The Big 12 continues to be one of the premier conferences in the nation at the quarterback position. RG3 won the Heisman Trophy last year and is set to be one of the top 2 picks in the upcoming NFL draft. Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill also depart the conference in 2012, but the cupboard is not bare. The big news in Norman, OK this offseason was the return of Landry Jones. He will join Kansas State’s Collin Klein and West Virginia’s Geno Smith as pre-season Heisman Trophy candidates in 2012. Here’s a look at the hot topics around some of the rest of the Big 12 this spring:
Baylor: It’s not all bad news in Bears country. Despite the recent allegations and probing of the NCAA into the men’s and women’s basketball programs, the football program is sitting quite pretty. Boasting a Heisman Trophy winner from your program will have a tendency to do that. Baylor Coach Art Briles says the 2012 class “is as good as we’ve ever signed in our five signing classes at Baylor.” But until that class is ready to perform in another year or two, the Bears could easily take a step backward in 2012. According to Baylorfans.com, there is serious concern on the offensive line, running back, and (obviously with the loss of RG3) quarterback.
Oklahoma: The Sooners recently inked the #4 running back in the nation in the class of 2013: Greg Bryant, from Delray Beach, Florida. The other big news in the offseason was that quarterback Landry Jones was coming back for his senior season and he’ll have a highly-heralded freshmen wide receiver to throw to in five-star wideout Trey Metoyer, who is all the rage in spring practices in Norman.
Oklahoma State: There are some big shoes to fill on that Cowboys’ offense. Namely those of Justin Blackmon’s and Brandon Weeden’s. While Blackmon is a sure-fire top ten NFL draft pick at the end of the month, it’s probably Weeden’s shoes that will be the hardest to fill at quarterback. As of right now, it’s a three-horse race…but Mike Gundy swears he’s not discouraged. Two of the three contenders for the starting gig are freshmen.
Texas: Colt McCoy’s younger brother Case continues to struggle at quarterback. It’s early, but it looks like David Ash will be the man behind center this fall. Or…does Coach Mack Brown have a little too much love for the McCoy’s? Stay tuned.
Kansas State: Watch out for Bill Snyder’s team in 2012. Collin Klein is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate and 8 starters return on offense.
West Virginia: How’s this for a grand entrance into the Big 12? West Virginia, whom Iowa State plays in Ames the last game of the season, has already received a vote as the preseason #1 team in America for 2012. Geno Smith could be a Heisman candidate and Tavon Austin might be the fastest, most elusive wide receiver in college football. That spells danger for Big 12 opposing defenses. In a league known for its spread, high-octane offenses, it looks like West Virginia will be a perfect fit.
TCU: Tank Carder is gone to the NFL, and three other starters from last year were lost as casualties of the recent drug sting at TCU. But the Horned Frogs have plenty of talent returning on the offensive side of the football, especially at running back.