Six Sooners Named to Big 12 Preseason Team
NORMAN — A league-high six Oklahoma Sooners, representing eight spots, were named to the 2019 Preseason All-Big 12 Football Team announced Tuesday by the conference and chosen by media representatives who cover the league.
Junior linebacker Kenneth Murray was selected as the Preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year while graduate transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts was voted as the Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Murray, junior wide receiver and punt returner CeeDee Lamb, junior tight end Grant Calcaterra, sophomore running back Kennedy Brooks and sophomore offensive lineman Creed Humphrey were among the 28 players to earn preseason all-conference recognition by position.
Oklahoma's six overall player selections are two more than the four from Iowa State, TCU and Texas, which had the second-most honorees. OU's four offensive players are also more than any other school.
The 2019 preseason Big 12 media poll will be released Wednesday.
Kenneth Murray (LB • 6-2 • 243 • Jr.)
An All-Big 12 Second Team selection in 2018, Murray is the conference's leading returning tackler. He led the Sooners with 155 total tackles in 2018 (OU's most since 2007), and his 11.1 stops per game ranked him 13th in the nation. He reached double-digit tackles in nine games, including 28 against Army West Point on Sept. 22 for the second-most in school history. Murray has started all 28 games in his collegiate career, compiling 233 tackles and 20.0 tackles for loss.
Kennedy Brooks (RB • 5-11 • 209 • So.)
Oklahoma's leading rusher last season as a redshirt freshman, Brooks earned honorable mention All-Big 12 acclaim last year. The USA Today Freshman All-American rushed for 1,056 yards and 12 touchdowns, ranking fifth in the conference with 88.0 yards per game. Among players who averaged at least 9.0 carries per game, he ranked third nationally with his 8.0 yards per rush. Most of his damage was done in the final 10 contests when he eclipsed 100 yards five times and accumulated 11 TDs. Brooks ran for a career-high 182 yards in the regular season finale at West Virginia and scored three TDs while amassing 165 yards on the ground against Oklahoma State.
CeeDee Lamb (WR/PR • 6-2 • 191 • Jr.)
Lamb was listed on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team as both a wide receiver and as the punt/kick returner, after earning honorable mention recognition last year. He accumulated 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns on 65 receptions as a sophomore last year, garnering attention as a potent downfield blocker as well as an acrobatic receiver. He registered five 100-yard receiving games and caught at least one touchdown pass in seven straight contests from Sept. 8 through Oct. 27. He racked up a career-high 167 yards and a touchdown on six receptions in a Big 12 Championship victory against Texas. A two-year starter, Lamb has compiled 1,965 yards on 111 career receptions. He already ranks 10th in school history with 18 TD receptions and needs eight more to move into the top three.
Grant Calcaterra (TE • 6-4 • 233 • Jr.)
Calcaterra was an All-Big 12 First Team honoree by the league's coaches and the media in 2018 after starting in 11 of 14 games and registering 26 receptions for 396 yards and six touchdowns. He made two TD grabs in the Big 12 Championship, but no score all season was more impressive or important than his one-handed snag with 2 minutes remaining that represented the game's final points in the 39-27 victory. He has collected 36 receptions for 558 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons in Norman.
Creed Humphrey (OL • 6-5 • 315 • So.)
As a redshirt freshman in 2018, Humphrey started 12 of 14 games and earned freshman All-America honors by the FWAA and The Athletic. An All-Big 12 honorable mention choice by the league's coaches and a second-team selection by media, he played center on the OU offensive line unit that won the Joe Moore Award. He is the Sooners' lone returning starter up front.
Jalen Hurts (QB • 6-2 • 219 • Sr.)
A graduate transfer from Alabama, Hurts helped the Crimson Tide to a 41-3 record (26-2 as a starter) in his three years in Tuscaloosa. He played in six College Football Playoff games and started all 14 contests in 2017 when UA won a national title. He compiled 5,626 yards and 48 touchdowns passing at Alabama, as well as 1,976 yards with 23 touchdowns on the ground. Hurts owns the UA quarterback career record with those 23 rushing scores, and ranks second among QBs in career rushing yards and touchdowns responsible for (71).