Ten Cougars receive Big 12 Football honors

The 2023 Big 12 Conference football teams and individual award winners were announced Wednesday, and 10 BYU student-athletes received recognition.

2023 All-Big 12 FTB graphic2023 All-Big 12 FTB graphic

IRVING, Texas — The 2023 Big 12 Conference football teams and individual award winners were announced Wednesday, and 10 BYU student-athletes received recognition. The award selections were made by the league’s 14 head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players.

Junior defensive end Tyler Batty, junior punter Ryan Rehkow and sophomore left tackle Kingsley Suamataia each earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors, while Kamden Garrett, Eddie Heckard, Darius Lassiter, Paul Maile, Isaac Rex, Jacob Robinson and Max Tooley received honorable mention recognition. 

Tyler Batty, in addition to being named to the All-Big 12 Second Team, was also honored in the coaches’ voting with two honorable mention recognitions for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year. Batty, who was one of just 11 FBS players to be named to the All-State AFCA Good Works Team in 2023, collected 57 tackles (2nd in the Big 12 among defensive lineman), had 5.5 sacks (T9th overall) and forced two fumbles (T4th) over 12 games. Batty graduates in December with a degree in communication studies. 

In addition to being named All-Big 12 Second Team, Ryan Rehkow was also recognized with Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year honorable mention. A three-time Ray Guy Ray’s 8 weekly awardee in 2023, Rehkow led the Big 12 in punting average at 48.4 yards per kick. He also led the conference in total kicks (68), yards (3,289), punts over 50 yards (31) and punts downed inside the 20 (25). Rehkow graduated with a bachelor's degree in finance. 

Kingsley Suamataia, who was ranked among the Top-30 Big 12 players entering the 2023 season by College Football News, was selected to the All-Big 12 Second Team Offensive Line. In addition to being named to the 2023 Outland Trophy watch list, the sophomore was a preseason All-Big 12 pick by College Football News, Athlon Sports and Phil Steele. Suamataia is a junior academically majoring in global studies.

Senior cornerback Eddie Heckard received honorable mention recognition from Big 12 coaches as an All-Big 12 Defensive Back and Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year. Heckard was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 23, after recovering a fumble for a touchdown and posting an interception in BYU's 27-14 win over Texas Tech. In 12 games, Heckard finished tied for second in the Big 12 in interceptions with five. He also forced three fumbles (T2nd) and had 11 passes defended (T7th). Heckard graduated with two bachelor's in professional sales and mechanical engineering.

Jakob Robinson, a semifinalist for the 2023 Jim Thorpe Award, received All-Big 12 Defensive Back honorable mention. A junior cornerback, Robinson was twice recognized during the 2023 season as the Jim Thorpe Award National Defensive Back of the Week and was named the College Football Network Big 12 Midseason National Cornerback of the Year. In 12 games, Robinson led all Big 12 cornerbacks with 59 tackles and had four interceptions (T4th). He also had 11 passes defended (T7th). Robinson is majoring in global studies.

Max Tooley, who finished his BYU career with 311 tackles (14th most all-time), received All-Big 12 Linebacker honorable mention. In 12 games, the senior led the Cougars with 92 tackles, good for seventh in the Big 12. Tooley also led BYU in unassisted tackles (52) and tackles in a single game (16 vs. Cincinnati). He finished the season as the NCAA Active Career Leader in interceptions by a linebacker (7). Prior to the season, Tooley was named to the Phil Steele Preseason All-Big 12 Fourth Team. Tooley graduated with a bachelor's degree in global studies.

Senior cornerback Kamden Garrett was honored with All-Big 12 Defensive Back honorable mention. Like fellow corner Heckard, Garrett transferred from Weber State to play is final collegiate season for the Cougars and proved to be a consistent performer for the Cougars in the defensive backfield.  He made 28 tackles with one tackle for loss in 11 games played in 2023 while recording an interception and five pass breakups. Garrett is majoring in business managment. 

Junior tight end Isaac Rex was honored with All-Big 12 Tight End honorable mention. Named to the 2023 John Mackey Award watch list for a third straight season and to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-Big 12 Fourth Team, Rex surpassed Gordon Hudson (a 2009 College Football Hall of Fame inductee) this season to become BYU's all-time leader in tight end receiving touchdowns with 24. Rex graduated with a bachelor's degree in history.

Senior Paul Maile received All-Big 12 Offensive Line honorable mention. A transfer from Utah, Maile started at both guard and center for the Cougars this season and was named to the watch list for the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award. He started in all 11 games he played in 2023, missing only BYU’s game at West Virginia due to injury. Maile graduated with bachelor's degrees in sociology as well as family community and human development. 

Wide receiver Darius Lassiter also gained the attention of Big 12 coaches, receiving Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year honorable mention recognition. The Eastern Michigan transfer had 29 catches for 365 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games, missing two outings due to injury. Lassiter is a senior academically majoring in global studies.

Big 12 Individual Award Winners
Offensive Player of The Year – Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State, RB
Defensive Player of The Year – T’Vondre Sweat, Texas, DL
Offensive Newcomer of The Year – Adonai Mitchell, Texas, WR
Defensive Newcomer of The Year – Austin Booker, Kansas, DL
Offensive Freshman of The Year – Rocco Becht, Iowa State, QB
Defensive Freshmen of The Year – Anthony Hill Jr., Texas, LB & Ben Roberts, Texas Tech, LB
Special Teams Player of The Year – Austin McNamara, Texas Tech, P
Offensive Lineman of The Year – Cooper Beebe, Kansas State, OL
Defensive Lineman of The Year – Byron Murphy II, Texas, DL
Chuck Neinas Coach of The Year – Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State, 19th Season

The Big 12 Conference announcement of the 2023 football teams and individual award winners is attached below. 


Unable to display PDF file. Download instead.

Download PDF