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Big 12 roundtable: Analyzing early camp storylines

In this week's Big 12 roundtable, we give our thoughts around the league after the first week of fall camp:

What has been the most compelling camp storyline so far?

Brandon Chatmon: Obviously it’s early, but the addition of Jonathan Banks to the Kansas State quarterback competition intrigues me the most. I had major worries about the Wildcats offense after the spring, and clearly I wasn’t the only one, with Banks' summer addition. He seems like a quality option to add to the quarterback derby and his dual-threat ability should earn him playing time if he is able to pick up the offense. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the Banks and the other three quarterbacks for K-State as it’s a key part of the outlook in Manhattan.

Jake Trotter: The Oklahoma QB derby. Coming in, the consensus was that Baker Mayfield would win the job. I still think he will. But Cody Thomas and Trevor Knight have been sharp through fall camp so far in Lincoln Riley's air raid attack. It's going to be interesting to see how this competition shakes out.

Max Olson: I guess because I've watched three Texas practices, I have to say it's the quarterback situation in Austin. Tyrone Swoopes is getting all of the work with the No. 1 offense to this point. Which is an interesting approach, considering Charlie Strong says both QBs will play against Notre Dame. The effect so far has been unmistakeable: Swoopes is practicing with more confidence and looks more comfortable running the show. He looks, too, like the guy who will lead Texas' offense against Notre Dame.

What has surprised you the most so far?

Chatmon: It’s so early in camp it’s hard to say anything has been a major surprise, but the continued depletion of David Beaty’s roster at Kansas has caught me off guard. The departures of Junior Visinia, a likely starter, and Joey Bloomfield makes an already difficult job even more difficult on the first-year coach. The Jayhawks enter the season as the Big 12’s biggest underdog with low scholarship numbers and very few proven playmakers on the roster. There’s a very real chance Beaty and company could do a terrific job this season but won’t have tangible results to show for it.

Trotter: I didn't think Tyrone Swoopes would take such a command on Texas' QB battle the way he has. Redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard came on strong during the end of spring ball, and I thought that might catapult him into making the competition much tighter. But by all accounts, Swoopes has clearly outperformed him so far. Heard will get his chance off the bench in the opener at Notre Dame. But for now, it sounds like Swoopes is only firming up his stranglehold on the job.

Olson: What if Kansas State actually does pick Banks for its quarterback job this year? Based on what K-State's offensive coordinators have said, it sounds like the QB decision is still 7-to-10 days away. He's barely been on campus for a month, but Banks is a quick learner who can elevate this offense if he can get caught up. Considering we'd never heard of Banks back in April, beating out three guys for this job would be quite a coup.

What player has caught your eye through the first week?

Chatmon: Based on the glowing reports from Stillwater about freshman running back Jeff Carr, it sure seems like Oklahoma State has done it again. The Cowboys have a track record of landing overlooked skill position standouts and Carr could be the latest. A speedy scatback, Carr could be a really good fit in the OSU offense as a complement to Chris Carson and Rennie Childs.

Trotter: Yeah, Carr is really interesting. He was the last addition to the Oklahoma State signing class, basically a last-minute flier. But he's really been turning heads and could help the Cowboys as a true freshman. Nobody, however, has generated more buzz than Texas true freshman linebacker Malik Jefferson. It sounds like he's going to be a star for Charlie Strong, and already a foundational piece that Strong can begin building around.

Olson: I wondered how West Virginia was going to reload with playmakers after Kevin White and Mario Alford moved on to the NFL, and it sure sounds like they next man up will be Jovon Durante. The ESPN 300 freshman hit the ground running after the NCAA finally cleared him last week. And this kid can run. He'll flash as a returner right away, and I think we're going to see No. 5 in space quite a bit this season.