Ranking the Big 12's best: No. 24

Today is Day 2 of our countdown of the Big 12's 25 best players entering the 2010 season. The full results are locked in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player per day until we reach the top of the list.

Remember, this isn't a list of the top 25 NFL prospects in the league. It's heavily weighted toward actual accomplishment in players' college careers, as well as the likely impact for their teams in the 2010 season.

No. 24: Tanner Hawkinson, OT, So., Kansas

2009 numbers: Named Freshman All-American, All-Big 12 honorable mention. Started 12 games at left tackle.

Most recent ranking: Hawkinson was not ranked in last offseason's ranking of the conference's top 40 players.

Making the case for Hawkinson: After redshirting in 2008, Hawkinson gave the Jayhawks what looks like a long-term answer at the offensive line's most valuable position: left tackle. His rise to starter is made more remarkable with the knowledge that he began his college career as a tight end before moving to defensive end. Now, the 6-foot-6, 293-pounder has found a permanent home, and one that could earn him a sizeable paycheck later in his career. Two left tackles from the Big 12 were selected in the first six picks of this year's NFL draft, and Hawkinson could eventually do the same.

The rest so far:

  • No. 25: Blake Gideon, S, Texas