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Monday, August 8, 2011
Ranking the top 25 Big 12 players: No. 16

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

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.

No. 16: Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State's Markelle Martin
Markelle Martin, already known as a fierce hitter, broke up 10 passes and had three picks in 2010.
2010 numbers: Made 55 tackles (49 solo), intercepted three passes and returned one for a touchdown, made two tackles for loss and broke up 10 passes.

Most recent ranking: Martin was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Martin: Martin already has a reputation as one of hardest hitters in the Big 12, but he enters the 2010 season as its best safety and the biggest playmaker for an Oklahoma State defense that will need a lot from him in 2011.

The Cowboys made big strides, but Martin will be a third-year starter anchoring a defense that returns just five starters. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound senior has nearly prototypical size for his position, and though he's not the speediest safety in the league, he shows up where the ball is on plenty of occasions.

His reputation for excellence in coverage got a huge boost in 2010 after picking off three passes. He had none in his first year starting as a sophomore in 2009. I'd expect even more improvement this season for Martin, who could crack the postseason top 10 on this list with a big senior year.

The rest of the list: