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December 10, 2004

2004 Rivals.com All-Big 12 Team

It was a year of the haves and the have-nots in the Big 12. The South Division laid its claim to being the best division in all of college football, while the North, well, it laid something else.

Oklahoma stepped up and took the South title, but it seemed no one in the North really wanted a spot in the Big 12 championship game. And, after the 42-3 spanking the Sooners handed Colorado in the title game, more than one team from the North might have been thankful to avoid the beating.

This season also will be remembered as the year Big 12 defenses earned back some respect. Countless conference offenses struggled throughout the season trying to find their way into the end zone. In 2003, four league teams averaged more than 36 points per game with three eclipsing the 40-point barrier; Oklahoma (42.9), Texas Tech (42.5) and Texas (41). However, only the Sooners (36.1) averaged better than 36 points per game this season.

The defenses also clamped down on the yardage, as only Baylor and Colorado allowed more than 400 yards per game, compared to seven teams last season.

In honoring that theme, it was clear that the Rivals.com Big 12 Player of the Year should come from the defensive side of the ball, and no one was better or more dominating than Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson.

The Longhorns didn't capture the Big 12 Championship they set out to win this season, but they will play in a BCS game, and Johnson played a key role in accomplishment. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound senior racked up 94 tackles, which ranked fourth in the Big 12, including 19 tackles for loss and a nation's best six forced fumbles en route to earning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors three times this season.

Johnson was one of five Longhorns to make the Rivals.com All-Big 12 team. Oklahoma led the conference with eight selections followed by Texas, while Baylor, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M each placed two players on the squad. Nebraska, Missouri, Colorado and Kansas State added one player each leaving the one-time Big 12 North frontrunner Iowa State as the lone team without a representative.

Rivals.com 2004 All-Big 12 Team
Offense Defense
QB: Jason White
6-3, 226, Oklahoma (Sr.)
The 2003 Heisman winner played nearly mistake-free football in 2004, passing for 2,961 yards, 33 touchdowns and just six INTs.
DL: Dan Cody
6-5, 260, Oklahoma (Sr.)
A high-energy lineman who can attack from any position. Despite being double teamed all season, Cody recorded seven sacks.
RB: Adrian Peterson
6-2, 210, Oklahoma (Fr.)
The difference maker for the Big 12 champions. The freshman sensation finished with 1,860 yards and 15 touchdowns.
DL: C.J. Mosely
6-3, 305, Missouri (Jr.)
Improved upon a solid sophomore year with a career-high 6.5 sacks. He also recorded 38 solo tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 12 QB hurries.
RB: Cedric Benson
6-0, 225, Texas (Sr.)
Capped off a solid career with his best season. Despite being the focus of opposing defenses, Benson rushed for 1,764 yards and 19 touchdowns.
DL: Mike Montgomery
6-6, 278, Texas A&M (Jr.)
Stepped into the starting role and delivered by leading all Big 12 linemen with 72 tackles. He also led A&M with six sacks and 12 TFLs.
WR: Mark Clayton
5-11, 187, Oklahoma (Sr.)
A playmaker who leaves Norman with almost every wide receiver record. Clayton caught 62 passes for 855 and eight touchdowns this season.
DL: Jonathan Jackson
6-3, 238, Oklahoma (Sr.)
The second piece of OU's one-two punch, Jackson finished with 22 unassisted tackles and led the Big 12 with eight sacks.
WR: Jarrett Hicks
6-4, 208, Texas Tech (So.)
Hicks gave the Red Raiders the ability to dominate. He ranks in the top 10 nationally in yards per reception (16.3) and receiving yards per game (101.2).
LB: Derrick Johnson
6-4, 235, Texas (Sr.)
The Nagurski winner, Johnson capped a brilliant career with a team-high 94tackles and 19 tackles for loss. He also led the nation with six forced fumbles.
TE: David Thomas
6-3, 228, Texas (Jr.)
A favorite target of Vince Young, Thomas almost doubled his career totals this season with 21 catches. His four touchdown receptions led the Longhorns.
LB: Barrett Ruud
6-2, 240, Nebraska (Sr.)
A tackling machine, Ruud led the Huskers with 125 tackles and finished his career with a school-record 432 stops.
OL: Jammal Brown
6-6, 313, Oklahoma (Sr.)
An All-American last season, Brown dominated the line of scrimmage and was a key to Peterson big season.
LB: Nick Reid
6-4, 226, Kansas (Jr.)
Led the Jayhawks with 109 tackles -- his second straight season with 100 or more stops. He also recorded a team-best 15 TFLs.
OL: Justin Blalock
6-4, 330, Texas (So.)
Followed up a Freshman All-American campaign with an impressive sophomore year. His ability allowed Texas to get results rushing on either side of the line.
DB: Charles Gordon
5-11, 170, Kansas (So.)
Focused more on defense this season, Gordon led the nation with seven interceptions. He also recorded 34 solo tackles, one sack and forced a fumble.
OL: Vince Carter
6-3, 294, Oklahoma (Sr.)
The brains behind the Sooner machine. Since taking over for Josh Smith in 2001, Carter has been the leader of the OU line.
DB: Brodney Pool
6-3, 198, Oklahoma (Jr.)
Got more involved with stopping the run in 2004 and finished with a career high 85 tackles. 59 of which were unassisted..
OL: Sam Mayes
6-3, 350, Oklahoma State (Sr.)
A huge presence at the guard position, Mayes, was the key veteran on an offensive line that helped account for 2,695 yards and 31 touchdowns on the ground.
DB: Michael Huff
6-1, 205, Texas (Jr.)
Huff was asked to play many roles for the Longhorns and delivered solid results. His 14 pass break-ups and two interceptions led the team.
OL: Geoff Hangartner
6-5, 303, Texas A&M (Sr.)
Made a seamless switch to tackle and led an improved Aggies line. He started all 11 game and helped A&M average 438.5 yards of total offense per game.
DB: Jamie Thompson
6-0, 185, Oklahoma State (Sr.)
Did everything for the Cowboys defense. Thompson finished with 59 solo tackles, three tackles for loss, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.
Special Teams
P: Daniel Sepulveda
6-3, 222, Baylor (So.)
Ranked third nationally in punting at 45.97 yards per attempt and had 26 of his kicks downed inside the 20-yard line.
K: Mason Crosby
6-2, 200, Colorado (So.)
Set a school mark with 19 field goals on 23 attempts. Crosby hit on five field goals of more than 50 yards including one from 60 yards.
PR: Danny Amendola
5-11, 174, Texas Tech (Fr.)
Elusive and among the most exciting punt returners in the nation, Amendola led the Big 12 with a 13.3-yard average on 27 returns.
KR: Willie Andrews
5-10, 186, Baylor (Jr.)
Also a key in the Baylor secondary, Andrews led the Big 12 in kick return average at 24.7 yards on 30 attempts.
Utility: Darren Sproles
5-7, 180, Kansas State (Sr.)
The Big 12ís all-time leader in all-purpose yards, Sproles set a Kansas State 11-game all-purpose record in 2004 with 2,067 yards.

Action photos from Associated Press.

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