The Big 12 Conference has released their preseason squad including the individual awards, but here is Clones Confidential’s predictions on who will be getting the player of the year awards at the end of the season.
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My criteria is predicting who will win the award, not solely on what we know about everybody today.
Offensive Player of the Year: WR Tyler Lockett (Kansas State)
I know, I know, Bryce Petty is the favorite here and he can easily end up with the award. I’m really going against the grain by not picking a quarterback as the offensive POY, but I really believe this is the year that Lockett will gain some more national attention.
Everyone knows Petty and the high-flying Baylor offense. But his expectations have reached he point that if he does have a bad game or two, people will write him off and look for somebody else.
Without a spotlight glaring in his face every week, and Baylor — while not being a bad team by any means this season — won’t be as great as they were a season ago, I think Lockett sneaks in to be the most impressive offensive player in the Big 12.
Plus, he voted for twice on the All-Big 12 team. He’s clearly a god.
Defensive Player of the Year: S Sam Carter (TCU)
Nov 2, 2013; Fort Worth, TX, USA; TCU Horned Frogs safety Sam Carter (17) during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Amon G. Carter Stadium. West Virginia won 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
I’ll be completely honest — I really want to put Ryan Mueller here, but having the same school win the offensive and defensive POY? That’s not going to happen.
There’s plenty of options to pick on TCU. There’s no surprise the Big 12 picked Devonte Fields on the defensive line, but I think Carter really makes a big difference on this team. Last year, he finished sixth on the team with 49 total tackles and also recorded 7.5 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions, 4 sacks, 2 broken passes, and forced a fumble.
With a much improved defense, there’s a chance that the talent may dilute Carter’s performances, but at least he’s being noticed after making the All-Big 12 second team last year.
Newcomer of the Year: FREAK Tyreek Hill (Oklahoma State)
Trust me, I debated during my sleep AND right before this post went public to just go ahead and put Iowa State’s Allen Lazard on here. He has all the potential to become a star under Mark Mangino and really put a consistent spark in a Cyclone offense that we haven’t seen in years.
Ultimately, I can’t sway away from the public on this one. Hill can basically do anything on the offensive side of the ball and Mike Gundy has a proven offensive mind that can really make this guy into a beast.
His small size of 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds adds in to the incredible speed Hill has. He might 500 yards on Iowa State by himself and I probably wouldn’t bat an eye based on his videos.
The only question I have is durability, but based on how fast he is and he’s a JUCO transfer over a true freshman (which is what Lazard will be), I have to side with Hill over Lazard.
But don’t get me wrong — despite his recruiting rankings going down since holding firm to his Iowa State commitment, he has all the potential in the world to get this award if the Cyclones find consistency on offense.