Featuring a prolific quarterback, running back and wide receiver trio usually translates into a high-powered offense. In recent years, the Big 12 has boasted numerous dynamic triplets, including several last season.
Who will have the league's best triplet package in 2016? Here's how we rank them at the moment:
Wide receiver might be a concern for the Sooners, but Oklahoma boasts one of the top quarterback-running back combos in the country in Mayfield, who finished fourth in the Heisman voting last year, and Perine, who has 3,000 yards rushing over two seasons. Westbrook is not exactly a slouch, either, as the reigning Big 12 offensive newcomer of the year.
Baylor could challenge Oklahoma for the top spot, but that requires Russell returning to his former self after neck surgery and Cannon proving he can be a No. 1 wideout in the mold of his prolific predecessors in Waco. Baylor's second running back, Johnny Jefferson, could be put in here and it wouldn't make a difference. There are only four returning 1,000-yard rushers in the league, and Baylor has two of them.
Washington is the top returning wideout in the league after putting up 1,087 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Rudolph quietly passed for 3,770 yards as a sophomore and finished eighth in the country in yards per completion. The key for the Cowboys will be Sanders, who had only 51 carries for Stanford last year but averaged 6.2 yards per carry. Can he boost what was the second-to-worst rushing attack in the Big 12 last season?
The Red Raiders graduated their first 1,000-yard rusher since the 1990s in DeAndre Washington and their all-time leading receiver in Jakeem Grant, but stick inside the top four because of Mahomes, who is a budding star. Stockton has big-play ability but must demonstrate he can be an every-down back. Juco transfer Derrick Willies could wind up becoming Mahomes' go-to guy, but Cantrell gets the nod for now despite missing all of last season with a back injury.
Iowa State hasn't had an offense finish outside the bottom three in the Big 12 in scoring since 2005, but that could change this season because of this triplet combo. Warren and Lazard will vie for preseason All-Big 12 consideration; Lanning had his moments after taking over behind center midway through his sophomore season.
The Horned Frogs are banking that they'll be featuring the Hill who completely shredded South Carolina in his first career start two years ago. Hill struggled and eventually transferred from Texas A&M, but there's no denying his talent and potential. Turpin is one of the best young receivers in the country. Regardless of who emerges as the starter in the backfield, the Horned Frogs will probably be more RB-by-committee in 2016.
Though the Mountaineers are seventh, there's still a lot to like from this group. Gibson headlines one of the best young receiving corps in the Big 12, and might be the league's most dangerous deep threat after Washington and Cannon. Shell was West Virginia's primary back two years ago before giving way to Big 12 rushing champ Wendell Smallwood last year. Can Howard reduce the turnovers and build off his tremendous bowl performance? If so, the Mountaineers could surge up this list.
Talent is not Texas' issue, especially at running back and including at receiver. Foreman averaged 7.2 yards per carry, and Chris Warren III, who also warrants mention, rushed for 382 yards in Texas' final two games. Burt had 457 receiving yards as a true freshman despite playing in a broken passing offense. The question, of course, is quarterback. Whether it's Swoopes, Jerrod Heard or even true freshman Shane Buechele, if the Longhorns don't get significantly better quarterback play, they once again won't have a triplet worthy of top-half consideration.
Jones quietly was one of the team's most improved players last year, and he gives K-State some versatility. Burton had a big finish to the season, and could be a top-10 receiver in the league. It's impossible, though, to really gauge K-State here with so much uncertainty at quarterback, where Ertz, who has yet to attempt a pass in his college career, will be battling Alex Delton, Joe Hubener and Skylar Thompson.
Though the Jayhawks are last, this is not David Beaty's biggest issue. Willis showed promise as a potential quarterback of the future, even if he's limited this spring with a wrist injury. Kinner had a few solid rushing performances last season, and Sims had a reception in every game he played in.