With spring ball having come and gone, we'll be updating our Big 12 position group rankings over the next two weeks.
We continue this series with the running backs:
1. Oklahoma pre-spring ranking: 1): Last spring, true freshman Rodney Anderson generated a ton of buzz before injuring his knee and redshirting the season. This spring, Anderson impressed again, prompting Alex Ross to transfer and Bob Stoops to declare Anderson would get touches despite playing in a loaded backfield featuring Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon.
2. Baylor (2): The Bears basically have two starters in Shock Linwood and Johnny Jefferson. Baylor, however, has often utilized three backs in the past. And after the spring, it’s still unclear who that third back might be out of a talented crop that includes Terence Williams, JaMycal Hasty, Devin Chafin and incoming freshman Kameron Martin. Either way, Baylor’s backfield will be the envy of most teams in college football.
3. Iowa State (3): Mike Warren might not be well known nationally, but he could very well be the Big 12 rushing champ this season out of Matt Campbell’s offense. Whether he gets there could hinge on how a patchwork offensive line comes together.
4. Texas (4): The powerful duo of D’Onta Foreman (238 pounds) and Chris Warren (255 pounds) now have the nickname of the “Smash Brothers.” Rightfully so, much has been made about the duos of Perine-Mixon and Linwood-Jefferson, but the Foreman-Warren one-two punch could develop into one of the best in the country if their breakout 2015 seasons were an indication of what’s to come.
5. TCU (6): Despite there being several other competent contenders, the TCU backfield has officially been turned over to junior Kyle Hicks, who, coming off a terrific spring, is in line to become the bell-cow running back for the TCU offense.
6. West Virginia (5): True freshman Kennedy McKoy turned heads this spring and could be in line to back up veteran Rushel Shell after proving to be a quick learner and explosive option out of the backfield. McKoy's emergence has been critical, especially with Donte Thomas-Williams in the doghouse.
7. Texas Tech (7): Filling the shoes of two-time 1,000-yard rusher DeAndre Washington won't be easy, but the Red Raiders liked what they saw out of Justin Stockton this spring. Stockton won't be able to pound the ball between the tackles the way Washington did. But he's a home-run threat anytime he touches the ball, which figures to be often this season. Demarcus Felton won the backup job coming out of the spring, but speedster Corey Dauphine could still be a factor, as well.
8. Oklahoma State (9): By all accounts, Chris Carson popped more in his second spring, which is a good sign for the Cowboys. But Oklahoma State jumps up a spot because of the looming summer arrival of Stanford transfer Barry J. Sanders, who could be the X-factor in whether Oklahoma State challenges for a Big 12 title.
9. Kansas State (8): The Wildcats seem to have settled on a three-man rotation of Justin Silmon, Charles Jones and Dalvin Warmack, who all bring something different to the backfield. Warmack will be especially key, as the biggest big-play back on the roster.
10. Kansas (10): The Jayhawks have a reliable and experienced back in Ke’aun Kinner, who is coming off a solid junior season. Taylor Martin, however, could push for carries, as perhaps one of the fastest players in the conference.