Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 7

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 every day.

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

We're officially in the top 10 now. That means it could be a little heated from here on. Got beef? Send it to my mailbag, and we'll have a later post logging and answering your complaints.

No. 7: Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

2011 numbers: Carried the ball 317 times for 1,141 yards and 27 touchdowns. Threw for 1,918 yards and 13 touchdowns with six interceptions. Completed 161 of 281 passes (57.3 percent).

Most recent ranking: Klein was unranked in our preseason list of the top 25 players. He was, however, No. 23 on our midseason top 25 players list.

Making the case for Klein: The Big 12's Honey Badger checks in at No. 7 on our list after a crazy season in Manhattan that began with modest expectations and ended in the Cotton Bowl and a second-place finish in the Big 12 after a 10-win season.

That was the first in Manhattan since the Wildcats' Big 12 title season in 2003, but Klein was the biggest reason by far for the unforeseen success. Were you like me? Did you wonder if K-State's offense was sustainable with Klein taking a weekly beating and leaving every game bleeding?

It didn't matter. It was. Klein led the Big 12 in carries by 67 and was one of just five players to log a 1,000-yard rushing season. His 27 touchdowns tied Texas' Ricky Williams' Big 12 record and tied Ricky Dobbs' FBS record at Navy for quarterbacks.

We saw big growth in Klein as a passer, never more on display than in a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback against Texas A&M that set the stage for a quadruple-overtime win for the Wildcats.

K-State's workhorse will be back in 2012 and has a shot to mount a Heisman campaign if he keeps the Wildcats winning. He does it ugly, but he does it, and it's always fun to watch.

The rest of the list: