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Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 5

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.

We're in the top 10 now, so it's about to get heated, I'm sure. If you've got complaints, I've got a mailbag. Let's hear it.

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. 5: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia

2012 numbers: Completed 365 of 513 passes (71.2 percent) for 4,198 yards, 42 touchdowns and six interceptions. Rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns.

Most recent ranking: Smith was ranked No. 1 in our preseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Smith: West Virginia's passer was the league's preseason Offensive Player of the Year and led the conference in touchdown passes with fewer interceptions than any full-time starter and a higher passer rating than any full-time starter, too. He was slinging it, but still managed to fall in our rankings. It was a tight year at the top for offensive talents in the Big 12, and no one proved that more than Smith, whose excellent season wasn't even enough to grab the title as the best at his position, though he did crack the top five.

Smith was efficient and despite West Virginia's five-game losing streak, he really only played poorly in the first loss against Texas Tech. He completed at least 60 percent of his passes in all but three games and completed at least 70 percent in seven games. He led the league in completion percentage, and even though he had help from a stellar receiving duo, Smith will prove his own talents have plenty of merit next fall in the NFL.

The rest of the list: