Thursday, December 17, 2015

13 Sooners Named to AP All-Big 12 Team

Head coach Bob Stoops and quarterback Baker Mayfield each earned individual honors and 13 Sooners were also named to the AP All-Big 12 teams as the AP announced its football awards on Wednesday.

Stoops picked up his third Big 12 Coach of the Year honor (coaches, after leading the Sooners to an 11-1 record, including an 8-1 mark in league play, and guiding Oklahoma to its ninth Big 12 Championship in his 17 seasons at the helm. He has also steered Oklahoma to a berth in the College Football Playoff where the No. 4 Sooners will meet No. 1 Clemson in the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31 in Miami Gardens, Fla.

A junior, Mayfield was tabbed the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. He joins Sam Bradford (2008), Jason White (2003 and 2004) and Josh Heupel (2000) as the only OU players to win the honor from the AP. The recent winner of the Burlsworth Trophy, Mayfield ranks No. 2 nationally in yards per pass attempt (9.6) and pass efficiency rating (178.9), No. 6 in passing TDs (35) and points responsible for per game (21.0) and No. 7 in pass completion percentage (.686).

The Sooners placed seven on the AP All-Big 12 First Team (four on the offensive side of the ball and three on defense) and six more on the second team (two offense, three defense and one special teams).

Mayfield was named to the AP All-Big 12 Football First Team Offense along with sophomore running back Samaje Perine, redshirt senior guard Nila Kasitati and freshman tight end Mark Andrews. Defensively, OU was represented on the first team by senior defensive lineman Charles Tapper, senior linebacker Eric Striker and redshirt junior cornerback Zack Sanchez.

Perine, who earns his second straight first-team honor, leads the Big 12 in rushing touchdowns (15) and is fifth in the conference in rushing yards per game (107.6). He’s done his best work over the last six games, averaging 145.2 yards per contest and scoring 12 touchdowns during the stretch. He ran for a season-high 201 yards and four touchdowns against Texas Tech and has gained at least 131 yards in each of the last three outings.

Kasitati has helped anchor an offensive line that also features two freshmen and a sophomore that had played in one career game entering the season. With Kasitati’s help, OU has developed into the No. 7 total offense in the country, averaging 542.9 yards per game. On the ground, the Sooners rank 17th with 235.0 yards per game, while the passing offense sits 18th with 307.9 yards per contest.

Just a freshman, Andrews finished fifth on the team in receiving with 17 total grabs for 286 yards. With six touchdown receptions on the year, good for second most on the team, the Sooners’ newest red zone threat hauls in a touchdown every 2.8 receptions.

Tapper is averaging 0.58 sacks per game to rank eighth in the league. All 7.0 of his sacks this year came in a four-game stretch from Oct. 31-Nov. 21, including a career-high 3.0 against Kansas on Halloween. An honorable mention selection a year ago, he is tied for the league lead (eighth nationally) with four forced fumbles this season, and averages 0.83 tackles for loss per contest, good for 17th in the league. Tapper has also recovered a fumble and broken up two passes.

Striker, also a first-team selection in 2014, leads Oklahoma with 16.0 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks this season. OU’s all-time sack leader among linebackers, Striker ranks second and fifth, respectively, in those categories within the league and 24th and 42nd, nationally. He’s fourth on the squad with 61 tackles and has a team-best 11 quarterback hurries to go with three pass breakups, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Like Striker, Sanchez was also a member of the first-team defense in 2014. Sanchez leads the Big 12 and is fourth in the country with six interceptions in 10 games, a rate of 0.6 per contest. In addition, he’s second in the league in passes defended per game (1.3). Twice this year Sanchez has posted multiple interceptions in a game, doing so against TCU and Kansas State. One of his interceptions against the Wildcats was a pick-six, marking the third of his career to tie a school record.

Six OU players were named to the AP All-Big 12 Second Team. Freshman kicker Austin Seibert earned a spot at both kicker and punter, senior center Ty Darlington and senior wide receiver Sterling Shepard earned spots on offense, and junior linebacker Dominique Alexander, sophomore safety Steven Parker and sophomore cornerback Jordan Thomas grabbed spots on defense. Shepard and Alexander were each second-team selections in 2014. It was the first career AP All-Big 12 honor for each of the other four.

The 2015 AP All-Big 12 Team was selected by a panel of 20 sports writers who regularly cover the league for newspapers throughout the league's five states.

/// SoonerSports PR

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