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

Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

Next up on the list:

No. 24: Ben Habern, C, Oklahoma

2011 numbers: Helped the Sooners rank third in the Big 12 with more than 512 yards of offense. Had 39 knockdowns.

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

Making the case for Habern: The Sooners' senior center has been around the block plenty of times and fought through injuries to do it. Last year, he missed five games with a broken right arm and missed the last two games of 2009 with a broken ankle. Now, he's trying to come back from offseason neck surgery that fused together two of his vertebrae, a fix from an old high school injury.

Still, he's back and ready to claim his spot as one of the Big 12's premier offensive linemen. He's the guy who snaps it to Landry Jones (and Blake Bell, sometimes) in Oklahoma's shotgun-heavy spread offense. He joins teammate Gabe Ikard as two-fifths of what should be one of the league's top offensive lines. Habern's best season came in 2010 when he started all 14 games for the Big 12 champion Sooners, making 123 knockdowns, including 16 in a blowout win over Colorado. Watch for 2012 to be even better from the Argyle, Texas, native.

The rest of the list: