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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 20

By David Ubben

We’re continuing our countdown of the Big 12's 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. 20: Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State 

2012 numbers: Made 79 tackles, intercepted two passes and had six tackles for loss. Added half a sack, broke up five passes and forced two fumbles.

Most recent ranking: Knott was ranked No. 7 in our preseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Knott: If Knott's inclusion on this list despite missing the final five games of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery doesn't tell you enough about how respected he is in this league, look no further than the reaction of Texas coach Mack Brown when the news broke. The head Longhorn sent Knott a hand-written note in the days that followed the news of Knott's injury. The Iowa native went out in style, playing his final game against Baylor and getting a win when he knew it would be the last time he suited up. The Cyclones got a huge win that put them in position to make a bowl game, and Knott shared an emotional postgame with teammates and coaches in the locker room. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder was a physical presence for all three of his seasons as a starter in Ames, and is certainly no stranger to this list. His absence late in the season forces a drop, but there's no question he played well enough to deserve a spot on this list. He had double-digit tackles in each of the final four games of his career and made a huge impact on the Big 12 and Iowa State's program, which is unquestionably better because of Knott, and his efforts helped build his legacy alongside Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads, who have had ISU in a bowl game in three of the past four seasons.

The rest of the list: