Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 5

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
1:15
PM ET
Our countdown of the Big 12's top 25 players continues. The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing a new member every day.

Here's a quick rundown on my criteria for this list.

We're officially in the top 10 now. That means it could be a little heated from here on. Got beef? Send it to my mailbag, and we'll have a later post logging and answering your complaints.

No. 5: Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

2011 numbers: Caught 83 passes for 1,157 yards and 10 touchdowns. Also returned 19 punts for 196 yards (10.32 avg.).

Most recent ranking: Broyles was ranked No. 2 in our preseason list of the top 25 players.

Making the case for Broyles: I remember it all too well. I watched on a TV in the press box at Boone Pickens Stadium. Broyles sat on a training table on the sidelines in tears while teammates tried to console him. It was heartbreaking and unfair.

Don't let the awful final moments of Broyles' career at Oklahoma take away from its overall excellence. A few weeks before going down with the knee injury, he became the FBS leader for career receptions, and he was on his way to dethroning Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon as the Biletnikoff Award winner. He'd outperformed him to that point, and when Broyles went down, Oklahoma's offense suffered.

That was obvious in a win over Iowa State and an awful loss to Oklahoma State. Broyles will be missed, but he'll leave an amazing legacy at Oklahoma. He almost never dropped a pass. He was one of the toughest players to cover in the history of the league.

And from the time he walked on campus to the time he stepped off, he did a whole lot of growing up. Here's to a bright future for Broyles.

The rest of the list:

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