The Red River Shootout did not disappoint in 2016, as Texas and Oklahoma did battle in an actual shootout which featured an abundance of big plays and plenty of scoring. The conference’s two premier programs may not currently be college football royalty but they provide one of the must-see games each season. With the Big 12 offering a limited slate this past weekend and both teams dripping with intriguing offensive talent, this week’s review has a heavy dose of Sooners and Longhorns.
Premier Conference Performers
WR Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma Sooners
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10 receptions for 232 yards and three touchdowns
The Sooners offense has started to roll, and there has been no bigger contributor than Dede Westbrook. Slowed by an ailment early in the year, Westbrook looked one hundred percent healthy as he double-moved the Longhorns into oblivion in a Red River Shootout which lived up to its name. Long in Sterling Shepard’s shadow, Westbrook has emerged as an elite playmaker for the Longhorns and much like Shepard, he’s a technician, yet offers perhaps more athleticism than his predecessor. This is not to say he is a better prospect; Shepard was a unique cat with incredible savvy and it has translated to the early portion of his NFL career. However, the 2017 receiver class could use some juice and Westbrook offers it and has shown great improvement throughout his collegiate career.
WR James Washington, Oklahoma State Cowboys
Eight receptions for 152 yards and two touchdowns, one carry for 16 yards
It was just another ho-hum monster day for James Washington, whose game has reached the heights of former Cowboys Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon, yet whose unassuming profile is a stark contrast from the previous stars. Unstoppable all over the field despite unrefined technique, Washington is a natural playmaker who plays big despite a rather pedestrian 6’0’, 208 pound frame. He can move like a running back after the catch and is aggressive at the catch point. He’s one of the few 2017 receivers electing to distinguish himself during the 2016 campaign.
RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma Sooners
35 carries for 214 yards and two touchdowns
Through September, Samaje Perine was not exactly ripping through the college football landscape. A two-time 1,000 yard back, he failed to eclipse 60 yards in any of the season’s first three contests and the added wiggle he showed in 2015 appeared to have been a mirage. Apparently, it was just a matter of getting healthier after Perine suffered a shoulder injury in the season-opening loss to Houston. Showcasing his patented power, balance, and patience, Perine eviscerated the Longhorns and reminded people just how good he is. Despite only 37 collegiate receptions, he’s shown the ability to be a capable pass catcher when given the opportunity; he’s more than just a two-down power back. Even in a deep and explosive class of runners, he stands out as one its best.
TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma Sooners
One reception for 29 yards
After being the Sooners leading receiver over the season’s first several weeks, Mark Andrews has seemingly fallen out of favor, and a bad drop in the Red River Shootout highlighted a rather disappointing day for the redshirt sophomore. There’s no reason to fret regarding Andrews’ devy prospects. He’s still a mountain of a man with plus movement skills; the clichéd matchup nightmare. However, it is starting to look more as though he will be a 2018 prospect, and he could be the best tight end in the bunch.
RB Derrick Green, TCU Horned Frogs
Two carries for seven yards
Remember Derrick Green? He was a prized recruit at Michigan and proceeded to do very little for three years before opting to transfer to TCU. As a Horned Frog, he has picked up right where he left off, posting incredibly modest numbers and looking like a plodder, as he has picked up 92 yards on 24 carries over the course of the season. If there was any hope being held indicating a change of scenery was all which was needed, it has quickly dissipated. He’s looked like a backup caliber runner for the majority of his career and has not been able to climb depth charts which have been anything but daunting. He’s a great example of the risk/reward attached to investing picks in highly regarded true freshman running backs. You can hit with Todd Gurley or bomb with Jermie Calhoun. Green, unfortunately, has fallen into the littered path of devy busts.
WR Devin Duvernay, Texas Longhorns
Three receptions for 81 yards and one touchdown
Former Baylor commit Devin Duvernay has had limited opportunity as a true freshman at Texas, which is to be expected given he was not an early-enrollee and Texas has a reasonably deep depth chart at receiver. However, when given opportunity on Saturday, Duvernay shined, beating the defense for a long touchdown and showing impressive balance and run after the catch ability on a short screen pass.
RB Selo Olonilua, TCU Horned Frogs
Did not record statistics
Profiling a guy with three career carries? Is this freshmen situation in the Big 12 really this dire? No, but there have not been a ton of freshmen contributing as the conference is pretty stacked with upperclassmen contributors. While Selo Olonilua has yet to really carve out a role in the Horned Frogs backfield, he does deserve more ink than he has been getting. Assumed by many to start his college career at safety, the 6’3”, 225 pound back is a gifted athlete whose feet do not give you the impression he is such a large human being. With limited production thus far and the perpetual risk he changes positions, he is a bit of a risk, but if you’re digging deep into the devy rankings, he is one of the better flyers.
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