This week, the Big 12 conference opened up preseason all-conference voting to members of the media. The preseason teams are going to be announced Wednesday, July 15 with the preseason poll released the following day, July 16.
West Virginia had five all-conference players and four honorable mentions on last season’s all-conference team. Four of those players will return for 2020, headlined by the Stills brothers, Darius and Dante, along with receiver Sam James and safety Tykee Smith.
In the meantime before the official lists are released, here is who WVSN voted for.
Offensive Player of the Year: Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
- The reigning Big 12 OPoY and the nation’s leading rusher last season. Unless his recent spat with OSU head coach Mike Gundy explodes into something bigger, there is no reason to think Hubbard cannot repeat last season’s success.
Defensive Player of the Year: Darius Stills, DL, West Virginia
- I promise this is not a homer pick. The Stills brother put up seven sacks and 12 TFL in 2019, best for second and fifth in the Big 12, respectively. With another year in Vic Koenning’s defense, along with better depth along WVU’s defensive line this season, there is no reason to expect anything but more dominance in the elder Stills brother’s final college season.
Newcomer of the Year: Theo Howard, WR, Oklahoma
- Without a clear pick for newcomer of the year, former UCLA receiver Theo Howard is interesting to me. Oklahoma needs to reload a little bit on offense after last season and Howard produced 107 catches, 1,271 yards and eight touchdowns for the Bruins between 2017 and 2018. Redshirted due to injury last season and tore his achilles in January, but is supposed to be ready for the start of 2020.
QB: Brock Purdy, Iowa State
- I am a big believer in Purdy, even with other talented Big 12 QBs like Michael Brewer and Sam Ehlinger returning. after a successful debut in 2018, Purdy showed no signs of a sophomore slump last season, actually leading the Big 12 with nearly 4,000 passing yards.
RB: Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State / Pooka Williams, Kansas
- Hubbard, Williams and Oklahoma’s Kennedy Brooks were the Big 12’s three 1,000-yard running backs last season. I have Williams over Brooks because Williams outrushed Brooks by 50 yards in two fewer games. With Khalil Herbert transferring to Virginia Tech, Williams is set to be the feature back in Les Miles’s offense, a good omen for the junior.
FB: Nick Lenners, Kansas State
WR: Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State / Sam James, West Virginia / Andrew Parchment, Kansas
- Sam James struggled with consistency and drops last season, but a 14-catch, 223-yard performance against Texas Tech showed what kind of potential he has. As a young player, I think James’s struggles came from having to be the team’s number one receiver and not anything talent-wise.
TE: Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
OL: Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma / Josh Sills, Oklahoma State / Samuel Cosmi, Oklahoma / Adrian Ealy, Oklahoma / Tevin Jenkins, Oklahoma State
- Josh Sills missed all but one game last season due to injury for WVU and now he moves on to Oklahoma State to block for Hubbard.
PK: Gabe Brkic, Oklahoma
PR/KR: Joshua Youngblood, Kansas State
DL: Darius Stills, West Virginia / Dante Stills, West Virginia / Wyatt Hubert, Kansas State / Ross Blacklock, TCU / Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
- The Stills brothers should continue to wreak havoc up front for WVU in 2020 and anchor what could end up being the best defensive line in the conference this season. The duo combined for 14 sacks and 23 TFL last season. They were the main reason the Mountaineers were within striking distance of upsetting Baylor on Halloween.
LB: Garret Wallow, TCU / Amen Ogbongbemiga, Oklahoma State / Terrel Bernard, Baylor
- Kenneth Murray was the linebacker to watch in the Big 12 last season, but TCU’s Garret Wallace was second in the conference in TFLs with 16 while also totaling 125 tackles, 77 of which were solo.
DB: Trevon Moehrig, TCU / Tykee Smith, West Virginia / Grayland Arnold, Baylor / Kolby Harvell-Peel, Oklahoma State / Greg Eisworth, Texas Tech
- Tykee Smith was one of the most exciting players to watch on WVU’s defense last season. He had 53 tackles, 2 interceptions, six passes defended and a forced fumble as a true freshman in 2019. He was an honorable mention for Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and an FWAA Freshman All-American.
P: Austin McNamara, Texas Tech