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Thursday, January 24, 2013
Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 23

By David Ubben

We’re continuing our countdown of the Big 122s top 25 players from the 2012 season. Here's more on my criteria for the list. You can take a peek at how the preseason list looked here.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day moving forward.

On with the show ...

No. 23: Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State

2012 numbers: Caught 101 passes for 1,210 yards and  7 touchdowns, and carried the ball eight times for 120 yards and a touchdown. Returned two punts for 73 total yards. Completed 1-of-2 passes for 15 yards.

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

Making the case for Stewart: I've already crowned Stewart the Big 12's most improved player last season, blowing up with a huge year after playing a bit part in Oklahoma State's Big 12 champion offensive juggernaut in 2011. He was a shifty slot guy that showed some promise as a true freshman, but I never would have thought he was a 1,200-yard receiver as just a sophomore. It's unfortunate that, playing in a league with guys like Terrance Williams, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, his efforts get overlooked a bit, but he's a huge talent and helped balance out the uneasiness at quarterback in Stillwater. Three different quarterbacks ultimately split time pretty evenly last season because of injuries, but Stewart stayed solid no matter who was behind center. Four of his five 100-yard games this season came in conference play, and in Big 12 play, he was held below 76 yards receiving just once. That kind of consistency was needed, and the sky is the limit for Stewart in 2013. He'll return as the Big 12's leading returning receiver.

The rest of the list: