Welcome to the seventh (!) edition of my annual Alumni Awards -- choosing the season's best NFL player from each of the Power Five college programs. It's a great way to gauge the health of the collegiate teams, an indicator of the volatility of the pro game, and, most of all, a fun argument starter.
Here are the 2018 Alumni Award winners! Today we will cover the Big 12.
BIG 12 CONFERENCE
BAYLOR (10 total pros on rosters in 2018 per ESPN.com))
2012: Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington
2013: Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland
2014: Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta
2015: Matt Bryant, K, Atanta
2016: Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta
2017: Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta
2018: Xavien Howard, CB, Miami
Even if Bryant had not been injured and missed several games, Howard's outstanding season on the wing earns him the prize for being the best Baylor alum north, south, east, or west of the Pecos.
IOWA STATE (5)
2012: Kelechi Osemele, G, Baltimore
2013: Ahtyba Rubin, DE, Cleveland
2014: Kelechi Osemele, G, Baltimore
2015: Kelechi Osemele, G, Baltimore
2016: Kelechi Osemele, G, Oakland
2017: Kelechi Osemele, G, Oakland
2018: A.J. Klein, LB, New Orleans
Osemele's play fell off badly, which ordinarily wouldn't necessarily cost him the Cyclone, thanks to the dearth of ISU alums playing for pay. But Klein's sturdy season in the Superdome earned the trophy clean.
2012: Aqib Talib, CB, New England
2013: Aqib Talib, CB, New England
2014: Chris Harris, Jr., CB, Denver
2015: Chris Harris, Jr., CB, Denver
2016: Aqib Talib, CB, Denver
2017: Chris Harris, Jr., CB, Denver
2018: Bradley McDougald, S, Seattle
McDougald's solid season in the rebuilt Seahawks secondary (a.k.a. the Legion of Mildly Enhanced Domestic Product) earns him the Jayhawk, keeping alive a long string of defensive backs claiming the trophy.
KANSAS STATE (12)
2012: Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans
2013: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay
2014: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay
2015: Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle
2016: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay
2017: Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle
2018: Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle
When you set a record for DVOA by a wide receiver, you certainly earn yourself an alumni award, Lockett's third in four seasons in Seattle.
2012: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota
2013: Gerald McCoy, DT, Tampa Bay
2014: DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas
2015: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota
2016: Trent Williams, T, Washington
2017: Lane Johnson, T, Philadelphia
2018: Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati
Mix not only gets the trophy but a ceremonial ride aboard the Sooner Schooner, which is more up to date than most things in the Bengals training facility.
OKLAHOMA STATE (18)
2012: Russell Okung, T, Seattle
2013: Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas
2014: Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas
2015: Dan Bailey, K, Dallas
2016: Emmanuel Ogbah, LB, Cleveland
2017: Russell Okung, T, Los Angeles Chargers
2018: Chris Carson, RB, Seattle
The Cowboy came down to Okung and Carson. The blocker or the runner -- which is more valuable? Normally we would go with blockers, but Carson ranked third among all players in broken tackles this year by Sports Info Solutions charting, so he gets the award.
2012: Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati
2013: Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati
2014: Jerry Hughes, LB, Buffalo
2015: Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati
2016: Marcus Cannon, T, New England
2017: Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati
2018: Jerry Hughes, LB, Buffalo
Andy D. injured his thumb in 2015 too, but was good enough to still notch the silver Horned Frog. Not this year.
2012: Earl Thomas, S, Seattle
2013: Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City
2014: Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City
2015: Earl Thomas, S, Seattle
2016: Justin Tucker, K, Baltimore
2017: Justin Tucker, K, Baltimore
2018: Michael Dickson, P, Seattle
Specialist U strikes again, as Dickson provided endless fun from the punter position. For the moment, the Longhorn award remains a pair of steer horns, but it may be replaced soon by one shaped like a foot…
TEXAS TECH (14)
2012: Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco
2013: Wes Welker, WR, Denver
2014: Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco
2015: Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland
2016: Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland
2017: Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland
2018: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City
Here is what I wrote last year in this space, after Michael Crabtree won his fourth straight award:
Perhaps when Patrick Mahomes takes over in KC, he will raise the level of Texas Tech Trophy holders. But until then, the platter goes to Crab.
Consider that level raised! And one would presume the trophy shelf in Mahomes' house will be cluttered with Guns Up awards, if not league MVPs, in the years to come.
WEST VIRGINIA (15)
2012: Bruce Irvin, LB, Seattle
2013: Adam Jones, CB, Cincinnati
2014: Adam Jones, CB, Cincinnati
2015: Adam Jones, CB, Cincinnati
2016: Daryl Worley, CB, Carolina
2017: Pat McAfee, P, Indianapolis
2018: Quinton Spain, G, Tennessee
A rather blah group of Mountain Men leads to a nondescript guard taking the rifle-shaped trophy.