With less than 90 days to go until the start of the 2007 college football season, the FanHouse is exploring the impact players in each conference. Although Vince Young no longer dominates the headlines, the Big 12 still has its share of stars worthy of celebration.
What follows are one man's picks for Big 12 impact players on offense, defense and newcomers.
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Colt McCoy - Texas: He got banged around quite a bit at the end of last year, but in response McCoy beefed up and returns as one of the nation's most efficient passers. Kid is legit, completing 68% of his passes for an NCAA freshman record 29 touchdowns.
Chase Daniel - Missouri: Daniel's a bit of a wild one, but he has full command of a potent Missouri offense. The Tigers are darkhorse league title contenders thanks to Daniel's heroics as both a passer (63% completions, 3,527 yards and 28 touchdowns) and runner (379 yards, 4 touchdowns).
Stephen McGee - Texas A&M: The Aggies are always going to pound the ball on the ground, but McGee's versatile enough to contribute as both a runner and passer. He famously scored the winning touchdown against Texas last year, driving his team down the field. McGee rushed for 666 yards and 4 touchdowns last year to go with 2,295 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and a fine .620 completion percentage.
Reggie Smith - Oklahoma: Smith may be the Big 12's most versatile performer. He rotated between cornerback and strong safety last year while also returning punts and kicks. He even caught a pass on offense. In total he registered 41 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions (for 94 yards, 1 TD), 8 pass breakups, and a punt return touchdown.
Frank Okam - Texas: The Longhorns' giant in the middle had a subpar outing last year, suggesting he may have bought into the "country club" rep whispered at times about Texas. Whatever, he's back and should dominate for real this time thanks to experience, size and athleticism.
Chris Harrington - Texas A&M: The wild card of the bunch. Harrington is a pass rush specialist who was incredibly disruptive at times last year. He recorded 59 tackles, 11.5 for loss and 7.5 sacks to go with two forced fumbles. In Texas A&M's funky defensive look, he's found ways to get involved all over the field.
Sam Keller - Nebraska: This is assuming he wins the starting job, of course. The fiery former Arizona State quarterback has the bloodlines and experience to make a fantastic one-year push as a senior transfer.
Ryan Miller - Colorado: One of the nation's finest offensive tackle recruits in the last few years, Miller is expected to start right away for the Buffaloes. More importantly he signals to other big name recruits that Colorado is a place for talented people to play once again.
Chykie Brown - Texas: The redshirt freshman cornerback is making a serious run for the Longhorns' starting corner job. The 'Horns have a fine secondary tradition of late and Brown is drawing some hype as another in a long line of quality Texas cornerbacks.
(Photo Credits: Brian Bahr & Ronald Martinez, Getty Images)