Devy Conference Preview: Big 12

Rob Willette


Big 12 games have garnered a reputation as being a race to 50 points. A confluence of creative spread offenses and insufficient defensive personnel has led to a myriad of college stars over the years, though it has proven prudent to pick through those to determine which have a NFL future. For every Dez Bryant, there has been a Rashaun Woods. The Big 12 rundown is found below.

Known Commodities

Shock Linwood, RB Baylor Bears

Shock Linwood managed to become a household name despite spending most of the season behind two other backs on the depth chart. Injuries to Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin sprung Linwood into the spotlight, and he responded with a dominant performance commensurate with any back in Baylor’s system. While the numbers need to be placed in proper context due to the offense he is in, the talent is apparent. A speed runner with balance and open field creativity, he is set to explode in 2014.

Quenton Bundrage, WR Iowa State Cyclones

The talent in Ames seems to improve every year under Paul Rhoads, and one of his better pupils has been Quenton Bundrage. An extremely effective collegiate wide receiver, he lacks dynamic athleticism and he could likely sneak his arms through a keyhole. Without rapid physical development, he is an afterthought beyond the college game.

Malcolm Brown, RB Texas Longhorns

The 2011 recruiting class featured a “Big Three” at the running back position with Brandon Williams, Isaiah Crowell,and Malcolm Brown. The triumvirate has been a disappointment, with the troubled Crowell the only one who has ever achieved collegiate excellence. Brown, however, did revive his stock in 2013 following Johnathan Gray’s season ending injury. There’s not a lot of upside here; he has, however, put himself back on the radar.

Tyler Lockett, WR Kansas State Wildcats

[inlinead]One of the nation’s top playmakers, Tyler Lockett is a dynamic space player that can stretch the defense vertically. He has obvious size concerns that may limit him to a complimentary role at the next level.

Antwan Goodley, RB Baylor Bears

More running back than receiver in many ways, Antwan Goodley is the next Baylor receiver that will play in the NFL. He is a joystick player in tight areas and his agility and dynamic acceleration make him a terror after the catch. Without elite speed or the ability to create mismatches with his size, he is a unique translation to the next level, and coordinators may need to scheme his touches.

Sterling Shepard, WR Oklahoma Sooners

With Jalen Saunders now in the NFL, there’s only one Sooner receiver that has established himself and that is Sterling Shepard. A savvy receiver with a strong intermediate game, he’s an extremely efficient receiver at the college level, yet lacks a ton of devy appeal.

Bryce Petty, QB Baylor Bears

The wait for Bryce Petty was worth it, as he was able to carve up Big 12 defenses during his first year as a starter in route to garnering Heisman hype. There are plenty of tools to work with, though cleaning up footwork and gaining more experience in the pocket are both essential if he is to become a first rounder in 2015.

Johnathan Gray, RB Texas Longhorns

A former five star recruit that torched the record books in high school, Johnathan Gray has established himself as a productive player for the Longhorns, though the latter years of Mack Brown’s tenure left little room for anyone to truly thrive. Coming off an Achilles injury, Gray will need to quickly rehab if he is to emerge as the premier devy prospect many expected him to be.

Desmond Roland, RB Oklahoma State Cowboys

Desmond Roland was the tonic for a moribund running game late in the 2013 season. Settled in as a runner despite skills that could make him effective at other positions, he could quickly rise up boards during the 2014 season.

Rushel Shell, RB West Virginia Mountaineers

Pitt transfer Rushel Shell has name brand value due to the stars attached to his name during the recruiting process, though he looked tentative as a runner during his true freshman season and will now start his career in Morgantown with very little college production despite being more than two years out of high school. He will need a big season to keep his stock afloat.

Ready To Emerge

Keith Ford, RB Oklahoma Sooners

We did not get much of an opportunity to see Keith Ford in 2013. He was used mostly as a short-yardage specialist as he played behind the three senior backs on the Sooner roster. With playing time now there for the taking, expect him to use his power back frame to set the tone for the Sooners offense. There are post-hype breakouts in the devy world as well, and Ford figures to be one of them this year.

Joe Mixon, RB Oklahoma Sooners

A much different back than the aforementioned Ford, Joe Mixon should earn immediate playing time as a versatile offensive weapon that adds a bit of juice out of the backfield and can operate in the intermediate passing game. With Oklahoma lacking established weapons in the passing game, there’s a good chance they lean on Mixon early; a T.J. Yeldon-esque freshman campaign could be in the cards.

Corey Coleman, WR Baylor Bears

The loss of Tevin Reese should have little impact on the Baylor machine, as Corey Coleman is ready to step in as the explosive receiving weapon that gives defense’s fits lining up inside or outside. He should surpass Levi Norwood as the number two target in the Baylor passing game, which sets up a numbers bonanza.

Jhajuan Seales, WR Oklahoma State Cowboys

From his number to his play style, Jhajaun Seales looks like a Justin Blackmon clone in the black and gold. A powerful athlete that has received high praise from Mike Gundy this spring, he is the next dominant Cowboys’ receiver.

Most Overrated

Take away the starts that were affixed next to his name as a prep recruit, and I am not sure there is anyone fawning over Malcolm Brown. He has been a rather mundane college runner that gets the yards blocked for him and nothing more. Runners lacking special skills seldom make a lasting impact, and I am not expecting one from the Texas senior.

Most Underrated

Tyreek Hill will be one of the nation’s fastest players in year one, and he’s also a good bet to be one its most electric playmakers. A Tavon Austin-esque weapon in both the run and receiving game, he will compliment an Oklahoma State offense that is looking for new playmakers and could be the next one and done JUCO talent to fly through the Division One ranks.

Big 12 Top 10

  1. Shock Linwood, RB Baylor
  2. Tyreek Hill, RB Oklahoma State
  3. Jhajuan Seales, WR Oklahoma State
  4. Antwan Goodley, WR Baylor
  5. Joe Mixon, RB Oklahoma
  6. Keith Ford, RB Oklahoma
  7. Bryce Petty, QB Baylor
  8. Tyler Lockett, WR Kansas State
  9. Desmond Roland, RB Oklahoma State
  10. Davion Hall, WR Baylor


rob willette