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One of the fascinating dimensions to Big 12 Media Days is seeing everyone in person, you’re no longer beholden to roster tables but can see up close which teams have size and even physical confidence. I’ll never forget showing up at Media Days for the first time in 2014 and noticing how Kansas State’s player reps were thick but short, Iowa State’s were similar, and the players that Oklahoma and Baylor brought were truly massive and towered over most everyone.
Of course Texas brought Quandre Diggs that year who isn’t going to be the first off the bus too often but was as good a player as most everyone else in that room. With Diggs though he carried himself with a confidence and swagger you don’t always see from everyone at media days. I’ll never forget my opening question, “Quandre who’s the best nickel in the Big 12?” and his response, “you’re looking at him!”
Useful because I wasn’t actually sure if he’d be starting at nickel or if he’d been moved elsewhere but also because it really made clear what sort of player he was and what he was prepared to do as a senior in what was a de-facto contract season. The mayor of Angleton was moved to safety in 2018 by my local franchise the Detroit Lions, had a strong year, and signed a $20 million dollar deal.
On the flip side, Hager looked a little top heavy last year but was also remarkably confident and projected a team that was determined to go make hay. He played quite a bit better than people say last year but obviously was miscast in his role and couldn’t dominate games.
This year’s team looked good off the bus, so to speak. Zach Shackelford has probably grown since arriving in Austin and is truly 6-4 or even 6-5 now, Brandon Jones looked about as big as my preseason DPOY pick Garrett Wallow (TCU LB), Collin and Ehlinger look trim but powerful, and overall they were an impressive looking bunch. Here’s what they had to say about the teammates that weren’t there:
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