Today's the finale of our month-long countdown of the Big 12's top players.
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.
Who did I get wrong? Who missed? Who's too high? Who'll be there next year?
I'll touch on a few of those throughout the rest of the day. Send me your complaints/comments, and I'll address them in a Mailbag later this week.
Finally, for those of you unfamiliar with how we do it here on the Big 12 blog, I usually reserve the tops of links posts for sarcastic/nonsensical comments. My mailbag over the weekend assured me that we're not all on the same page on that one.
Without further ado, here's the man with the target on his back for 2010 as the Big 12's best:
No. 1: Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M
2009 numbers: Third in the Big 12 with 3,579 passing yards. Led the Big 12 and finished No. 5 nationally with 30 touchdown passes, while throwing just eight interceptions. He also rushed for 506 yards and eight touchdowns on 145 carries.
Most recent ranking: Johnson was unranked in the past offseason's ranking of the conference's top 40 players.
Making the case for Johnson: I remember sitting down to make this list over a month ago and complaining that unlike the 2009 season, there wasn't a clear candidate for the conference's best player. When people say "Jerrod Johnson," that's not the first thing people think. There are still plenty of people outside College Station whose response would be, "Who?" Six wins in 2009 is a part of that.
But looking at his production last season, it's clear that he is the Big 12's best player and the top performer at its most important position. Only one quarterback (Blaine Gabbert) threw for more yards and only one quarterback (Austen Arnaud) ran for more yards. Johnson has plenty of talent around him to help produce those numbers, but he's the guy that makes it all go. He's big, smart, elusive and does whatever is necessary to move the ball.
He'll have the ball in his hands a lot in 2010, but he'll have the Aggies' fate, too. If he plays well, they'll have a chance at winning the division for the first time in a decade. If he plays poorly, they won't improve much past six wins.
The rest of the list:
No. 2: Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State
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