It’s been a wild summer for the Big 12 conference. Oklahoma and Texas, their two blue blood members, chose not to renew their contract with the conference. They are heading to join the SEC in the coming years. Meanwhile, the other three Power 5 conferences have formed an alliance, leaving the Big 12 as the odd man out. While they scramble to figure out their next move, we, the devy players, are just getting excited about the upcoming college football season. This article will not focus on the shenanigans of Oklahoma and Texas. Instead, it will be a preview of the 2021 season and the top devy assets for each Big 12 team, including those two schools, as they are still in the conference for this year.
The Baylor Bears don’t have a lot to get excited for. Even if QB Charlie Brewer hadn’t transferred out, he wasn’t much to write home about. They’ll likely find themselves in the bottom half of the Big 12 standings without any significant devy assets. Head coach Dave Aranda is in his second year with the program, and they brought in offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes from BYU, so there could be some hope for improvement as the coaching staff gets a real offseason to put things together.
Players to Watch
Tyquan Thornton, WR, 2022 (Devy Watch ADP N/A)
Incoming senior Tyquan Thornton leads an experienced WR corps and is looking to be the focal point of the offense in 2021. After a successful 2019 season that earned him an all Big-12 Honorable Mention, Thornton suffered some injuries and didn’t produce as much in 2020. The former 4-star would need a big breakout season to get drafted. He is not someone that you should draft in most shallow devy leagues.
Iowa State is a well-rounded team that is looking to push for its first outright conference title. Unfortunately for the Cyclones, Oklahoma is in their way, but this is one of the better squads the program has had in its history. It is returning a lot of starters, particularly on offense. Naturally, this means it has multiple relevant devy assets for us to keep an eye on this year.
Players to Watch
Breece Hall, RB, 2022 (Devy Watch SF ADP: 4, RB2)
One of the top running backs in the nation, Breece Hall had a highly impressive 2020 and solidified himself as one of the top prospects for the 2022 class. He’s looking to build on a season with 1,752 total yards and 23 total TDs and secure a spot in the first round next year. He’s a smart runner that already has NFL size and is proven to be a capable pass catcher.
Charlie Kolar, TE, 2022 (Devy Watch SF ADP: 95, TE6)
Kolar has racked up 106 receptions in his three years with the Cyclones and is looking like one of the top 5 TEs in the upcoming class. He’s not an especially explosive athlete, offering little as a deep threat or after the catch. However, Kolar is a smart, well-rounded player with a high floor. He’s a smooth route runner with strong hands and is a willing blocker. This makes him a player to watch out for in your devy leagues, especially in tight end premium leagues.
Brock Purdy, QB, 2022 (Devy Watch ADP N/A)
Purdy is one of the most experienced QBs in the nation. He has started three full years and produced nearly 10,000 total yards and 80 total TDs. Unfortunately, he is likely a better college player than a pro prospect. He prematurely bails out of the pocket, isn’t the most accurate passer, and finds very little success throwing outside the numbers. He can’t challenge defenses with his arm and isn’t an athletic enough runner to do damage the ground at the next level. He’s a better asset in Campus to Canton (C2C) leagues than devy.
Kansas is coming off a disappointing but unsurprising 0 win season – the second in the last six years. Those six years are part of a larger 12 season stretch without more than three wins in a single campaign. On the bright side for Jayhawks fans, it really can’t get much worse than this. New head coach Lance Leipold has recently enjoyed a fair amount of success with Buffalo and is hoping to turn the program around, but it won’t happen quickly. Expect another season of three or fewer wins without much to talk about outside of some freshmen.
Players to Watch
Devin Neal, RB, 2024 (Devy Watch ADP: 133, RB52)
Incoming 3-star freshman RB Devin Neal has drawn rave reviews from his coaches due to his outstanding character and practice performances. He already has NFL size and steps into an uninspiring Kansas backfield with a good opportunity to take it over. Look for Neal to be a quick riser in value and establish himself as one of the top devy backs in his class outside of the 5-stars.
Kansas State is returning most of its offensive starters and getting its QB back from injury. Thus, offensive improvement can certainly be expected. The defense, well…the defense can’t be much worse than last year. The Wildcats earned only four wins in 2020, but one of them did come against Oklahoma, and they went 8-5 the previous year when QB Skylar Thompson was healthy. Expect Kansas State to bounce back to being a winning team, but don’t expect any exciting devy assets.
Players to Watch
Deuce Vaughn, RB, 2023 (Devy Watch ADP: 91, RB34)
Vaughn managed to produce over 1,000 scrimmage yards in just ten games as a true freshman. He’s looking to build on that season this year as he continues to enjoy the backfield nearly all to himself. Unfortunately, Vaughn officially measured in at 5’6”, 166 lbs. He needs to add nearly 30 pounds in the next few years without losing his explosiveness to be a viable NFL back. With the odds stacked against Vaughn – he’s a better C2C asset than devy.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have enjoyed 15 straight winning seasons and 15 straight bowl appearances. However, Mike Gundy’s squad has not won the conference championship since 2011 – its only such title in history. Expect more of the same in 2021. The Cowboys should be in the upper half of the Big 12 with another winning season and a bowl appearance, but they still lack the firepower to compete with Oklahoma and Iowa State. They don’t have any devy studs that should be on every roster, but there are still a few players to keep an eye on.
Players to Watch
Brennan Presley, WR, 2023 (Devy Watch ADP N/A)
The 3-star freshman WR had just 1 reception through his first five games played in 2020. In his final match, a bowl game against Miami, he exploded with 6 catches for 118 yards and 3 TDs. Now, Oklahoma State’s three top targets are gone, leaving room for Presley to step up and take over. His value is bound to rise as he consistently starts and produces some big games for the Cowboys.
LD Brown, RB, 2022 (Devy Watch ADP N/A)
Brown is a redshirt senior that has been efficient in limited opportunities for Oklahoma State. He began to earn more touches – around ten a game – last year, though he did miss a few games to injury. With Chuba Hubbard gone to the NFL, I expect Brown to fill the starting role in 2020. However, it is rare for redshirt seniors who haven’t produced much before their 5th year to succeed in the NFL, so don’t get too excited even if he does put up some big numbers.
That concludes Part 1 of our Big 12 Conference Preview. For the most part, Iowa State is the team to watch out of these five as far as devy assets go. The others only have dart throws. Stay tuned for the remaining 5 Big 12 teams in Part 2, coming soon.
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