Blackmon, Beal named Big 12 football players of the year

Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | 6:27 p.m. CST; updated 6:51 p.m. CST, Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon runs for a touchdown against Baylor. Blackmon led the nation this season with 1,665 yards receiving and 18 touchdowns.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Justin Blackmon was named the Big 12's offensive player of the year Wednesday after a breakthrough season in which he went from a relative unknown to the nation's most productive wide receiver for No. 16 Oklahoma State.

Blackmon became the first receiver to win the honor after leading the nation with 1,665 yards receiving and 18 touchdown catches. Just a sophomore, he ends a streak of 11 straight years with quarterbacks as the Big 12's top offensive player, and before that running backs Troy Davis and Ricky Williams combined to win the first three awards.

Year-by-year AP Big 12 honors

Offensive player of the year
2010 — Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
2009 — Colt McCoy, Texas
2008 — Colt McCoy, Texas
2007 — Chase Daniel, Missouri
2006 — Zac Taylor, Nebraska
2005 — Vince Young, Texas
2004 — Jason White, Oklahoma
2003 — Jason White, Oklahoma
2002 – Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech
2001 — Eric Crouch, Nebraska
2000 — Josh Heupel, Oklahoma
1999 — Major Applewhite, Texas
1998 — Ricky Williams, Texas
1997 — Ricky Williams, Texas
1996 — Troy Davis, Iowa State

Defensive player of the year
2010 — Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma
2009 — Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
2008 — Brian Orakpo, Texas
2007 — Curtis Lofton, Oklahoma
2006 — Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma
2005 – Dwayne Slay, Texas Tech
2004 — Derrick Johnson, Texas
2003 — Derrick Strait, Oklahoma
2002 — Terence Newman, Kansas State
2001 — Roy Williams, Oklahoma
2000 — Rocky Calmus, Oklahoma
1999 — Mark Simoneau, Kansas State
1998 — Dat Nguyen, Texas A&M
1997 — Grant Wistrom, Nebraska
1996 — Grant Wistrom, Nebraska

Offensive newcomer of the year

2010 — Taylor Martinez, Nebraska

2009 — Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
2008 — Robert Griffin III, Baylor
2007 — Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
2006 — Colt McCoy, Texas
2005 — Mike Hamilton, Oklahoma State
2004 — Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
2003 — Vince Young, Texas
2002 — Brad Smith, Missouri
2001 — Cedric Benson, Texas
2000 — Robert Ferguson, Texas A&M
1999 — Josh Heupel, Oklahoma
1998 — Major Applewhite, Texas
1997 — Michael Bishop, Kansas State
1996 — De'Mond Parker, Oklahoma

Defensive newcomer of the year
2010 —Lavonte David, Nebraska
2009 — Aldon Smith, Missouri
2008 — Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
2007 – Chris Harris, Kansas
2006 — Joe Pawelek, Baylor
2005 — C.J. Ah You, Oklahoma
2004 — Jordon Dizon, Colorado
2003 — Jason Berryman, Iowa State
2002 – Lance Mitchell, Oklahoma
2001 — Derrick Johnson, Texas
2000 — Derrick Strait, Oklahoma
1999 — Carl Nesmith, Kansas
1998 — Justin Smith, Missouri
1997 — (a combined "newcomer" award was given to offensive player)
1996 — Ralph Brown, Nebraska

Coach of the year
2010 — Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State
2009 — Mack Brown, Texas
2008 — Mike Leach, Texas Tech
2007 — Mark Mangino, Kansas, and Gary Pinkel, Missouri
2006 — Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
2005 — Mack Brown, Texas
2004 — Gary Barnett, Colorado
2003 — Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
2002 — Les Miles, Oklahoma State
2001 — Gary Barnett, Colorado
2000 — Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
1999 — Frank Solich, Nebraska
1998 — Bill Snyder, Kansas State
1997 — Larry Smith, Missouri
1996 — Tom Osborne, Nebraska

"He's pretty amazing," Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. "He'll have a good chance to win the Biletnikoff as the No. 1 receiver in the nation, so we felt like that he was the player of the year in this league. I never really talk much about that. In my opinion, (Auburn quarterback) Cam Newton is the Heisman Trophy winner. He is the best player in the country."

Blackmon received 16 of the 20 votes from The Associated Press panel in a clean sweep by Oklahoma State, which is second in the nation in total offense. Running back Kendall Hunter received three votes, and quarterback Brandon Weeden got the other one. Blackmon also received the same honor from the league's coaches on Tuesday.

Oklahoma defensive end Jeremy Beal was picked as the defensive player of the year in the closest balloting for this year's awards. He received nine votes, Nebraska's Lavonte David got six, Texas A&M's Von Miller got four and Cornhuskers cornerback Prince Amukamara — the coaches' pick for defensive player of the year — had one.

Nebraska swept the honors for newcomers, with quarterback Taylor Martinez winning on offense and David on defense.

Blackmon practically came out of nowhere after making only 20 catches last season as a freshman. With Dez Bryant moving on to become a first-round NFL draft pick and new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen bringing in a pass-heavy offense, Blackmon seized an opportunity to become Oklahoma State's go-to receiver.

"We knew he was going to be a good player. We didn't know about his durability and his ability to handle pressure and just all the accolades that he received during the season, and he's done a really good job with that," Gundy said.

"I'm still somewhat stunned at the year that he's had."

Blackmon has tied an NCAA record with 11 consecutive games with at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown, the last one coming as he played through a sprained ankle last week in a 47-41 loss to Oklahoma. Gundy said Blackmon did not practice all week before that game and will be in a cast for about two weeks as the Cowboys prepare to play in their bowl game.

Blackmon has not been allowed to speak to reporters since Oct. 27, when he apologized for being arrested on a driving under the influence charge.

His yardage total this season ranks 16th in Bowl Subdivision history with an opportunity to still move up.

"From about Week 3 on, he's getting tons of bracket coverage, and he still managed to get big-time numbers," Gundy said. "It's just surprising that he was able to do that. But he's just a special guy. There's not many of them around like him."

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 Sooners player with at least 7 1/2 sacks in three straight seasons but is more than just a pass rusher.

Last week, Oklahoma switched defenses and used him as a linebacker, even dropping him into pass coverage against Oklahoma State.

"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 their 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."

Martinez emerged as Nebraska's starting quarterback as a freshman and led the 13th-ranked Cornhuskers back to the Big 12 championship game for the second straight year. They'll face Beal and No. 10 Oklahoma on Saturday night in Arlington, Texas.

David ranks second in the Big 12 with 128 tackles and also has six sacks and nine passes broken up.

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