Today is Day 20 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. 6: Nate Solder, LT, Colorado
2009 numbers: An All-Big 12 first-teamer, Solder helped Colorado rush for over 1,000 yards in 2009.
Most recent ranking: Solder was unranked in the past offseason's ranking of the conference's top 40 players.
Making the case for Solder: Don't let the shortcomings of Colorado's banged-up offensive line last season distract you from Solder's play. He's talented, experienced, and as you learned last Friday, works just as hard off the field as he does on it. Add that up, and you get the best offensive lineman in the Big 12 and perhaps the country's best at the offensive line's most valuable position, left tackle. The next time you see the Buffaloes play, take a series off and just watch Solder work. He'll deliver. A former tight end, his 6-foot-8, 305 pound frame is limber and quick yet powerful. He'll begin the season on more than a couple All-American lists, and look for him to stay on them in the postseason. That includes this list, too.
The rest of the list:
No. 7: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
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