After helping pave the way for an offense that produced two Heisman finalists and two 1,000-yard rushers last fall, Brown enters his third year as the Sooners’ starting left tackle. Anyone trying to test Baker Mayfield’s blind side in 2017 will have a 6′ 8″, 345-pound behemoth to deal with. – Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated released its Preseason All-American list on Wednesday afternoon and the state of Oklahoma was represented well with three players from the two state schools appearing. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and left tackle Orlando Brown represent the crimson and cream, with speedy wide-out James Washington representing the orange and black.
The Cowboys’ gun-slinging offense is going to threaten half a hundred in nearly every game on the schedule this fall, and as quarterback Mason Rudolph’s favorite target, Washington will be expected to find the end zone more than anyone else. His 19.4 yards per catch a year ago is silly high compared with most primary receivers asked to handle his volume of targets. – Sports Illustrated
While Oklahoma fans weren’t surprised with the selection of Mayfield on the first team, his appearance is a bit of a shocker nationally considering the fact that reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson is only going to be a junior this season at Louisville.
Mayfield flourished in his second year running Lincoln Riley’s spread attack, leading the nation in completion percentage (71.0%) and earning himself a Heisman Trophy ceremony invitation. Now that Riley has been elevated to head coach, more responsibility falls on the Sooners’ QB. – Sports Illustrated
Truth is, Jackson isn’t even on SI’s Second Team. Rather, that designation belongs to USC’s Sam Darnold. The emergence of Mayfield as Sports Illustrated’s top quarterback and the appearance of three offensive players, from the two state schools, on the team really say three things.
1. The perception remains that the Big 12 is an offensive first conference. That notion isn’t entirely wrong as the offenses in the conference are among the most explosive in the country. However, that said, the Big 12 proved proved that its teams can play defense. Wins over Auburn, Texas A&M, and Colorado, along with an overall 4-2 bowl record, proved they death of defense in the Big 12 has been greatly exaggerated.
2. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have solidified themselves as the top tier of the conference going into the season. Preseason rankings often fail to pan out but still, the amount of offensive firepower that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have stock piled has been duly noted. With just about every major publication picking the Big 12 to come down between the Sooners and Cowboys, if we don’t see Bedlam 2.0 in Arlington, Texas on December 2nd then it’ll be a full-blown disappointment.
3. Baker Mayfield has a definite target on his back. Not the type of target that opposing defenses like to aim at, he’s had that since day one in Norman, but the type of target that will have every major media outlet looking his way. Baker will firmly be under the media microscope this season which could be good or bad. Win at the Horseshoe against Ohio State on September 9th and he’s the Heisman front runner. Lose that game and the media starts looking elsewhere.