Ranking the Big 12's best players: No. 3

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.

We're inside the top 10 now, so things should heat up a little bit. Have a gripe with the list? Let me know in the mailbag.

No. 3: Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

2010 numbers: Broyles caught 131 passes for 1,622 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also returned 35 punts an average of 7.88 yards.

Most recent ranking: Broyles was ranked No. 5 in our preseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Broyles: For most of his career Broyles has been one of the league's toughest covers. That didn't change in 2010, when his 131 receptions were 12 more than any other receiver in the country. That number is inflated by Oklahoma's use of the bubble screen, but why do you think the Sooners throw it so much? One-on-one, Broyles might be the hardest player in the league to lay a solid shot on. He's quick, elusive, and has arguably the best hands in the league. Rarely, if ever, will you see him drop a pass, and he's earned quarterback Landry Jones' trust that way.

Inflated reception totals or not, yards are yards, and Broyles accounted for at least 100 of them in 10 games last season. He also topped 200 yards once and had a pair of three-touchdown games in conference play. His 1,622 yards were third-most nationally, and helped him earn a well-deserved spot as a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation's best receiver.

He should end up there again in 2011 with another big season for the Sooners. Jones is back at quarterback and he also targeted sophomore Kenny Stills to help take some pressure off Broyles. Stills broke Broyles' freshman receiving record, but the senior-to-be holds every other receiving record in Oklahoma's record book. Last season was the best receiving season in Oklahoma history, and with a year to go, Broyles already has the career record. He holds the game records for yards and receptions and the season record for touchdowns and receptions. Only one record remains: Jermaine Gresham's four touchdowns in a single game in 2007. We'll see if he gets it in 2011.

The rest of the list: