I was a bit surprised there wasn't more variety here … I felt good about my selections but also conceded that some others, like Texas Tech's Dartwan Bush, Baylor's Chris McAllister or one of the league's defensive tackles could have pushed into the mix. Fields was the only unanimous selection, and was the Defensive Player of the Year for both myself and the media.
No real arguments here. Hager was outstanding a year ago, while Hicks looked to be an All-Big 12 caliber player before he got hurt. I picked Heeney on the strength of his 12 tackles for loss, the best among returning linebackers, and the fact that he was second in the league in tackles per game (behind Hager). But I can't begrudge someone for picking the playmaking Lewis, who appears poised for a big year.
Again, one difference here, but one that I can't really fault. I came down to Carter and Zimmerman for my final pick, and it was a tight one. Zimmerman had more one more interception, but Carter defended more passes in general and made more tackles. The real snub here is that Verrett wasn't a unanimous pick. I mean, how could anybody pick four defensive backs better than he is?
As a freshman this past year, Perry averaged 44.5 yards per punt, a mark that was third in the Big 12. Van Der Kamp was at 41.0, tied for seventh. Having said that, Iowa State was a bit better in net yards per punt (0.8 yards per punt) because Van Der Kamp only had two touchbacks. I'm figuring that Perry will get better at directional punting as a sophomore, but can't blame someone for taking Van Der Kamp.
PR: Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State (Both)
Thompson is one of the most underrated players in the Big 12, but his impact as a return man is obvious. He averaged 19.8 yards per punt return and took one back for a touchdown last year.