One of the annual rites of summer is the release of Phil Steele's All-Conference teams and the Big 12 version came out on Thursday, with only two Texas Longhorns finding their way onto the first team.
Overall, Texas managed to tie Baylor for second place in the conference with 14 selections among the top, behind leader Oklahoma with 19 selections. After losing much of the title-contending team from last year, Oklahoma State only managed seven selections, while talent-poor Iowa State had six.
However, the list reveals some critical areas of weakness for Texas -- the injury issues of David Ash have kept him off the list, while only two offensive linemen made it and one of them, sophomore Kent Perkins, has barely played. In the secondary, only cornerbacks Quandre Diggs and Duke Thomas earned recognition, a commentary on the perceived weakness of the Texas safeties, an assessment that few Horns fans would with at this point.
There's also a chance that three players who suffered season-ending injuries last year could eventually end up as worthy of the first team -- Ash, running back Johnathan Gray, and linebacker Jordan Hicks.
Here are the first teams:
- Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty
- Texas running back Malcolm Brown
- Baylor running back Shock Linwood
- Baylor wide receiver Antwan Godley
- Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett
- Texas Tech wide receiver Jakeem Grant
- Iowa State tight end EJ Bibbs
- Kansas State center BJ Finney
- Kansas State offensive guard Cody Whitehair
- West Virginia offensive guard Quenton Spain
- Texas Tech offensive tackle Le'Raven Clark
- Baylor offensive tackle Spencer Drango
- Texas defensive end Cedric Reed
- TCU defensive tackle Chucky Hunter
- TCU defensive end Devonte Fields
- Kansas State defensive end Ryan Mueller
- Baylor linebacker Bryce Hager
- Kansas linebacker Ben Heeney
- Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon
- Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker
- Texas cornerback Quandre Diggs
- Oklahoma cornerback Zach Sanchez
- TCU safety Sam Carter
- TCU safety Chris Hackett
First-team special teams
- Oklahoma kicker Michael Honeycutt
- West Virginia punter Nick O'Toole
- TCU kick returner BJ Catalon
- Baylor punt returner Levi Norwood
One thing that stands out about the list above is that six Baylor players made the team, a sign of just how much talent head coach Art Briles has managed to assemble in Waco, most of them under appreciated prospects coming out of high school.
Another is that both of the starting tackles on the first team were players that Texas ended up recruiting late in the 2011 class, but neither wanted to join after being spurned by former offensive line coach Mac McWhorter, who was clearly asleep at the wheel the last year of his job. It's possible that both would have started for the Horns the last several years.
Count Frank Shannon as another significant miss, as the Dallas Skyline product has grown into an outstanding college player after questions about his
And, of course, there's Texas legacy Bryce Hager. The staff has now decided that two of the younger Hagers are not or were not good enough to play for the Horns. It didn't work out well once and despite the modest rankings of Breckyn Hager, who just committed to the Bears, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him make Texas regret the decision.