Ranking the Big 12's best players: No. 11

March, 7, 2011
3/07/11
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The official list of the Big 12's top 25 players is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing the list day by day here on the blog. Here's a refresher on my exact criteria.

[+] EnlargeLandry Jones
Mark Zerof/US PresswireOklahoma's Landry Jones threw for 38 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions last season.
No. 11: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

2010 numbers: Jones completed 405-of-617 passes for 4,718 yards, 38 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Most recent ranking: Jones was ranked No. 23 in our preseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Jones: He made the kind of improvement from his freshman to sophomore year you'd expect from a quarterback loaded with potential. After a rough outing in the opener against Utah State, Jones rolled through the rest of the season without a truly terrible game, which was solid considering he had at least two -- against Texas and Nebraska -- in 2009. As a result, his completion percentage jumped to 65.6 percent from 58.1 in 2009. He threw the most interceptions in the Big 12 with 14 as a freshman, but in 2010 he threw 12 more touchdowns and two fewer interceptions, despite throwing the ball 168 more times. His 617 attempts were the most in the nation, which says plenty about the confidence the Sooners' staff has in its quarterback, who should continue to improve as a junior in 2011.

He was helped by the emergence of freshman Kenny Stills, giving the Sooners a consistent second receiving option that wasn't there when Jones was a freshman. The offensive line helped quite a bit, too. They improved and stayed healthy, two necessities for Oklahoma to get back to Big 12 title-worthy football, which it clearly played in the 2010 season.

Jones took his play on the road for three big-time performances away from Owen Field, helping the Sooners beat rival Oklahoma State in Stillwater to win the Big 12 South. Oklahoma also beat Nebraska in Dallas to win the Big 12, and Connecticut in Glendale, Ariz., to win the Fiesta Bowl.

Jones had Oklahoma's offense humming (10th nationally in total offense, averaging more than 482 yards per game) throughout the 2010 season, and with his favorite target -- Biletnikoff Award finalist Ryan Broyles -- returning, that should continue to be the case in 2011.

The rest of the list:

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