The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 24

We're counting down to the beginning of the season with the top 25 players in the Big 12. The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing players from the bottom of the list all the way to No. 1.

Here's more on my criteria.

Let's move on with the list:

No. 24: Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State

2012 numbers: Made 58 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Also broke up four passes and forced a fumble.

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

Making the case for Lewis: Some people want to label Lewis' past two seasons a disappointment after he won the Big 12's Defensive Freshman of the Year award in 2010, but I think his skill set has been limited by Oklahoma State's schemes, and he's a lot more talented than his numbers would suggest.

That's going to show this season in new coordinator Glenn Spencer's more aggressive defense, which should allow Lewis to spend more time doing what he does best: Getting into the offensive backfield. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder is a missile when he gets a head of steam, and he provides much-needed speed as an outside linebacker for a defense that should be much-improved in 2013.

The rest of the list: