League-High 13 Earn All-Big 12 Recognition
NORMAN — Quarterback Baker Mayfield, defensive end/linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, offensive lineman Orlando Brown and linebacker Kenneth Murray each took home individual honors, and six Sooners, tied for the most in the conference, were named to the All-Big 12 First Team as the conference announced its football awards Thursday. Selections were made by the league's coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players.
Mayfield was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in his career, also doing so in 2015. He joins former Sooner Jason White (2003, '04), Nebraska's Eric Crouch (1999, '01) and Texas' Ricky Williams (1997, '98) as the only players to win the honor twice in a career. It's the seventh such win for a Sooner in the league's 22 years and the third straight. Mayfield joins Dede Westbrook (2016), Sam Bradford (2008), White and Josh Heupel (2000).
A native of Austin, Texas, Mayfield leads the FBS in completion percentage (.714), passing efficiency rating (203.3), yards per pass attempt (11.8), yards per completion (16.6) and pass of plays of 20-plus yards (72), while ranking second in passing touchdowns (37) and passing yards per game (341.4), and third in total offense per game (361.8). He's completed 247-of-346 passes this year with 37 touchdowns to just five interceptions while throwing for a career-high 4,097 yards and rushing for 245 yards and another five scores.
A senior, Okoronkwo was tabbed the Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year with Texas' Malik Jefferson. Okoronkwo is the fifth Sooner, and the third linebacker, to win the award, joining Frank Alexander (2011), Rufus Alexander (2006), Teddy Lehman (2003) and Roy Williams (2001). A native of Houston, Texas, Okoronkwo ranks second in the Big 12 and is tied for 21st nationally with 8.0 sacks (0.7 per game), ranks second in the Big 12 and tied for 17th nationally with three forced fumbles, and ranks second in the league and ninth nationally with 17.5 tackles for loss (1.5 per game).
Brown was highlighted as the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year for the second straight season, joining Jon Cooper in 2008 as the only Sooners to win the award. OU's left tackle is the third player since the award was first introduced in 2006 to earn the honor multiple times, joining Baylor's Spencer Drago (2014, '15) and Cyril Richardson (2012, '13).
A team captain, Brown is a mainstay on an OU offensive line that is regarded as one of the best in the country and that has helped the Sooners average 593.5 yards per game and 8.6 yards per play, both tops in the nation. OU also ranks first nationally in offensive touchdowns (72), pass completion percentage (72.2), pass efficiency rating (206.6), yards per pass attempt (12.1), plays of 20-plus yards (104), pass plays of 20-plus yards (78), plays of 80-plus yards (4) and pass plays of 80-plus yards (3).
Murray was honored as the Big 12's Co-Defensive Freshman of the Year with TCU's Ross Blacklock. A native of Missouri City, Texas, Murray is the fifth Sooner to win the award, joining Tony Jefferson (2010), Travis Lewis (2008), Gerald McCoy (2007) and Tommie Harris (2001). Murray has started all 12 games and ranks second on the team with 65 tackles. He has also registered 4.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.
Oklahoma's five overall first-team selections were the most of any Big 12 school, as were the nine overall offensive selections. With one more honoree on the second-team offense and two more on the second-team defense, OU boasts 12 all-conference players overall to lead the league. Oklahoma State was second with nine overall honorees, followed by Iowa State and Kansas State with eight. TCU had seven, while West Virginia had six, Kansas, Texas and Texas Tech each had four. Baylor placed one.
Mayfield and Brown were named first-team All-Big 12 selections for the third and second straight years, respectively. Along with Brown, junior tight end Mark Andrews was also a unanimous selection on this year's squad. They were joined by senior fullback Dimitri Flowers and senior offensive lineman Erick Wren on the team. Defensively, OU was represented on the first team by Okoronkwo.
A repeat member of the first team, Andrews leads the nation's tight ends with his 848 receiving yards this season, while ranking second with 16.6 yards per catch, third with 51 receptions and ninth with six touchdown receptions. OU's all-time leader in receiving yards by a tight end (1,655), Andrews' 51 receptions this season are third all-time among Sooners who played the position.
A former walk-on, Wren has started 22 games in his career at center, including all 12 this year.
Six OU players were named to the All-Big 12 Second Team. Sophomore running back Rodney Anderson, junior offensive linemen Ben Powers and Dru Samia, and junior kicker Austin Seibert earned a spot on the offense, while senior defensive end D.J. Ward and senior defensive back Steven Parker were picked for the defense.
In addition, sophomore offensive lineman Bobby Evans, sophomore wide receiver Marquise Brown, freshman tight end Grant Calcaterra, senior linebacker Emmanuel Beal, senior defensive back Will Johnson, sophomore linebacker Caleb Kelly, Murray and Seibert (punter) were each named honorable mention at their respective positions.
Head coach Lincoln Riley received honorable mention recognition for Big 12 Coach of the Year, while wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and running back Trey Sermon earned the same for Offensive Freshman of the Year. Anderson received votes for Offensive Newcomer of the Year and so did Seibert for Special Teams Player of the Year.Oklahoma has placed at least four players on the all-conference first team every season since 2000 and at least one player on the team every season since 1926 (92 years). OU has only had one season when playing in a conference without first-team honors (1925), marking 102 of 103 seasons.