Ranking the Big 12's best: No. 21

Today is Day 5 of our countdown of the Big 12's 25 best players entering the 2010 season. The full results are locked in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player per day until we reach the top of the list.

Remember, this isn't a list of the top 25 NFL prospects in the league. It's heavily weighted toward actual accomplishment in players' college careers, as well as the likely impact for their teams in the 2010 season.

No. 21: Tim Barnes, C, Sr., Missouri

2009 numbers: Earned All-Big 12 honorable mention. Enters season on Rimington Award Watch List as nation's best center.

Most recent ranking: Barnes was unranked in last offseason's ranking of the conference's top 40 players.

Making the case for Barnes: The fifth-year senior will enter his third season as starter with 27 consecutive starts behind him. Earlier this spring, Barnes joked that Missouri may become "Center U," but it might not be far from the truth. If Barnes earns All-Big 12 first-team center honors, he'll be the third consecutive Tiger center to do so in his career. And for an offense that operates almost exclusively from the shotgun, don't underestimate the importance of having a talented, experienced player at the center of the offensive line. Barnes is one of just four fifth-year seniors on the team.

The rest of the list:

  • No. 22: Brian Duncan, Texas Tech

  • No. 23: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma

  • No. 24: Tanner Hawkinson, OT, Kansas

  • No. 25: Blake Gideon, S, Texas