Monday, February 13, 2012
Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 21
By ESPN.com staff
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 of the list every day.
Here's a quick rundown on my criteria for this list.
No. 21: Grant Garner, C, Oklahoma State
2011 numbers: Anchored the middle of Oklahoma State's offensive line, which helped pave the way for 1,200-yard rusher Joseph Randle, as well as the nation's No. 2 passing offense and No. 2 scoring offense.
Most recent ranking: Garner was unranked in our preseason list of the top 25 players.
Making the case for Garner: He doesn't get the press of even the other players on his own line, but ask around the Big 12, and Garner's name continuously comes up as one of the league's most relentlessly underrated players. That cannot stand.
Garner grabs the nod at No. 21 on this list, based on his ability to coordinate OSU's often complex calls and blocking schemes, his No. 1 duty as the anchor of the Big 12's best offensive line. OSU doesn't blow people off the line like other O-lines across college football, but Brandon Weeden had an eternity to throw this season, and Garner's ability to assure blitz pickups was a big reason why. Every team wanted to rattle Weeden. No one truly did all season. OSU threw the ball 595 times this season. Only three teams threw it more often.
OSU gave up just 12 sacks, which ranked 12th nationally. The quick-release base of OSU's offense has something to do with that, but the offensive line up front was a huge reason, too. Garner made it all happen.
The rest of the list: