By Tony George
In my continued series on the Big 12, I thought I would break down the top players at positions headed into the 2010 season. There is talent galore in the Big 12, many players having national attention this season and I thought I would highlight the best of the best in this article.
Big 12 Offensive Key Players
1. Jarrod Johnson Texas AM - Over 3500 Yards passing, over 500 yards rushing, 30 TD passes and only 8 picks. He can kill you in many ways, is elusive and can manage a game. No question the best QB in the Big 12 this season.
2. Blaine Gabbert, Mizzou – Over 3500 yards in 2009, 24 TD passes and 9 picks. Lost his key WR to graduation and played on a bum ankle all last year after the Nebraska game, but out of the spread attack with mobility he can hurt you. Big time arm.
3. Robert Griffen, Baylor – A very exciting dual threat QB for the Bears, and off a torn ACL word is he is 100%. This guy can do it all, and will keep Baylor in games as long as he is healthy
4. Laundry Jones, Oklahoma – Although he threw 14 interceptions last year, as a freshman forced into a starting role he shined with over 3100 yards and 26 TDs. With Murray eating up yards for OU at RB, he should have a very good follow up year.
Also rans – Steve Sheffield Texas Tech, Austen Arnaud Iowa State
1. Demarco Murray, Oklahoma – Any dangerous as any back in the Big 12, speed and power in one, and over 4600 all purpose yards in 3 years at OU.
2. Daniel Thomas, Kansas State – A huge year on a bad team for a JUCO transfer, over 1200 yards in 2009, his entire OL is back and K State will run him a ton this year with no passing game.
3. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State – Remember he was an All American 2 seasons ago, but was injury riddled all of 2009. A major talent who can catch and run as well, a huge threat for OSU this year
4. Roy Helu Jr., Nebraska – A solid back for Nebraska who is backed by my Rex Burkhead who is also a stud, so always well rested and catch also kill opponents catching it, 1147 yards last year with a bum shoulder!
Also rans – Christine Michaels Texas AM, Rex Burkhead Nebraska
1. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma - A game breaker, 15 TDS last year and makes plays, dangerous is an understatement.
2. Jeff Fuller, Texas AM - A tough guy to cover at 6"4", and can come down with balls in traffic, and has a great QB throwing to him.
3. Kendall Wright, Baylor - This guy could play for any team in the country, and with QB Griffen back healthy, he is a dangerous weapon and play maker. Speed Galore.
4. Jerrell Jackson, Missouri - Heady ballplayer, makes plays and has size over cover corners
Also Rans - Niles Paul Nebraska, Scotty McKnight Colorado, Malcomb Williams Texas
Alex Henrey Nebraska (also a top punter in the Big 12), Grant Ressel Mizzou
1. Jared Crick, Nebraska - Now that Suh is gone, the spotlight returns to this second team All American. A major force at pass rush from tjhe line and serious run stopper. NFL caliber 1st round pick as a Junior
2. Jeremy Beal Oklahoma - Huge issue for opposing QBs, 11 sacks last year and a great run stopper
3. Sam Acho Texas - 10 Sacks, 4 fumble recoveries last year, and a guy who can dominate the game in the trenches.
Also Rans - Aldon Smith Mizzou, Adrian Taylor Oklahoma, Pierre Allen Nebraska
1. Travis Lewis Okalhoma - A terror on running backs, broke the Boz frosh record in tackles, the best by far in the Big 12.
2. Von Miller Texas AM - 17 sacks last year at linebacker. A run stopper and big hitter.
3. Keenan Robinson Texas - 74 tackles last year, great speed and another big hitter.
Also rans - Will Ebner Mizzou, Brian Duncan Texas Tech
1. Prince Amukamara Nebraska - A first round NFLer for sure, big hitter than does it all, you plan defenses around him, 5 picks, 64 tackles, can cover anyone and 11 pass breakups. A real stud for the Huskers
2. Earl Thomas Texas - All around of the best, and a huge special teamer and ball hawk
2. Blake Gideon Texas - Another stud for the Longhorns, 6 picks last year and always around the ball, great in run support
Also rans - Quinton Carter Oklahoma, Eric Hagg Nebraska, Tysyn Hartman Kansas State
Best Units overall in order
Offense - Texas AM, Oklahoma, Missouri
Defense- Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas
Big 12 South report coming out next Week..Is it OU or texas this year in the South? I have the answers next week. Tony George