Five Big 12 alumni named to NFL All-Decade team

The Big 12 was solidly represented with five players on the NFL's All-Decade team that was announced over the weekend.

Among the players who attended what are now Big 12 schools include Texas A&M punter Shane Lechler and kick return specialist Dante Hall, Oklahoma State tackle Kevin Williams, Texas Tech linebacker Zach Thomas and Nebraska guard Will Shields.

Those five players are a nice number and are tied for third among all conferences. But they pale behind some of the more dominant national programs and conferences. Five players from the University of Miami made the team, including running back Edgerrin James, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, linebacker Ray Lewis, safety Ed Reed and punt return Devin Hester.

Here's the count of players by conference, including the Division I-AA and II conferences listed. The groupings are how the teams are affiliated in conferences today, meaning that Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College are considered to be in the Atlantic Coast Conference rather than the Big East.

There are actually 52 players who were selected for 53 positions. Hall was picked as both a kickoff and punt return specialist on the team, accounting for two places.

  • Atlantic Coast 11

  • Southeastern 7

  • Big 12 5

  • Big Ten 5

  • Mountain West 4

  • Pacific-10 4

  • Mid-American 3

  • Big East 3

  • Western Athletic 2

  • Sun Belt 1

  • Conference USA 1

  • Calif Collegiate 1

  • Southern 1

  • SWAC 1

  • Colonial 1

  • Mid-America IAA 1

  • Missouri Valley 1

And here's a list of players grouped by their respective colleges.

It's a strong showing for the Big 12 and particularly for Texas A&M, which has little to cheer about over the last decade in terms of consistent success. Both Hall and Lechler are links to the Aggies two-time South Division championship team in 1997 and 1998.