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Projecting Big 12 Football's Most Improved Players for 2013 Season

Sean FryeFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2013

Projecting Big 12 Football's Most Improved Players for 2013 Season

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    The Big 12 is full of players who are poised to have improved performances in 2013. 

    There's Kansas State running back John Hubert, who is poised to take the full load of the running game in Manhattan after the departure of dual-threat quarterback Collin Klein. 

    Kansas running back Tony Pierson and Texas quarterback David Ash should also show improvement from last year's numbers. 

    With that, here are some of the players set to improve the most in 2013 in the Big 12. 

    *All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

David Ash

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    David Ash has been inconsistent in his first two years as the primary starter for the Texas Longhorns. But that could change in 2013 as the Longhorns adopt a new, no-huddle offense. 

    Ash had 2,699 yards passing and a 19-to-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio. As one of just two quarterbacks in the league that started in Week 1 of 2012 returning in 2013, Ash should be able to improve those numbers. 

    The biggest concern for Ash will be whether or not he can adopt the new offensive scheme this year. He's proved to be a questionable decision-maker during his time, but maybe a third year will finally be enough for Ash to become a quality signal-caller. 

Tony Pierson

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    Charlie Weis indicated at Big 12 media days that Tony Pierson could turn into a Tavon Austin-like player for the Jayhawks. 

    Pierson certainly has the talent to be the type of playmaker Austin was for West Virginia. He ran for 760 yards last year and had 291 yards receiving. With Jake Heaps taking over at quarterback for Kansas, though, Pierson should be able to flourish. 

    Here's what Weis had to say about Pierson at media days:

    "When you can have a talent that you feel is similar to a guy that's being utilized properly, I think that, if we can get Tony more involved in space, that will open up a lot of things for the rest of our running backs and our receivers in general." 

John Hubert

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    With the departure of Collin Klein, senior John Hubert is set to be the main offensive threat for Bill Snyder. 

    Hubert has yet to run for 1,000 yards in a season, but he's come close for two straight seasons. In 2011 and 2012, he ran for 970 and 947 yards respectively. But with Klein gone, Hubert will surely reach the 1,000-yard mark this season. 

    Hubert's role will also be determined by who wins the quarterback battle in Manhattan. Daniel Sams is more of a running threat than Jake Waters. So if Sams wins the battle, carries could be split more evenly than if Waters were to win. 

Lache Seastrunk

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    Lache Seastrunk didn't rush for 100 yards in a game until the season was over half done in 2012. But he finished the year with five 100-yard games in the team's last six, and now he's poised to take that momentum into 2013. 

    The Baylor running back finished with 1,012 yards last season but has set his sights high this year. He's come out and said he expects to be in contention for the Heisman Trophy and to help his team to a Big 12 title, according to ESPN.

    With a new quarterback coming to Waco this season, Seastrunk will surely be leaned on early and often. 

Jacques Washington

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    Already an elite safety in the Big 12, Jacques Washington should have a breakout season in 2013. 

    Despite being overshadowed by linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott last year, Washington still finished second on the team last year with 90 tackles. He also had three interceptions. 

    Now with those two linebackers gone, Washington will have a leadership role for the Cyclones this season. And they'll certainly need him to produce at a high level. 

    Washington will be huge in maintaining the Cyclones' reputation for having a great defense. 

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