5 Names to Remember in 2011: Big Twelve

1)    Baylor: Junior Quarterback Robert Griffin
Baylor is beginning to make some noise in the Big 12, and one of the reasons why is because of its playmaker Robert Griffin. The pieces are starting to come together for Head Coach Art Briles but he knows that everything revolves around his star quarterback. Griffin has become a better passer since coming to Waco as a freshman in 2008. His 3501 yards and 22 touchdowns helped guide the Bears to a 7 win season in 2010. And keep in mind, the Baylor Bears hadn’t gone “bowling” in over 16 years, so 7 wins was huge!

2)    Kansas: The Offensive Line
This team took a step backwards in 2010 and if Coach Turner Gill hopes to climb out of the Big 12 basement this fall, his offense is going to need to improve. Statistically this team ranked near the bottom nationally in total offense. One problem could be attributed to the fact that Kansas QBs weren’t getting enough time to make plays. The line gave up way too many sacks (37) last season. I’m interested to see how hogs Trevor Marrongelli, Jeremiah Hatch, and Tanner Hawkinson have improved from 2010.

3)   Missouri: Senior Tight-End Michael Egnew
This 6’6” 235 lbs Texas native was a big part of Mizzou’s offense last season. In addition to being a good blocker, opening up holes for backs such as De’Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence, Egnew is a solid receiver. In fact, he was the second leading pass catcher on the team with 762 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. This team returns most of its playmakers this season besides QB stud, Blaine Gabbert, but I still believe Missouri has all the tools to be successful. As long as Egnew remains a focal point in this team’s offense, then the Tiger’s potential will be limitless.
4)   Oklahoma: Junior Quarterback Landry Jones
If you like offense and watching teams score a lot of points then the OU Sooners is a team you’ll want to pay close attention to this season. Landry Jones is on pace to set a lot of records in 2011. With him at QB, the Sooners averaged 343.4 passing yards per game last season, which was 3rd best in the NCAA. The New Mexico native threw for over 4700 yards last season and hooked up with OU receivers in the endzone 38 times. Jones has total control over this team and does not have to worry about playing underneath anyone else’s shadow. He’ll go H.A.M. this season and I can’t wait to watch the show.

5)   Texas: Senior Linebacker Emmanuel Acho
I don’t think anyone envisioned Texas losing over half its games last season. I mean this team was just a season removed from playing in the BCS National title game against Alabama. Now while I don’t see Texas threatening for the Big 12 crown this season, I do think this team is capable of returning back to a Bowl game. One guy I’m keeping my eyes on is LB Emmanuel Acho. Sam Acho’s little brother had 79 tackles last season with 2.5 sacks and an INT to go with it. Despite their record, this team boasted one of the top defenses in ’10. The strength of this team will still be its defense and I believe Acho will be a key player to watch. 


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