Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 16

Our countdown of the Big 12's top 25 players continues. 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. 16: Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas

2011 numbers: Made 117 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss. He had three sacks, broke up five passes and forced a fumble.

Most recent ranking: Acho was ranked No. 24 in our preseason list of the top 25 players.

Making the case for Acho: Acho's older brother Sam carried Texas' defense in 2010. But it was Emmanuel who took the lead in 2011 as one of the leaders of the Big 12's best defense. Acho, Keenan Robinson and Blake Gideon were the elder statesmen of the unit, but Acho was the most productive.

His 117 tackles led the team by 19 stops and were third-most in the Big 12. His 14.5 tackles for loss were fifth-most in the Big 12. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder is a solid rock in the middle of the defense and a sure tackler that plays with tons of instinct. He earned an All-Big 12 nod and was a semifinalist for the Academic Heisman and a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy.

The rest of the list: