The 2017 college football season is only 49 days away for the West Virginia Mountaineers and with plenty of firepower back in the Big 12 Conference we take a look at the top five offensive threats that we will see this year.
#5. RB Kyle Hicks- TCU
The senior to be running back looks to be Gary Patterson’s biggest offensive threat in 2017 and will look to take a load off of struggling quarterback, Kenny Hill. In last years 34-10 defeat to West Virginia, Hicks tallied 103 yards on 15 carries and was a problem for the Mountaineer defense to contain. He finished the 2016 season rushing for 1,042 yards and 12 touchdowns, look for those numbers to take a BIG jump in 2017.
#4. WR James Washington- Oklahoma St.
Many folks around the Big 12 believe that Washington is the leagues best returning receiver from a year ago and it is hard to disagree. Talk about a guy who can go deep down the field and get the home run balls, he is your guy. He is consistent and has been Rudolph’s favorite target since arriving in Stillwater. He too, had a big performance against West Virginia hauling in 6 catches for 117 yards. He was a big part into the Cowboys upset over WVU and handing the Mountaineers their first loss of the season. I foresee Washington being a possible late first round draft pick in next years NFL Draft.
#3. QB Baker Mayfield- Oklahoma
In 2016, this cat found himself in New York as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and rightfully so. Mayfield absolutely lit it up last year and was the reason why Oklahoma came away with their 2nd straight Big 12 title. I know, how can I put a Heisman finalist at third? Well, I expect a small dip from the Baker we saw in 2016, maybe not a dip, but I think he has reached his peak. He did not have to do much in last years route of the ‘Eers only going 9/15 for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns, but I wouldn’t expect snow in this years game, so we will have to pay close attention to him. Is it Grier’s year to outperform Mayfield? Time will tell.
#2. WR Allen Lazard- Iowa State
Yes, it is a bit of a shock, but Cyclone fans have to love the kind of production they have got from him over his time in Ames. Lazard as a young freshman showed the potential that he might one day be an NFL caliber talent. He has freakish athleticism and is my favorite receiver to watch in the Big 12, even over James Washington. Lazard will be looked at as the guy to help turn around the program at Iowa State and even a 6-7 win season this year could be the beginning. He was a big deep ball threat in last years game when he averaged 25.8 yards per catch against WVU, including a long of 67 yards. He is one of those sneaky good players that could really help his draft stock with a solid, healthy season and a great combine.
#1. QB Mason Rudolph- Oklahoma St.
WHAT?!?! MASON RUDOLPH AT #1??? Yep. This guy has the most NFL potential of any player in the Big 12 Conference and could be one of the leagues most effecient passers yet again. Rudolph tossed for over 270 yards and completed 26/36 passes in the Cowboys win over West Virginia last year. His ceiling his much higher than that of Baker Mayfield’s and has more returning at the skill positions. Rudolph is your traditional Big 12 pocket passing quarterback, he has great size and arm strength and can rip it all over the field. Right now, I have him going in the 2nd round of next years draft, but I think he can easily climb into the first round after his senior season.