OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: BAKER MAYFIELD, OKLAHOMA
Baker Mayfield is an inspiration for walk-ons everywhere.
He’s Rudy with a lot more talent.
After walking on at Texas Tech and eventually getting beat out for the starting quarterback job, Mayfield came to Oklahoma as a non-scholarship player. He played on an intramural softball team before joining the Sooners’ football team.
Mayfield not only won the starting job over returner Trevor Knight, he emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the country while leading the Sooners to the Big 12 championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
For his remarkable season, Mayfield is the Tribune-Herald’s Big 12 offensive player of the year.
“I think it’s fair that he’s in that talk with other great players around the country,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “He’s earned it with numbers and success on the field.”
Mayfield has completed 68.6 percent of his passes for 3,389 yards and 35 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He can also create plays with his legs as he’s rushed for 420 yards and seven touchdowns.
“He’s just a guy that plays with a lot of confidence,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “He’s very accurate, can use his feet, tough kid. He’s a good football player. I respect his journey a bunch from where he was three years ago to where he is today.”
Remarkably, Mayfield was overlooked out of high school despite leading Lake Travis to a 25-2 record over his last two seasons.
During his junior year, Mayfield guided Lake Travis to a 16-0 record and the Class 4A championship as he passed for 3,788 yards and 45 touchdowns.
Mayfield walked on at Texas Tech where he passed for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games as a freshman in 2013. But after Davis Webb beat him out for a start in the Holiday Bowl, Mayfield decided to transfer to Oklahoma.
Mayfield attended Oklahoma as a non-football playing student during the spring of 2014 when he became an intramural softball sensation. He didn’t even immediately tell the Oklahoma football coaches that he was on campus.
Since Texas Tech blocked Mayfield’s appeal for immediate eligibility in the fall of 2014, he sat out and lost a year of eligibility. But the NCAA ruled that Oklahoma could put Mayfield on scholarship in October 2014, and he spent last season on the scout team.
Mayfield won the starting quarterback job before the Sooners’ season opener and has made history.
“It’s exceptional with his confidence just to have come here in the first place,” Stoops said. “That tells you all you need to know about his personality. The way he’s been able to play and the players around him has really been exceptional. I keep saying it, what he’s done has been great.”
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: EMMANUEL OGBAH, OKLAHOMA STATE
Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Christian Okoye was famously nicknamed the Nigerian Nightmare for his fearless running style.
Emmanuel Ogbah has been a nightmare for Big 12 offenses.
The Nigerian born Ogbah has been the league’s best pass rusher over the last two seasons for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
After collecting 11 sacks as a junior, Ogbah produced a league high 13 this season to earn the Tribune-Herald’s Big 12 defensive player of the year.
“He’s physically very gifted,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “He’s long. He’s 6-4, 275, he’s big to be on the edge, and plays with this tremendous amount of effort and attitude.”
Ogbah moved to Texas when he was 9 and began playing football in seventh grade. Though he was a finalist for greater Houston defensive player of the year as a senior at Bush High School, he wasn’t one of the most highly recruited players in the area.
He chose Oklahoma State after high school teammate and Nigerian Russell Okung signed with the Cowboys. Okung became an All-American for Oklahoma State and has gone on to become a Pro Bowl player for the Seattle Seahawks.
After recording four sacks as a redshirt freshman in 2013, Ogbah showed he was a force to be reckoned with when he sacked Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston twice in the 2014 season opener.
Ogbah went on to become an all-Big 12 defensive lineman last season with his 11 sacks, 17 tackles for loss and five pass breakups.
Ogbah has been even more dominating this season, and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy likes to sit back and watch him do his thing.
“When he’s in that mode, he’s difficult to handle at this level,” Gundy told USA Today. “When it’s third-and-whatever, and he’s bringing it, I like to watch him because he’s pretty dominating. I know there’s a chance he might get there and they might not get the ball off.”
This could be the Oklahoma State junior’s final college season since he’s projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick.
“Someday, whenever that may be, this year or next year, somebody’s going to get a big-time player,” Gundy said. “They’re going to be glad they have him on the roster.”
COACH OF THE YEAR; BOB STOOPS, OKLAHOMA
Some Oklahoma fans were so upset by the Sooners’ 2014 season that they were ready to run Bob Stoops out of the state.
The Sooners finished 8-5 and were chased out of Norman by Baylor, 48-14, and clobbered by Clemson, 40-6, in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
But with quarterback Baker Mayfield and a superb defense leading the way, Oklahoma was back on top this season. The Sooners’ tremendous season makes Stoops the Big 12 coach of the year.
Not only did the Sooners win their first Big 12 title since their 2012 co-championship, they became the first team from the league to make the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma will face Clemson in the national semifinals on Dec. 31.
Oklahoma’s season could have easily fell apart after a 24-17 loss to Texas. But the Sooners bounced back with seven straight wins, including road wins over Baylor and Oklahoma State.
The Sooners clinched the title in triumphant fashion with a 58-23 blowout of the Cowboys in Stillwater.
BIG 12 OFFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: MIKE WARREN, IOWA STATE
Few great Oklahoma schoolboy running backs make it out of the state to play college football, but Mike Warren is one of them.
The talented back from Lawton rushed for 2,512 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior in 2013, and showed this season that he could produce at a high level at Iowa State.
Warren finished the season with 1,339 yards rushing to earn Big 12 offensive newcomer of the year.
The redshirt freshman ranked third in the Big 12 in rushing for the full season, but during conference play he led all rushers with 1,185 yards in nine games. He led all freshmen across the country in season rushing yardage.
BIG 12 DEFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: MALIK JEFFERSON, TEXAS
Great things were expected of Malik Jefferson when he signed with Texas out of Mesquite Poteet High School.
It didn’t take long for Jefferson to show what everybody was so excited about as he earned Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year with his inspired play.
Jefferson collected 61 tackles including seven for loss and 2½ sacks as a true freshman. He also broke up three passes and recovered a fumble.
Jefferson came to Texas with high accolades after winning the high school Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. He should anchor Texas’ defense for years to come.
TRIBUNE-HERALD 2015 ALL-BIG 12 FOOTBALL TEAM
Offensive player of the year: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Defensive player of the year: Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
Top offensive newcomer: Mike Warren, Iowa State
Top defensive newcomer: Malik Jefferson, Texas
Coach of the year: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
|FIRST TEAM OFFENSE|
|QB||Baker Mayfield||Jr||Oklahoma||6-2||209||3,389 yards passing, 35 TDs|
|RB||Samaje Perine||So||Oklahoma||5-11||243||1,291 yards rushing, 15 TDs|
|RB||DeAndre Washington||Sr||Texas Tech||5-8||182||League-high 1,455 yards, 14 TDs|
|OL||Spencer Drango||Sr||Baylor||6-6||310||Outland Trophy finalist|
|OL||Le’Raven Clark||Sr||Texas Tech||6-6||307||Returning all-Big 12 OT|
|OL||Nila Kasitati||Sr||Oklahoma||6-4||315||Powerful interior lineman|
|OL||Cody Whitehair||Sr||Kansas State||6-4||305||Leader of Wildcat O-line|
|OL||Joey Hunt||Sr||TCU||6-3||295||Returning all-Big 12 lineman|
|WR||Corey Coleman||Jr||Baylor||5-11||190||Nation’s best 20 TD catches|
|WR||Josh Doctson||Sr||TCU||6-4||190||79 catches, 1,327 yards|
|WR||Sterling Shepard||Sr||Oklahoma||5-10||195||79 catches, 1,201 yards|
|AP||Morgan Burns||Sr||Kansas State||5-11||201||4 kickoff return TDs|
|K||Jaden Oberkrom||Sr||TCU||6-3||187||17 of 21 field goals|
|FIRST TEAM DEFENSE|
|DL||Emmanuel Ogbah||Jr||Oklahoma State||6-4||275||League-high 13 sacks|
|DL||Andrew Billings||Jr||Baylor||6-2||300||14 tackles for loss|
|DL||Charles Tapper||Sr||Oklahoma||6-4||281||Collected 7 sacks|
|DL||Jordan Willis||Jr||Kansas State||6-5||250||13.5 tackles for loss|
|LB||Eric Striker||Sr||Oklahoma||6-0||221||16 tackles for loss|
|LB||Dominique Alexander||Jr||Oklahoma||6-0||227||91 tackles|
|LB||Pete Robertson||Sr||Texas Tech||6-3||243||13.5 tackles for loss|
|DB||Zack Sanchez||Jr||Oklahoma||5-11||179||7 breakups, 6 ints|
|DB||Xavien Howard||Jr||Baylor||6-2||200||9 breakups, 5 ints|
|DB||Jordan Thomas||So||Oklahoma||6-1||183||5 interceptions, 1 TD|
|DB||Daryl Worley||Jr||West Virginia||6-2||198||12 breakups, 6 ints|
|P||Nick O’Toole||Sr||West Virginia||6-3||228||Big 12-high 45.7 average|
|SECOND TEAM OFFENSE|
|QB||Trevone Boykin||Sr||TCU||6-2||205||3,575 yards, 31 TDs|
|RB||Shock Linwood||Jr||Baylor||5-9||195||1,329 yards, 10 TDs|
|RB||Wendell Smallwood||Jr||West Virginia||5-11||201||1,447 yards, 9 TDs|
|OL||H. Vaitai||Sr||TCU||6-6||308||Dominating lineman|
|OL||Jarell Broxton||Sr||Baylor||6-5||330||2-year starter|
|OL||Tyler Orlosky||Jr||West Virginia||6-4||297||Led Mountaineer line|
|OL||Kyle Fuller||Jr||Baylor||6-5||305||All-around blocker|
|OL||Ty Darlington||Sr||Oklahoma||6-2||286||Academic Heisman winner|
|WR||Jakeem Grant||Sr||Texas Tech||5-7||170||League-high 80 catches|
|WR||James Washington||So||Oklahoma State||6-0||200||20.7 yards per catch|
|WR||KD Cannon||So||Baylor||6-0||175||Home run threat|
|AP||KaVontae Turpin||Fr||TCU||5-9||165||Dynamic return man|
|K||Josh Lambert||Jr||West Virginia||5-11||215||18 of 25 field goals|
|SECOND TEAM DEFENSE|
|DL||Dale Pierson||Sr||Iowa State||6-2||246||8.5 sacks|
|DL||Noble Nwachukwu||Jr||West Virginia||6-2||271||13 tackles for loss|
|DL||Shawn Oakman||Sr||Baylor||6-9||275||14.5 tackles for loss|
|DL||Davion Pierson||Sr||TCU||6-2||305||Anchored TCU line|
|LB||Peter Jinkens||Sr||Texas||6-1||237||Led Texas 75 tackles|
|LB||Jordan Evans||Jr||Oklahoma||6-3||223||Led OU 79 tackles|
|LB||Nick Kwiatkoski||Sr||West Virginia||6-2||235||Topped WV 80 tackles|
|DB||Ahmad Thomas||Jr||Oklahoma||6-0||209||68 tackles|
|DB||Jordan Sterns||Jr||Oklahoma State||6-1||205||Led OSU 103 tackles|
|DB||Karl Joseph||Sr||West Virginia||5-11||197||Injury shortened season|
|DB||Fish Smithson||Jr||Kansas||5-11||193||Led Big 12 111 tackles|
|P||Austin Seibert||Fr||Oklahoma||5-10||195||42.4 yards per punt|