Mel Kiper is walking through his top players nationally at each position, and his latest piece put the microscope on defensive tackles.
No Big 12 players made Kiper's top five, but a pair from the conference cracked the top 10. TCU's Chucky Hunter was overshadowed by Devonte Fields and Stansly Maponga last season, but he's No. 7 on Kiper's list. Kiper says he's ready for a breakout year and moves extremely well for a 6-foot-1, 305-pounder from Louisiana.
Oklahoma State's Calvin Barnett grew up a lot last season and makes an appearance at No. 10. I believed Barnett was already one of the league's best defensive linemen, and Kiper agrees. He thinks Barnett will be in for a big year now that there's no need for adjustment from the junior college game, where he spent his first two seasons before starting for the Cowboys last season.
Barnett got off to a rough start with a run of personal fouls in a frustrating road loss to an average Arizona team last season, but after a talk with Mike Gundy, didn't make those same mistakes much the rest of the season. The 6-foot-2, 300-pounder was a big-time recruit coming out of high school, and only improved his physical skills after having to play juco ball. He's a handful for offensive lines, and don't be surprised if he's in the mix for the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.