Oklahoma has produced back-to-back Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks, but the Big 12 media predicts a Texas-sized roadblock on the way to three in a row.
Texas junior Sam Ehlinger, who fired up Longhorns fans after a Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia by proclaiming “We’re baaa-aaack,” was selected as the Big 12 preseason Offensive Player of the Year in a vote of the league’s media.
Oklahoma senior quarterback Jalen Hurts, the Alabama graduate transfer who is following in the footsteps of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray — the past two Heisman winners and No. 1 picks in the NFL Draft — was chosen the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year.
The media tabbed Sooners junior linebacker Kenneth Murray as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Ehlinger completed 275 of 425 passes for 3,292 yards, with 25 touchdowns and five interceptions, last season. He directed the Longhorns to a 10-4 record that included a regular-season victory over Oklahoma but a loss to the Sooners in the Big 12 title game.
Hurts lost his starting job at Alabama last season to Tua Tagovailoa, but he was the 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year as a freshman and is expected to thrive in coach Lincoln Riley’s spread offense.
Kenneth Murray tied for third nationally with 155 total tackles last season.
Oklahoma led all teams with six preseason All-Big 12 picks: sophomore running back Kennedy Brooks, junior CeeDee Lamb as a wide receiver and returner, junior tight end Grant Calcaterra, sophomore offensive lineman Creed Humphrey and Murray.
The Big 12 will hold its media days Monday and Tuesday in Arlington, Texas.