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July 31, 2012
One of the most noteworthy elements of the Big 12 race this season is how many of the top contenders are relying on newcomers at key positions.
It starts with defending conference champion Oklahoma State, which is banking on a true freshman to replace Cleveland Browns first-round draft pick Brandon Weeden at quarterback.
So many true freshmen or junior college transfers could make an impact in the Big 12 this season that we struggled to limit our list to five players. The Big 12's reliance on newcomers is apparent when you notice what school is missing from this list.
Kansas could be using as many newcomers as just about any major conference program in the country this season during Charlie Weis' first year on the job. However, we didn't feel any of the Jayhawks' true freshmen or junior college transfers would make as much of an impact as the five players on our list. Keep in mind we were considering only true freshmen and junior college transfers - not transfers from Division I schools - for the purposes of this project. That's why we didn't include Notre Dame transfer and former five-star prospect Dayne Crist, who is projected to open the season as Kansas' starting quarterback.
Texas OT Donald Hawkins
Baylor LB Eddie Lackey
Oklahoma State QB Wes Lunt
Oklahoma WR Trey Metoyer
Texas Tech LB Will Smith
Florida State NEWS