Darren’s picks for Big 12 football honors

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Darren Hellwege, sports commentator

I don’t vote on any official All Big 12 teams, but if I did, here’s how I’d have voted for the All Big 12 team:

Quarterback: Robert Griffin, III Baylor
The league has more than its share of strong quarterbacks but Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden gets consideration here, having emerged as the cream of the crop. RGIII is a frightening runner, he’s also an outstanding drop-back passer. He’s going to be a whale of an NFL quarterback some day.

Running Back: Henry Josey, Missouri

Henry Josey was Mizzou's leading running back.

Even with several games lost to injury, Josey stands head and shoulders above the rest, including strong runners Christine Michael or Cyrus Gray at Texas A&M and Joseph Randle at Oklahoma State. Josey was among the nation’s best in yards per carry and defenses never really caught up with the guy who started the year as the third-string tailback. Hopefully he’ll emerge healthy from major knee surgery, but it may be 2013 rather than 2012 before Tiger and SEC fans see the Josey we saw this season.

Wide Receiver: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
The most feared weapon on the most feared offense in all of college football. He has been so good for so long he’s almost taken for granted. Some put Ryan Broyles ahead of Blackmon but even if Broyles played a full season before he was injured Blackmon’s just accomplished more.

Wide Receiver: Kendall Wright, Baylor
RG3’s favorite weapon led the league in receiving yards. This outstanding athlete has been a part of the Bears offense for four full years, with at least one catch in every game he has played.

Tight End: Michael Egnew, Missouri
So talented that he’s rarely given less than the full attention of opposing defenses, yet still found his way to be a key part of the Tigers offense. Mizzou didn’t look complete on offense until they started getting Egnew more involved. A returning All-American, Egnew has NFL skills as a receiver. If he can develop his blocking game a pro career is a real possibility.

Line: Levy Adcock, Oklahoma State
By every measure OSU’s offense is top shelf and an excellent offensive line anchored by All-American Adcock is a major reason.

Line: Austin Wuebbles, Missouri
Missouri survived significant injury problems up front because of the skill and flexibility of Wuebbles. As close to a sure-thing NFL lineman as you could find, he already has the body for it and the records he set in the MU weight room should stand for a long time.

Line: Luke Joekel, Texas A&M
The Aggies struggles this year can’t be blamed on the line, which gave up fewest sacks in the nation. Joekel is their best.

Line: Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
Ikard started every game as a redshirt freshman last year for the Big Red and continues to develop into one of the nation’s best. Rings up lots of pancake blocks and is also a 4.0 student.

Center: Grant Garner, Oklahoma State
Baylor’s Phillip Blake is a good one and got a lot of these votes in the preseason all-conference lists, but Garner’s proven to be one of the nation’s best all season long.

Kicker: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
Yes, the all-conference team gives you an idea as to why Oklahoma State is the nation’s top team (in my opinion, one obviously not shared by the voters, unfortunately.) Sharp not only made 20 of 23 field goals, but sends nearly every kickoff through the end zone and rung up an incredible 56 touchbacks.

Defensive line: Dominique Hamilton, Missouri
An easy pick. Tigers have best line in the league and Hamilton came back for a stellar senior campaign after losing much of last year to injury. Linemen and quarterbacks all over the SEC will delight when he graduates.

Defensive line: Jamie Blatnick, Oklahoma State
His touchdown against Oklahoma wasn’t a thing of beauty, but everything else Blatnick did at the front of this badly underrated defense looked awfully good.

Defensive line: Frank Alexander, Oklahoma
My pick for defensive player of the year, Alexander’s a beast who stops the run, sacks quarterbacks trying to pass and in general will take opponents’ offensive game plan and tear it to bits.

Defensive line: Alex Okafor, Texas
Edges out teammate Jackson Jeffcoat and neither is a senior, although Okafor may be ready for the big leagues now. Jacquies Smith and Terrell Ressono of MU also merit attention.

Linebacker: Jake Knott, Iowa State
While ISU did quite well with a team lacking top-notch talent, this isn’t a position where that was the case. Knott’s the best of the bunch, but A.J. Klein’s a good one, too. Knott’s a hitter who was among the tops in the conference in fumbles forced.

Linebacker: Arthur Brown, Kansas State
The transfer was an immediate upgrade for the Wildcats defense and had his strongest season yet by far.

Linebacker: (tie) Luke Lambert, Missouri, Andrew Wilson, Missouri and Zavier Gooden, Missouri
It’s too hard to separate one above the others though each has individual gifts, the three combined were greater than the sum of the parts.

Corner: Carrington Byndom, Texas
Excellent cover corner who can come up and tackle as well.

Corner: E. J. Gaines, Missouri
The secondary used to be thought of as a liability for the Tigers, now they have one of the best in the league and Gaines is the tops here.

Safety: Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
Did I mention this defense is underrated? Martin’s a fierce hitter.

Safety: Kenji Jackson, Missouri
Outstanding play and a great team leader.

Punter: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State
It’s extremely rare for both the PK and punter to be the same guy, but nobody’s as strong as Sharp at either position. Erxlaben at Tech’s not too far off, nor is Mizzou’s Trey Barrow.

Offensive player of the year:
This one’s easy, nobody comes close to RG3.

Defensive player of the year:
A more difficult choice, but the Sooners lineman Alexander is the pick here.

Newcomer of the year:
Linebacker Arthur Brown of Kansas State stepped in and led the surprise team of the nation to a great season.

 

I do vote for, the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award voted upon by members of the Football Writers Association of America. Most years, the job Mike Gundy did in Stillwater would earn the title, and Iowa State’s Paul Rhodes continues to do more with less than any other coach. But it would be clowning to try to pretend anyone but Bill Snyder at Kansas State wins the award this year. The first time I heard him called “The Greatest Living Football Coach” I thought it was hyperbole from EMAW land. Now I firmly agree there is nobody I can think of ever who has taken such a terrible program and made not just a powerhouse but also a consistent powerhouse. All season long K-State beat teams they weren’t good enough to beat. While Collin Klein deserves some credit, this is on Snyder and his outstanding coaching staff. National coach of the year by a landslide.

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