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WVU QB Grier, TCU DE Banogu headline Preseason All-Big 12 team

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The puffs of white smoke continue to fly out the chimney, and we got a big one on Wednesday with the first unveiling of a conference’s Preseason All-Big 12 team. It’s just a preseason team, yes, but it’s actual football talk about the actual season that’s actually about to happen…. in seven more weeks.

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier earned Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors and TCU defensive end Ben Banogu garnered Defensive Player of the Year accolades. Grier is easily the pass-happy conference’s leading returning passer; his 3,490 yards from 2017 place him more than 1,500 yards ahead of the pass-happy conference’s second-leading returning passer in Texas’s Sam Ehlinger (1,915 yards). Banogu leads all returning pass rushers with 8.5 sacks in 2017.

Oklahoma defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles, a freshman from Inglewood, Calif., by way of IMG Academy, earned Newcomer of the Year honors. Radley-Hiles was the 38th-rated player in the 247Sports Composite rankings for the 2018 class; for what it’s worth, three Big 12 signees ranked higher in Texas safeties Caden Sterns and B.J. Foster and Oklahoma offensive tackle Brey Walker.

The 3-time defending Big 12 champion Sooners placed five players on the Preseason All-Big 12 offense and none on the defensive side. Texas Tech did not have a single player placed on the offense but put three players on defense.

Here’s how the full teams break out.

OFFENSE
QB Will Grier, West Virginia
RB David Montgomery, Iowa State
RB Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma
RB Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
WR David Sills V, West Virginia
TE Grant Calcaterra, Oklahoma
OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State
OL Bobby Evans, Oklahoma
OL Ben Powers, Oklahoma
OL Marcus Keyes, Oklahoma State
OL Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia

DEFENSE
DL JaQuan Bailey, Iowa State
DL Daniel Wise, Kansas
DL Jordan Brailford, Oklahoma State
DL Ben Banogu, TCU
DL Breckyn Hager, Texas
LB Joe Dineen, Jr., Kansas
LB Dakota Allen, Texas Tech
LB David Long, Jr., West Virginia
DB Brian Peavy, Iowa State
DB Kendall Adams, Kansas State
DB Kris Boyd, Texas
DB Jah’Shawn Johnson, Texas Tech
DB Justus Parker, Texas Tech

SPECIALISTS
P Austin Seibert, Oklahoma
PK Austin Siebert, Oklahoma
PR/KR KaVontae Turpin, TCU

Former TCU player sues TCU, Big 12 for alleged abuse and harassment

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Kolby Listenbee, a former wide receiver at TCU, has filed a lawsuit taking aim at the university and Big 12 for alleged abuse and harassment he claims never allowed him to fully recover from an injury that may have impacted his professional career outlook in the NFL. In the lawsuit, Listenbee mentioned TCU head coach Gary Patterson and former offensive coordinator Doug Meachum in accusing the members of the football coaching staff of pressuring him to get back on the field as quickly as possible.

TCU has not specifically commented on the lawsuit, which is the standard operating procedure for any university in this situation, but did issue a brief statement saying the school “takes pride in its long-standing tradition of excellence in providing a positive experience for its student-athletes, especially in the areas of care, prevention and rehabilitation of athletic injuries,” per The Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas.

Per Listenbee’s lawsuit, the former Horned Frog claims he injured his pelvic bones in a game against SMU in 2015. The injury involved torn cartilage that is said to take a minimum of six months to rehab. Listenbee claims members of TCU’s training staff injected him with pain medications and steroids to ease the pain and allow him to continue playing. The pain meds and what Listenbee claims to be a “lack of rest and abuse from the coaching staff” eventually led to having to have metal plate inserted in his bone, which effectively hurt his chances of getting off to a successful NFL career.

Listenbee was drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills after previously suffering a groin injury at the NFL Scouting Combine. Listenbee was waived by the Bills a year later due to ongoing injury concerns. Listenbee later signed with the Miami Dolphins in October 2016 and was again waived in early December. A week later, Listenbee signed with the Indianapolis Colts to be on the practice squad, where he currently is under contract as a reserve.

The lawsuit also takes aim at the Big 12 for what Listenbee claims to be a failure to review TCU’s compliance with NCAA rules and policies regarding injury practices.

Ex-TCU wide receiver Isaiah Graham lands at Louisiana Tech

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A month after announcing his decision to transfer out of the TCU football program, wide receiver Isaiah Graham has announced he has found a new place to call home. Graham announced he is transferring to Louisiana Tech for the remainder of his college football career.

“I am so blessed and excited to announce that I will be continuing my education and college football career at LA Tech University,” Graham announced on Twitter.

Graham will have to sit out the upcoming 2018 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but he will still have two years of eligibility to use at Louisiana Tech beginning in 2019. Louisiana Tech was one of the many schools to offer the former three-star recruit a scholarship during his recruiting process. Louisiana Tech will give Graham, a Louisiana native, a chance to play closer to home once he does become eligible again.

As a freshman, Graham played in nine games, in which he caught six passes for 68 yards. In the 2017 season, Graham appeared in 10 games and caught two passes for 16 yards.

TCU WR Isaiah Graham announces transfer from Horned Frogs

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Sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Graham is leaving TCU behind in search of a new opportunity. Graham announced his intention to seek a new place to call home with a statement on his Twitter account. In it, Graham thanked TCU head coach Gary Patterson and the coaching staff for bringing him into the football program in Fort Worth.

As a freshman, Graham played in nine games, in which he caught six passes for 68 yards. This season, Graham appeared in 10 games and caught two passes for 16 yards. The sophomore was buried on the depth chart and his chances to get on the field had largely been in nothing more than a reserve role the past two seasons. With that outlook not looking to drastically change in 2018, Graham will look for a place where he might have the chance to play more of a contributing role in an offense.

Graham will have to sit out the 2018 season if the former three-star recruit (according to Rivals) lands at another FBS program. He will have two years of eligibility after sitting out the 2018 season. He has yet to use a redshirt season.The Louisiana native chose TCU over offers from a number of programs including Arkansas, Louisiana Tech, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, SMU, Tennessee, and more. Whether any of those programs remain in play for Graham now remains unknown.

Oklahoma storms out to 17-0 lead, but TCU chipping away in Big 12 championship game

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The Big 12 Championship Game is finally back, for some reason, and Oklahoma was ready to welcome it back in a big way. The Sooners blew the doors wide open in the first quarter with a 17-0 start, but TCU regained some control of things in the second quarter and we have ourselves a ballgame in Arlington. With the Big 12 title on the line, No. 3 Oklahoma holds a 24-17 lead on No. 11 TCU, setting the stage for a really good second half.

Oklahoma took the game’s opening drive down the field and settled for a field goal to open the scoring. The lead was quickly expanded when Caleb Kelly returned a TCU fumble for a score on the first offensive play for the Horned Frogs.

TCU’s first full offensive possession resulted in a punt, and the Sooners tacked on more points. Baker Mayfield made some plays with his arm and his legs to keep the drive alive and he ended the drive with a touchdown pass to Mark Andrews from five yards out to push Oklahoma out to a 17-0 lead.

TCU finally got things together on offense in the second quarter with Kenny Hill connecting on a 29-yard pass to Jalen Reagor early in the second quarter. Hill again got TCU in the end zone through the air on their next possession with a 12-yard pass to John Diarse. The Sooners responded on the ensuing possession following a solid kickoff return and TCU penalty to work on a shorter field. Mayfield pushed the lead to 24-14 with a six-yard pass to Andrews.

A win for Oklahoma would just about guarantee a spot in the College Football Playoff.