To say that the Big 12’s first-team backfield is “interesting” would be a mild understatement.
Tuesday afternoon, the Big 12 released its preseason all-conference team, as voted on by the media. There were three first-team running backs listed — Kansas’ Pooka Williams, Oklahoma’s Kennedy Brooks and Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard. It’s the selections of Williams and Brooks, and the former in particular, that will at least an eyebrow.
Williams was suspended by Kansas in December 2018 following an arrest related to suspicion of domestic battery. An arrest affidavit reported the alleged victim accused Williams of grabbing her by the throat and punching her in the stomach.
Monday, KU announced that Williams had been suspended for the opener (against an FCS school) by first-year head coach Les Miles.
“My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m very sorry to those who were impacted by my poor choices,” Williams stated in a statement. “I am disappointed in myself, not just as a man, but as a student-athlete looked up to by younger kids. My suspension from football has been hard, but I have learned from it. I’m thankful I can continue with my education at KU.
“Looking ahead, the most important thing to me is to regain the trust and respect of my classmates, teammates, and fans. I am humbled to return to football and to prepare for the season.”
In his first season in Lawrence, Williams ran for 1,125 yards, the eighth-highest total in Jayhawk history. His 252 yards against Oklahoma ranks as the sixth-highest single-game total ever at the school.
Following that standout campaign, Williams was named first-team All-Big 12 and that conference’s Offensive Freshman of the Year.
As for Brooks, reports surfaced over the weekend that he has not been at OU for summer workouts since the rest of his teammates returned to campus last month. One source told 247Sports.com that “[i]t has been told to others that Kennedy is ‘taking care of things'”; what those “things” are specifically have not yet been divulged.
There is speculation that the back is considering a transfer to TCU, although Brooks’ name is not listed in the NCAA transfer portal.
Last year, Brooks ran for 1,056 yards and 10 touchdowns on 119 carries. His 8.87 yards per carry were third nationally.
As for the rest of the Big 12’s all-conference team for the preseason, you can click HERE.