With the 2015 season in the books, and after careful consideration, we’ve ranked the top 25 players of 2015 in the Big 12.
We begin the weeklong countdown below with Nos. 21-25:
21. James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State: Though Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson and Sterling Shepard commanded most of the attention among Big 12 wideouts, Washington quietly emerged as one of the most dangerous deep threats in the country in his true sophomore season. Washington ranked 10th nationally with an average of 20.5 yards per reception, and finished with 10 touchdown grabs on 53 receptions. His finest performance came against TCU, when he spearheaded Oklahoma State's 49-29 rout of the then-seventh-ranked Horned Frogs with 184 receiving yards and three touchdowns. As the Big 12's lone returning 1,000-yard wideout, Washington won't be overlooked again in 2016.
22. Charles Tapper, DE, Oklahoma: Tapper was a major piece of the top defense in the Big 12. He finished seventh in the Big 12 with seven sacks to go along with 10 tackles for loss. He also forced a pair of fumbles in the narrow victories against Tennessee and TCU -- wins that helped propel the Sooners to the College Football Playoff. This was Oklahoma's best defense since 2009, and Tapper's playmaking off the edge was a major reason why.
23. Shock Linwood, RB, Baylor: As injuries hampered the rest of the Baylor offense down the stretch of the regular season, Linwood gave the Bears a dose of stability with 1,329 rushing yards for his second consecutive 1,000-yard campaign. He ran for 266 yards over a three-game stretch against Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State through which the Bears juggled quarterbacks following the season-ending injury to Seth Russell. Together with Johnny Jefferson, who put up 299 rushing yards in place of Linwood in the Russell Athletic Bowl after Linwood had foot surgery, Baylor should feature one of the top running back tandems in the country next season.
24. Mike Warren, RB, Iowa State: After taking over in the Iowa State backfield in Week 3, Warren gave the Cyclones an offensive identity. As the workhorse of the Iowa State offense, he produced six 100-yard rushing outings, including a 157-yard effort in the Cyclones' 24-0 win against Texas. Despite barely playing the first two weeks, Warren finished third in the Big 12 with 1,339 rushing yards to earn ESPN.com Big 12 Rookie of the Year honors. Considering Warren's relationship with new Iowa State coach Matt Campbell -- he was originally committed to Campbell at Toledo before flipping to the Cyclones -- Warren figures to be the focal point of the Iowa State attack again in 2016.
25. Charles Walker, DT, Oklahoma: The most underrated piece of the Oklahoma defense, Walker was among the most disruptive defensive linemen in the Big 12 this past season. The redshirt sophomore and second-team All-Big 12 selection had 10 tackles for loss and six sacks, and was clearly missed in the Capital One Orange Bowl, which he sat out with a concussion, as Clemson dominated the Sooners up front. With Tapper and Eric Striker graduating, Oklahoma will be looking for Walker to take over as its primary force in the front six.