The Big 12's double-digit sack masters

We've taken a look at the league's possible offensive stars already:

But what about the guys who stop it?

The Big 12's had an interesting relationship with cracking the double-digit sack totals. It had just one (Von Miller) in 2010, but had five in 2009, including Miller's 17, which led the nation. In 2008, the league had five as well. In 2007, though? A year full of great quarterbacks and great offense? Just one player in the league had more than 6.5 sacks, and no one hit double digits.

This is the most exclusive group we've looked at thus far, considering that just 14 players cracked double-digit totals last season. The next smallest group we've looked at were 3,000-yard passers. Twenty-seven players hit that mark last season.

So, who from the Big 12 can do it in 2011?

Let's take a look. Once again, this isn't exactly a list of the league's best pass-rushers. But rather, a measure of the players with the best chance to crack 10 sacks.

Complicating matters? Just two of the top 11 pass-rushers in the Big 12 return to the league in 2011. This could get interesting.

1. Brad Madison, DE, Missouri -- Madison had, believe it or not, the most sacks of any player returning to the Big 12 next season. Most impressive? He did it as a sophomore reserve. Madison came to Missouri as an offensive lineman and has only been on the line for a year. He figures to make a big jump in 2011 as a full-time starter. The Tigers strength inside with Terrell Resonno, Dominique Hamilton and Sheldon Richardson (?) should make teams at least think before double-teaming him.

2. Damontre Moore, LB, Texas A&M -- Moore is the rawest player on the list, showing his potential in spot duty for the Big 12's sack king the past two seasons: Von Miller. He's likely to assume Miller's Joker role as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end. As his technique gets better, as he learns the game and gets stronger, the sophomore, who played as a true freshman in 2010, will get better and better.

3. Ronnell Lewis, DE, Oklahoma -- It finally looks like Ronnell Lewis' time has come. He's not the most instinctive Sooner, but he should be on the field as a rising junior for the biggest chunk of time of his career. He'll step in for a Big 12 legend in Jeremy Beal, and we'll find out pretty quick just how good Lewis really is, now that he's more than just a complimentary piece.

4. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas -- Jeffcoat was one of the nation's top prospects in the 2010 class. He looked like a budding star early in the season by dominating Texas Tech and had a great game in his first Red River Rivalry. He was sidelined and slowed by an ankle injury last season, but once he's back on the field and full strength, he'll show why he could develop into one of the best defensive ends in college football.

5. Tevin Elliott, DE, Baylor -- Elliott became a starter midway through last season, and finished with five sacks as a freshman in 2010. With a year of experience under his belt, a much better secondary and a new defensive coordinator, he could be in for a solid encore.

6. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma -- Alexander hasn't quite reached the astronomic expectations that followed his big freshman season in 2008, but he's still one of the most physically impressive pass rushers in the conference, if not the country. The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder has impressive speed for his size, and tied Madison as the Big 12's leading returning pass-rusher after making 7.5 sacks as a junior in 2010.

7. Jacquies Smith, DE, Missouri -- Smith has lots of experience and should be a three-year starter as a senior in 2011. He had 5.5 sacks in 2010 after just 1.5 as a junior. As part of the league's best defensive line, he could benefit from double teams and have a huge season.

8. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas -- Okafor wasn't an impact player at defensive tackle last season, but his effort in the spring was impossible to ignore. He was one of the team's most improved players overall, and had five sacks in the spring game. Will that continue into the season?

9. Tony Jerod-Eddie, DE, Texas A&M -- Eddie isn't a speed demon, but he should be one of the defense's vocal leaders in 2011. He may not rack up a ton of sacks, but the 300-pound senior will be in offensive backfields a whole lot next season.

My prediction: Madison, Moore, Jeffcoat