The wild, wild Big XII is going ultra competitive again in 2023. And while it does start with the quarterbacks, they are no good without some large and athletic men protecting them upfront. And, of course, the best Big XII offensive linemen would want to be acknowledged as a group. So for our countdown, Last Word is just focusing on the five best Big XII offensive linemen regardless of position.
Best Big XII Offensive Linemen
#5 KT Leveston – Kansas State
KT Leveston kicks off our list and will be joined by a teammate of his on the best Big XII offensive linemen unit. Leveston is the only player on this countdown who did not earn first or second all-Big XII honors last year. But the 6-5, 330 lbs tackle started all 14 games for a Wildcat team that was ranked 15th nationally in average rushing yards per game at 208.3. Leveston is entering his sixth and final season with Kansas State. With another productive and healthy season, Leveston is likely to garner attention from NFL scouts.
#4 Kelvin Banks Jr. – Texas
The youngest player on the team is coming off an outstanding year in his first year on campus. Kelvin Banks Jr. started all 13 games as a true freshman. Banks earned second-team All-Big XII honors having to block the likes of Tyree Wilson just 6 months after going to his high school prom. He has lived up to his five-star recruiting ranking coming out of Humble, TX. With continued development this year, Banks very well could end the season as the best one of the entire unit. He has the potential to spearhead the future best Big XII offensive linemen units as he must come back for the 2024 season. No doubt Steve Sarkisian is expecting big things out of his large left tackle to get Texas to the top of the conference.
#3 Mike Novitsky – Kansas
Just like Banks, Mike Novitsky was selected to the All-Big XII second team in a breakout season for the Jayhawks. Novitsky transferred to Kansas when his then-Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold, took the same job at Kansas. Novitsky made the All-MAC first team in 2020. Unfortunately, Novitsky was very limited during the spring due to injuries. He will headline a Kansas offensive line that returns four of five starters back. Yes, the Jayhawks have the best quarterback in the conference in Jalon Daniels. But Daniels will not be able to thrive without his center performing at an all-conference level.
#2 Zach Frazier – West Virginia
Out of the first-team all-Big XII selections from 2022, two are returning for the 2023 season. Zach Frazier only surrendered one sack and had 51 knockdowns (pancake) blocks last season. Frazier is a two-time all-Big XII player with a total of 33 starts in his career. He was also recently named to the 2023 Athlon Sports Preseason All-America First Team. Frazier was also named a Freshman All-American during the shortened 2020 season. Frazier’s career normally would result in him headlining the best Big XII offensive linemen unit. But there is one lineman that just edged him out.
The Best Big XII Offesnive Linemen is Cooper Beebe – Kansas State
Out of all of the best Big XII offensive linemen, it is Cooper Beebe that stands above the rest of them. Beebe was a first-team All-Big XII offensive lineman in both 2021 and 2022. He was also a first-team All-American selection in 2022. And while the accolades are impressive, he has a noteworthy streak heading into the 2023 season. According to his Kansas State bio, he has not surrendered a sack in his last 803 pass-blocking plays. The last sack he surrendered was against Iowa State in 2020. Beebe is wildly projected as a top-50 prospect for the 2024 NFL draft. If Chris Klieman and his Wildcats are going to repeat as Big XII champs, it will start with Beebe protecting the quarterback and paving the way for their powerful rushing attack.
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