Ranking the Big 12's best players: No. 18

The official list of the Big 12's top 25 players is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing the list day by day here on the blog. Here's a refresher on my exact criteria.

No. 18: Eric Hagg, DB, Nebraska

2010 numbers: Hagg made 49 tackles, including 41 solo and three tackles for loss. He intercepted five passes and his only punt return of the year went 95 yards for a touchdown against Texas. He also had a sack, broke up four passes and forced a fumble.

Most recent ranking: Hagg was unranked in our preseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Hagg: Hagg is a great example of the numbers not telling anything close to the story. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder plays the versatile Peso position for the Huskers' stingy pass defense that finished the season ranked No. 3 nationally. The hybrid linebacker/safety position was essential to the Peso defense's success. Hagg filled the void well, confusing quarterbacks and keeping Huskers opponents from completing more than half their passes. Only two other defenses nationally (TCU, Miami) were able to duplicate that feat. Nebraska had talent everywhere in the secondary, but Hagg was one of its best. He was always good for a big play, like the one he made against Texas or the interception he made to win the game against Iowa State.

The rest of the list: