Dallas Colleges: top 25 players 2013

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 2

August, 26, 2013
8/26/13
4:28
PM CT
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. 2: Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor

2012 numbers: Helped Baylor amass 7,439 yards of offense, almost 200 more yards than any other team in college football. Part of an offensive line that surrendered just 19 sacks and led the Big 12 in rushing.

Most recent ranking: Richardson was No. 15 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Richardson: Identifying top offensive linemen isn't easy in the flow of a game, but if you go back and really look at what's happening in the trenches instead of who's got the ball, it's really not very difficult. Consistency is key, but watch Richardson for any amount of time, and it's clear that he's an absolute mauler with NFL written all over his agile 6-foot-5, 340-pound frame.

He started his career as a guard but spent 2011 holding down the left tackle spot. He really emerged last season after moving back to guard and earned Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year honors. It was well deserved after leading the Bears with 105 (!!) knockdowns and grading out at better than 90 percent in Baylor's final six games. He had at least nine knockdowns in each of the Bears' final five games and enters his senior season as the clear pick for the Big 12's best overall offensive lineman.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 3

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
4:00
PM CT
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. 3: Devonte Fields, DE, TCU

2012 numbers: Had 18.5 tackles for loss among his 53 total stops. Made 10 sacks and broke up four passes. Forced two fumbles and intercepted a pass.

Most recent ranking: Fields was No. 6 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

PODCAST
Former TCU and current Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the expectations for the Bengals this season, give a prediction for the TCU-LSU game and talk about what it's like having the Hard Knocks cameras follow him.

Listen Listen
Making the case for Fields: There was a minor sense of panic when a knee injury in preseason camp meant TCU's top pass rusher a year ago, Ross Forrest, wouldn't be available in 2013. Who knew that injury would clear the path for Fields to become the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year?

Even the most optimistic of Frogs fans couldn't see that coming. Midway through October, Fields had 14 tackles for loss and was way out in front in the race for the defensive title. He slowed late in the season, but we're talking about a true freshman. He went through his first spring practice and offseason condition program this year and after spending a year in the Big 12, we'll see exactly what he learned and how he grew on the field this fall. The only negative? We'll have to wait until Game 3 because of a suspension. Still, Fields is one of the best defenders in the Big 12 for what should be one of the league's defenses. He's obviously one of the favorites for Defensive Player of the Year again in 2013.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 4

August, 21, 2013
8/21/13
1:25
PM CT
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. 4: Gabe Ikard, C, Oklahoma

2012 numbers: Helped Oklahoma's offense rack up 6,482 total yards, good for fourth in the Big 12. Anchored an offensive line that gave up just 15 sacks on 571 pass attempts, third-fewest in the Big 12.

Most recent ranking: Ikard was No. 9 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Ikard: Ikard is a coaches' dream. What more could Oklahoma ask from him? As a redshirt freshman in 2010, he started 12 games at left guard and earned freshmen All-American honors after logging 72 knockdowns. He had 88 the next season, but had to move to center after Ben Habern suffered an injury. In the middle of fall camp the next season, Ikard made the move from guard to center again after Habern retired from the game because of injuries.

He was one of the Big 12's best as a junior and earned an All-Big 12 first-team nod. Oh, and he's an Academic All-American, too. He's a converted tight end who has added about 50 pounds since signing with the Sooners, and now holds together the middle of the Sooners' line at 6-foot-3 and 298 pounds. He's done everything Oklahoma's needed him to do, and he's excelled at it all. Now, he's one of the Big 12's best overall talents.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 5

August, 20, 2013
8/20/13
4:30
PM CT
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. 5: Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor

2012 numbers: Carried the ball 131 times for 1,012 yards and seven touchdowns. Caught nine passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.

Most recent ranking: Seastrunk was No. 19 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Seastrunk: Nursing a healthy lead in the waning minutes of a blowout win over SMU in the 2012 season opener, Baylor finally gave Seastrunk a chance to get his first taste of college football. I was on the sidelines and watched him scamper for an impressive 34-yard run in the second carry of his college football career.

Meaningless as it may have been, I couldn't help but wonder, "Man, what could happen if Baylor committed to really giving him the ball?"

Come November, the Bears finally did. Just a few months later, Seastrunk emerged as the Big 12's best hope for the Heisman Trophy in 2013. Baylor went 5-1 in its final six games, and Seastrunk averaged just over 138 yards a game over that stretch, earning an unlikely 1,000-yard season that began November with just over 200 yards. Seastrunk averaged 8.22 yards a touch in his 101 carries over that six-game stretch. Only Kent State's Dri Archer surpassed that among players with at least 100 carries.

Seastrunk's mouth, mind and legs are all equally ambitious, looking to turn a two-yard run into 50 by bouncing outside perhaps a bit too often and talking about winning the Heisman Trophy after the season. He's improving on that tendency, earning the tough yards and saving his insane change of direction skills and loose hips for the second and third levels of opposing defenses.

Seastrunk won't be waiting until November to make headlines this time around.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 6

August, 20, 2013
8/20/13
11:18
AM CT
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. 6: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma

2012 numbers: Made 61 tackles and intercepted four passes. Had two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. Also broke up 11 passes.

Most recent ranking: Colvin was No. 22 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Colvin: Colvin has showed tons of promise since his freshman year in 2010, but the versatile defensive back truly broke out last season. He spent 2011 as a first-year starter at safety and was an above average player at the position. After moving back to his natural position of cornerback in 2012, he proved himself as one of the league's elite players at the position.

The 6-foot, 192-pound native of Tulsa, Okla., earned both of his sacks in a win over Oklahoma State to keep the Sooners in position to win a share of the Big 12 title. His 15 passes defended are more than every player in the Big 12 last season besides TCU's Jason Verrett. The league gave him a well-deserved first-team All-Big 12 honor for the first time and he's in great position to do so again this season. He's physical (sometimes a bit too much so downfield) and a solid hitter who makes it easy to see why OU's defensive staff knew he could do well at safety in 2011. Seeing his cover skills full-time in 2012 showed, however, that he's a corner and 2013 will be far from the last time he holds down that position on a football field. Great future ahead for him.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 10

August, 13, 2013
8/13/13
1:07
PM CT
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:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 11

August, 12, 2013
8/12/13
4:30
PM CT
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. 11: Trey Millard, FB/RB/TE, Oklahoma

2012 numbers: Caught 30 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns. Rushed 33 times for 198 yards.

Most recent ranking: Millard was No. 14 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Millard: Oklahoma fans love to harp on Roy Finch's lack of touches in the offense, but if you injected them with truth serum, they'd probably admit Millard is the guy who most needs more touches for the Sooners. He's got a decent case as Oklahoma's best overall player, but he's the Big 12's best fullback and as Texas found out the hard way last season, can be near impossible to tackle when he's got a head of steam behind him.

With Blake Bell playing quarterback full time now, Millard figures to be the guy OU calls on to get tough yards this fall, but he's so excellent at so many things, he's one of the Sooners' most indispensable players. Whether he's lead blocking, pass blocking in the backfield, carrying the ball or blocking downfield, you know he's going to get the job done.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 12

August, 9, 2013
8/09/13
3:38
PM CT
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. 12: Kerry Hyder, DL, Texas Tech

2012 numbers: Made 56 tackles and 14 tackles for loss, including 5.5 sacks. He also broke up four passes.

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

Making the case for Hyder: Hyder had contributed to Tech's defense in 2010 and emerged as a starter in 2011, but last season was a major breakout season for Hyder, a key cog in one of the Big 12's most improved defenses.

To really understand his importance, look no further than his performance in conference play. Hyder made 10.5 tackles for loss in those nine games, which was actually one more than Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Devonte Fields. That total ranked third in the Big 12. The 6-foot-2, 280-pounder has uncommon athleticism for his size, and he's shown clear improvement as his career's moved forward. He had a pair of sacks against Iowa State and made 2.5 tackles for loss in a triple overtime win against TCU. That helped him earn All-Big 12 honors and a status moving into 2013 as one of the Big 12's best defensive linemen. Don't overlook him in the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year race this season.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 13

August, 8, 2013
8/08/13
4:30
PM CT
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. 13: Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State

2012 numbers: Caught 101 passes for 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns. Rushed eight times for 120 yards and a touchdown. Returned two punts for 73 yards.

Most recent ranking: Stewart was ranked No. 23 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Stewart: After Justin Blackmon packed his bags for the NFL, you knew somebody would have to step up in an Oklahoma State offense that has averaged almost 550 pass attempts a year since 2010. Stewart stepped into that role after grabbing just 19 passes as a true freshman in 2011.

He caught at least nine passes in seven games and cemented his status as Oklahoma State's best playmaker with the ball in the open field. Players like that are the cornerstone of the Air Raid offense, and the shifty, 5-foot-10, 185-pound receiver emerged as one of the Big 12's best receivers a year ago. Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin and Terrance Williams overshadowed him on a national stage, but all three are gone and Stewart clearly carries the title of the Big 12's best returning receiver heading into 2013.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 14

August, 7, 2013
8/07/13
2:30
PM CT
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. 14: BJ Finney, C, Kansas State

2012 numbers: Helped Kansas State rush for 2,522 yards and pass for 2,701 yards while giving up just 14 sacks.

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

Making the case for Finney: Bill Snyder, y'all. Kansas State had arguably the best offensive line in the Big 12 last season, and Finney was the best player on it. He was a second-year starter who'll enter his third year as the middle of the Wildcats' line.

Most impressive? He began his career as a walk-on and has matured into one of the Wildcats' leaders. K-State has been 21-5 with him snapping the ball to Collin Klein, and even though K-State will be breaking in a new quarterback this fall, Finney and the four guys flanking him (including No. 16 on this list, LT Cornelius Lucas) will provide a strong performance up front. Finney, a 6-foot-4, 303-pound native of Andale, Kan., was a freshman All-American back in 2011 and figured to keep improving.

Back when he was being recruited, he had his heart set on playing for Frank Solich at Ohio. Then the Bobcats suddenly ran out of scholarships. Finney's family couldn't afford college, and he had to earn a scholarship in two years or his career would be over. Sure enough, he made it happen. It's an amazing story, but Finney is more than just a great story. He's a great player.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 15

August, 6, 2013
8/06/13
7:00
PM CT
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. 15: Eric Ward, WR, Texas Tech

2012 numbers: Caught 82 passes for 1053 yards and 12 interceptions.

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

Making the case for Ward: Believe it or not, but before last season, Texas Tech hadn't had a receiver top 1,000 yards since Michael Crabtree did it in 2007 and 2008, collecting the Biletnikoff Award in both seasons for his efforts. Darrin Moore and Ward both did it last season, but Ward becomes the first Red Raider since Crabtree in 2007 to do it and return. With Michael Brewer likely taking over at quarterback, Ward's presence makes the transition from Seth Doege a bit smoother and gives new coach Kliff Kingsbury a known entity in the all-important passing game.

Ward is one of just two Big 12 receivers who topped 1,000 yards last season and return this year, and he figures to have a great shot to surpass the 1,000-yard mark again in 2013, barring injury. He's an instinctive player who uses his body well and has good hands. The 6-foot, 204-pounder plays physical and is a tough cover for any corner across the league, especially in the red zone. His 12 scores a year ago were tied for eighth-most nationally.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 17

August, 2, 2013
8/02/13
4:15
PM CT
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. 17: Tevin Reese, WR, Baylor

2012 numbers: Caught 53 passes for 957 yards and nine touchdowns. Also had four carries for 21 yards.

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

Making the case for Reese: I don't know why, time and time again, safeties seemed to underestimate Reese's speed. The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder got over the top of defenses as much as any receiver not named Terrance Williams in the Big 12 last season. With big-armed Bryce Petty stepping into a starting role this season, there's a good chance he'll do it again. Reese's eight catches for longer than 40 yards last season are the most for any returning player in the league, and he'll showcase again why he has a case as the fastest player in the Big 12.

With Williams gone, he has to prove he can shoulder more responsibility in the passing game. But with Jay Lee, Antwan Goodley and Levi Norwood still around, as well as newcomer Robbie Rhodes, he'll have plenty of help to distract defenses from keying in on him and stopping him from getting beyond the last line of defense.

The Bears love to stretch the field and make defenses cover as much ground as possible, and Reese is the guy who should help them do it most this season. He averaged almost 20 yards a catch and among players with at least 30 catches last season, he averaged over a yard and a half more per catch than any other receiver in the league.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 18

August, 1, 2013
8/01/13
5:00
PM CT
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. 19: Calvin Barnett, DT, Oklahoma State

2012 numbers: Made 30 tackles, including nine tackles for loss and a sack. Also broke up a pass.

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

Making the case for Barnett: Barnett was committed to Oklahoma State for a long while out of high school, but signed with Arkansas and eventually went the junior college route. After picking up two personal fouls on one play in a frustrating loss to Arizona early in the season, plenty of OSU fans were ready to send Barnett back to junior college. He bounced back, though, and spent the rest of the season showing the folks in Stillwater why he was so highly sought after coming out of junior college.

The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Tulsa native was invaluable to OSU's defense over the rest of the season. He's got the three-billed frame of a defensive tackle, but has fantastic athleticism and proved himself as the Big 12's best defensive tackle in 2012. The position has been thin for a long while across the Big 12, but Barnett earned Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors for his debut season in Stillwater. He won't get as much attention as some guys like Shaun Lewis or Justin Gilbert, but Barnett will be as responsible for any OSU defensive surge this season as either of those two. Big bodies who can collapse the pocket and make life easier for defensive ends and linebacker are way, way underrated in slowing the run and getting Big 12 passing offenses out of their tempo and comfort zone mid-play, and Barnett can do that better than any tackle in the league.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 20

July, 30, 2013
7/30/13
10:30
AM CT
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. 20: Quandre Diggs, CB/PR, Texas

2012 numbers: Intercepted four passes and made 59 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack. Broke up seven passes. Returned 13 punts for 106 yards and one kick for 21 yards.

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

Making the case for Diggs: When you talk about players put into duty early in their careers that have since matured, Diggs is a poster boy. He enrolled early back in the spring of 2011 and immediately had the look of a future star. His instincts and football IQ jumped out right away, and he was fearless against older, bigger receivers despite his age.

He's gotten a lot better since, and offseason rumblings of a possible move to nickel back tells you how much respect his talent warrants and how much coaches think of his versatility.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder plays bigger than his size, and is one of the toughest corners in the league, as well as a sure tackler. He's staying at cornerback, and don't be surprised if he's got a case as the Big 12's best by the end of the season.

The rest of the list:

The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 22

July, 26, 2013
7/26/13
3:25
PM CT
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. 22: Justin Gilbert, CB/KR, Oklahoma State

2012 numbers: Made 63 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss. Broke up nine passes and forced a fumble. Returned 32 kicks for 827 yards (25.84 yards per return) and a touchdown.

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

Making the case for Gilbert: Gilbert's tough season in 2012 was a step backward, but it didn't change that he's one of the most physically gifted corners in the league and should be able to bounce back in 2013. He played well in his first season as a starter in 2011, earning a reputation as more than just a speedy kick returner.

He still has those return skills and he's as fast as any player in the league, but coach Mike Gundy talked several times in the past year about his displeasure with Gilbert's performance. Gilbert has to be better this season if Oklahoma State's defense is going to take a step forward. He has some solid help at corner with Kevin Peterson, Tyler Patmon and Ashton Lampkin, but the Cowboys need their top-tier player to look like one. Based on pure skills, Gilbert is among the top three or four corners in the Big 12 with a chance to be the best. Last season, he didn't play like a top 10-15 corner. I'm betting he changes that this year, and he'll get plenty of chances to make his mark on the season in the kick return game, too.

The rest of the list:

SPONSORED HEADLINES