Going into the 2018 college football season, West Virginia looked like they might be a player, depending on the performance of one Will Grier, but other than that, Oklahoma was really the only team that was viewed as a threat to produce most of the top talent from the Big 12 this year.
Though the conference continues to beat up on itself, which doesn’t make for a good potential playoff participant, they’re doing so because we’re seeing some late-blooming NFL prospects pop up around the conference.
These were our top performers and impact performances from Week 9 in the Big 12.
Elhinger Gives It All
Texas quarterback Sam Elhinger isn’t draft-eligible this year, as he is only a true sophomore, but I still had to recognize the day he had, albeit in the team’s loss to Oklahoma State.
22-for-42 for 283 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns as well. Elhinger was responsible for 28 of the team’s 35 points, and he had one of the most impactful performances we’ve seen from him so far in his Longhorns career.
Elhinger is most comfortable when the Longhorns go shotgun RPO, which also seems to be what the NFL is adapting to more and more. With this year’s quarterback class not looking so hot, keeping an eye on guys like Elhinger for next year will give you a jump start on the horizon.
Hello, Tylan Wallace
Another player who isn’t draft eligible who had a monster night in the Texas vs. Oklahoma State game was Cowboys wide receiver Tylan Wallace.
Wallace, who is a truth sophomore, put on quite the show with 222 receiving yards off 10 catches, and had two touchdowns with it. He even had a play where he “Moss’d” Texas defensive back Kris Boyd for a touchdowns down the side line.
Wallace is listed at 6-foot, 185 pounds. He’s having a huge year, as he’s already accumulated five games with over 100 yards receiving. He’s closing in fast on the 1,000-yard mark for the season, and is clearly the team’s go-to passing weapon. Remember his name for next year.
Butler Balls Out
As for guys who are draft eligible this season, Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler is proving to be one of the best receiving weapons in this draft class.
Butler had 148 yards off just four catches with a touchdown to boot against Texas Tech, and that 37.0 yards per carry average was second best in the Big 12 for a player with at least four catches.
Butler is 6-foot-6. He seems to have the potential to be a total “take over” player every single week, if the Cyclones wan him to be — sometimes you can see he’s not the focus of the game plan, as they do have running back David Montgomery. But when they need Butler, he often delivers in the biggest ways.
Butler just moves so smooth for a big man. He’s not as explosive as A.J. green, but his play style is very similar and he’s had a lot of success this year doing it.
Wesley And Vasher Join The Party
Vasher had just 66 yards on five catches, but one of his catches was a crazy concentration catch, in which his entire body was sprawled out almost horizontally at the sideline while he kept his feet in bounds. Vasher’s 6-5 frame and his wingspan will be coveted.
As for Wesley, he led the Red Raiders in receiving with 119 yards on eight catches and got himself another touchdown on the season. The 6-foot-4 Wesley had one of the biggest catches in the game when he jumped right over a defender at the sideline to bring in a catch and score his touchdown. He’s a big-play guy who continues to deliver with good athleticism at a big size.
Oh My, Oklahoma
Oklahoma is back, folks.
That loss to Texas brought their ranking and their outlook on the season down a bit, but, man, can this team score. And the reason for that is because of the signal caller and his weapons around him.
Sooners’ quarterback Kyler Murray finished the game 19-for-24 with 352 passing yards and three passing touchdowns and added 46 rushing yards and another score on the ground. Murray’s arm is nice. His release is quick, and he has velocity on his passes. He doesn’t have the biggest arm like other NFL quarterbacks do just because of his size, but when it comes to zip, he’s got it.
Too bad he isn’t just a bit bigger and wouldn’t be playing baseball…
On a final note, I have to mention yet another 2020 prospect and that is Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. Lamb had 160 receiving yards on four catches with two touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound sophomore continues to impress in his second season, enough to likely be in my Top 5 of wide receivers once next year’s summer scouting rolls round. He reminds me of JuJu Smith-Schuster the way he plays with both skill and determination.
Power Rankings After Week 9
- West Virginia
- Iowa State
- Texas Tech
- Oklahoma State
- Kansas State