Top Five Big 12 Heisman Candidates


Although there are no players on the Kansas Jayhawks in the hunt, it is always interesting to take an early look at who the top five Big 12 players are. One of them is a quarterback who Kansas fans are all too familiar with.

1. Landry Jones QB Oklahoma

Unlike a lot of pundits out there, I’m going to go against the Geno Smith pick and take Landry Jones at number one. Smith is a popular pick due to him being somewhat of a darkhorse pick turned popular pick.

The future top ten pick was the third best quarterback in the Big 12 last year, averaging 7.8 adjusted yards per attempt with a 141.6 passer efficiency rating. However, Jones’s insane 2010 season cannot be forgotten. He was flinging the ball all over the place with a 65% completion percentage, 4,718 yards, and 38 touchdowns to just 12 picks to slot in as the league’s second best QB.

2. Geno Smith QB West Virginia

The West Virginia superstar is new to the Big 12, but he is no stranger to terrific production. Although I might be crazy for putting him at No. 2 after his 152.6 passer efficiency rating year last season. I mean, Smith’s numbers were impeccable, and he was one of the top 15 quarterbacks in college football last year. He is the most efficient player in this division and has the most upside. However, I think Jones has the better arm and is the better pro-style QB. I’m a sucker for those types of players, and I think Jones is the better pure passer than Smith and makes harder throws.

3. Collin Klein QB Kansas State

Yeah, you knew he had to be on here. The Kansas State star quarterback is the third quarterback in this pretty tight race between three Big 12 stars. Collin Klein is the best running quarterback in the nation, and he broke out in a big way as a junior last year with 27 rushing touchdowns and 1,141 yards on the ground in total.

As a passer, Klein did a quality job by averaging 6.8 yards per attempt with nearly 2,000 passing yards. He was one of the best five rushers in the Big 12 last season, and he was second in the nation in rushing touchdowns. As a passer, Klein was the seventh best QB in the conference and will, more likely than not, significantly improve in his senior year.

4. Tavon Austin WR West Virginia

After a solid sophomore season for the Mountaineers in which he caught 58 passes for 787 yard and eight touchdowns, Tavon Austin broke out in a big way as a senior. He matched his total of eight touchdowns last year, but he also went off for 101 receptions and 1,186 yards as Geno Smith’s favorite target.

The talented WR is definitely the best at his position in the Big 12 and is a dangerous weapon in WVU’s arsenal. He was the best receiver in the Big East last season, and Tavon Austin is only getting better. It is extremely difficult to tackle him, and I am tempted to move him up to third. But then, I would be accused of being biased against K-State for moving Klein to fourth.

5. Joseph Randle RB Oklahoma State

I decided to go with a running back in the fifth and final slot, and it seemed appropriate to pick a back who is a factor as a pass catcher and rusher in a passing offense. Joseph Randle is in line for more carries this season, and he had a phenomenal 2011 season with 24 rushing touchdowns, 43 catches, 1,216 yards, and an average of 5.8 yards per carry.

Randle was fourth in the nation in rushing touchdowns last season and was clearly a top three back (second) in the Big 12 last year. The Cowboys will be looking for more from Randle, and there is no doubt that the star back will deliver as a junior. He is a scary weapon at the position and broke out from a promising freshman campaign by increasing his touchdown output by twelve-fold.

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