With the 2015 season in the books, and after careful consideration, we’ve ranked the top 25 players of 2015 in the Big 12.
We continue the weeklong countdown below with Nos. 11-15:
11. Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma: Remember the chatter early on that Lincoln Riley’s offense might not be the right fit for Perine’s talents? The Sooners’ bowling ball of a back wiped out all those fears with a monster hot streak to end the regular season. Perine rushed for 927 rushing yards (7.2 per carry) and 12 TDs in seven games to help the Sooners secure the Big 12 title, powering a downhill run game while only getting half of all the handoffs. The sophomore embraced his timeshare with Joe Mixon, still finished as the league’s No. 3 rusher and has rumbled for a total of 3,062 yards in his first two seasons.
12. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech: Mahomes became the youngest-ever quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards, rush for 450 yards, throw 30 touchdown passes and rush for 10 scores. He finished second to Clemson’s Deshaun Watson in total offense (5,109 yards) and accounted for the same number of yards per game (393) that Johnny Manziel put up in his Heisman year. He got those gaudy numbers by being a true magician, extending plays and outwitting defenses with his feet while beating them with his rocket arm and precision. And the fact Mahomes did all that as a true sophomore should scare the rest of the Big 12.
13. Nick Kwiatkoski, LB, West Virginia: Beloved by West Virginia coaches as a “throwback” talent, Kwiatkoski never got much national hype but was one of the game’s most reliable and productive linebackers. He led West Virginia in tackles (86) for a third straight year and chipped in 10 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups, three sacks and three interceptions. He was also the heart and soul of a unit that lost star Karl Joseph and still finished as the Big 12’s No. 2 defense.
14. DeAndre Washington, RB, Texas Tech: We told you all offseason that Washington was wildly underrated, and he went out and proved it as a senior: nearly 1,500 rushing yards, 16 total touchdowns and a Big 12-best 1,877 yards from scrimmage. In addition to fueling the Red Raiders’ run game, he was everything they could’ve asked for as a pass-catcher and team leader. Washington saved his best for last -- 248 rushing yards on senior day -- and leaves Lubbock as the No. 5 rusher in school history.
15. Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech: You always knew what you were getting from Clark, a mean 6-foot-6, 308-pound left tackle who started every single game (51 total) of his career. His protection of Mahomes was invaluable -- Tech’s line kept its quarterback untouched on 82 percent of all dropbacks, the best rate in the Big 12 -- and will go down as one of the most accomplished linemen in TTU history. Fortunately, we also found out how exciting Clark is with the ball in his hands a few times this season.