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OU TE Gresham ranks as No. 4 player in Big 12

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

No. 4

Jermaine Gresham made the most of his first full season as a starter, developing into one of the nation's top tight ends.

Gresham
And that strong debut may only be the beginning for the Oklahoma senior, who could be poised to become Oklahoma's top receiver this season.

Gresham was projected to be a high first-round draft pick if he had declared for the NFL draft earlier this year. Instead, he chose to return along with Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy and Trent Williams to challenge for another national championship.

The four players are all expected to be first-round draft picks next season if they remain healthy. Playing in another BCS title game would be the fulfillment of why they all returned to school.

Player: Jermaine Gresham
Team: Oklahoma
Position: Tight end
Vitals: 6-foot-6, 261 pounds; Sr.; Ardmore, Okla.

Why he was picked: Gresham was a finalist for the Mackey Award and earned All-American honors after producing 66 receptions and a team-best 14 touchdown grabs last season. His 950 yards were the most in a season by an Oklahoma tight end and his receptions ranked second all-time for an Oklahoma tight end. Gresham has produced 26 touchdown grabs in his career, five behind school career leader Mark Clayton. Gresham really came on late last season, producing 25 receptions in the final three games of the season. He caught multiple touchdowns in five games last season and had at least one touchdown in nine games.

What 2009 will hold: As productive as Gresham was last season, he could emerge as an even bigger offensive weapon because of Oklahoma's questions at wide receiver. Considering that, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that Gresham could produce 80 catches and 1,000 receiving yards if he remains healthy. If he can post those numbers, he would go down in history as perhaps the greatest player at his position in school history and a legitimate contender for national honors. Improved blocking will make pro scouts take notice and make him a potential pick at the top of the first round of next year's draft.

The countdown:

5. Baylor QB Robert Griffin
6. Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh
7. Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy
8. Oklahoma State RB Kendall Hunter
9. Oklahoma LB Travis Lewis
10. Kansas QB Todd Reesing
11. Oklahoma RB-KR DeMarco Murray
12. Oklahoma State T Russell Okung
13. Texas DE-LB Sergio Kindle
14. Oklahoma T Trent Williams
15. Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon
16. Baylor LB Joe Pawelek
17. Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson
18. Texas WR-KR Jordan Shipley
19. Oklahoma RB Chris Brown
20. Nebraska I-back Roy Helu Jr.
21. Texas Tech DT Colby Whitlock
22. Kansas WR-KR Dezmon Briscoe
23. Oklahoma DE Jeremy Beal
24. Kansas S Darrell Stuckey
25. Texas Tech RB Baron Batch
26. Kansas QB-WR Kerry Meier
27. Texas T Adam Ulatoski
28. Oklahoma State LB 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-KR 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 Bran
don Harold
40. Oklahoma FB Matt Clapp