BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
STILLWATER — The preseason All-Big 12 team was released Wednesday, a list that will eventually hold as much (read: little) weight as the various preseason watch lists that have been rolling out over the past 10 days.
The representatives are largely selected based on last season's results, because that's essentially all they can be judged on in mid-July. But it does help give an overall view of the talent returning in the conference. And any college football talking point is, more or less, a good talking point as we creep closer to the start of the season.
Here's an inside look to the 2013 preseason All-Big 12 team.
Quarterback: Casey Pachall, TCU
Analysis: There's no greater indicator of the mass quarterback exit in the Big 12 than voting a guy who left in the middle last season to seek help for substance abuse as the preseason All-Conference pick. It also shows voters still aren't sold on David Ash, even though he is the most experienced quarterback in the conference entering the season. If Pachall returns to form, he'll be a solid pick here.
Running back: Lache Seastrunk, Baylor; John Hubert, Kansas State
Analysis: Kansas' James Sims has an argument to be on this list, as he was an AP All-Big 12 selection last season. But Seastrunk is arguably the conference's most explosive offensive player, while Hubert will be asked to carry more of the load with the departure of Heisman finalist Collin Klein.
Wide receiver: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State; Eric Ward, Texas Tech
Analysis: The Big 12 also lost some big-time receivers — Terrance Williams, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Kenny Stills, to name a few. But Stewart and Ward, who were both 1,000-yard receivers in 2012, are more than viable replacements.
Offensive line: Cyril Richardson, Baylor; Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma; Trey Hopkins, Texas; Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech
Analysis: Plenty of familiar faces here, as Richardson, Ikard and Hopkins were all first-team All-Big 12 picks last season.
Defensive line: Devonte Fields, TCU; Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State; Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas; Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech
Analysis: Fields, the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, headlines a stout group. Jeffcoat is coming off a season-ending pectoral injury.
Linebacker: Bryce Hager, Baylor; Jordan Hicks, Texas; Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State
Analysis: New faces here after the departure of K-State's Arthur Brown and the Iowa State duo of Jake Knott and A.J. Klein. Hicks, like Jeffcoat, is a Longhorn who had his 2012 season cut short because of a hip injury.
Defensive back: Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State; Jason Verrett, TCU; Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma; Quandre Diggs, Texas
Analysis: Verrett is widely regarded as the best DB in the Big 12, and perhaps the conference's best defensive player. Zimmerman and Colvin are also returning All-Big 12 honorees.
Kicker: Jaden Oberkrom, TCU
Punter: Kirby Van Der Kamp, Iowa State
Analysis: Oberkrom and Van Der Kamp can thank Quinn Sharp for exhausting his eligibility.
Kick returner: Tyler Lockett, Kansas State
Punt returner: Tramaine Thompson, Kansas State
Analysis: Two Oklahoma high school products that have become dynamic special teams weapons for Bill Snyder and Co.
Offensive Player of the Year: Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
Defensive Player of the Year: Devonte Fields, TCU
Newcomer of the Year: Charles Sims, West Virginia
Analysis: Again, the lack of returning quarterback frees up Seastrunk — a super speedster who averaged 159.3 rushing yards over Baylor's final four games — to snag the offensive award. Hard to argue with Fields getting the defensive nod after earning the award last season. Sims, a postgraduate transfer from Houston, tallied 851 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.