OU LB Lewis ranks as Big 12's ninth best player

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

No. 9

After only one season, Travis Lewis already is making his mark among the top linebackers in Oklahoma history.

Lewis broke numerous records last season as a freshman, becoming a team leader and one of the most productive defenders in the Big 12 despite his inexperience. By the end of the season, he was involved in making many of the defensive calls for the Sooners' steadily improving unit.

Before the season started, Lewis wasn't expected to start. But his intuitive play and natural talents helped him produce one of the top freshman seasons in the country in 2008.

Increased experience in Brent Venables' defense will only make him a better player -- a scary proposition for the rest of the Big 12.

Player: Travis Lewis
Team: Oklahoma
Position: Linebacker
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 232 pounds; So.; San Antonio (Robert E. Lee)

Why he was picked: Lewis had the most productive freshman season in history for an Oklahoma linebacker, breaking Brian Bosworth's school freshman record with 144 stops. He tied Bosworth's school record for tackles in one game by a freshman with 19 against Texas. Lewis had double-digit tackle games six times last season, was second on the team with four interceptions and led the Sooners with 108 interception yards. Lewis also placed second on the team with 11.5 tackles for loss and produced 3.5 sacks.

What 2009 will hold: If Lewis keeps progressing, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he could develop into an All-America-level linebacker. He should be more comfortable with the defense in his second season as a starter and and will be more adept in making calls. His overall productivity should improve by being a part of a defense that returns nine starters from last season.

The countdown:

10. Kansas QB Todd Reesing
11. Oklahoma RB-KR DeMarco Murray
12. Oklahoma State T Russell Okung
13. Texas DE-LB Sergio Kindle
14. Oklahoma T Trent Williams
15. Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon
16. Baylor LB Joe Pawelek
17. Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson
18. Texas WR-KR Jordan Shipley
19. Oklahoma RB Chris Brown
20. Nebraska I-back Roy Helu Jr.
21. Texas Tech DT Colby Whitlock
22. Kansas WR-KR Dezmon Briscoe
23. Oklahoma DE Jeremy Beal
24. Kansas S Darrell Stuckey
25. Texas Tech RB Baron Batch
26. Kansas QB-WR Kerry Meier
27. Texas T Adam Ulatoski
28. Oklahoma State LB Andre Sexton
29. Missouri G Kurtis Gregory
30. Missouri RB Derrick Washington
31. Texas Tech LB Brian Duncan
32. Texas S Earl Thomas
33. Kansas State WR-KR Brandon Banks
34. Oklahoma LB Keenan Clayton
35. Baylor S Jordan Lake
36. Oklahoma State CB-KR Perrish Cox
37. Texas C Chris Hall
38. Texas Tech DE-DT McKinner Dixon
39. Kansas State DE Brandon Harold
40. Oklahoma FB Matt Clapp