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2015 Big 12 unsung hero: Iowa State RB/WR Trever Ryen

The Big 12 was full of unsung heroes in 2015.

As players earned headlines and all-conference honors, other playmakers played a critical role in their teams' seasons. With the aim of recognizing those overshadowed contributors, we are going to take a better look at one unsung hero per Big 12 team over the next week.

Today, we continue the series with Iowa State.

Junior running back/receiver Trever Ryen

2015 stats: Ryen had 16 carries for 71 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and one touchdown. ... 18 receptions for 191 yards and one touchdown ... 15.4 punt return average on 11 returns and 81-yard punt return for touchdown ... 17.9 kick return average on 16 returns ... 717 all-purpose yards. ... One of eight players in FBS who scored a touchdown rushing, receiving and on a punt return.

Main contribution: A transfer from Northern Iowa who decided to walk on with the Cyclones, Ryen emerged as a playmaking option in the offense in 2015, earning a scholarship after the third game of the season. One of the fastest and most explosive players on the Cyclones offense, Ryen’s 8.56 yards after the catch average ranked sixth among Big 12 receivers with 15 receptions or more. Although Ryen didn’t have any games with more than 100 yards (rushing or receiving), only Mike Warren and Allen Lazard had more all-purpose yards for the Cyclones in 2015.

Best performances: Ryen had 76 yards from scrimmage, averaging 15.2 yards per touch, against Iowa. ... Ryen had an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown against Northern Iowa. ... Ryen had three receptions for 36 yards and one touchdown against Kansas State.

Signature moment: Ryen’s 81-yard punt return against Northern Iowa in the season opener sent the message he might be an impact player for the Cyclones. Just a walk on at the time, Ryen’s big return secured his role as a versatile playmaker for Iowa State.

Other candidates: Quarterback Joel Lanning; linebacker Jarnor Jones; linebacker Levi Peters; running back Joshua Thomas.