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. 6-10:
6. Spencer Drango, T, Baylor: Outside of winning a national title, there isn't much Drango did not accomplish during his time at Baylor. And he finished his stellar career with an exceptional senior season. Drango earned All-America honors for the second consecutive season and landed on the All-Big 12 team for a third straight year. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Bears averaged 6.75 yards per carry on runs behind Drango. He was also a big reason Baylor allowed just 15 sacks, fewest in the Big 12. Drango brought veteran leadership to the Bears offense, allowing it to top FBS with 47.5 offensive points per game despite playing three different quarterbacks in 2015.
7. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU: The former “Bleacher Creature” became one of the best receivers in TCU history with a record-breaking senior season before a wrist injury ended it prematurely. Doctson had six games with at least two touchdowns while finishing with 79 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns. Doctson’s 18 receptions for 267 yards and three touchdowns against Texas Tech was arguably the best single-game performance in the Big 12 in 2015. His combination of size, athleticism and ball skills made him nearly impossible to cover and allowed him to take over games in ways few receivers can.
8. Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma: Doctson and Baylor’s Corey Coleman got the bulk of the national attention, but some within the Big 12 consider Shepard to be as good or better than the conference’s signature pair of receivers. Oklahoma’s top target finished with 86 receptions for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns during his final season in crimson and cream. Shepard’s 61 receiving first downs were the most in the Big 12, and his big games against Baylor (14 catches, 177 yards, two touchdowns), Tennessee (seven receptions, 74 yards, two touchdowns) and Oklahoma State (10 receptions, 87 yards, one touchdown) solidified his reputation as a clutch player.
9. Jakeem Grant, WR, Texas Tech: The diminutive Grant played with a chip on his shoulder, resulting in production that put him among the Big 12’s elite receivers. Arguably the conference’s most explosive open-field threat, Grant spent the majority of his senior season making defenders look silly. The senior had a Big 12-best 90 receptions for 1,268 yards and 10 touchdowns, and his 882 yards after the catch was the most among Power 5 receivers. His explosiveness on special teams, including two kick returns for touchdowns, helped Grant finish his final season with 2,353 all-purpose yards and a reputation as a big-play machine.
10. Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma: The senior saw some of his numbers go down slightly in 2015 but his impact was greater than ever. Striker finished with 67 tackles (41 solo), with 19 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while helping get the Sooners to the College Football Playoff. Striker was a terror on the edge who could affect the outcome with his aggression in the running game or acceleration in the passing game. Every coach in the conference would have loved to build his defense around Striker, who was also one of the Sooners' vocal leaders throughout the run toward the playoff.