Breaking down Athlon Sports’ Preseason All-Big 12 team
How does the Texas roster stack up from a national perspective? Athlon Sports shed light on how talented the team should be in 2023.
The respected sports publication listed its Big 12 all-conference selections on Monday. Texas saw its team receive several selections.
It’s easy for the national media to recognize bigger programs like Texas and Oklahoma or surging teams like Kansas State and TCU. Even so, it appears Athlon did its homework with a thorough list that accounts for several teams.
Kansas headlines the first team with top quarterback Jalon Daniels and running back Devin Neal.
For Texas, defensive tackle Byron Murphy and safety Jalen Catalon make surprising first-team nominations. The two easily possess that ability but have plenty to prove on the field. Murphy will be asked to play starter snaps after Texas lost two defensive tackles to the NFL. Catalon needs to prove he can be healthy.
Here’s a look at Athlon Sports’ all-conference nominations.
Jalon Daniels, Kansas
Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma
Quinn Ewers, Texas
Will Howard, Kansas State
The above list is reasonable. There’s very little separation between quarterbacks 1-4. Will Howard might be the best of the group.
Devin Neal, Kansas; Richard Reese, Baylor
Javontae Barnes, Oklahoma; Aidan Robbins, BYU
Gavin Sawchuck, Oklahoma; Jonathon Brooks, Texas; Treshaun Ward, Kansas State
Ollie Gordon, Oklahoma State; Emani Bailey, TCU; Jirehl Brock, Iowa State; RJ Harvey, UCF
First-team honors are up for grabs at running back following the departure of Bijan Robinson and Deuce Vaughn. For the most part I like the list.
CJ Donaldson Jr., West Virginia
Tahj Brooks, Texas Tech
DJ Giddens, Kansas State
This list has really good players that could make as big an impact as any running back above. Brooks and Giddens might be among the most underrated players in the league.
Xavier Worthy, Texas; Matthew Golden, Houston; Brennan Presley, Oklahoma State
Jerand Bradley, Texas Tech; Jordan Whittington, Texas; Jalil Farooq, Oklahoma
Kody Epps, BYU; Phillip Brooks, Kansas State; Jaylin Noel, Iowa State
Savion Williams, TCU; Javon Baker, UCF; Lawrence Arnold, Kansas; Monaray Baldwin, Baylor
Monaray Baldwin and Javon Baker are severely underrated here with AD Mitchell standing out as a bad omission from the list.
Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas
Ben Sinnott, Kansas State
Mason Fairchild, Kansas
Jared Wiley, TCU
Oklahoma tight end Austin Stogner is an interesting omission. Outside of Sanders, he would seem to be the best tight end in the league.
First-team offensive line
Zach Frazier, West Virginia
Cooper Beebe, Kansas State
Kelvin Banks Jr., Texas
Mike Novitsky, Kansas
Andrew Coker, TCU
The first three on the list are the clear best linemen in the league. Christian Jones might deserve to be a first-team player.
First-team defensive line
Ethan Downs, Oklahoma
Dontay Corleone, Cincinnati
Byron Murphy II, Texas
Jaylon Hutchings, Texas Tech
Corleone is the clear top defensive tackle. Downs is a surprise pick. I would have chosen Bothroyd from Oklahoma over Downs.
Jaylan Ford, Texas
Johnny Hodges, TCU
Collin Oliver, Oklahoma State
Danny Stutsman, Oklahoma
Ford is an easy pick at the position. Stutsman was a stat-compiler last season but appears undersized at his position. Jaren Kanak is a breakout player to watch.
Cobee Bryant, Kansas
Josh Newton, TCU
Jalen Catalon, Texas
Kendal Daniels, Oklahoma State
T.J. Tampa, Iowa State
Malik Dunlap, Texas Tech
Kobe Savage, Kansas State
Aubrey Burks, West Virginia
Ryan Watts and Jahdae Barron are probably the safer picks from Texas than Catalon. Nevertheless, the former All-SEC safety from Arkansas has the highest upside.
K Griffin Kell, TCU
P Mason Fletcher, Cincinnati
KR Keilan Robinson, Texas
PR Phillip Brooks, Kansas State
Kell was as responsible for TCU’s miracle run as anybody, hitting one clutch kick after another. He’s back and could play another huge part for the Horned Frogs.
K Bert Auburn, Texas
P Austin McNamara, Texas Tech
KR Brennan Presley, Oklahoma State
PR Xavier Townsend, UCF
Auburn was one of the bigger surprises for Texas last season after losing Cameron Dicker. He’s a proven player for the Longhorns.