The Big 12 saw a pretty big exodus of defensive talent last year, thanks to the NFL draft and Nebraska. Of my top 25 players, just one defensive player among the 11 who made the list will return in 2011.
That means a wide open race for Defensive Player of the Year entering this season.
Travis Lewis is the one player who returns from my list, and assumes his spot for a fourth consecutive year as one of the Big 12's top linebackers.
Brad Madison impressed with his pass rushing skills a year ago. Will the former offensive lineman stake a claim as the Big 12's best in his first year as a starter?
Keenan Robinson is already one of the league's best linebackers, and as one of the featured talents on Texas' revamped defense, will a big year mean Austin is home to the league's top defender?
The potential is there for Arthur Brown, whose speed is much-needed for the Wildcats. Will the impact he makes exceed even the most optimistic of K-State fans?
Shaun Lewis shared the Big 12's Defensive Freshman of the Year award with Tony Jefferson last year, but can the Cowboys' "Star" linebacker convince people that he's the best in the league?