Editor’s Note: AH. Sorry I’m so late. Vincent was out enjoying his time in Big 12 Country (i.e. Austin, TX) where he took in South Commerce and a ton of Torchy’s tacos. Results may be biased toward the Longhorns as a result.
Quarterback: Vince Young (Texas)
Offenses have gotten really crazy|sexy|cool as of late and QB statistics have been a major beneficiary. I’ve always placed Vince Young at the mountain top of Big 12 QBs but a look at QB play since VY reveals stats that don’t dwarf Young’s accomplishments, but pull him back into the pack. As great as VY was, it is his immediate successor, Colt McCoy, who holds the majority of UT’s passing records. Add in Sam Bradford and RGIII’s Heisman winning seasons and you’ve got a crowded race for the best QB in the Big 12. Sometimes, though, statistics take a backseat to impression. Of course, the nature of this column is to pick my favorite QB in the Big 12, not to pick the best QB in the Big 12 according to some quasi-pseudo objective standard. What Vince Young did in the 2006 Rose Bowl still stands, in my mind, as the most dominant performance I’ve ever witnessed. I was kind of a fledgling college football fan in 2005-06 and that game was a major reason why I was reeled in for good.
Running Back: Marcus Dupree
Can hype really destroy an athlete? It’s hard to separate between actual and implied causality when sports media is so eager to make a case for the affirmative. Before Johnny Manziel dealt with the pressures of notoriety, Marcus Dupree was the test tube of pressure. Dupree’s story is captured in both Willie Morris’s The Courting of Marcus Dupree and Jonathon Hock’s 30 for 30 entry The Best that Never Was, both of which shed light on the Wild West days of college recruiting. Dupree’s Fiesta Bowl game, where he showed up overweight and ran for a record 239 yards on 17 carries and still got reamed by Barry Switzer, is one of my favorite stories in sports because it challenges so much of what we think good athletes should be or do. Dupree’s football career sadly unraveled after that game, a unfortunate or poetic circumstance, depending on how you looked at it (I tend to look at the former). But for being, truly, man, myth, and legend, you’ve got a spot on the team, Marcus.
Wide Receiver: Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech)
VY’s Rose Bowl game was a sustained stretch of dominance. If you asked me what the beastliest individual play I had ever seen was though, it was undoubtedly Michael Crabtree’s game-winning touchdown against Texas in 2008. With 8 seconds left on the clock, you might think Crabtree would sprint out of bounds to get another play in. I think the two Longhorn DBs though that too. Instead, Crabtree decided to win the game then and there for the Red Raiders.
Wide Receiver: Jordan Shipley (Texas)
Jordan Shipley had a fantastic career as a Longhorn, but really, the reason why he’s on this list is because of those sweet white arm bands/tourniquets that him and the other Texas receivers wore all the time. I never really understood what they were for but form far surpasses function in this case. So Jordan Shipley, due to your abundance of elbow swag, welcome to the team.
Tight End: Trey Millard (Oklahoma)
Millard, I guess? He’s more of an H-Back, but I’ll put him in the TE spot for my all-time list. Not too many notable TEs in the Big 12; I thought about guys like Jermaine Gresham or Chase Coffman, but honestly, I remember everything else going on in their offense a lot more than their contributions to them. Millard takes the spot thanks to this bad ass jump truck move he sprung on some unsuspecting Texas defenders last year