Today is Day 10 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. 16: Roy Helu Jr., RB, Nebraska
2009 numbers: Ranked fourth in the Big 12 in rushing yards (1,147). Tied for fifth-most rushing touchdowns (10). Also caught 19 passes for 149 yards.
Most recent ranking: Helu was ranked No. 20 in last offseason's ranking of the conference's top 40 players.
Making the case for Helu: Helu made a big jump for his first 1,000-yard season in 2009, and has a rare balance of speed and power as a ballcarrier. He earned second-team All-Big 12 honors last season, but he might find it more difficult to top 1,000 yards for a second season after the emergence of Rex Burkhead. Once Burkhead's stress fracture in his foot fully healed, Burkhead took the majority of the carries and could be ready for a breakout season in 2010. But that doesn't take away from Helu, who has racked up 1,950 rushing yards in the past two seasons. If Nebraska's quarterback play struggles like it did for much of last season, the Huskers will lean heavily on Helu and Burkhead to carry the offense.
The rest of the list:
No. 17: Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
No. 18: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
No. 21: Tim Barnes, C, Missouri
No. 22: Brian Duncan, LB, Texas Tech
No. 24: Tanner Hawkinson, OT, Kansas
No. 25: Blake Gideon, S, Texas