Getting an early start on leading the Big 12 this year, K-State had the most players named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team released earlier today. Here’s the full list, with Wildcat players in bold:
• Quarterback: Casey Pachall, TCU,
• Running backs: Lache Seastrunk, Baylor; John Hubert, Kansas State
• Wide receivers: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State; Eric Ward, Texas Tech
• Tight end: Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
• Offensive linemen: Cyril Richardson, Baylor; Cornelius Lucas, Kansas State; Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma; Trey Hopkins, Texas; Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech
• Place kicker: Jaden Oberkrom, TCU
• Kick returner: Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
• Defensive linemen: Devonte Fields, TCU; Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State; Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas; Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech
• Linebackers: Bryce Hager, Baylor; Jordan Hicks, Texas; Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
• Defensive backs: Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State; Jason Verrett, TCU; Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma; Quandre Diggs, Texas
• Punter: Kirby Van Der Kamp, Iowa State
• Punt returner: Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State
It’s a good list, and K-State’s represented well. B.J. Finney has an argument for being snubbed, although Oklahoma’s Gabe Ikard is one of the best centers in the nation. Tre Walker was probably a close call at linebacker as well and undoubtedly garnered a minority of votes. Lucas was obviously deserving, as many are projecting him to be the best offensive lineman in the conference. Zimmerman has his eyes on All-American status, while Thompson and Lockett form the best return duo in the entire nation. Hubert is also an easy call, and should challenge to lead the conference in rushing yardage.
That K-State leads the league is another indication of how elite this team is, despite the annual cries that it’s merely a highly functioning group of average parts. TCU, Texas and Texas Tech all have four players on the list. Tech is the most interesting, as the Red Raiders have the potential to only lose two conference games or only win two of’em. TCU looks solid despite a subpar introduction to the Big 12 in 2012 while Texas is once again loaded with players that will probably fail to play like a team. A few other things that stand out:
- Casey Pachall is the top quarterback. He may look great returning to the field this year, but his selection is a demonstration of the lack of proven returning talent at the position across the league. There’s a kid in Stillwater that probably feels like he should have been named instead, but the Big 12 graduated some tremendous players from last season.
- Three Oklahoma State players and two Oklahoma players made the list. If either hopes to contend for the conference championship this year, someone else will need to stand up. Looks to be a down year by Sooner standards.
- That two of K-State’s picks were in the return game may seem to skew the numbers, but if the question is All-Big 12 returner/wide receiver, Lockett still gets the nod and Thompson has a strong argument as well.
- KU has zero players on the list (so does West Virginia, but it’s not as fun to pick on the Mountaineers).
- The way this league plays, I’m surprised they didn’t opt to name a third wide receiver. I guess that’s not how traditional offenses line up though.