The Big 12 had eight players notch at least 100 tackles in 2011.
Of that group, five return. Here's a look at the Big 12's returning 100-tackle defenders.
1. A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State: Klein's no joke. He shared Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors with Frank Alexander, and is the Big 12's leading returning tackler. Only Kansas' Steven Johnson had more than Klein's 116 tackles in 2011. He's physical and a sure tackler, and ISU's defense has enjoyed the benefits.
2. Jake Knott, LB, Iowa State: Knott might just be a better overall talent than Klein, but played through injuries in 2011 and was limited throughout the season. He dislocated his shoulder twice in a loss to Baylor, and needed surgery after the season. Knott and Klein are legit, but when your linebackers both have 100-plus tackles and only 11.5 of those 200+ stops are tackles for loss, you've got a problem on the defensive line.
3. Sam Holl, S, Baylor: Like the backers at ISU, Holl is one of two Baylor safeties with 100 tackles. Thaaaaat's ... not a good thing. Holl and Mike Hicks were torched often, and racked up tackles as cornerbacks missed them. Holl had 113 stops.
4. Mike Hicks, S, Baylor: Hicks added 105 tackles of his own, but had just 3 interceptions and 2.5 tackles for loss. He broke up just five passes, too.
5. Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State: For my money, Brown is the single best talent on this entire list. He's fast. He's a sure tackler and he's smart. That's a good combination, without even mentioning his toughness. He gave a much needed speed boost to a very slow K-State defense in 2010, and led the Wildcats with 101 stops in 2011. He also had 9.5 tackles for loss and his one interception set up a season-changing victory over Baylor.