By Cam Huffman
Last year at this time, West Virginia University football fans were dreaming big and celebrating three selections on the preseason All-Big 12 roster, including the Offensive Player of the Year in Geno Smith.
After a disappointing finish to the Mountaineers’ inaugural Big 12 campaign, the league’s media representatives are taking a much more cautious approach.
The 2013 Preseason All-Big 12 Football Team was released Tuesday, and nowhere on the 26-player list was there a Mountaineer to be found.
TCU quarterback Casey Pachall headed up the offensive list, which included running backs Lache Seastrunk (Baylor) and Josh Hubert (Kansas State). Josh Stewart (Oklahoma State) and Eric Ward (Texas Tech) were the wide receivers, and Jace Amaro (Texas Tech) was the tight end.
The offensive line was made up of Cyril Richardson (Baylor), Cornelius Lucas (Kansas State), Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma), Trey Hopkins (Texas) and La’Raven Clark (Texas Tech). TCU’s Jaden Oberkrom was the place kicker, and Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett was the kick returner.
Devonte Fields, the only unanimous selection on either team, led the defense. The TCU defensive lineman was an All-Big 12 First Team selection last year. He was joined on the defensive line by Calvin Barnett (Oklahoma State), Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas) and Kerry Hyder (Texas Tech).
The linebackers were Bryce Hager (Baylor), Jordan Hicks (Texas) and Shaun Lewis (Oklahoma State). Ty Zimmerman (Kansas State), Jason Verett (TCU), Aaron Colvin (Oklahoma) and Quandre Diggs (Texas) made up the defensive backfield.
Iowa State’s Kirby Van Der Kamp was selected as the punter, with Kansas State’s Tramaine Thompson the punt returner.
Like WVU, Kansas, which finished at the bottom of the league last year, was void of a preseason All-Big 12 pick. Kansas State had the most players on the team with five, while Texas, TCU and Texas Tech had four each.
The Mountaineers did receive some recognition in the individual awards, as Houston transfer Charles Sims was named the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year. Sims rushed for 851 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Cougars last year, also catching 37 passes for 337 yards and three more scores. He’ll be eligible to play right away as a graduate student.
Seastrunk, who averaged 138.5 yards per game over the final six contests of 2012, was selected as the preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Fields was the obvious pick as Defensive Player of the Year. Last year’s Defensive Freshman of the Year had 53 tackles, including 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.
The Preseason Big 12 Poll will be released today. The annual Big 12 Football Media Days will be held July 22 and 23 in Dallas, Texas.
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WVU junior basketball forward Kevin Noreen was selected Wednesday as one of more than 700 student-athletes on the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Honors Court.
To make the list, a student-athlete must be an academic junior or senior and a varsity player. He must also have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher and have been at their current institution for at least one year.
— E-mail: chuffman
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