Who is the Best Football Player on Each Big 12 Team?
STILLWATER -- I've been around a long time, covered Division I football recruting for a long time. Many of the people that I started covering football recruiting with like Allen Wallace and Max Emfinger don't even cover recruiting full-time anymore. I've written for several recruiting publications like SuperPrep, BG12 Recruiting, and PreStar. I've always enjoyed the science or science fiction of recruiting coverage.
It is that interest that spurred me this week after having college football publisher and expert Phil Steele on my radio show. Steele has always used his numbers, a ranking of every player coming into college football that Steele calls a "PS" number. It stands for Phil Steele. The number is his own ranking of players coming out of high school, junior college, or where ever they arrive from. He uses a wide variety of sources such as Rival.com. ESPN, 247Sports.com (formerly Scout), Tom Lemming, JC Gridwire/JC Football, JC Gridiron, and three specialists groups Kohls Kicking Camps, Chris Sailer Kicking and Punting, and snapping guru Chris Rubio.
I thought it would be interesting to go through the Big 12 and pick out the best football player, pound for pound and regardless of position, and see what their PS number is. I knew it would be surprising.
Oklahoma State linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez is not the best player for Oklahoma State, but he may be the best defensive player. I would rate it a toss up between Rodriguez and safety Kolby Harvell-Peel. Rodriguez had two offers when the Cowboys extended their offer. He had NEO A&M Junior College and he had Wyoming. He is now a second-team All Big 12 linebacker from last season and should have been first-team. His PS# is 347. That is way out there. Most players ranked 347 play special teams, if that.
Okay, now for my list team by team in the Big 12.
Baylor is tough as the Bears lost a lot of their top talent. I had to go with quarterback Charlie Brewer. The senior has started the past two seasons, but has been beat up a bunch. He's threw for over 6,000-yards the last two seasons and has a combined 40 touchdown passes and 16 interceptions. His PS# is 76.
Iowa State has two strong candidates with safety Greg Eisworth on defense. The senior is a leader and a fierce tackler and playmaker for a unit under coordinator Jon Heacock has been the standard of the league and a defense a number of rivals have copied. Eisworth is a little like Rodriguez at Oklahoma State as his PS# is 123 coming out of JC. You have to go with Brock Purdy as the top Cyclones player as the junior quarterback made a difference the first game he took over knocking off the Cowboys in 2018 in Stillwater. Purdy had over 4,200-yards in total offense last season and accounted for 35 touchdowns. Purdy has a PS# of 78.
This will surprise a few people as one of the best players at a Big 12 school with the highest PS# resides at the school that dwells in the Big 12 cellar. Running back Pooka Williams was lured to KU by running backs coach and veteran New Orleans high school coach Tony Hull. Williams has rushed for over 1,00-yards back-to-back seasons and kind of had a sophomore slump last fall. His PS# is 33.
Kansas State and you don't expect a single digit or even a double-digit PS# from the Wildcats. Former head coach Bill Snyder set a standard in purple with doing so much more with less. Current head coach and FCS multiple nationa champion Chris Klieman is capable of the same. He inherited defensive end Wyatt Hubert and the 6-3, 265-pound Kansas native is a standout. Last season he was All-Big 12 with seven sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss. His PS# is 100.
Soon to be Oklahoma starting quarterback Spencer Rattler is a PS# 1 and he may become another Sooner quarterback to be the best player on the team, but the current best player snaps him the football. Creed Humphrey is a beast of an offensive lineman and he was coming out of high school. That is why the future NFL first round draft pick is a PS# 50.
I mentioned Rodriguez above, but Oklahoma State's top player is running back Chuba Hubbard. The nation's leading rusher last season with 2,094-yards and 21 touchdowns, Hubbard came out of Canada and that may explain his PS# 75. I believe if he had grown up in the USA, he would have had a PS# in the teens or 20's.
There is no question at Texas that senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger is the face of the Longhorns program and their best player. He also was a very highly regarded prospect when he signed with his childhood favorite team. Ehlinger has done everything in his power to make Texas good. He hasn't always had the help and his PS# is the highest of any of our best players at 8.
There are several choices with TCU, but this is Gary Patterson's team and we have to go defense. Linebacker Garret Wallow is as good as it gets in the Big 12 and last season he had 125 tackles with 14.5 tackles behind the line and 3.5 sacks. His PS# is 95.
Texas Tech cornerback Adrian Frye wins a close battle in my opinion for best player in Lubbock despite an injury plagued season last year. In 2018 he was a first-team All-Big 12 player with 13 passes defended and a league leading five interceptions. He is another best player that was unexpected with a PS# 291.
The preseason Defensive Player of the Year in the Big 12 is West Virginia nose tackle Darius Stills, who along with his brother Dante Stills can really dominate an opposing offensive line. Darius was first-team All-Big 12 last season wiht 7.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. The 6-1, 282-pound very athletic big guy was not as heralded coming out of high school with a PS# 188.
The average on the PS# for the best players on each team in the Big 12 is 98.1.
We also wondered which of these top players on each Big 12 team would have made the SI All-American list had if been around when they were recruited?
I would say that based on comparable numbers with this year's first edition of the SI-American list, that TCU linebacker Garret Wallow, Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer, Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, Kansas State defensive end Wyatt Hubert, and West Virginia defensive lineman Darius Stills would have made the SI All-American nominations. Oklahoma's Creed Humphrey, Kansas running back Pooka Williams, and Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger would have made the top 10 list at their positions and Ehlinger just might have been an All-American outright.
I don't think Texas Tech cornerback Adrian Frye would have made the list and Chuba Hubbard of Oklahoma State is from Canada.