West By Pod is most of the way through our Big 12 deep dive series. Let’s sift through what we’ve learned and see if we can establish some sort of positional hierarchy.
Tier 1 - Texas
Bijan Robinson is arguably the best running back in the country right now, and somehow Roschon Johnson's numbers are almost as good. I don't think many folks would object to declaring them the best room in the conference.
Tier 2 - Talent Or Depth?
Kansas State, Oklahoma, TCU
If we were just looking at the starters, Deuce would be right there with Bijan at the top of the mountain. Even with K-State's lack of depth, Vaughn is simply too good to drop them any lower than this. TCU and Oklahoma both lost good players in Zach Evans and Kennedy Brooks, but I really like the guys they bring back. Kendre Miller led the country in average yards after contact last year and transfer Emani Bailey should be an explosive addition, while Eric Gray, Marcus Major, and a pair of true freshmen have Oklahoma well positioned to pick up where Brooks left off.
Tier 3 - Sneaky Good
Kansas, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Oklahoma State
I really like what Kansas did in the transfer portal, adding Ky Thomas and Sevion Morrison to a budding talent like Devin Neal, and I've always dug Thompson and Brooks at Texas Tech - those guys have been quietly productive for a couple of years now. Oklahoma State and West Virginia will both be breaking in new RB1s, but I like the way the skill sets fit their respective schemes. Dominic Richardson should be able to step in for Jaylen Warren as a one-cut sledgehammer, while Tony Mathis figures to provide a bit more pop than the dearly departed Leddie Brown.
Tier 4 - They're Fine, The Rest Are Just A Bit Better
Iowa State, Baylor
Iowa State replaces Breece Hall with Jirehl Brock, another 4-star member of that 2019 class. Brock seems fine, but I don't think he's quite as explosive as Hall or as hard to tackle as David Montgomery. Baylor has guys they like, but I'm not sure they're quite ready to replace the 2,400 yards generated by Smith and Ebner.