- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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It's that time of year again. After careful consideration, we've ranked the top 25 players in the Big 12.
There were about 10 other players who could have made the list, but these are the 25 we feel deserved inclusion.
We continue the list with Nos. 16-20:
16. Davion Pierson, DT, TCU: The Horned Frogs value him as much for his leadership as his production. Pierson, a 31-game starter and a team captain for every game of his junior season, is poised for another big year after recording eight of his 30 stops behind the line of scrimmage in 2014. He’s a critical cog in TCU's deep and dangerous defensive line, and his days of being overshadowed on this defense should be over soon.
17. Shock Linwood, RB, Baylor: All he's done in two seasons is rush for 2,133 yards and 24 touchdowns on 5.6 yards per carry to help power the rushing attack of back-to-back Big 12 champs. Linwood gained 5-plus yards on 40 percent of his carries as a sophomore and proved clutch, with nine of his 16 TDs coming on third downs. He has a nasty knack for bouncing off first contact and avoiding tacklers with his quick feet, and Linwood's smaller stature (5-foot-9, 195 pounds) seems to only make him more elusive.
18. DeAndre Washington, RB, Texas Tech: This guy can do it all. Washington rushed for 1,103 yards as a junior, led all Big 12 running backs in receiving yardage (328) and accounted for almost 120 total yards per game. He didn't fumble any of his 188 carries away and is beloved on this Tech team for his toughness and intelligence. If he can find the end zone more often (two rushing TDs last season) as a senior, Washington should contend for All-Big 12 honors.
19. Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas: Ridgeway showed flashes of future stardom as a sophomore, racking up six sacks and 11 tackles for loss from the nose tackle spot next to first-round pick Malcom Brown. It's safe to say the NFL will covet Ridgeway in the near future, too, with his hulking 6-foot-4, 307-pound frame and gift for getting into the backfield. Texas coaches say they just need him to play a little angrier. He'll team with Poona Ford and Desmond Jackson to make the Longhorns a terror up the middle.
20. Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma: Sanchez isn't afraid to take chances, and that can result at times in big plays. But the rewards sure help make up for the risks: Sanchez has eight interceptions (including six in 2014), two pick-sixes and 21 pass breakups over the past two seasons. Sanchez even set a Sooners' record by tallying interceptions in five straight games. He pulled off three of those picks while playing with an injured shoulder. Sanchez will be even better as a tackler and in run support now that he's healthy, and he should chase the Big 12 lead for INTs once again.