Our Colorado cohorts at The Ralphie Report have once again solicited the powers that be in the Big 12 Blogosphere here at SB Nation to determine the SB Nation Preseason All-Big 12 Team. As Rock M Nation's representative in the voting process, here's how my ballot will appear. It must be noted that bloggers are NOT allowed to vote for players on teams they cover. As an aside, I must give a major shoutout to the SB Nation tech team, whose "Autotag" tool probably just imploded upon linking this post.
On to the ballot!
Nominees: Jerrod Johnson (TAMU), Austen Arnaud (ISU), Taylor Potts (TTU), Sam Bradford (OU), Zac Robinson (OSU), Blaine Gabbert, Robert Griffin (BU), Colt McCoy, Todd Reesing (KU), Daniel Thomas (KSU)
The Vote: Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford
Notes: You can go around looking for ways to justify other picks, but it's going to be McCoy and Bradford at the top. I'm just glad we're selecting two quarterbacks so I don't have to decide between them and draw the ire of one of the fan bases. At the same time, you've got to feel for Reesing, Robinson and Griffin, dynamic players who'd be shoo-ins in a lot of other conferences.
Running Back (2)
Nominees: Roy Helu Jr. (NU), Cyrus Gray (TAMU), Christine Michael (TAMU), Chris Brown (OU), DeMarco Murray (OU), Kendall Hunter (OSU), Derrick Washington, Darrell Scott (CU), Rodney Stewart (CU), Jay Finley (BU), Jake Sharp (KU), Cody Johnson (UT), Vondrell McGee (UT), Foswhitt Whittaker (UT)
The Vote: Kendall Hunter, Chris Brown, DeMarco Murray
Notes: I went with the Oklahoma trio here. Kendall Hunter may well be the best back in the conference. Brown and Murray are a formidable 1-2 punch, assuming Murray is capable of staying healthy in 2009. Derrick Washington would have been my pick over one of these two had the blogger/player restrictions not been in place. I fought with including Roy Helu on the ballot. Helu came on hot at the end of 2008 (he averaged almost 10 yards a carry in a 157-yard day at Oklahoma) and could very well prove me wrong. Darrell Scott still has a lot to prove.
The Vote: Matt Clapp
Notes: I see no reason to unseat the reigning All-Big 12 fullback.
Wide Receiver (3)
Nominees: Ryan Tannehill (TAMU), Jeff Fuller (TAMU), Darius Darks (ISU), Detron Lewis (TTU), Edward Britton (TTU), Dez Bryant (OSU), Danario Alexander, Jared Perry, David Gettis (BU), Dezmon Briscoe (KU), Jordan Shipley (UT), Kerry Meier (KU), Brandon Banks (KSU), Jonathan Wilson (KU), Malcolm Williams (UT)
The Vote: Dez Bryant, Dezmon Briscoe, Jordan Shipley
Notes: Bryant has the unenviable task of trying to replace Michael Crabtree as the conference's best receiver, even though some call Bryant "a superior receiver" to Crabtree. Briscoe continues to be undervalued by the conference as a whole, and Shipley -- one of the conference's most consistent producers over the last few seasons -- has seen his stock rise in the national eye since last year's Red River Shootout. Honorable mentions go out to Kerry Meier, Brandon Banks and Detron Lewis, and player to watch mentions go out to Jeff Fuller and Malcolm Williams.
Rest of the ballot after the jump!
Tight End (2)
The Vote: Jermaine Gresham and Mike McNeill
Notes: Gresham is the no-brainer with the first vote. I know we're supposed to scoff at Nebraska right now, but I feel like McNeill is the only Husker that's being underhyped. A tight end like that is a tremendous asset in the process of breaking in a new quarterback.
Offensive Line (5)
Nominees: Jacob Hickman (NU), Mike Smith (NU), Brandon Carter (TTU), Marlon Winn (TTU), Trent Williams (OU), Brady Bond (OSU), Russell Okung (OSU), Kurtis Gregory, Elvis Fisher, Dan Hoch, Tim Barnes, Nate Solder (CU), Ryan Miller (CU), Adam Ulatoski (UT), Chris Hall (UT), Nick Stringer (KSU), JD Walton (Baylor), James Barnard (BU), Charlie Tanner (UT), Jeremiah Hatch (KU), Kyle Hixx (UT)
The Vote: Brandon Carter, Trent Williams, Russell Okung, Adam Ulatoski, Chris Hall
Notes: I'd be lying to you if I said I had hard and fast reasoning for selecting individual lineman. I do hope the other Big 12 bloggers give some love to Gregory and Barnes, who we've extolled here at RMN many times.
Interior D-Line (2)
The Vote: Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy
Notes: Another relatively painless selection. Even a second team of any two of the trio of Granger, Fitzgerald and Houston would be extremely stout.
Defensive End (2)
Nominees: Pierre Allen (NU), Barry Turner (NU), Matt Featherston (TAMU), Jeremy Beal (OU), Auston English (OU), Brian Coulter, Jacquies Smith, Brandon Herald (KSU), Jake Laptad (KU), Sergio Kindle (UT)
The Vote: Sergio Kindle, Auston English
Notes: I know Jeremy Beal is getting most of the pundit love at DE for Oklahoma, but I remain a massive apologist for English when he's healthy. Maybe it's all just fallout from seeing English singlehandedly dominate Mizzou in person in Norman back in 2007. And, oh yeah, Sergio Kindle is a physical freak of nature.
Nominees: Von Miller (TAMU), Brian Duncan (TTU), Marlon Williams (TTU), Keenan Clayton (OU), Travis Lewis (OU), Patrick Lavine (OSU), Sean Weatherspoon, Luke Lambert, Jeff Smart (CU), Shaun Mohler (CU), BJ Beatty (CU), Joe Pawelek (BU), Andre Sexton (OSU), Rod Muckelroy (UT)
The Vote: Joe Pawelek, Andre Sexton, Travis Lewis, Von Miller
Notes: Let's all take a moment to pour one out for Sean Weatherspoon, who is required to be left off my ballot. Pawelek enters what seems like his 37th year of eligibility at Baylor. Sexton and Lewis are relatively safe picks, while I take my one big departure from security and select A&M's Von Miller as my fourth 'backer. Miller is really more of a "project pick" here, as he's got the physical skills to be as good any other linebacker nominated if he's able to carve out his own role in Joe Kines' system. If it all comes together, Miller could turn into the type of player Kines had in Demeco Ryans at Alabama.
Nominees: Leonard Johnson (ISU), Jamar Wall (TTU), Dominique Franks (OU), Perrish Cox (OSU), Carl Gettis, Jimmy Smith (CU), Cha'pelle Brown (CU), Josh Moore (KSU), Justin Thornton (KU), Daymond Patterson (KU), Chykie Brown (UT), Deon Beasley (UT)
The Vote: Dominique Franks, Josh Moore
Notes: A surprisingly solid list of nominees here. Franks was a second team All-Big 12 selection last year, and Moore quietly had a good year in the midst of a forgettable season for K-State. Brown would have been next on my radar, with Johnson, Wall, and Beasley close behind.
The Vote: Jordan Lake, Darrell Stuckey
Notes: I'm probably drawing the wrath of the Burnt Orange Nation community by excluding two very talented young safeties in Earl Thomas and Blake Gideon, but Lake and Stuckey are certainly deserving of the nods here. Lake means to the Baylor defensive backfield what Pawelek means to Baylor's linebacking corps. Stuckey was ALL over the field at Arrowhead last year, and has to be the top safety in the Big 12 North (this despite my almost irrational love of Kenji Jackson).
The Vote: Alex Henery
Notes: Hard to make the call here, but the cannon attached to Henery's hip gave Nebraska the win that COMPLETELY changed the outlook for the Huskers in 2009.
The Vote: Derek Epperson
Notes: Epperson is the returning leader in punt average, which is good enough for me. My apologies to Jake Harry.... THE FOURTH.
Kick Returner (1)
Nominees: Cyrus Gray (TAMU), Leonard Johnson (ISU), Perrish Cox (OSU), Dez Bryant (OSU), Jordan Shipley (UT)
The Vote: Perrish Cox
Notes: Cox and Bryant are somewhat interchangeable here, and since Bryant's already feeling the love, I decided to go with Cox. I would have had no qualms with Shipley in this slot either.