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Rob Weintraub's Big 12 Alumni Trophies

Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is more commonly known as the Ode to Joy. Weintraub's Ninth Symphony—aka the ninth annual Alumni Awards, my selections for every season's best NFL player from each of the Power 5 college programs—is similarly a joyous occasion that caps this football season. 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.



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
2019: Andrew Billings, DT, Cincinnati
2020: Xavien Howard, CB, Miami

Alas, the renaissance engendered along the Pecos by Matt Ruhle came to a crashing halt when the coach turned pro himself. At least the Bears had Howard's strong season to turn to for solace.


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
2019: A.J. Klein, LB, New Orleans
2020: David Montgomery, RB, Chicago

At last, something new in the annals of the Cyclone Trophy! Montgomery wasn't especially challenged by Klein or Allen Lazard for the award.


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
2019: Bradley McDougald, S, Seattle
2020: Chris Harris, Jr., CB, Los Angeles Chargers

At least in the glory days of the No-Fly Zone the alarming paucity of pro Jayhawks was offset by the high quality of the likes of Harris and Talib. Now Aqib is wowing them in the broadcast booth while Harris collects the Rock Chalk Trophy essentially by default.


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
2019: Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle
2020: Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle

Lockett wasn't even the best wideout on his team this season, but he was still extremely effective (14th in DYAR among all receivers), not to mention by far the best former Wildcat pulling down an NFL paycheck.


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
2019: Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore
2020: Orlando Brown, T, Baltimore

Both Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray had arguments, not to mention very similar statistical seasons. Other players—including Andrews, Kenneth Murray, CeeDee Lamb, and Daryl Williams—were in the lead pack as well. But Brown was outstanding both on the right side and the left, taking over seamlessly when Ronnie Stanley went down. His massive size helped him break the tape just ahead of the other pro Sooners.


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
2019: Chris Carson, RB, Seattle
2020: Emmanuel Ogbah, LB, Miami

Ogbah was reborn in South Beach, coming from nowhere to deny Carson a threepeat and pull into a three-way tie with C.C. and Dez for the historical Cowboy Award lead.

TCU (20)

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
2019: Jerry Hughes, LB, Buffalo
2020: Jerry Hughes, LB, Buffalo

Dak Prescott's injury opened the door for an unlikely run at the Frog by Andy D., but in the end Hughes wasn't particularly threatened by Red, or anyone else.

TEXAS (27)

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
2019: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Tennessee
2020: Jordan Hicks, LB, Arizona

Only two things come out of Texas—safeties and special teamers. At least that has been the case recently for Longhorn alums in the pros. At last, some other position stepped up, though to be fair the usual suspects also stepped back.


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
2019: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City
2020: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City

Combine an MVP-level quarterback with a school that produces a small number of pros and you have an equation for a raft of Alumni Trophies. Pat may need to build a separate wing in his Missouri mansion to house all the Guns Up awards he's going to amass at this rate.


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
2019: Mark Glowinski, G, Indianapolis
2020: Mark Glowinski, G, Indianapolis

A much easier win for Glowinski over Spain this time around.


2 comments, Last at 18 Feb 2021, 10:04pm

1 Bradley McDougald

Bradley McDougald was a Seahawk in 2018 and 2019 before being sent to the Jets for Jamal Adams.