At midnight, we hit the deadline for underclassmen to declare intention to enter the NFL draft. In all, six Big 12 players elected to forgo eligibility and go pro. Some big-name ones elected to stay put, too. Here's a roundup of how the Big 12 programs affected by the underclassmen deadline fared.
Biggest winner: Baylor. Defensive end Shawn Oakman could've been a first-round pick. Left tackle Spencer Drango already has his degree and two All-Big 12 seasons. Both are coming back to Waco, Texas, to chase a third consecutive conference title and shouldn't have a hard time improving their draft position. Oakman is such a freaky athlete that you'd think scouts would fall in love with him at the NFL combine anyway. Luckily, we get to watch him play another season of college ball first. The draft advisory board recommended Drango go back to school, and that's terrific news for Seth Russell or whomever takes over the Baylor quarterback job.
Biggest loser: Oklahoma. The Sooners lost defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, and it's hard to know which one is more damaging. Phillips, a fourth-year junior, flashed major potential but logged only one full season as a starter after missing most of 2013. Looks like he made a good choice: Phillips is No. 11 in Todd McShay's rankings and 27th in Mel Kiper Jr.'s Mock Draft 1.0. And then there's Green-Beckham, the Missouri transfer whose total contribution at OU was one season on the scout team. Kiper has him projected to go 18th. DGB could've been one of the most talented players in the Big 12 next season, but we will never got to see him play a down in Norman, Oklahoma. It'll be interesting to see how much that one semester at OU helped repair his image and draft stock.
Most expected: Texas DT Malcom Brown. For probably four months or so, it's seemed obvious that Brown would be taking his talents to the NFL early. Even before the third-year junior turned in a season worthy of the ESPN.com Big 12 defensive player of the year honor, Brown's circumstances made this a smart move. He's married with two children (as we detailed in November) and plays at an elite level at a premiere position. What more could he have proven in 2015? Brown is projected at No. 23 in Kiper's mock and is No. 29 in McShay's prospect rankings.
Tough loss: TCU S Chris Hackett TCU was already set to lose senior defenders Paul Dawson, Kevin White, Sam Carter, Chucky Hunter and Marcus Mallet, so adding Hackett to that group doesn't help. Snagging a conference-best seven interceptions and thriving in a big role for the Frogs helped raised his profile this season, so you can see why he'd want to cash in. Hackett actually had a pretty nice backup in juco transfer Kenny Iloka, so there might not be much drop-off here.
Most unexpected: Kansas WR Nigel King. The graduate transfer from Maryland produced one of the top plays in college football this season with his 78-yard touchdown against TCU, but that was also his only touchdown as a Jayhawk. King felt he was ready to move on after logging a pair of 100-yard games and finishing with 537 yards on 30 catches this fall. He could've been a nice weapon for new coach David Beaty in a KU offense that will throw the ball around more.
Last-second surprise: TCU RB B.J. Catalon. News of the Horned Frogs running back electing to go pro didn't trickle out until late Friday morning. Catalon did a nice job of keeping quiet about this decision, and you can understand why he's pursuing the pros. He missed TCU's final five games after suffering a concussion Nov. 1 at West Virginia, and Aaron Green became a rising star in his absence. Assuming Catalon makes a full recovery, he can at the very least be a quality returner at the next level.
Also coming back -- worth noting: When looking ahead to 2015 nonconference play, a few departures could be deemed good news for the Big 12. West Virginia won't have to face game-changing Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs again. He scored a 77-yard touchdown and finished with 127 receiving yards against WVU last season. TCU doesn't have to defend Minnesota's Maxx Williams, a matchup nightmare at tight end.