Ranking the Top 25 Big 12 players: No. 23

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. 23: Brad Madison, DE, Missouri

2010 numbers: Had 31 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. He also broke up two passes and forced two fumbles.

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

Making the case for Madison: Beware of the spin move. It's Madison's signature move and he showed it off in a big way against Texas A&M last season, when he burst on the scene with three sacks. For Madison, though, what's more impressive? That he's the only player on this list without full-time starting experience?

Or that a little over a year ago, he was an offensive lineman? Madison stepped in briefly last season for injured Aldon Smith and ended up leading the team in sacks. Now, he returns in 2011 as the Big 12's top returning sack master, loaded with upside after switching from the offensive line in spring 2010.

"You go speak at clinics about stuff like that," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said at Big 12 Media Days this week. "It's really amazing how he's done and how he's worked."

And the best is yet to come. Madison's modest career resume keeps him a little lower on this list, but he's my dark horse to win the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Favorite Travis Lewis is the only returning defender from the postseason list, so Madison may benefit from the wide open race.

The rest of the list: