Today is Day 19 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.
We're inside the top 10 now, and I kind of expect discussion on this to get pretty heated. I feel pretty good about where I've slotted guys, but we'll see if we need to do a mega-mailbag at the end of all this so I can defend my order. You'll notice the list is intentionally weighted somewhat toward positions that have a greater amount of impact on a large percentage of the field.
Remember, this isn't a list of the top-25 NFL prospects in the league. It's heavily weighted toward players' actual accomplishments in their college careers, as well as their likely impact on their teams in the 2010 season.
No. 7: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
2009 numbers: Intercepted three passes. Made 34 tackles, including two sacks and 4.5 for tackles for loss.
Most recent ranking: Williams was unranked in the past offseason's ranking of the conference's top 40 players.
Making the case for Williams: Don't worry about Williams' pedestrian numbers. He's the best cover corner in the conference, and though the Big 12 isn't as pass-happy as was last year or the year before, having a guy like him helps any defense look good. Williams is the third member of the Longhorns secondary to make the list, and each player makes the other look good, but Williams is the best out of the group. Last season was his first as starter, but he saved two of his best games for the biggest. He had five tackles and an interception against Nebraska, and made three tackles and broke up two passes against Alabama in the national championship game. His size (6-foot-1, 192 pounds) has caught the eye of NFL scouts, too, and should make him an early first-round pick in the 2011 draft.
The rest of the list:
No. 8: DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
No. 9: Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska
No. 10: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
No. 11: Jeremy Beal, DE, Oklahoma
No. 12: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
No. 13: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
No. 14: Alexander Robinson, RB, Iowa State
No. 15: Sam Acho, DE, Texas
No. 16: Roy Helu, Jr., RB, Nebraska
No. 17: Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
No. 18: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
No. 19: Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State
No. 20: Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M
No. 21: Tim Barnes, C, Missouri
No. 22: Brian Duncan, LB, Texas Tech
No. 23: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
No. 24: Tanner Hawkinson, OT, Kansas
No. 25: Blake Gideon, S, Texas