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. 21: Tyler Lockett, WR/KR, Kansas State
2012 numbers: Caught 44 passes for 692 yards and four touchdowns. Returned 21 kicks for 688 yards ( 32.76 yards per return) and two touchdowns. Rushed seven times for 44 yards. Returned three punts for 44 yards (14.67 yards per punt).
Most recent ranking: Lockett was unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.
Making the case for Lockett: After a strong freshman debut that proved his value with the ball in his hands, 2012 would qualify as a breakout season for Lockett, though he may earn more national acclaim this season. Other than Lache Seastrunk, there may not be a more dangerous player in the Big 12, threatening to break the big play at any moment. Lockett, a Tulsa, Okla., native and the son of fellow K-State grad and NFL veteran Kevin Lockett, showed his pedigree and took major steps forward as a receiver in 2012. The sophomore helped carry K-State to a Big 12 title, and as is the case with any K-State receiver, you can't take his pure receiving numbers at face value in a run-heavy offense.
Only Kansas threw the ball fewer times than K-State last year, and Texas was No. 8, with 398 attempts to K-State's 315. In a fast-paced, passing offense like Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Texas Tech or Oklahoma that constantly threatens 500 pass attempts, I've got no doubt that Lockett would be a 1,000-yard receiver. His breakout game was against Oklahoma State as a freshman in 2011, when it was evident early on that K-State was intent on getting him as many touches as possible. He suffered a kidney injury that season that ended his year, but clearly took a big step in 2012 once he was healthy. By the end of 2013, don't be surprised to see Lockett in the top 10 of this list.
The rest of the list: