NORMAN â€” Saturday, the writers' choice for Big 12 defensive player of the year will square off against the pick made by the league's coaches.
A day after the coaches named Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara their player of the year, the Big 12 writers announced Wednesday that Oklahoma defensive end Jeremy Beal was theirs.
In a close race, Beal received nine of the 20 votes from The Associated Press' panel. Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David got six votes, Texas A&M's Von Miller got four and Amukamara had one.
Beal leads the Big 12 with 18 1/2 tackles for loss and is tied for second, behind only Miller, with 8 1/2 sacks. He's the first Sooner to record at least 7 1/2 sacks in three straight seasons and is the NCAA's active leader in career tackles for loss.
"The guy is the absolute best. ... He just consistently makes plays. We stood him up and put him in a different position last week because of all (Oklahoma State's) four wide receiver sets," Sooners coach Bob Stoops said of his sixth different player to win top defensive honors since 2000. "He took to it, he's out there playing cornerback half the time. The guy can do anything."
Wideout Justin Blackmon was named Big 12 offensive player of the year after garnering 16 votes in a clean sweep by OSU. Running back Kendall Hunter received three votes and quarterback Brandon Weeden got the other one. Blackmon also received the same honor from the coaches on Tuesday.
Blackmon is the first receiver to win the coaches' and AP's offensive player of the year award.
Nebraska swept the honors for newcomers, with quarterback Taylor Martinez winning on offense and David on defense.
The AP will release the rest of the team on Thursday.