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Tuesday, August 13, 2013
The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 10

By David Ubben

We're counting down to the beginning of the season with the top 25 players in the Big 12. The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing players from the bottom of the list all the way to No. 1.

Here's more on my criteria.

Let's move on with the list:

No. 10: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas

2012 numbers: Made 28 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.

Most recent ranking: Jeffcoat was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Jeffcoat: I've felt horrible for Jeffcoat these past couple of years, whose body can't seem to stop betraying his talent. Pectoral surgeries have abbreviated each of his past two seasons, and even a high ankle sprain marred a promising freshman year back in 2010.

Still, in the six games Jeffcoat had the opportunity to play a year ago, he set a pace that had him on course to be as good as any defensive player in the Big 12.

He made four tackles for loss against Oklahoma State and had a sack and a touchdown against West Virginia. He was on the short list of Defensive Player of the Year candidates, and likely would have come close to winning the title if he'd kept that pace.

Devonte Fields won the trophy with 10 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss in 13 games. Jeffcoat was on track for eight sacks and 19 tackles for loss in 12 games. The former No. 2 overall recruit in the 2010 recruiting class picked Texas over Oklahoma and his father is Jim Jeffcoat, currently Colorado's defensive line coach and the owner of two Super Bowl rings and 102.5 sacks as an NFL player. If Jeffcoat can stay healthy, he's got a chance to do the same and be a first-round pick next April. That's proven to be a big if at this point in his career, but there might not be another defender in the Big 12 with as much raw talent as Jeffcoat. He's still got a lot of learning and development to do, but he'll be back in the mix of the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year race as long as he's on the field.

The rest of the list: