Multifaceted RB Batch ranks as No. 25 among Big 12 players

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

No. 25

Baron Batch emerged as a productive player last season after missing the 2007 season with an Achilles injury. And he could be poised for an even bigger season as the leading returning rusher for Texas Tech in 2009.

Running backs in Mike Leach's system are asked to run, catch and pass block. Batch excelled in all three facets as he helped the Red Raiders claim an unprecedented share of the Big 12 South title last season.

Even bigger things could be in store for him this season if Batch can remain healthy and productive. His team definitely will need him to be.

Player: Baron Batch
Team: Texas Tech
Position: Running back
Vitals: 5-foot-11, 200 pounds; Jr.; Midland, Texas

Why he was picked: Batch developed into a proficient threat for the Red Raiders last season, leading them in rushing with 758 yards and seven touchdowns and adding 45 receptions for 449 yards. Batch averaged 6.78 yards per carry to lead all rushers in the league. And he also led the Red Raiders' running backs in receptions. And all of this was done while sharing playing time with Shannon Woods last season.

What 2009 will hold: With the loss of quarterback Graham Harrell, wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Woods, look for the Red Raiders to lean on Batch more than ever.

It's hard to believe that he will ever be used as a ball carrier like many of the other elite backs in the conference, but Leach might tweak his role a little bit this season with the lack of other proven playmakers around him and new quarterback Taylor Potts trying to break in as a starter. If Batch can stay healthy, it's not a reach to think he could flirt with a 1,000-yard rushing season and serve as the team's primary offensive catalyst.

The countdown:

26. Kansas WR-QB Kerry Meier
27. Texas T Adam Ulatoski
28. Oklahoma State S Andre Sexton
29. Missouri G Kurtis Gregory
30. Missouri RB Derrick Washington
31. Texas Tech LB Brian Duncan
32. Texas S Earl Thomas
33. Kansas State WR Brandon Banks
34. Oklahoma LB Keenan Clayton
35. Baylor S Jordan Lake
36. Oklahoma State CB/KR Perrish Cox
37. Texas C Chris Hall
38. Texas Tech DE/DT McKinner Dixon
39. Kansas State DE Brandon Harold
40. Oklahoma FB Matt Clapp