Today is Day 23 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 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. 3: Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
2009 numbers: Fourth in the Big 12 with 109 tackles. Made 9.5 tackles for loss. Also made one sack and intercepted a pass.
Most recent ranking: Lewis was ranked No. 9 in the past offseason's ranking of the conference's top 40 players.
Making the case for Lewis: How do you know a linebacker's good? When 109 tackles is a down year. He was second in the Big 12 with 144 tackles as a freshman and is the conference's top returning tackler in 2010. Lewis was quiet and didn't make a lot of big plays as a sophomore, but he was still in on plenty of plays, as his numbers show. More of a run stopper than a free-wheeling pass rusher, Lewis doesn't get pushed around in the trenches very often at 6-foot-2 and 232 pounds. He's made it obvious this spring he's done being quiet, but even without the big plays, expect him to clear the double digits easily as the leader of a top-notch Oklahoma defense in 2010.
The rest of the list:
No. 4: Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
No. 5: Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
No. 6: Nate Solder, LT, Colorado
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