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.
No. 12: Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State
2011 numbers: Made 114 tackles (73 solo) and four tackles for loss. Intercepted two passes. Also forced three fumbles and broke up two passes.
Most recent ranking: Knott was ranked No. 10 in our preseason list of the top 25 players.
Making the case for Knott: The Cyclones linebacker showed big promise as a freshman in 2009, and since taking over the starting job as a sophomore, has been one of the Big 12's most productive players. That didn't change this year, when he was the Big 12's No. 4 tackler. Since becoming the starter in 2010, he's made 244 tackles.
It wasn't widely reported, but Knott played all year with a painful, banged-up shoulder that popped out of place several times, including twice in a loss to Baylor. Knott, however, didn't miss a game and the 6-foot-2, 243-pounder had double-digit tackle totals in six games this year.
It's been touched on in this blog, but Knott just may be the toughest player in the entire league. Expect a big season in 2012 as Knott takes the field as a senior with legitimate defensive player of the year aspirations.
The rest of the list:
No. 13: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
No. 14: Henry Josey, RB, Missouri
No. 15: Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
No. 16: Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas
No. 17: Kelechi Osemele, LT, Iowa State
No. 19: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
No. 20: Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
No. 21: Grant Garner, C, Oklahoma State
No. 22: Ronnell Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
No. 23: Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M
No. 24: Nigel Malone, CB, Kansas State
No. 25: Damontre Moore, LB, Texas A&M