2018 Big 12 Awards
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DAVID LONG, JR., WEST VIRGINIA
West Virginia redshirt junior linebacker David Long made history Wednesday, becoming the first player in program history to be named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. He led the league with 18.5 tackles for loss and ranked fourth with 8.8 tackles per game.
Just to be clear, there are TWO players named David Long in the upcoming NFL draft. David Long, Jr. is a linebacker from West Virginia (seen here), and the other is a DB from Michigan.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: KYLER MURRAY, OKLAHOMA
Murray is one of the most talked about players in this draft. Not only did he win the Big 12 Offensive POY, he took home the Heisman Trophy, the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award, the Davey O’Brien Award, and was a finalist for the Maxwell Award.
Murray’s draft stock is all over the board, although, most giving him a mid-first round grade. There are questions about his height (listed at 5-11, but looks 5-8 or 5-9), and more questions about his weight (is he really 185 lbs.? and how many hits can he take?). But there are few questions about his 4.3 speed or his accuracy when given time to throw.
Murray is the fourth Oklahoma QB in recent memory to win the award, joining Jason White, Sam Bradford, and Baker Mayfield.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE YEAR: CHARLES OMENIHU, TEXAS
Omenihu secured a Senior Bowl invite after registering 45 tackles, 18 for loss and 9.5 sacks en route to Big 12 defensive lineman of the year honors. Through 50 games and 32 starts in four years, Omenihu claimed 116 tackles, 30.5 for loss and 17 sacks. His numbers improved steadily each year. At the Senior Bowl, he measured in at just shy of 6’6” and 274 pounds with 36.5″ arms and an 85″ inch wingspan. More than likely, whatever team drafts Omenihu will ask him to line up inside and out.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN OF THE YEAR: (3-way tie) DALTON RISNER, KANSAS STATE; DRU SAMIA, OKLAHOMA; and YODNEY CAJUSTE, WEST VIRGINIA
All three players should be picked in the first two days of the draft.
OFFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: JALEN HURD, BAYLOR
Hurd is one of the more unique storylines in the NFL draft. A valuable three-year running back who leaves Tenneesse to become the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year as a wide receiver. In 2018, Hurd led the Bears with 69 receptions for 946 yards. He also rushed 48 times for 209 yards and three touchdowns.
Hurd’s college career includes 2,844 rushing yards and 1,438 receiving yards. He currently sits sixth in Tennessee history in rushing yards.
DEFENSIVE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: GREG EISWORTH, IOWA STATE
Matt Campbell has pushed for Eisworth, at JUCO transfer, to join Iowa State’s 2018 recruiting class with that hope that he can contribute immediately and provide both experience and leadership. His commitment proved to be a valuable one for the Cyclones, who had just lost all three of their starting safeties, including all-Big 12 talent Kamari Cotton-Moya.
Eisworth stepped in and earned Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year and first-team all-Big 12 honors this season. He led Iowa State in tackles with 84, including 54 solos. He forced two fumbles, had three pass break-ups, one interception and a sack in the pass game. Eisworth was able to impact the run game, as well, recording four tackles for a loss.
OFFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: POOKA WILLIAMS, JR,. KANSAS
One of the most explosive players in the league with 15 carries of 20+ yards, Williams rushed for a total of 1,125 yards on 161 carries, good for 102.3 yards per game, 7.0 yards per carry and seven rushing touchdowns. He added 289 yards and two scores on 33 receptions and 246 yards on 11 kick returns to lead the Big 12 and rank sixth in the FBS in all-purpose yards at 150.9 per game.
DEFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: CADEN STERNS, TEXAS
Sterns, a freshman safety from Cibolo, Texas, has started all 12 games to date, the most by a true freshman defensive back at Texas since Blake Gideon started all 13 in 2008. He has 59 tackles, tied for fourth on the team and has added three tackles for loss and a sack. He has four interceptions, tied with Diggs and Chris Carter (1993) for the most ever by a Longhorn true freshman.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: AUSTIN SEIBERT, OKLAHOMA
Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert is the all-time NCAA scoring leader among kickers. He broke the record of 494 points set by former Arizona State kicker Zane Gonzalez. With his 26-yard field goal in the third quarter against Alabama, Seibert scored his 496th career point. He finished his career tied for third (with Montee Ball of Wiconsin) on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list with 498 points.
Chuck Neinas COACH OF THE YEAR: (tie) MATT CAMPBELL, IOWA STATE & LINCOLN RILEY, OKLAHOMA
For the second straight season Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year, the conference announced Wednesday.
This season, he split the award with Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley.
No. 23 Iowa State (7-4, 6-3 Big 12) was picked to finish seventh in the conference but ended the season in a tie for third with West Virginia. The six conference wins are the most ever by an Iowa State team.
Riley led the Sooners to an 11-1 record this season and an 8-1 Big 12 record. In his second season as head coach, Riley has a 23-2 career record.