The Big 12 is the nation’s most dynamic offensive league, so you could argue all day about which player most deserves the league’s offensive player of the year.

Two Oklahoma players were Heisman Trophy finalists: quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for 3,669 yards and 38 touchdowns while Biletnikoff Award winner Dede Westbrook made 74 catches for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns.

All Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes did was lead the nation with 5,052 yards passing while throwing for 41 touchdown.

But the Tribune-Herald’s choice for Big 12 offensive player of the year is Texas running back D’Onta Foreman. The Longhorns’ junior was the nation’s only 2,000-yard rusher as he finished with 2,028 yards with 15 touchdowns.

Foreman is a load at 6-0, 238-pounds but has surprising open-field speed. Just check out his 74-yard touchdown run against Texas Tech or his 62-yarder against Oklahoma State.

The big man picked up steam as the season progressed. In his last five games, Foreman burned Baylor for 250 yards, Texas Tech for 341, West Virginia for 167, Kansas for 250 and TCU for 165.

If he’d played for a better team, he would have been a Heisman finalist.

“Well the thing that always gets your attention when you see you have a 250-pound running back, you immediately know that, if you let that guy build up a head of steam, you’ve got some issues,” said Baylor interim coach Jim Grobe. “The thing about him that’s so impressive is he’s got great balance and he’s got deceptive foot speed. He gets out on the edge and outruns people to the perimeter sometimes. So you’ve got a running back that’s not only big and physical, but he’s also very athletic.”

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Kansas State senior defensive end Jordan Willis led the Big 12 with 11.5 sacks and ranked second with 16.5 tackles for loss.

On the flip side, there weren’t nearly has many outstanding candidates for Big 12 defensive player of the year.

But one player stood above the rest: Kansas State senior defensive end Jordan Willis.

Willis led the Big 12 with 11.5 sacks and ranked second with 16.5 tackles for loss. He finished the regular season with 48 tackles, and collected two sacks against West Virginia, Texas Tech and Texas.

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder credits Willis’ great work ethic for his superb college career.

“He’s one of those individuals who attempts to do everything the right way, and not just on the field,” Snyder said. “I admire that a great deal. He’s the kind of worker any coach would enjoy. When you watch him play he plays equally hard every minute of game.”

Willis primed himself for a dominating senior year with a superb junior year in which he amassed 15.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and forced four fumbles. He’s been an inspiration to his Kansas State teammates.

“He’s a leader in his own quiet way and they see the effort,” Snyder said. “He worked diligently to be a better player and continues to get better and better.”

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Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill was named as the newcomer of the year after gaining 1,042 yards on the ground for the Cowboys.

The Big 12 defensive freshman of the year is Willis’ Kansas State teammate, defensive lineman Reggie Walker who finished with 6.5 sacks. The league’s offensive freshman of the year is Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill who collected 1,042 yards and five touchdowns.

Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops is the coach of the year after leading the Sooners to a 9-0 record in the Big 12 following a 1-2 start in nonconference play. Stoops has led the Sooners to 10 Big 12 titles in his 18 seasons, and they became the first team to go unbeaten in league play since the round-robin format started in 2011.

Oklahoma clinched the title with a 38-20 win over Oklahoma State in the season finale.

“I’m so proud of the seniors for their leadership going out this way,” Stoops said. “Nobody has bellyached about it or had anything negative to say. It’s great to win another Big 12 championship. The players worked hard during a tough stretch. I couldn’t have been more pleased to see how our players continued to improve throughout the season.”

2016 TRIBUNE-HERALD ALL-BIG 12 FOOTBALL TEAM

Offensive player of the year: D’Onta Foreman, Texas
Defensive player of the year: Jordan Willis, Kansas State
Offensive freshman of the year: Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
Defensive freshman of the year: Reggie Walker, Kansas State
Coach of the year: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

OFFENSE

First team
PosPlayerSchoolClassNotable
QBPatrick MahomesTexas TechJrLed nation with 5,052 passing yards
RBD’Onta ForemanTexasJrLed nation with 2,028 rushing yards
RBJustin CrawfordWVUJr1,168 yards rushing
OLConnor WilliamsTexasSoOne of Big 12’s best young OL
OLBen PowersOklahomaSoEstablished himself this season
CTyler OrloskyWVUSrAmong best centers in country
OLDalton RisnerKSUSoKeyed strong Wildcat ground game
OLOrlando BrownOklahomaSoGreat NFL potential
WRDede WestbrookOklahomaSrWon Biletnikoff Award
WRJames WashingtonOklahoma St.Jr62 catches, 1,209 yards
WRKD CannonBaylorJr73 catches, 11 TDs
Util:Joe MixonOklahomaSo1,183 rushing, 494 KO return
KCole NettenIowa StateSr16 of 17 FG
Second team
QBBaker MayfieldOklahomaJrHeisman Trophy finalist
RBSamaje PerineOklahomaJr974 rushing in 9 games
RBJustice HillOklahoma St.Fr1,042 yards rushing
OLVictor SalakoOklahoma St.SrSenior leader of Cowboys OL
OLTerrale JohnsonKSUSrForce for Wildcats
CKyle FullerBaylorSrThree-year Baylor starter
OLBlake JarwinOklahoma St.SrPowerful lineman
OLBaylen BrownTexas TechSrExperience up front
WRJonathan GilesTexas TechSo1,158 yards, 13 TDs
WRAllen LazardIowa StateJr1,018 yards, 7 TDs
WRSteven Sims,KansasSo72 catches, 859 yards
UtilByron PringleKSUSo659 yards KO, 1 TD
KBen GroganOklahoma StSr18 of 23 FG

DEFENSE

First team
DLJordan WillisKSUSrBig 12-high 11.5 sacks
DLJosh CarrawayTCUSr8 sacks, 11 tackles for loss
DLVincent TaylorOklahoma St.Jr6 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss
DLDorance ArmstrongKansasSo10 sacks second in league
LBTravin HowardTCUJrLeague-high 125 tackles
LBOgbonnia OkoronkwoOklahoma St.Jr9 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss
LBElijah LeeKSUJr98 tackles for strong defense
DBRasul DouglasWVUSrBig 12-high 8 interceptions
DBD.J. ReedKSUSo18 passes defended
DBJordan SternsOSUSr96 tackles, 3 ints
DBDenzel JohnsonTCUSr84 tackles
PMichael DicksonTexasSo47.4-yard average
Second team
DLK.J. SmithBaylorJr6 sacks for young D-line
DLReggie WalkerKSUFrVeteran amassed 6.5 sacks
DLAaron CurryTCUSr5.5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss
DLNoble NwachukwuWVUSrLeader on superb defense
LBBreckyn HagerTexasSo6 sacks
LBJordan EvansOklahomaSr89 tackles, 4 ints
LBTy SummersTCUSo113 tackles 2nd in Big 12
DBRanthony TexadaTCUJr8 passes defended
DBPatrick LevelsBaylorSr12 tackles for loss
DBOrion StewartBaylorSr5 ints, 4 pass breakups
DBFish SmithsonKansasSr93 tackles, 11 passes defended
PNick WalshKSUJr42.8-yard average

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