By Steve Lansdale
AUSTIN, Texas — Members of the media who cover football around the Big 12 have announced their preseason all-conference team, a list that includes four members of the University of Texas team.
The headliner is sophomore linebacker Malik Jefferson, picked as the league’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Joining him on the all-conference team are cornerback Davante Davis, offensive lineman Patrick Vahe and offensive lineman Connor Williams.
Jefferson has been named to the watch lists for the Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year), Bronko Nagurski Trophy (most outstanding defensive player) and the Butkus Award (nation’s best linebacker), while earning first-team All-America honors by Sporting News after a stellar freshman season in which he finished second on the team with 61 despite starting only nine games en route to claiming Big 12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year and honorable mention All-Big 12 accolades.
Jefferson, Vahe and Williams all earned freshman All-America honors last season.
Davis played in all 12 games last season, starting the last five and earning honorable mention All-Big 12 recognition. He led the Longhorns with seven pass breakups while adding 36 tackles and an interception.
Vahe started the first 10 games last year before missing the last two games because of injury. He was named honorable mention All-Big 12 after he helped the Longhorn offense finish the season third in the Big 12, and 18th nationally, with 224.8 rushing yards per game.
Williams started all 12 games a season ago and earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors in addition to freshman All-America recognition. He aided a rushing attack which averaged 263.0 yards on the ground over the last seven games of the season. Williams has been named to the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is presented annually to the nation’s top interior lineman.
The Big 12 media preseason poll will be released Thursday, followed by the annual Big 12 Football Media Days to be conducted July 18-19 in Dallas. Both days will be televised live from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (central time) on FS2 and other FOX Sports affiliates.