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

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.

You can see more on my criteria earlier today.

First up on the list:

No. 25: Damien Williams, RB, Oklahoma

2012 numbers: Rushed for 946 yards and 11 touchdowns on 176 carries. Averaged 5.38 yards per carry. Caught 34 passes for 320 yards and a touchdown.

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

Making the case for Williams: Nobody knew who Williams was until late in Oklahoma's season-opening win against UTEP last season. Highly recruited backs like Roy Finch and Brennan Clay garnered all the attention in the preseason, but Williams, a first-year juco transfer, won the job in midseason and left no question about who Oklahoma's best back would be in 2012.

He has the potential to do even more with an offseason of first-team reps and no question about his spot as the Sooners' featured back. He'll be a senior this season, and plenty of NFL teams will be watching him. He's deceptively fast and has fantastic vision. Look no further than his run against UTEP, plus a 95-yarder against Texas, an 89-yard run against Florida A&M and runs of 66 and 48 yards against TCU and West Virginia, respectively.