The football season is just around the corner, and the NFL preseason has already begun. With the season getting ready to start, knowing the top guys in each conference is essential. We at Pro Football Network have got you covered. We’ve already released an ACC conference list, as well as a Big-10 offensive list. The other Power-5 conferences are on their way as well. For the Big 12, this list was admittedly difficult to make, considering the conference is stacked on both sides of the ball. Making a list of draft-eligible and non-draft-eligible players made it even more difficult.
Due to this, I will list alternates I thought of at each position at the end of each article. Without further ado, here is the list.
*-denotes a non-eligible player
QB Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Jalen Hurts is a giant question mark for the Sooners, considering we have no idea what he could be exactly. However, the Oklahoma offense and Lincoln Riley deserve to have the benefit of the doubt. There is plenty of NFL buzz about him already. If they live up to their standards of top-flight offense, Hurts will be a central figure for that and undoubtedly deserve the top QB slot.
RB Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State
Chuba Hubbard is an incredible talent for the Cowboys, combining explosive ability with power and receiving chops. With RB Justice Hill off to the NFL and playing with the Baltimore Ravens, the top RB spot for the Pokes is Hubbard’s for the taking. With question marks remaining at QB, Hubbard could be the focal point of their offense. A season of 1,500+ yards from scrimmage is in the cards, and if so, he’ll belong on this list.
RB Trey Sermon, Oklahoma
The workhorse back for the Sooners, Sermon has been a critical cog for their offense the last two seasons. While he will be splitting reps with Kennedy Brooks, Sermon’s ability and reliability in big moments for the Sooners will be vital with lots of offensive turnover.
WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Arguably the top player in the conference and the best wide receiver in the country, Lamb’s selection here is an obvious one. Lamb and Jalen Hurts have already built a rapport with each other, and each seemed poised for a standout season. With Hollywood Brown off to the Baltimore Ravens, Lamb is more than capable of filling that void as the primary target for the Sooners offense. Expect big numbers to come his way.
WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
Tylan Wallace is another name in a long line of talented Oklahoma State wide receivers. A big-play machine, Wallace was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award last season. I expect a repeat performance this season to earn a first-team slot.
WR Jalen Reagor, TCU
Reagor is an explosive playmaker for the Horned Frogs and was their only receiving threat last season. With a potentially upgraded situation at QB, Reagor has a chance to put up even more numbers. With 4.3, nearing 4.2, speed, Reagor is one of the deadliest receivers in the country. His production and talent make him an easy selection.
TE Grant Calcaterra, Oklahoma
Calcaterra is a fantastic athlete and one of the top tight ends in the country. He’s primed to receive lots of mismatches and targets this season. Oklahoma had a similar player in Mark Andrews, and Calcaterra will fill that role this season. In a conference that is rather weak at the position, Calcaterra stands out in a big way.
TE Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
With the loss of Hakeem Butler, Iowa State and QB Brock Purdy will need a reliable big target for their offense this season. At 6’6 251 lbs, Kolar presents a mismatch opportunity ripe with potential. He only caught 11 passes last season, but went for 12.5 yards per catch and hauled in 3 touchdowns. There is certainly plenty of potential to be had here.
OL Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
Arguably the best offensive lineman in the country, Creed Humphrey will be the anchor for the Oklahoma Sooners this season. After one season starting, Humphrey is already receiving plenty of NFL buzz. I expect a repeat of his performance and an Outland Trophy Finalist or Winner for Creed Humphrey this season.
OL Zach Shackelford, Texas
A senior leader for the Longhorns, Shackelford has been a big reason for the continued rise of the program. He’s been an anchor protecting Sam Ehlinger and clearing a path for their running game. His experience will be a boon for the Longhorns this season.
OL Lucas Niang, TCU
Lucas Niang went up against several of the nation’s top pass rushers last season and did not allow a single sack. He only allowed 8 QB pressures last season on top of that. As one of the best offensive linemen in the conference and country, Niang will have a lot of pressure on him to deliver. He’s an easy selection for this list.
OL Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas
There’s been a lot of NFL hype surrounding Adeniji this offseason, and it is easy to see why off of his tape. Adeniji was a good pass protector and athlete for the Jayhawks. Hopefully, with a better season and future under Les Miles, Adeniji could take that next step to success this season.
OL Erik Swenson, Oklahoma*
This selection is a projection for this season. Swenson has barely played and isn’t even the confirmed starter yet. However, it sounds like he will be the starting LT for the Sooners this season. With great talent comes great projection, and Sooners offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh is the best in the country. There’s plenty of optimism for the Sooners offensive lineman.
OL: Colton McKivitz, West Virginia; Terence Steele, Texas Tech; Josh Sills, West Virginia; Adrian Ealy, Oklahoma; Sam Cosmi, Texas; Sam Tecklenburg, Baylor