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Big 12's Pre-Spring Top 15 Player Rankings for 2015

Trevone Boykin

Trevone Boykin

The Big 12 should be an interesting league to follow in 2015. Although the conference was left out of the final four of the college football playoff last season, Baylor and TCU will be back in the mix once again in 2015. And of course, the league should have depth with Oklahoma and Texas looking to rebound, as well as an Oklahoma State team that is set to improve behind sophomore quarterback Mason Rudolph.

With spring practice underway, it’s never too early to take a look at the top returning players in the conference for 2015. The Big 12 has a Heisman candidate in TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, as well as some of the nation’s top linemen in Spencer Drango (OT) and Shawn Oakman (DE).

Here’s a quick primer on the top 15 players in the Big 12 for next season, as well as a few names to watch.

Big 12's Pre-Spring Top 15 Players for 2015

1. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

2014 Stats: 3,901 yards, 33 TDs, 10 INTs, 707 rush yards, 8 TDs

Boykin was one of the nation’s most-improved players last season and enters 2015 as one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy.

2. Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

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Drango enters 2015 as one of the top offensive linemen in the nation. The Texas native showed no rust from a back injury that sidelined him for the final four games of 2013, as Drango earned first-team All-Big 12 and second-team Walter Camp Football All-America honors.

3. Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma

2015 Year of Eligibility: Sophomore

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2014 Stats: 1,713 yards, 21 TDs, 15 catches, 108 yards

Perine was one of college football’s top freshman in 2014. He rushed for 1,713 yards, including a single-game record of 427 against Kansas in late November. Perine should be the focal point of Oklahoma’s offense in 2015.

4. Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

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2014 Stats: 51 tackles, 19.5 TFL, 11 sacks, 3 FF

Oakman is a physically imposing figure off the edge at 6-foot-9 and 280 pounds. He registered 11 sacks anchoring Baylor’s defensive line last season, including five over the final four games.

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5. Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

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2014 Stats: 49 tackles, 17 TFL, 11 sacks, 1 FF

Ogbah quickly emerged as one of the Big 12’s top defenders in his first full season as a starter. His 11 sacks ranked second in the Big 12 in 2014. Ogbah delivered in big games, recording two sacks against Florida State, one against Baylor and two against TCU.

6. Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

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2014 Stats: 37 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 2 sacks

Billings is quietly one of the league’s top defenders. At 300 pounds, the Texas native has the size to plug the middle, while also possessing the ability to wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines (11.5 TFL in 2014).

7. Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

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2014 Stats: 68 tackles, 17 TFL, 9 sacks, 2 FR

Striker finished 2013 on a tear by recording three sacks against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and the Florida native picked up where he left off in 2014. Striker registered nine sacks and his 17 tackles for a loss ranked third among Big 12 defenders.

8. Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

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Clark is the anchor for an underrated Texas Tech offensive line. The Texas native enters 2015 with 38 consecutive starts and earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2014.

9. Cody Whitehair, OT, Kansas State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

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Whitehair shifted from guard to tackle and continued to anchor Kansas State’s offensive line in 2014. The Kansas native earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in each of the last two seasons.

10. Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

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2014 Stats: 92 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 1 INT, 3 PBU

Joseph and teammate Daryl Worley anchor a secondary that should be near the top of the Big 12 in 2015. Joseph ranked second on West Virginia’s defense with 92 stops in 2014.

11. Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

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2014 Stats: 43 tackles, 6 INT, 8 PBU

Sanchez has started all 26 games in his two years with the Sooners. The Texas native also has eight interceptions in his career and tied for sixth among Big 12 players in 2014 with 14 passes defended.

12. Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

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2014 Stats: 64 receptions, 1,119 yards, 11 TDs

Coleman emerged as Baylor’s No. 1 receiver last season, averaging 17.5 yards per catch in 10 contests. In two years with the Bears, Coleman has 13 touchdown catches and was one of only three receivers in the Big 12 to average at least 100 receiving yards per game in 2014.

13. Shock Linwood, RB, Baylor

2015 Year of Eligibility: Junior

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2014 Stats: 1,252 yards, 16 TDs

Even though Baylor has one of the nation’s top passing offenses, don’t forget about Linwood’s production. In his first year as the starter, Linwood rushed for 1,252 yards and 16 scores.

14. Pete Robertson, LB, Texas Tech

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

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2014 Stats: 81 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 12 sacks, 3 FF

Robertson is a key piece in new coordinator David Gibbs’ rebuilding effort on defense. The senior earned second-team All-Big 12 honors after leading the conference with 12 sacks in 2014.

15. Dante Barnett, S, Kansas State

2015 Year of Eligibility: Senior

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2014 Stats: 77 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 INT

Barnett has been a steady presence as a starter in Kansas State’s secondary in each of the last two years. He has seven interceptions in that span and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors in 2014. 

Seven Names to Watch This Spring

Dravon Henry, S, West Virginia

Rising star in West Virginia’s secondary recorded 45 tackles and two interceptions as a true freshman last year.

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Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

Five-star recruit likely to make an instant impact for a Texas defense losing linebackers Steve Edmond and Jordan Hicks.

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Allen Lazard, WR, Iowa State

Lazard didn’t disappoint as a true freshman, catching 45 passes for 593 yards and three scores.

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Elijah Lee, LB, Kansas State

Lee was an impact freshman for K-State last season, recording 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He should play an even bigger role in the defense in 2015.

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Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

Tossed 14 scores over the final three games of 2014. Can he beat out Davis Webb for the No. 1 spot on the depth chart?

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Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Was a key cog in Oklahoma State’s late-season improvement. Will only get better as a sophomore.

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Ranthony Texada, CB, TCU

Started all 13 games as a redshirt freshman last season. Texada is now one of the leaders for a TCU secondary replacing standouts Kevin White (CB), Sam Carter (S) and Chris Hackett (S).