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May 17, 2005
Sooner sophomore stands atop Big 12 backs
All right, so we pulled a surprise in the quarterback vote. But, still, do you really have to ask who the top running back will be in the Big 12 Conference? No, you don't.
The top pick, of course, was Oklahoma sophomore Adrian Peterson. The kid was the runner-up for the Heisman trophy as a freshman. Enough said. Peterson was the only player at any position to receive all nine first place votes in our balloting.
The runner-up plays his ball in Texas, but he does so at pass-happy Texas Tech. Underappreciated senior Taurean Henderson got the nod from our publishers. Henderson may have had just 840 yards rushing last year, hardly a gaudy total in the Big 12, but he did add 286 yards receiving and scored a total of 18 touchdowns.
Next up was Nebraska running back Cory Ross. Ross's numbers were actually better than Henderson's. He ran for 1,102 yards, including more than 100 against the vaunted Oklahoma defense, and had 262 yards receiving. However, with 23 points, Ross was well behind the second-place Henderson in our vote. While all but one voter had Henderson either second or third in the league, two picked Ross fourth and two dropped him to fifth, making the difference in the vote.
Number four is probably the least well-known back of the group. Iowa State's Stevie Hicks had five 100-yard games and topped the 1,000 mark as a sophomore. He is also a very solid blocker in pass protection.
Back to the Lone Star State for number five, A&M's Courtney Lewis. Lewis had 742 yards and nine touchdowns a season ago. As a junior, he should break into the Aggies' all-time top ten in yards, touchdowns and carries.
Texas' Ramonce Taylor was the only other running back to receive votes in our poll.
We accepted nominations from all Big 12 schools for our listing of the top five players at each position. Nine schools returned their ballots to vote for our final selections. Five points were awarded for a first place vote and one for a fifth place vote. Below are the results from our quarterback poll.
The Final Vote
1.Adrian Peterson-45 points
2.Taurean Henderson-30 points
3.Cory Ross-22 points
4.Stevie Hicks--19 points
5.Courtney Lewis--16 points
Over the next two weeks, the Rivals.com Big 12 Network will rank the top five players at running back, wide receiver, tight end, defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback and safety. We will also rank the top ten offensive linemen in the league.