The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 18

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. 18: Calvin Barnett, DT, Oklahoma State

2012 numbers: Made 30 tackles, including nine tackles for loss and a sack. Also broke up a pass.

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

Making the case for Barnett: Barnett was committed to Oklahoma State for a long while out of high school, but signed with Arkansas and eventually went the junior college route. After picking up two personal fouls on one play in a frustrating loss to Arizona early in the season, plenty of OSU fans were ready to send Barnett back to junior college. He bounced back, though, and spent the rest of the season showing the folks in Stillwater why he was so highly sought after coming out of junior college.

The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Tulsa native was invaluable to OSU's defense over the rest of the season. He's got the three-billed frame of a defensive tackle, but has fantastic athleticism and proved himself as the Big 12's best defensive tackle in 2012. The position has been thin for a long while across the Big 12, but Barnett earned Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors for his debut season in Stillwater. He won't get as much attention as some guys like Shaun Lewis or Justin Gilbert, but Barnett will be as responsible for any OSU defensive surge this season as either of those two. Big bodies who can collapse the pocket and make life easier for defensive ends and linebacker are way, way underrated in slowing the run and getting Big 12 passing offenses out of their tempo and comfort zone mid-play, and Barnett can do that better than any tackle in the league.

The rest of the list: