Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer 155d

Big 12 post-spring position rankings: DB

Now that spring practice is done, we've been updating our Big 12 position rankings.

We continue this series with the defensive backs:

1. Kansas State (previous ranking: 1): It will be interesting to see where highly touted incoming junior college safety Elijah Walker will fit in once he arrives on campus. The Wildcats are set at corner with D.J. Reed and Duke Shelley, and they boast a very capable cover safety in Kendall Adams. If Walker can give them an enforcer, look out.

2. TCU (2): The Horned Frogs have three reliable corners in Jeff Gladney, Julius Lewis and Ranthony Texada, who can match up with the league's top wide receivers. Niko Small and Nick Orr provide a terrific safety duo, while spring game star Innis Gaines will be pushing to be Gary Patterson's third safety starter.

3. Oklahoma (3): The spring emergence of Parnell Motley has alleviated a lot of the Sooners' concerns lingering from last season at corner. Suddenly, OU potentially has three options there now in All-Big 12 performer Jordan Thomas, Jordan Parker, who was solid after taking over opposite Thomas late in the year, and Motley, who was OU's defensive standout in the spring game.

4. Texas (4): Whether this group restores "DBU" will hinge heavily on whether former top-50 recruit Brandon Jones becomes an impact performer at safety. Jones exited spring as the starter at free safety ahead of John Bonney. DeShon Elliott is still battling Jason Hall for the starting job at strong safety. But like Johnson, Elliott is a talented prospect the Longhorns are hoping will break out in a big way next season.

5. Oklahoma State (6): The Cowboys landed one of the more high-profile grad transfers this spring in former Clemson cornerback Adrian Baker. Baker should help shore up the biggest question on the Oklahoma State defense, while allowing the Pokes to keep Ramon Richards as a cover safety, which could go a long way in bolstering coordinator Glenn Spencer's pass defense.

6. West Virginia (5): The safety combination of Dravon Askew-Henry and Kyzir White has a chance to be elite. Askew-Henry was still working his way back from last year's preseason knee injury over the spring, but remains on track to be full-go for this season. Him manning the free should make a huge difference for the Mountaineers, especially as coordinator Tony Gibson works to retool the corner position.

7. Iowa State (7): Earlier this month, Iowa State picked up a potential key grad transfer in Reggie Wilkerson from Georgia. If Wilkerson can step into the rotation, that will give the Cyclones more flexibility to utilize fellow safeties Evrett Edwards and Lawrence White. The Cyclones quietly could be very strong at corner behind veterans D'Andre Payne and Brian Peavy.

8. Kansas (9): After a banner spring on the heels of an outstanding first season, Mike Lee looks primed to become one of the league's top safeties. Kansas will need top defensive newcomer Hasan Defense to continue to emerge at corner. Defense turned heads during the spring.

9. Baylor (8): The indefinite suspension to safety Travon Blanchard was a major offseason blow to the Bears. Blanchard was arguably their best defensive player returning. Taion Sells, Chance Waz and Davion Hall will have to step up.

10. Texas Tech (10): D.J. Polite-Bray and Desmon Smith emerged out of spring ball still ahead of Jaylon Lane and Octavious Morgan on the depth chart at corner. More than likely, coordinator David Gibbs is going to need all four to improve a pass defense that was among the worst in the country last year. Junior-college transfer Vaughnte Dorsey showed this spring he has the potential to be the ball-hawking safety Gibbs has so desperately craved.

^ Back to Top ^