Woods Tops Williams In Big 12 Media Poll

It&#146;s no surprise that Big 12 media tabbed Oklahoma and Kansas State as winners of their respective divisions in the Big 12 football preseason poll released this weekend. But where is the love for Heisman Trophy candidate <B>Roy Williams</B>?

While most Orangebloods assume that Williams is the best at his position in the country, conference media pundits say that the Legend is not even tops at his spot in the conference. Their choice for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year is Oklahoma State WR Rashaun Woods. Williams was the other WR choice in the first team preseason poll. Oklahoma LB Teddy Lehman was named preseason defensive player of the year.

Big 12 media picked Texas to finish second to the Sooners, just ahead of resurgent Oklahoma State. Texas A&M, Texas Tech and hapless Baylor follow. Other Horns named to the first team preseason squad are junior RB Cedric Benson, senior DL Marcus Tubbs, junior LB Derrick Johnson and senior CB Nathan Vasher. (I will predict that a healthy DT Rodrique Wright is listed in the final first team media poll.)

There’s no questioning Woods is worthy of first team honors. Last year, he was good for 1,695 yards and 17 TDs on 107 grabs. Those numbers, plus consecutive wins over Oklahoma, get you noticed.

Meanwhile, Williams has gone relatively unnoticed in most preseason publications. (He is generally listed as a second-team All-American.) It’s just that very few sports media have seen what a healthy Williams can do.

Until the hamstring suffered against Houston, Williams was playing without pain for the first time in his collegiate career. The removal of bone spurs during the 2002 off-season had given him a noticeable spring and the extra step left coaches drooling and DBs in the dust. Then came the September hamstring injury and Williams was essentially a non-factor until the Nebraska game on November 2. Still not 100 percent, Williams responded with 161 yards and two TDs on 13 receptions.

Williams tallied 64 receptions (No. 3 on UT's single-season list) for 1,142 yards (No. 2) and a school-record 12 TDs as a junior.

But a true measuring stick of what a healthy Williams can do is evidenced by his production during the final five games last season: 39 passes (7.8 pg) for 741 yards (148.2 ypg) and scored 10 TDs (nine rec/one rush) , all of which were 100-yard performances, another UT record. He capped the year with four grabs for 142 yards (including a 51-yard TD and 75-yard reception) and scored on a 39-yard reverse en route to Cotton Bowl Offensive MVP honors.

If there is a football god, Roy Williams gets one full season of health in 2003. And the college football world will be in awe.

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