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Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 10

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

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.

We're in the top 10 now, officially. 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. 10: Sean Porter, LB, Texas A&M

2011 numbers: Made 79 tackles (50 solo), including 17 tackles for loss. He also made 9.5 sacks and broke up two passes. Forced a fumble.

Most recent ranking: Porter was unranked in our preseason list of the top 25 players.

Making the case for Porter: Texas A&M's defensive line had a tough time producing pressure and getting sacks in Tim DeRuyter's 3-4, but Porter provided another level of pass rush that helped push Texas A&M to the national title in sacks, with 51. (That's a thing, right?)

His total of 9.5 sacks gave him the Big 12 sack title, and he finished third in the league with 17 tackles for loss. His pass rush won't quite be as valuable in the SEC, but the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder should be poised for a great year as a senior in 2012.

Porter was on pace for a Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year nod, but was held without a sack in five of his seven final games, notching just two sacks in that period.

He made just five tackles for loss in his final five games, and was shut out in two of those games. He's got great speed and great flexibility that allows him to dip his inside shoulder on the edge like Von Miller used to.

It wasn't quite the season it looked like it might be early on, but Porter put together a huge year and earned plenty of respect heading into 2012.

The rest of the list: