Today is Day 24 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. 2: Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State
2009 numbers: Led the Big 12 with 1,265 yards rushing on 247 carries, the most in the league. Tied for third in the Big 12 with 11 rushing touchdowns. Also caught 25 passes for 257 yards.
Most recent ranking: Thomas was unranked in the past offseason's ranking of the conference's top 40 players.
Making the case for Thomas: Here's what's perhaps most impressive about Thomas' first season in the league. The secret on his ability was out a few games into conference play. Teams focused on him. He got little help from his quarterback and he still put up staggering numbers. Grant Gregory and Carson Coffman completed under 60 percent of their passes for the fewest yards on the fewest attempts in the Big 12. The pair threw just six touchdowns. Sure, he had 16 more carries than any back in the league, but he was also one of just five Big 12 backs to average more than five yards per carry with at least 100 touches. Defenses focused on Thomas, and he still rushed for more than 90 yards in eight games. He was also held under 79 yards just twice. Without him, Kansas State surely loses to Kansas and Iowa State, and maybe Colorado and UMass.
The rest of the list:
No. 3: Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
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