Mailbag: Tackling top-10 player complaints

We just finished our list of the 10 best Big 12 players of all time, and I heard from plenty of you who disagreed. I'll tackle them all right here this morning. Thanks for your emails. Here's where you can reach me if you've got more to say. We'll have a normal Friday mailbag, so you can see your questions there.

Dave in Hays, Kan., writes: David, This guy is always over looked, but how far was Todd Reesing from even being considered for being one of the top players in the Big 12? Or the cut for the "Just Missed" list? He had one heck of a career for a mediocre KU team!

DU: Not very close. Reesing was a pretty good player, but in that crazy run of quarterbacks in the Big 12 back in 2007 and 2008, guys like Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Graham Harrell, Chase Daniel, Robert Griffin III and maybe even Zac Robinson were all better than Reesing. When you look at it that way, it's tough to really make a case for Reesing anywhere close to the top 10 all time. He's one of the greatest players in KU history, but not really close to the Big 12's top 10.

Brad in Duncan, Okla., writes: I'm a little late to the party I figure, but where is Ryan Broyles on your Top 10 List of Players for the Big 12?

DU: I think I ruffled a few feathers when I said Broyles was "overrated a bit" on Twitter earlier this week, but let me explain: I don't think Ryan Broyles was overrated as a player. However, if you think he's a top-10 Big 12 player all time, you're overrating him. My point is this: He played and was a major contributor for four years. People want to just say "He's the FBS all-time leader in receptions!" and let that be the case for Broyles' inclusion on the list. No way should he be there ahead of Justin Blackmon or Michael Crabtree, who I left off the list. Both of those guys had seasons far better than any Broyles had. He's one of the greatest receivers ever, and a tough cover, but my point is, you can't just look at his career stats as proof he should be on the list. He played for four years, so naturally his career stats are going to be eye-popping. It doesn't mean he's better than Blackmon or Crabtree.

Stan Murray in St. Louis writes: David,Sorry but your list leaves off the number one all time Big 12 player - Barry Sanders.

Mr. O State in Keller, Texas, writes: You are either too young to know Barry Sanders or you're out of you mind. You should be ashamed of yourself for not knowing the greatest RB (maybe even player) to ever play the game.

Matt A in Austin writes: Where is Barry Sanders?

AC in Lubbock writes: Top 10 of all Time: Where the ______ is Barry Sanders and why not even on the list?

DU: For the 5,000 of you who emailed or tweeted similar sentiments over the past two weeks ... come on, man. I was clear in my criteria that this was only for the Big 12 era. Sanders' college career ended in 1988, eight years before the Big 12 began play. It's that simple.

Jeff Jones in Duncan, Okla., writes: All top notch players on your top 10 list, but I believe there should have been room for Michael Crabtree. He was a unanimous All-American two years in a row. Wikipedia lists his numerous awards and recognitions. He helped Texas Tech gain its first B12 conference title share ever.

DU: Crabtree barely missed the list, but I put Tavon Austin on there because of his versatility and physical skills, which like I wrote, were better than any guy we've ever seen in this league. His elusiveness and speed are insane, but when you consider his volume of touches in the running game and special teams in addition to his 100-plus catches in his last two seasons, he's a more valuable player than just a pure receiver. You could make a case for Crabtree or Blackmon (I'd vote Blackmon) as the best receiver in college football history, but Austin is a lot more than just a receiver, which is why he's on the list.

DeShawn in Colorado Springs writes: Enjoy your blog, as it's always nice to read about my K-State Wildcats, but I was a little disappointed in your Top 10 players in B12 history. The Wildcats have had some outstanding players since the conference was formed in 1996. Just to name a few: Michael Bishop, Mark Simoneau, Darren Sproles, and Terrance Newman.

DU: I agree with you, DeShawn. Those are all great players who weren't far from the list at all. But there's not some grand explanation why every guy didn't make it. Sometimes, it's just as simple as the guys who did make the list were just better. You may have noted that only two running backs made the list. Sproles was great. He wasn't better than Adrian Peterson or Ricky Williams. Anybody would agree with that. Terence Newman was awesome. He wasn't better than Roy Williams. Michael Bishop: Great player, not greater than Vince Young, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III or Jason White. I didn't have a single linebacker on the list, but Simoneau is definitely one of the greats.

Just not the greatest. I'd hope you can live with that.