Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 15
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. 15: Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
2011 numbers: Caught 89 passes for 1,207 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Most recent ranking: Swope was unranked in our preseason list of the top 25 players.
Making the case for Swope: Teammate Jeff Fuller earned all the preseason headlines after pledging to return to College Station for his senior season, but Swope stole the show in 2011, emerging as the team's top receiver by a wide margin in Ryan Tannehill's only year as starter.
Swope, a former All-State running back in high school, looks the part with great quickness and a shifty frame. He's one of the league's best at shedding tacklers after the catch. Just ask Baylor, who gave up two long scores after broken tackles in Swope's 11-catch, 206-yard, four-touchdown career day in the win over the Bears.
He topped 100 yards receiving on six occasions in 2011 and returns to Aggieland for its move to the SEC and will be the No. 1 target for the Aggies' new passer, likely Jameill Showers. His consistency will help, too. He had at least eight catches in seven games last season, and at least six catches in two more. He was one of the toughest covers in the Big 12, and that should continue in the SEC, even with the league's tougher defenses.
The rest of the list:
- No. 16: Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas
- No. 17: Kelechi Osemele, LT, Iowa State
- No. 18: Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State
- No. 19: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
- No. 20: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
- No. 21: Grant Garner, C, Oklahoma State
- No. 22: Ronnell Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
- No. 23: Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M
- No. 24: Nigel Malone, CB, Kansas State
- No. 25: Damontre Moore, LB, Texas A&M