2014 Big 12 Preview: Spec Teams Unit Rankings

Posted Aug 15, 2014

Preview 2014 - Big 12 Special Teams Unit Rankings & Breakdowns

Special Teams


- 2014 Big 12 Preview
- 2014 CFN Big 12 Schedules & Picks: Baylor to OU
- 2014 CFN Big 12 Schedules & Picks: OSU to WVU
- CFN All-Big 12 Team & Top 30 Players
- Big 12 Team Looks & Predicted Finish   
Unit Rankings QB | RB | WR | OL
DL | LB | DB | ST | Coaches

- 2014 Baylor Preview
- 2014 Iowa State Preview  
- 2014 Kansas Preview  
- 2014 Kansas State Preview
- 2014 Oklahoma Preview
- 2014 Oklahoma State Preview  
- 2014 TCU Preview 
- 2014 Texas Preview 
- 2014 Texas Tech Preview 
- 2014 West Virginia Preview  
1. TCU
Jaden Oberkrom nailed 14-of-18 field goals, hitting a 56-yarder and with three of his misses from beyond 50. Ethan Perry is also back after averaging 40.3 yards per punt. The coverage teams were surprisingly miserable, but B.J. Catalon averaged 26.54 yards per return and Cameron Echols-Luper came up with 13.36 yards per punt return.
Unit Ranking: 7.5

2. Kansas State
Always great on special teams, Kansas State now has to replace punter Mark Krause after a decent year, but gets back Jack Cantele, who made 11-of-13 field goals. The return game will continue to rock, even with Tremaine Thompson who’s gone after averaging 15.25 yards per try. Tyler Lockett is back after averaging 26.5 yards per kickoff return, and now he could be used more on punt returns. The coverage teams were fine, but hardly elite.
Unit Ranking: 7

3. Oklahoma
The special teams could be great again, starting with the return of Michael Hunnicutt, an all-star kicker who hit 24-of-27 field goal tries. Punter Jed Barnett is also back after averaging 41.7 yards per try, but Jalen Saunders is done after coming up with 15.4 yards per punt return with two scores. Help is also needed for the kickoff return game that averaged 22.4 yards per try. The coverage team wasn’t great giving up 23.3 yards per attempt.
Unit Ranking: 7

4. Baylor
Punting didn’t matter too much with the Bear offense, but Spencer Roth was great when called on averaging 46 yards per try. Levi Norwood was just as strong as a punt returner averaging 9.6 yards with two scores, but the coverage team was awful. Kickoff returns were great with Norwood combining with the 28.4-yard average of Corey Coleman to come up with a big year. Chris Callahan has to step in for Aaron Jones, who hit 14-of-23 field goals.
Unit Ranking: 7

5. Kansas
With concerns at kicker, in comes JUCO all-star Michael Mesh to fix the glitch. There aren’t any problems with the punting game with Trevor Pardula averaging close to 44 yards a boot. Awesome on punt returns, KU averaged 11.3 yards a try, helped by Connor Embree, and the kickoff returns were great with JaCorey Shepherd averaging 23 yards a try. The kickoff coverage suffered, but the punt coverage was great.
Unit Ranking: 7

6. Iowa State
Losing punter Kirby Van Der Kamp will hurt, but Cole Netten returns after making 13-of-18 field goals – he should be better as a sophomore. DeVondrick Nealy is an outstanding kickoff returner, averaging 23.5 yards per try, and the team came up with two scores and averaging 22 yards per attempt. Jarvis West is an elite punt returner, coming up with 13.36 yards an attempt, but the coverage team was a nightmare giving up two touchdowns.
Unit Ranking: 6.5

7. West Virginia
With no Tavon Austin, the punt return game went nowhere averaging just 3.2 yards per try. The kick returns weren’t any better, averaging 18.6 yards an attempt. It wasn’t all bad, with Nick O’Toole averaging 44 yards per punt, and Josh Lambert nailing 17-of-23 field goals – both kickers are back. The coverage teams weren’t bad, but they could stand to be stronger.
Unit Ranking: 6

8. Texas
Daje Johnson, who averaged 11 yards per punt return, is way too fast to average just 19 yards per kickoff return again – there are other strong options to come up with big numbers. All-around kicker Anthony Fera is gone, and now it’ll be up to senior William Russ to come through as a punter and Nick Jordan to try matching Fera’s 20-of-22 field goal season.
Unit Ranking: 5.5

9. Texas Tech
Ryan Bustin is one of the Big 12’s best kickers hitting 23-of-27 tries, but he didn’t show off a huge leg. After getting his feet wet, Taylor Symmank should be ready to take over for punter Ryan Erkleben. Jakeem Grant is a good kick returner, helping the team come up with 24 yards a try. The punt returns have to be better after averaging just 6.8 yards a pop, and the coverage teams need a ton of help.
Unit Ranking: 5.5

10. Oklahoma State
The potential is there to be far better with Ben Grogan back after making 11-of-18 field goals as a freshman. Punter Kip Smith is also back, but he averaged under 40 yards per try. With Justin Gilbert gone, Desmond Roland will give it a try on kickoffs after averaging 22 yards per attempt, and Brandon Sheperd will get more time after coming up with 28.2 yards a try. A steady punt returner has to be found for Josh Stewart and his 16.7 yards an attempt.
Unit Ranking: 5