Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 24

Our countdown of the Big 12's top-25 players continues today. The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing a new member of the list every day.

Here's a quick rundown on my criteria for this list.

No. 24: Nigel Malone, CB, Kansas State

2011 numbers: Made 58 tackles, and intercepted seven passes, returning one for a touchdown. He also broke up 10 passes.

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

Making the case for Malone: Bill Snyder's done it again. The man has an eye for juco talent. Malone was the next in a long line, and got his hands on as many balls as any corner in the league last year.

His seven interceptions were two more than any player in the Big 12 and ranked third nationally. Kansas State needed speed and talent on defense. Arthur Brown filled in the center of the defense. Malone was the man on the edge, making play after play and filling a valuable position of need in a pass-happy Big 12. Malone, a 5-foot-10, 176-pounder, arrived via City College of San Francisco, but is one of a handful of players with a shot to win the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.