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

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. 12: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska

2010 numbers: David made 152 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss and made six sacks with eight passes broken up.

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

Making the case for David: The Huskers linebacker was everywhere for the Blackshirts in 2010. His 152 tackles were 19 more than anyone else in the Big 12 and third-most nationally. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder burst on the scene in his first season of major college football. Racking up stops is nothing new for David, though. As a juco star in 2009, he tackled some guy named Cam Newton 18 times in the national championship against Blinn (Texas) when he was at Fort Scott (Kan.).

David carried over that instinct and nose for the ballcarrier to the Blackshirts defense, flying around to make tackles and excelled in coverage as well. He racked up 16 stops in the conference opener against run-heavy Kansas State and finished with eight double-digit tackle performances in 13 games. With one more year left, he'll try to prove he can handle bigger linemen and bigger backs as a senior in the Big Ten with the Huskers.

The rest of the list: