NORMAN — A league-high-tying five Oklahoma Sooners were named to the 2017 Preseason All-Big 12 Football Team that was announced Wednesday by the conference. The team was chosen by media representatives who cover the league.
Leading the way was senior quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was chosen as the Offensive Player of the Year. He was joined by junior tackle Orlando Brown, one of three unanimous selections at their position, junior tight end Mark Andrews, senior linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and senior cornerback Jordan Thomas.
Oklahoma's five overall selections tied with Texas for the most in the league, while OU's three picks on offense matched Oklahoma State for the highest total on that side of the ball. Defensively, the Sooners tied for second with their two selections. Kansas State, Oklahoma State and TCU all had four overall honorees, while Iowa State and Texas Tech both had two. Baylor, Iowa State and West Virginia each had one.
Mayfield is coming off a season in which he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, was a finalist for the Maxwell Award and was the repeat winner of the Burlsworth Trophy as the nation's top player who began his career as a walk-on. He threw for 3,965 yards and 40 touchdowns to just eight interceptions while setting the FBS single-season record for pass efficiency rating with a 191.8 mark. Mayfield, who is 22-4 as a Sooner, is the school career record holder in completion percentage (.695) and pass efficiency rating (184.3).
Mayfield, who is 22-4 as a Sooner, is the school career record holder in completion percentage (.695) and pass efficiency rating (184.3).
Brown started every contest last year at left tackle and earned second-team All-America honors from the Associated Press and Football Writers Association of America. He became the first sophomore to be named Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year as he allowed just one sack over the course of 659 snaps.
Andrews was named to the All-Big 12 First Team by the league's coaches and the AP in 2016 after catching 31 passes for 489 yards and seven touchdowns. He finished second among Sooners in touchdown grabs, third in receiving yards and fourth in receptions. Of his 50 career receptions, 14 have gone for touchdowns, giving him a TD-to-catch ratio of 28.0 percent.
In his first season as a starter last year, Okoronkwo proved to be one of the top pass rushers in the league as he produced a team-high 12.0 tackles for loss and tied the OU record for sacks by a linebacker with 9.0. He also added 71 tackles, two forced fumbles and three pass breakups en route to earning second-team All-Big 12 recognition by the coaches and AP.
Thomas was a true ballhawk in 2016 as he broke up 17 passes and intercepted two more in 13 games. His 1.5 passes defended per contest tied for fifth most nationally. A first-team All-Big 12 honoree by the coaches and AP, Thomas finished the season with 49 tackles, including 2.0 for loss. His 17 breakups tied for third most in OU single-season history and were eight more than he had in his first two seasons combined.
The 2017 preseason media poll will be released on Thursday.