Big 12: Colton Koehler
Linebacker Chris Williams was named the Texas Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year while at Abilene High School, making him he most heralded defensive recruit for coach Bo Pelini in his tenure at Nebraska.
The 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker sat out this season for the Cornhuskers as a redshirt. He had struggled in recovery from a knee injury that was sustained in the 10th game of his senior season.
The injury kept him from being included on the Cornhuskers' 105-man roster this fall as he rehabilitated during his redshirt season.
The Huskers beat out Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and LSU when they first recruited Williams.
If he's healthy, he would be an attractive recruit for all of those Big 12 programs and many others across the country.
It's a big loss for the Cornhuskers' program that will need some depth at linebacker with the loss of senior weakside starting linebacker Phillip Dillard and senior backup middle linebacker Colton Koehler after the Holiday Bowl.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
With the recent injury to Nebraska starting middle linebacker Phillip Dillard, walk-on Colton Koehler could see increased playing time against Oklahoma.
Koehler is an interesting story. He's a walk-on from tiny Harvard, Neb., who transferred to Nebraska after initially signing with Nebraska Wesleyan.
"When he's out there, he's focused and he concentrates because it means a ton to him," Nebraska linebackers coach Mike Ekeler told the Lincoln Journal-Star. "He's always one of the guys watching extra film.
"He was born and raised here [in Nebraska]. He loves representing the university."
Koehler has appeared in three games this season and produced three tackles, including a safety last week against Baylor on his only snap of the game.
Interestingly, Koehler has declined all interview requests, the Journal-Star said.
"He doesn't want to say much because he feels he hasn't done much to this point," Ekeler said. "He wants to earn his stripes. He's just a very humble guy. Plus, he just has so much respect for Phillip. It's really just a respect thing.
"He told me after the Baylor game, 'Coach, I played only one snap. Let those other guys who were out there all game fighting their tails off do the talking.'
"He's humble, and it's genuine -- that's just who he is."
Perhaps most interestingly -- and a direct indictment of some of the heralded supposed talent that came to the program during Bill Callahan's much-ballyhooed recruiting success -- is the fact that Koehler is among five walk-ons currently listed on Nebraska's defensive two-deep roster. Others include defensive backs Matt O'Hanlon and Lance Thorell and linebackers Tyler Wortman and Matt Holt.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here are a few tidbits from across the conference heading into this week's games.
1. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel evoked a deeper pledge of accountability from his team in the week between the Tigers' loss at Texas and last week's game at Colorado. The Missouri coach made each player visit his office and promise his best effort against Colorado. The ploy worked as the Tigers responded with a 58-0 shutout over the Buffaloes -- Missouri's first shutout in a conference game since 1986.
2. Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray, projected by many to be the best back in the conference before the season, finally appears back to form after two strong weeks of play. The main reason, Murray said, is his confidence in making sharper cuts on the field is finally returning. Murray sustained a dislocated kneecap late last season and had trouble bouncing back from the injury for mental and physical reasons. But not any longer. Murray has accounted for 287 yards rushing and receiving and scored six TDs in victories over Kansas and Kansas State.
3. Texas Tech coaches are gaining confidence in walk-on kicker Matt Williams, who was used only for extra points last week against Kansas. Tech coaches are finding that Williams' range is strong for field goals of up to about 40 yards and may consider using him for those kicks in Saturday's South Division showdown against Texas. Donnie Carona remains their choice for longer field-goal attempts.
4. Expect converted freshman wide receiver Daymond Patterson to remain at cornerback for the foreseeable future at Kansas. Coach Mark Mangino said the position switch was made because of lack of personnel at the defensive position. Patterson got a tough baptism last week as he faced off against Texas Tech's high-powered aerial attack. And it won't get much easier this week when he faces Kansas State.
5. Nebraska linebacker Phillip Dillard's recurring ankle injury will result in a variety of players likely filling his position if he can't go Saturday against Oklahoma. Tyler Wortman, Colton Koehler and walk-on freshman Matt Holt will get some of the playing time. But the most likely scenario could be that Cody Glenn would slide to the position from his starting weak-side position. The Sooners' run-heavy philosophy likely will keep the Cornhuskers from sliding an extra defensive back into the position in their base defense.