Power Ranking the 2013 Newcomers Who Will Have Biggest Impact on Big 12 Race
In 2013, players and coaches who are new to the Big 12 will have a significant impact on who wins the conference title.
At Kansas, BYU transfer Jake Heaps and Miami (Ohio) transfer Nick Harwell may prove to be one of the best quarterback-wide receiver combos in the conference.
Then, at defending Big 12 champion Kansas State, junior college transfer Jake Waters is battling to win the starting quarterback job to replace Collin Klein. Should he succeed, he will make or break the Wildcats' season.
Then there's Kliff Kingsbury, the new head coach at Texas Tech, who will look to make the Red Raiders a title contender in his first season at Lubbock.
Read on for a power ranking of the top 2013 Big 12 newcomers.
6. Nick Harwell, WR, Kansas
Harwell, who was dismissed from Miami (Ohio) after being arrested in March, per Chris Huston of CBS Sports, will now join the Kansas Jayhawks and be immediately eligible to play.
The NCAA's second-leading receiver in 2011, Harwell is a tremendous boost to the Jayhawks' offense. He'll likely be the favorite target of BYU transfer quarterback Jake Heaps, who is set to take the reins in Lawrence.
The past three seasons have been great for Harwell, who has totaled 3,166 yards and 23 touchdowns on 229 catches in that span.
5. Jake Heaps, QB, Kansas
After sitting on the sidelines and watching the Kansas Jayhawks go 1-11 last season, BYU transfer quarterback Jake Heaps is now eligible to play in Lawrence. His first order of business will be to turn things around for a program that's struggled mightily as of late.
While Heaps sat on the sidelines last year, according to Chris Hummer of SI.com, he lit up the Jayhawks defense on the scout team to help prepare the team. That's why head coach Charlie Weis is so excited to see Heaps take the field in meaningful games.
"[Jake] would go out there and tear [the defense] up on a daily basis," Weis said. "Usually the show team doesn't have that much success. Only problem with that is it foretold a lot of the problems we had during the year."
If Heaps can prove to be better than the likes of Dayne Crist, the Jayhawks may finally win their first game in the Big 12 since 2010.
4. Jake Waters, QB, Kansas State
One of the most heralded JUCO quarterbacks available in 2013 according to 247sports.com, Jake Waters is vying to replace Collin Klein as the starting quarterback at Kansas State.
In my opinion, he'll beat out Daniel Sams for the job.
With that said, Waters has the ability to have one of the biggest breakout seasons of any JUCO transfer in the country. Last season at Iowa Western, Waters led his team to a national title with 39 touchdown passes and just three interceptions.
If he can replicate that success at Kansas State, Bill Snyder may have his Wildcats competing for a second-straight Big 12 title.
3. Jake Oliver, WR, Texas
A 4-star recruit and the 17th-ranked wide receiver of the 2013 class according to 247sports.com, Jake Oliver has a chance to make an immediate impact for the Longhorns.
With Texas adopting a new, no-huddle offense in 2013, the offense will undoubtedly cycle through a lot of receivers over the course of a game.
Oliver gives David Ash a young but quality target to develop a relationship with on the field. If Oliver can get enough chances on the field early on, he may prove to be one Ash's favorite targets as the season progresses.
2. Ronald Carswell, WR, West Virginia
John Kosater of the Macon Telegraph reported on July 1 that Ronald Carswell, a former wide receiver at Alabama, will transfer to West Virginia and be ready to play in 2013.
Carswell was ranked as a top-30 receiver available in the 2013 class, according to 247sports.com.
He'll be an immediate boost to an offense that is suffering from the losses of quarterback Geno Smith and wideouts Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin.
If he can fit into Dana Holgorsen's system, Carswell may prove to be the best receiving threat on a team that loves to throw the ball.
1. Kliff Kingsbury, Head Coach, Texas Tech
In his first season as head coach at Texas Tech, the former standout quarterback for the Red Raiders will look to put his alma mater in the hunt for a Big 12 title.
Kingsbury ran a no-huddle style of offense while he was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, where he helped guide Johnny Manziel to a Heisman Trophy.
Now, if Kingsbury can work his magic with Michael Brewer, the Red Raiders may be a dark horse to compete for the conference title.
Kingsbury already has a stellar wide receiver in Eric Ward, so making sure Brewer can find his top target shouldn't be a problem.
Ultimately, Kingsbury is a terrific coach who is looking to get the Red Raiders back to the heights that Mike Leach had the program at.