Top 10 BIG XII Playmakers
The Big XII is known for its wide-open offenses and high scoring games. It is the perfect conference for a player to have plentiful opportunities in the open-field to show what they can do. The league has a strong history of elite players being some of the top playmakers in the country. Here is a Top 10 List (in descending order) of the best playmakers (not including QB’s) in the BIG XII for 2016.
10. Mike Warren, Iowa State (r-So)- Warren burst onto the Big XII scene last year as a freshmen with an all-time 3rd best 1,339 yards rushing as a freshman. Mike racked up six 100yd games including an outstanding 245 versus Texas Tech. Mike Warren checks in at #10 on the list due to the fact that he only finished with 5 touchdowns which is not a high number for a playmaker. I expect him to receive more carries in the redzone this year as a sophomore and would not be surprised if he doubles last year’s mark.
9. Shelton Gibson, West Virginia (r-Jr.)- The 5’11” junior was the best receiver for the Mountaineers last year as he was trying to replace NFL draftee Kevin White’s production from 2014. Shelton racked up 4 100yd receiving games while tallying 9 TD’s. If Dana can find a way to get more production and efficiency out of their QB then I expect Gibson to be vying for All-Big 12 honors in 2016.
8. Justin Stockton, Texas Tech (Jr.)-Maybe a surprise to some that he is on the list, but Justin has shown flashes of being a highly versatile and explosive playmaker in the Big XII. He can both rush and catch effectively which makes him more valuable to the Red Raiders. He put up 11 total touchdowns which ranks among the best in the BIG XII even while being overshadowed by Jakeem Grant, arguably the most explosive player in all of college football last year.
7. Joe Mixon, Oklahoma (r-So.)- Despite his off-field issues that have continued to cloud his performances on the field, Joe Mixon was one of the best freshman running backs in the BIG XII last year. Totaling 11TD and surpassing 1000yds between rushing and receiving, Mixon is poised for another strong year using his large frame and quickness to eat away at BIG XII defenses. Splitting reps with Samaje Perine limits his production so I do not expect him to have an incredible year from a statistical standpoint, but he and Perine together will be dominant for OU.
6. Shock Linwood, Baylor (Sr.)- Before he finishes his stint at Baylor, Shock will end up being the most decorated running back in school history. The 5’9 senior has been the beneficiary of Baylor’s high powered and potent Air attack the last 3 years. Coming off of back to back 1000 yard seasons and 10 touchdowns from 2015, Linwood has been nothing short of a production machine. Some would argue that Shock deserves to be higher on this list, but it is easy to argue that both Baylor’s Air Attack and a Big XII best offensive line would allow any running back to put up big numbers. That is why I like Linwood at the 7th best playmaker in the league.
5. Marcell Ateman, Oklahoma State (Sr.)- The 6’4 215lb senior is somewhat of an outlier on this list. After showing flashes of promise his first two years in Stillwater, Marcell was somewhat lackadaisical and lazy in terms of effort, but it all turned around last Spring after shedding negative influences in his life. Ateman had two 100yd receiving games last year and a total of 5 TD’s which may not pop out, but he had more than a 750yds receiving on the year while also proving to be the best “jump ball” receiver in the BIG XII. There is not one other wide receiver in the conference that showed the ability to make 50/50 plays like Ateman. He uses his long arms and height to overwhelm smaller defenders in big situations. Unfortunately, Ateman had foot surgery just a couple weeks ago and he looks to be back on the field in October.
4. KaVontae Turpin, TCU (So.)- Turpin made a lot of coaches sour last year for not recruiting him due to his lack of size (5’9” 150lbs). KaVontae was a lowly 2* that did not even make a mark on any P5 coaches’ radar until right before signing day. Patterson and TCU offered him a scholarship late and it has turned out to be one of the better finds in the 2015 recruiting cycle. The true freshman is fearless on the field racking up 8 receiving TDs and a punt return for touchdown in 2015. With added bulk and confidence, Turpin will be one of the best weapons in the BIG XII for years to come.
3. KD Cannon, Baylor (Jr.)- The junior from Mount Pleasant, Texas is arguably the fastest player on this list after posting a 10.32 100m in high school. His speed has been on full display his first two years in the BIG XII as he glides past defenders. After a 1,000yd freshman season, KD took a step back with 868 and 6TD’s last year. This is more than likely due to the injury to starter, Seth Russell, making it increasingly difficult for KD to have accurate balls thrown his way. If Russell is healthy in 2016, KD will post another 1,000 yards receiving and he will be vying for All-Big XII honors.
2. Samaje Perine (Jr.)- As I like to call him, “The Monster”, is undoubtedly the best running back in the BIG XII. Samaje has accumulated over 3,000 rushing yards in his first two seasons and a ridiculous 7.2 yards/carry average. A physical freak that uses his size, strength and speed to wear down defenses over the course of the game, Perine is one of the more imposing players in the nation. Perine still racked up 17 total TD’s after seeing snaps split with Joe Mixon. Look for Perine to have another season on par with the numbers he’s been putting up and earning 1st team All-Big XII honors.
1. James Washington, Oklahoma State (Jr.)- The lightly recruited receiver from tiny Stamford, TX Washington is the only returning receiver in the BIG XII with over a 1,000 yards receiving. He also leads in yards per game and touchdowns by receivers from 2015. James posted five 100yd games along with 10 total touchdowns. What separates Washington from the rest is his innate ability to go up and get the ball at its highest point. James also boasts unbelievable balance and speed that the combination of is unmatched in the BIG XII. With an improved OL and an elite QB in Mason Rudolph, look for this 6ft 205lb junior to be the most prolific wide receiver in the league in 2016 while being a leading candidate for the Biletnikoff Award.