The Big 12 has lost some shine in recent years. Texas A&M and Missouri took their quality programs to the SEC while the collapse of Texas and sleepiness of the Kansas program has sapped the league of its depth. Despite these obstacles, the league continues to pump out top talent and its premier teams are must-see television.
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Fulfilling Their 2015 Promise
James Washington, WR Oklahoma State Cowboys
From Jhajuan Seales to Marcell Ateman, many Cowboy receivers have been discussed as the next big Oklahoma State receiver following historic careers from Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon. None have taken the mantle and run with it like James Washington. With a build resembling a running back, Washington does not look the part of premier receiver yet dazzles with ball skills and long speed. If another strong campaign is in store in 2016, Washington could take advantage of a pedestrian group at receiver and join the 2017 draft class.
Corey Coleman, WR Baylor Bears
Corey Coleman exploded out of the gates in 2015, looking like a Heisman favorite before a string of injuries at quarterback left the Bears’ offense in tatters. Rather unheralded before the season, Coleman has gone from underrated to overrated and back to underrated in the span of one season. An elite athlete who is not deterred by less than ideal size, Coleman may not be a true number one but his speed and phone booth quickness can create issues at all levels of the field. There may be a steep learning curve coming from the Baylor offense but I feel his overall upside is being undersold.
Sterling Shepard, WR Oklahoma Sooners
Long on the devy radar, Sterling Shepard turned in best season at the right time, putting himself in the mix to be a first round rookie pick in 2016 drafts. A premier route runner whose game speed exceeds his timed speed, Shepard looks like an excellent complementary option within an offense.
Josh Doctson, WR TCU Horned Frogs
Former Wyoming Cowboy Josh Docston built on a promising junior campaign by simply obliterating the Big 12 on the way to a 79/1,327/14 line prior to succumbing to injury. He’s an excellent jump-ball receiver, though I am down on him compared to the consensus due to his frame and the absence of any other dynamic skills. His draft slot will be a key determinant in how I ultimately view him. Many people whose eyes are trust are fans of his.
Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma Sooners
Arguably college football’s premier breakout player, Baker Mayfield may have saved Bob Stoops’ reputation after terrorizing Big 12 defenses and leading the Sooners to the college football playoff. One of the nation’s most elusive quarterbacks, Mayfield is an exciting player to watch and has the ability to extend any play thanks to his legs while showcasing enough arm strength to stretch the field when he gets out of the pocket. I’m not sold on his transition to the NFL, but as is he stands as a 2016 Heisman favorite.
Patrick Mahomes, QB Texas Tech Red Raiders
Systems such as Texas Tech’s always inflate numbers but Patrick Mahomes has the look of someone who is more than just a system quarterback. Despite facing constant duress behind an often over-matched offensive line, Mahomes showed elite playmaking ability and has upper-echelon arm talent. There’s still a long way to go. But the foundation for a quality quarterback prospect is there.
KaVontae Turpin, WR TCU Horned Frogs
Largely overlooked because of a very diminutive frame, KaVontae Turpin created a lot of regret in coaching circles following a freshman campaign in which he proved to be an elite playmaker. Turpin excels in space and is unafraid of tight quarters, offering a toughness which belies his stature. From a long-term perspective, his height is not so much a concern as his frame; he’s incredibly thin in the lower half and will have trouble adding a ton of mass. This prevents him from being a noteworthy devy asset.
New Year’s Resolutions Needed
Trevone Boykin, QB TCU Horned Frogs
Trevone Boykin was a trendy off-season pick to be one of the first quarterbacks taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. Instead, Boykin started the year by displaying questionable arm talent and finished it by being suspended for the team’s bowl game due to an arrest following an incident with law enforcement. Exposed as a quality collegiate with limited pro upside during his senior year, Boykin is now a UDFA type given the baggage he now carries.
Jovon Durante, WR West Virginia Mountaineers
It was not the play of Jovon Durante which lands him on this list. The one-time Crimson Tide recruit flashed the playmaking ability which made him one of the 2015 cycle’s best receiving prospects. Instead, it was the off-field academic issues which became a problem again, resulting in Durante being suspended for the Mountaineers’ bowl game following academic question marks during his high school career. The looming questions knock Durante from intriguing devy asset to complete wild card.
Shopping For Next Year
Devin Duvernay, WR Baylor Bears
Baylor has done well lining up track stars at receiver and they have their next man up in Devin Duvernay. I haven’t seen the football speed from Duvernay I have from KD Cannon, but he has a bit more weight on his frame and runs effortlessly. There are likely too many bodies ahead on the depth chart for him to have an early impact, but he’s poised to become the Bears deep threat post-Cannon.