Yesterday we kicked off our Big 12 football Q & A sessions by talking about the teams that could contend with Oklahoma for the Big 12 Conference Championship. Today we will take a look at some of the unknown players in the league who could become stars this season.
Jay Beck – Turfburner.com: Tops on the list is Oklahoma wide receiver, Trey Metoyer. He was actually supposed to be part of the 2011 recruiting class but didn’t qualify academically and ended up sitting out last season. He’ll be a true freshman this fall but was on campus for spring practice and more than impressed everyone who had a chance to see him play. With all the question marks at receiver for OU, he could be in for a huge season.
Next is probably Baylor running back, Lache Seastrunk. Baylor is going to have to try and replace RGIII somehow and Seastrunk figures to be a big part of that. You probably know is name since it often came up as part of the Will Lyles investigation. He initially went to Oregon but transferred after one season in Eugene. He’ll have competition at running back with Glasco Martin and Jarred Salubi, but Art Briles will likely find a way to get the ball in Seastrunk’s hands one way or another.
I won’t go into great detail on these guys, but a couple other names worth keeping an eye on are Texas Tech linebacker Will Smith (JC transfer), Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist, Baylor QB Nick Florence, and Oklahoma State QB Wes Lunt.
Amanda Staver – Ride Schooner, Ride: – Unknown players to look out for: Nick Florence – Baylor. Florence will be replacing Heisman trophy winner, Robert Griffin III. Florence has a solid RB group and quite possibly some of the better receiving corps coming back in the Big XII, even with Kendal Wright leaving. Baylor will also get to utilize Lache Seastrunk this year, the transfer from Oregon. With Florence being under center, the Baylor offense doesn’t need to be written off yet.
Tavon Austin – WVU – Austin had four touchdowns in the Orange Bowl on 12 receptions, averaging 11 YPC. Big XII defenses need to worry about the Smith to Austin combo.
Trey Metoyer – Oklahoma -After the suspensions of 3 WR during the off-season, a freshman is going to get his time to shine. At OU’s spring game, four of his six catches were for over 10 yards and on his six catches, he had 72 yards. One of the highlights of his first performance as a Sooner was an out-of-the-air grab of an over-thrown pass by Blake Bell. He made it look natural. With Kenny Stills on the other side, Landry Jones with have two solid options.
Allen Kenney – Blatant Homerism: Oklahoma’s offensive machine ground to a halt last season when receiver Ryan Broyles went down with a knee injury. This year, the Sooners will be looking to talented freshman Trey Metoyer to help fill in that gap. After spending the fall at prep school getting his grades in order, Metoyer was the talk of spring practice in Norman and should make an immediate impact on the offense. He’s drawing comparisons to Big 12 legends Michael Crabtree and Dez Bryant and is probably the most talented receiver ever recruited to Oklahoma.
Texas should boast one of the best defenses in the country, and the Longhorns’ secondary is a big reason why. UT’s cornerbacks took some lumps last year, but I’m expecting a big year out of junior Carrington Byndom. Defensive backs coach Duane Akina has developed a strong reputation for putting his guys into the league. Look for Byndom to be his next big success story.
Another guy to keep an eye on is Kansas St. wide receiver Tyler Lockett. The sophomore’s dad, Kevin, starred for Bill Snyder in the 1990s, as did his uncle Aaron. Tyler’s explosiveness is reminiscent of the other Locketts, and Snyder will undoubtedly try to utilize him more this season as a playmaker in an offense that struggled to create big plays a year ago.
Flint Harris – Holy Turf: Baylor WR Terrance Williams played in Kendall Wright’s shadow for some of 2011. Williams has great hands and should improve upon a solid 2011 campaign that had him second on the team with 59 receptions for 957 yards and 11 touchdowns. It only seems wise to pay close attention to whomever is running the Oklahoma State offense, so keep an eye on true freshman QB Wes Lunt. Texas LB Jordan Hicks looks to be the next star LB in Longhorn defense.
EER Insider: The Big 12 is historically known as an offensive league, so I think you’ll see noise made there from several players.
Seth Douge, QB, Texas Tech: I think everyone knows the Red Raiders pile up offensive numbers, but Douge has remained under the national radar. The upcoming senior threw for over 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing almost 70% of his passes. With another year under his belt, he’s sure to make a name for himself.
Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle was an excellent compliment to the passing game last season. As a sophmore, he was third in the conference with 1,045 rushing and 24 touchdowns. With Brandon Weeden now a Cleveland Brown I’d expect Randle’s workload, and production, to increase significantly.
Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia: West Virginia finished last season in the Top 5 in overall offense. Yet, their leading receiver doesn’t get mention. Stedman Bailey returns for his final season in Morgantown. Bailey had over 1,200 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns last season. With the pass-happy ‘Eers moving to the Big 12, Bailey’s numbers should continue to rise.
The Saturday Edge: The player that I think will be the breakout star for OU isn’t even on campus yet. It’s JUCO transfer WR Courtney Gardner. Arkansas had this kid all but signed back in January, and OU came in and snatched him up at the last minute. Gardner is a tremendous player, and a good get for OU. He’s bigger and taller than Trey Meteyor.
I think he’ll make a big impact right away for the Sooners. The main reason being that with Kenny Stills in the slot, it leaves the very fast and athletic Gardner open for the long ball. I think these two will be a good tandem at the WR positions. Where Meteyor will fit in is still a little unclear. OU runs a lot of 3 WR sets. Meteyor looks to me like he’s one of those 5 yards out to mid range WR’s that will be very dangerous AFTER he catches the ball.
Join us tomorrow as we look at which teams in the Big 12 are overrated and which teams are underrated. Please leave your comments below or Twitter us @saturdayedge. Thanks – GS.