The Associated Press announced the Big 12 conference’s individual award winners for the 2021 football season last week. The awards were voted on by a panel of 20 sports writers and sportscasters who regularly cover the league.

The conference champion Baylor Bears were big winners as they took home two of the four awards. Head coach Dave Aranda was named the Coach of the Year, and senior safety Jalen Pitre was named the conference’s defensive player of the year.

In his second year in charge, Aranda led one of the nation’s best turnarounds. Before the season, the media picked Baylor to finish eighth in the conference in the preseason poll following a 2-7 final record last year.

Despite that, Aranda led the Bears to an 11-2 season, a conference title, a No. 7 spot in the final College Football Playoff rankings, and a berth in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against No. 8 Ole Miss. Aranda received 15 of the 20 votes for coach of the year.

Pitre was a big part of Baylor’s successful season; he had 70 total tackles and led the conference with 17.5 tackles for loss.

Pitre was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the nation’s best defensive back, and was the only player in the country this year with three fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions. Pitre got 12 of the 20 votes for the best defensive player.

Iowa State Cyclones running back Breece Hall was named the conference’s offensive player of the year for the second year in a row.

Hall received 16 of the 20 first-place votes after leading the Big 12 in rushing with 1,464 yards and leading the nation with 23 total touchdowns. Hall currently holds the active record of 24 consecutive games with a rushing touchdown.

As a back-to-back winner of the award, Hall joins some elite company. The only other players to win the Big 12 offensive player of the year award twice are Heisman Trophy winners Ricky Williams (Texas, 1997-98), Jason White (Oklahoma, 2003-04), and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma, 2015, 2017).

Texas Longhorns freshman receiver Xavier Worthy was named the conference’s newcomer of the year. Worthy had a record-breaking year, setting Longhorns freshman single-season records in receptions (62), receiving yards (981), and receiving touchdowns (12). His 981 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns both led the conference.

Worthy becomes the sixth Texas player to win this award, but the first since Colt McCoy won in 2006.