No Heisman hype for Big 12 even with Dede, D'Onta excelling
There is no Heisman hype for the Big 12 Conference this season, even with some impressive performances.
Dede Westbrook is having the best stretch of games ever by an Oklahoma receiver. D'Onta Foreman is doing things this season at Texas to evoke reminders of Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams , the Longhorns' two Heisman Trophy-winning running backs.
Still, the Big 12 isn't likely to have a player in New York next month for the Heisman, which would mark the fourth consecutive season without a representative.
Maybe next year.
While Westbrook won't get another Heisman chance since he is a senior, Foreman is among several underclassmen in the Big 12 that could be in the early conversations about a chance to strike the pose in 2017 – if they don't leave school for early entry in the NFL draft.
Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III was the last Heisman winner from the Big 12 in 2011. The last player to represent the league at the ceremony as a finalist was Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein in 2012.
Some notable performances by Big 12 players that may garner a few Heisman votes this season, and some other players who could get future consideration:
– Dede Westbrook, senior WR, Oklahoma. Since getting over lingering pulled leg muscle that hampered him throughout preseason practice and non-conference play, has 47 catches for 1,012 yards and 12 touchdowns in six Big 12 games for the ninth-ranked Sooners. Nine TDs by former junior college transfer are longer than 40 yards. The best previous six-game stretch by an Oklahoma receiver was 862 yards.
''Sure, we anticipated he'd have a big impact,'' coach Bob Stoops said. ''He wasn't at full speed until about a month into the season.''
– D'Onta Foreman, junior RB, Texas. Nation's leading rusher with 181 yards per game and coming off career-best 341 yards at Texas Tech, most in a game for Texas since Ricky Williams during his Heisman season in 1998. Foreman's 10 consecutive 100-yard games longest active streak in the nation, one off Earl Campbell's school record of set during the 1977 season when he won Heisman.
''He's played well and it's taken off for him,'' Longhorns coach Charlie Strong said.
– Baker Mayfield, junior QB, Oklahoma. Two non-conference losses took some attention off Mayfield early, but has 24 TD passes in Big 12 play – OK, half are to Westbrook. His 2,912 yards passing and 31 TDs are on pace to exceed 3,700 yards and 36 TDs last season when leading Sooners to the College Football Playoff. Finished fourth in the Heisman voting last year, but didn't get an invite to New York ceremony.
– Patrick Mahomes, junior QB, Texas Tech. Dual threat who is the national passing leader with 432 yards a game, 72 more a game than the second-best FBS passer. Has thrown for 3,886 yards with 31 TDs and eight interceptions.
– Samaje Perine, junior RB, Oklahoma. After rushing for more than 3,000 yards and 37 TDs his first two seasons, was coming off a 214-yard game against Texas in October before an injury that sidelined him the last three games .
– Mason Rudolph, junior QB, Oklahoma State. Only 11 yards shy of becoming only the second Cowboys QB with multiple 3,000-yard seasons. Has 22 touchdowns and four interceptions.
– Some other potential future candidates: Texas freshman QB Shane Buechele; Oklahoma State freshman RB Justis Hill; Texas Tech sophomore WR Jonathan Giles; Oklahoma sophomore RB Joe Mixon; Baylor sophomore RB Terence Williams.
– Big 12 and the Heisman: Five Heisman winners have come from the Big 12 in league's 20-year history. Before Robert Griffin III, there were a pair of Oklahoma quarterbacks who won the trophy – Sam Bradford in 2008 and Jason White in 2003. Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch was the 2001 winner when Cornhuskers were still in league. Ricky Williams was an overwhelming winner in 1999, the Big 12's third season.
More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org