country, but especially to a program that stakes claim as being "Defensive Back University.”

(Read full post)

AUSTIN, Texas -- For as much publicity as West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is receiving, he’s not racking up these video game-type numbers without someone catching his passes.

The collection of wide receivers he has are about as good a group as one will find anywhere in the country, and it begins with the trio of Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin and J.D. Woods.

[+] EnlargeJ.D. Woods
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesJ.D. Woods is one of several West Virginia pass-catchers who have put up big numbers this season.
“They are unbelievable,” said Texas coach Mack Brown. “Two of them are 5-foot-10 and can fly. Woods is 6-foot-1. They’ve caught 19 of the 20 touchdowns.”

Eight of those touchdowns -- yes, eight -- came in last week’s 70-63 victory over Baylor.

Bailey had the game of a lifetime by catching 13 passes for 303 yards and a school record five touchdowns (47, 20, 2, 87 and 39). He played most of the game from the slot as opposed to the outside receiver position he has normally played.

His outrageous performance, which included setting the Big 12 record for most receiving yards in a game only to have Baylor’s Terrance Williams break it in the same game with 314, has pushed his season totals to 41 receptions for 635 yards and an FBS-leading 10 touchdowns. His 158.8 receiving yards per game is second best in the country.

(Read full post)

Big 12 power rankings: Week 1

August, 27, 2012
8/27/12
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Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

The Big 12 power rankings are heavily influenced by what each team did in the previous week, and aren't necessarily a reflection of the Big 12 standings.

Think of it this way: As of right now, this is how well each Big 12 team is playing. Here's how I slot it to begin the season:

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners have an awkward opener, kicking things off on the road out in the desert against UTEP at 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. Still, we'll get a first look at a revamped offensive line and the new, young receivers Landry Jones will be throwing to all season. Look out for a coming out party from Trey Metoyer, the Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year.

2. West Virginia: West Virginia plays Saturday's first game, kicking off against in-state rival Marshall at noon. The Big 12 newcomers have all the offense they need, but what will the pass rush look like with new defensive coordinators Joe DeForest and Keith Patterson?

3. Kansas State: K-State opens with Missouri State on Saturday night, with Collin Klein's revamped arm on display after an offseason of development. Everyone's watching that. What they should be watching? How does the offensive line look after replacing three starters?

4. Texas: The Longhorns settled on David Ash at quarterback, but the season opener Saturday night against Wyoming on the Longhorn Network. The defense will be fiendishly fun to watch this year, but how much better is Ash? We'll get somewhat of a feel in this one.

5. TCU: Oh, you poor Frogs. TCU is officially a Big 12 member, but has to sit and watch all Saturday as the rest of the Big 12 opens their respective seasons. It gives Amon G. Carter Stadium one more week to prepare for the debut of its facelift, but by the time it does next week against Grambling, 13 Big 12 games will have been completed.

6. Oklahoma State: The defending Big 12 champs are the sixth team in the mix for a Big 12 title in 2012, but their hopes rest on the 18-year-old shoulders of Wes Lunt, a true freshman we haven't heard much out of all summer or fall camp. The Pokes don't know who his top target will be just yet, but the defense that supports the offense should be improved from 2011. We'll see them open up against the poor saps at Savannah State (yuck) on Saturday night.

7. Baylor: The post-RG3 era doesn't officially kick off until Sunday, when Nick Florence takes a snap against Baylor's old Southwest Conference rival, SMU. Last year's opener against TCU proved to be one of the most memorable games of the season. Florence and receivers Terrance Williams and Tevin Reese have the firepower to outgun the Mustangs in a shootout. Hyped transfer Lache Seastrunk will make his long-awaited debut after coming back home from Oregon.

8. Texas Tech: Tech opens against Northwestern State on Saturday night. That's no big challenge. Staying healthy could be after two injury-riddled years to start the Tommy Tuberville Era. Keep an eye on how running back Eric Stephens looks after returning from a catastrophic knee injury last season.

9. Iowa State: The Cyclones should be challenged in their 3:30 p.m. visit fron Tulsa. Steele Jantz quarterbacked ISU to three fourth-quarter comebacks to open last season, and he may need another one. Paul Rhoads' Cyclones are a slight underdog in this windy weather showdown.

10. Kansas: Kansas' last coach, Turner Gill, opened with a disastrous 6-3 loss against FCS outfit North Dakota State two years ago. This time, Charlie Weis takes on South Dakota State. He's got a better team. Expect a better result Saturday for the former Notre Dame coach and a former Irish quarterback, Dayne Crist.
Today is the next step in a new series on the Big 12 blog that we've never done before. I love predicting the standings from top to bottom, but we're going to do it week by week leading up to the season. The goal is to offer my official prediction for each Big 12 team's record heading into the bowl games.

Remember, these are preseason predictions. We'll obviously still do week-to-week picks once the season arrives, and they might change between now and then. There are a lot of preseason practices, and a lot of games between now and the end of the season.

There are always teams that disappoint and teams that surprise. But here's how I see the Big 12 shaking out in Week 10.

PREVIOUS PREDICTIONS
WEEK 10

West Virginia 38, TCU 28: The Horned Frogs will be walking into a powder keg in Morgantown. A year ago, these teams were to meet in a conference game, but who would have figured it'd be a Big 12 game instead of a Big East game? WVU takes care of business against a TCU secondary that can't handle the Tavon Austin-Stedman Bailey duo. Big game for Geno Smith. Two consecutive losses for TCU after starting 7-0.

Texas 31, Texas Tech 17: Texas has had some tough games in Lubbock, including a hard-fought win in 2010 to stay undefeated before the wheels fell off on a five-win season. Texas does the same thing it did last season and walks away a winner again, just not as emphatic. Texas uses a powerful running game to control the pace from start to finish.

Kansas State 28, Oklahoma State 24: Kansas State nearly knocked off the title contender in Stillwater last season. Kansas State got better. Oklahoma State's not as good. Kansas State takes care of business in Manhattan this time around, keeping the ball out of the offense's hands. OSU's biggest strength on defense is at cornerback. Collin Klein takes advantage of its biggest weakness, the defensive line. Snyderball, baby.

Oklahoma 37, Iowa State 24: These two played in maybe the windiest conditions of any game in the conference last season. Oklahoma didn't play its best, and receivers' drops were maddening for the Sooners' coaching staff. This time around, the Sooners' talent gap is pretty large when you compare the depth charts. Ames is proving to be a difficult place to play these days, but Oklahoma's got this one.

Baylor 27, Kansas 24: Baylor needed overtime and a three-touchdown comeback last season, and Kansas gives the Bears another scare. Nick Florence leads a game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes with a touchdown pass to Jordan Najvar to win it. Kansas is threatening to break the barrier and its Big 12 losing streak, now at 15 games.

BIG 12 STANDINGS (after Week 9)

1. Oklahoma: 8-0 (6-0)
2. West Virginia: 7-1 (4-1)
3. Kansas State: 7-2 (4-2)
3. TCU: 7-2 (4-2)
3. Texas: 7-2 (4-2)
6. Oklahoma State: 6-2 (3-2)
7. Baylor: 5-3 (2-3)
8. Texas Tech: 4-5 (1-5)
9. Iowa State: 3-6 (1-5)
10. Kansas: 3-6 (0-6)
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
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
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.
We wrapped up our list of the Big 12's top 25 players in 2012 last week, but it's time to look ahead.

Who was way off this year's list that could crack it in 2013? Here's a few names.

Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas: Diggs' fellow corner, Carrington Byndom, nearly made this year's list, and perhaps should have. Next year, though, Diggs could make both of UT's cornerbacks among the league's best. As a true freshman, Diggs led the team in interceptions, with four.

Josh Boyce, WR, TCU: Boyce (and his quarterback, Casey Pachall) would have been easy selections this year, but they weren't in the Big 12. They will be in 2012. Boyce caught 61 balls for 998 yards and nine scores, and figures to be as productive next year.

Quarty McBackerson, QB, Oklahoma State: Call this a placeholder. Brandon Weeden is gone, but Oklahoma State has a great offensive line and lots of weapons around whoever wins the Cowboys' spring quarterback derby. Look for Clint Chelf, Wes Lunt or J.W. Walsh to make this list next year.

Malcolm Brown, RB, Texas: Brown led the Longhorns in rushing as a true freshman, but was hampered by injury and the team limited his touches early in the season. There won't be any restrictions this year, and if he stays healthy, he could be a 1,000-yard back, even with Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray sharing carries.

Darrin Moore, WR, Texas Tech: If you read this blog, you know how big of a Moore proponent I am. I see Biletnikoff Award potential in him. Tech needs a new top receiver, and if Moore stays healthy, don't rule out a 1,500-yard season for the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder.

Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor: Williams wasn't too far off this year, but he didn't make our honorable mention. He had a quiet 900-yard season this year, but without Kendall Wright, Williams is the top target for new quarterback Nick Florence.

Corey Nelson, LB, Oklahoma: Nelson had a somewhat underwhelming year, but without Travis Lewis' leadership, Nelson could emerge as a breakout defensive player this fall.

Big 12 position rankings: Receivers/TEs

February, 14, 2012
2/14/12
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We're continuing our look at the postseason rankings for each position in the Big 12. Here's a look back at where the receivers ranked in the preseason.

In this position, unlike quarterback, depth is a major, major factor in these rankings.

More postseason position rankings:
[+] EnlargeJustin Blackmon
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesJustin Blackmon highlighted Oklahoma State's deep group of receivers this season.
1. Oklahoma State: The Cowboys boasted two-time Biletnikoff winner Justin Blackmon, but he wasn't the only weapon. The Cowboys had nine (!) receivers with at least 19 catches and 200 yards receiving this season. Insane. Life is good with Brandon Weeden at quarterback.

2. Baylor: Kendall Wright actually outperformed Blackmon and Ryan Broyles on the stat sheet, catching 108 balls for 1,663 yards. The Bears didn't have the insane depth of OSU, but the trio of Wright, Terrance Williams (59 rec, 957 yards, 11 TDs) and Tevin Reese (51 rec, 877 yards, 7 TDs) were all in the Big 12's top seven receivers.

3. Texas A&M: Ryan Swope emerged to become one of just four Big 12 receivers to notch 1,000-yard seasons. Jeff Fuller's season was disappointing, but he still finished eighth in the league in receiving, and Uzoma Nwachukwu was in the league's top 15 in receiving.

4. Oklahoma: The Sooners weren't quite as solid as they thought to begin the season. Broyles was as advertised, though his Biletnikoff-contending season was cut short by a torn ACL. The unit was productive, but came down with the drops late in the season. Broyles and Kenny Stills were both in the league's top seven in receiving, and Jaz Reynolds caught 41 passes for 715 yards to crack the top 10.

5. Texas Tech: Tech's top target, Darrin Moore, battled injuries all year, but Eric Ward emerged as the team's most consistent target, catching 84 passes for 800 yards and 11 scores. Alex Torres missed two games, but added 616 more yards.

6. Missouri: The Tigers' receivers had their production dip with a dual-threat passer in James Franklin who ran the ball more than his predecessor, but they were still pretty good, despite lacking a true big-time threat. T.J. Moe caught 54 passes for 649 yards and four scores. Tight end Michael Egnew added 50 grabs for 523 yards and three scores. L'Damian Washington, Marcus Lucas and Wes Kemp had unremarkable individual seasons, but their production added up to a good year for Mizzou's receivers.

7. Kansas State: Kansas State was better than most thought to begin the season, but the ground-based offense limited their receivers' ability to finish with big production. Chris Harper (40 rec, 547 yards, 5 TDs) led the group. Tramaine Thompson and Tyler Lockett showed some good promise, too.

8. Texas: The Longhorns could get really good, really fast at this spot. The uncertainty/struggles at quarterback limited this group, but Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis could both mature into absolute stars. For now, though, they didn't quite crack the top 15 in the Big 12 in receiving. Both topped 40 catches and 600 receiving yards.

9. Iowa State: Darius Reynolds' size downfield will be missed, but Aaron Horne and Josh Lenz are tough covers working the middle of the field. Reynolds caught seven touchdowns, and Horne and Lenz both topped 38 catches.

10. Kansas: Yikes. The Jayhawks didn't have a receiver in the league's top 20, but D.J. Beshears led the team with 40 grabs for 437 yards and three touchdowns. He was the only Jayhawk in the Big 12's top 32 in receiving.

The Big 12's top returning NFL talents

January, 27, 2012
1/27/12
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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

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