Big 12 Spotlight: Reviewing the conference’s 2021 season

Deuce Vaughn is a weapon – One of my top picks for Big 12 MVP, Vaughn has had another outstanding season at Kansas State, showing his versatility in the racing game as a receiver and as a response. There aren’t many more dangerous players in the country than he is.

Kansas is not close – Yes, the Jayhawks took out Texas in one of the biggest upheavals of the season, but other than that they’ve proven they still have a huge talent gap between them and the rest of the league. Launch Leipold surely he’s been able to get quite a bit out of what he had, but he’ll need a couple of seasons before they even smell the bowl contention.

Texas Tech struggles – I had Matt Wells as one of the best coaches on the hot seat, and was sacked mid-season. The Red Raiders attack never went on, and Joey McGuire has his work cut out for him.

Baylor is really, really good … I had Baylor finish 3-9 in Dave Arandathe second season for lack of crime. Well, the Bears got a ton of production from Gerry Bohanon and Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner’s two-headed monster in the backfield and their defense was stellar.

The state of Oklahoma has a defense … Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles deserves a lot of credit for putting together one of the best units in the country despite not having a ton of famous guys. Malcolm Rodriguez is an absolute star of the linebacker, and the Cowboys’ secondary has held up very well against the Big 12 offenses.

Texas implodes – I really thought so Steve Sarkisian he could have used the talent he had at his disposal, but the team didn’t click in their first season in Austin. Outside of Xavier Worthy there were no really noteworthy players in attack, and the defense failed to stop a nosebleed, leading to a six-game losing streak mid-season.

Offensive Player of the Year – Breece Hall, Iowa State

Even though the Cyclones didn’t have the season they wanted, Hall was still great, running nearly 1,500 yards and 20 TDs, which was good for third place in the nation. He is fighting to be the top running back in next year’s draft.

Defender of the Year – Malcolm Rodriguez, Oklahoma State

There was a surprising amount of defensive players who have had really good seasons in the Big 12, but Rodriguez was head and shoulders above the rest. The All-American linebacker led the conference with 118 tackles and was the heart and soul of one of the best defenses in the country.

Freshman of the Year – Caleb Williams, Oklahoma

This could easily have gone to Xavier Worthy too, but Williams showed why he was a five-star talent. Oklahoma has galvanized around him in the Texas game, and he’s absolutely the guy he goes on for Brent Venables and the new technical staff. New offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby she will enjoy inventing plays for him.

Coach of the Year – Dave Aranda, Baylor

As if this could go to anyone else. Not even the most ardent Bears fan could have predicted that Baylor would win the conference title and head to the Sugar Bowl. I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical of Aranda’s abilities as a head coach, but he has proven he deserves to be ranked among the best.

NFL Draft Stock Up (bout) – Breece Hall, Iowa State

Can we say that Hall has increased his stock? He has had a great year as expected but is still in the Round 2 range. But as a running back he is not so bad as the position has been downgraded overall. Despite the hardships of Iowa State, it was impressive.

NFL Draft Stock Up (Defense) – DL Perrion Winfrey, Oklahoma

Nik Bonnitto was supposed to be the best defender on the scoreboard for Oklahoma, but it could very well be Winfrey who became more consistent, which is what the scouts wanted.

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