Our weeklong conference previews continue this week with the Big 12, kicking off today with five surefire conference MVP candidates.
1. QB Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
The preseason Heisman favorite, Rattler is the next Oklahoma quarterback in line to put up massive stats in Lincoln Riley‘s offense. As a redshirt freshman, Rattler put up more than 3,000 yards in 11 games, and has all the arm talent in the world to top the 4,000-yard mark this coming season. Is he polarizing? Absolutely. But you can’t deny the ability.
2. RB Breece Hall, Iowa State
A unanimous All-American last season, Hall has a very strong case for being the best back in the nation. The Cyclones’ offense uses his versatility well, as he not only had nearly 1,600 yards rushing last year, but also caught 23 balls out of the backfield. If Iowa State is able to upset Oklahoma and take home the Big 12 title, it will be because Hall is the engine behind an explosive offense.
3. RB Bijon Robinson, Texas
Robinson really came on during the second half of last season as one of the top running backs in the country. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to Steve Sarkisian‘s offense, but expect him to be used like Najee Harris was during last year’s title run. If he can maximize the opportunities that he’s given (and there will be plenty), there’s no reason to think that he can’t be among the top players in yards from scrimmage in the nation.
4. RB Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State
Simply put, Vaughn is the second coming of one of the most electric players in school history, Darren Sproles. The pint-sized tailback was one of two players in the country (along with Michael Carter of North Carolina) to receive a PFF grade better than 85 in both rushing and passing, and that was all as a true freshman. He totaled more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage on just 148 touches, and looks to be in for a bigger workload as a sophomore.
5. QB Brock Purdy, Iowa State
Statistically, Purdy didn’t have the greatest season as a junior, as his yards per attempt went down and turnover ratio went up in comparison to his freshman and sophomore seasons, but he’s poised for a big bounce back this season, playing for an Iowa State team that is poised to be one of the best in the country. Despite having Breece Hall in the backfield with him, a lot of the offensive burden will still fall on Purdy, and if he can come through, there’s definitely potential for him to finish the season with some impressive numbers.