This list was really, really difficult to put together. Much more so than the pre or postseason lists. That sort of surprised me. Lots and lots of talented players just missed my list.
Once again, here was the criteria I examined in putting together the list.
In no particular order, here are other players I considered, but couldn't put on the list. This league is deep in the standings, and it's no different on the field. Don't be surprised to see any of these guys on the postseason list.
Ronnell Lewis, DE, Oklahoma: Lewis is seventh in the Big 12 with 3.5 sacks, and has 37 tackles, with two pass breakups and a forced fumble.
Nigel Malone, CB, Kansas State: No cornerbacks made my top 25, but Malone is among a handful of DBs that were close. He leads the Big 12 with four interceptions, and has 27 tackles with four pass breakups.
Brodrick Brown, CB, Oklahoma State: Brown is right there, too. He's made 21 tackles, broken up seven passes, intercepted three passes and made two tackles for loss.
Meshak Williams, DE, Kansas State: Williams is a breakout player this year, sitting at fourth in the Big 12 with four sacks. He also has 5.5 tackles for loss, 13 tackles and a forced fumble.
Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma: Stills has missed two games this season, but he's made 27 catches for 330 yards and five touchdowns. That puts him at seventh in the Big 12 in TD catches.
A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State: Klein is a worthy sidekick to top 10 player Jake Knott in Ames. Klein's made 45 tackles (7th in the Big 12) and has four tackles for loss with an interception for a touchdown and a sack.
James Franklin, QB, Missouri: Franklin has gotten it done as a sophomore first-year starter in a league filled with great QB play. He's thrown for 1,488 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions, while also running for 390 yards (12th in the Big 12) and seven scores.
Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M: Gray's been good, but his teammate Christine Michael has just been a bit better. He's ninth in the Big 12 with 521 yards and seven touchdowns. He's also caught 13 passes for 112 yards and a score.
Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma: Fleming entered the season as the league's best corner, and he's still in the conversation. He's made 30 tackles, returned a fumble for a touchdown, has broken up three passes and forced a fumble. He also has two tackles for loss.
Jamie Blatnick, DE, Oklahoma State: Blatnick has been a force up front, ranking third in the Big 12 with five sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, 27 tackles and an interception. He also has a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.
Demontre Hurst, CB, Oklahoma: Hurst and Fleming form the Big 12's best cornerback duo, and Hurst has made 23 tackles, one tackle for loss and returned his lone interception 55 yards for a touchdown. He's also forced a fumble and broken up three passes.
Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State: Randle has 552 rushing yards and is second in the Big 12 with nine touchdowns, filling in admirably for the departed Kendall Hunter.
Carrington Byndom, CB, Texas: Byndom's stepped in as a first-year starter and been a huge boon to Texas' defense, making 28 tackles and intercepting a pass. He helped shut down Justin Blackmon last week, and has broken up nine passes with 3.5 tackles for loss.
Brad Madison, DE, Missouri: Madison has 3.5 sacks and an interception, with 18 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss. He's also forced a fumble.
Darius Reynolds, WR, Iowa State: Reynolds made a few huge catches in the Cyclones' early 3-0 start, including an eventual game-winner against UConn, and has 522 yards and 28 catches to rank fifth in the Big 12. He also has six touchdown catches.
Jordan Voelker, DE, Kansas State: Voelker and Williams have been a huge surprise at defensive end, making four sacks to tie for fourth in the Big 12, with five tackles for loss, 18 tackles and a pass broken up.
Kelechi Osemele, OT, Iowa State: Osemele has a bright future in the NFL. ISU's offense has rushed for a Big 12-low 903 yards and given up 15 sacks, but Osemele has still been solid, albeit banged up.
Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor: Ganaway may finish with 1,000 yards after big games against Texas Tech and TCU. He's sixth in the Big 12 with 561 yards and seven touchdowns.