The top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 4

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. 4: Gabe Ikard, C, Oklahoma

2012 numbers: Helped Oklahoma's offense rack up 6,482 total yards, good for fourth in the Big 12. Anchored an offensive line that gave up just 15 sacks on 571 pass attempts, third-fewest in the Big 12.

Most recent ranking: Ikard was No. 9 in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Ikard: Ikard is a coaches' dream. What more could Oklahoma ask from him? As a redshirt freshman in 2010, he started 12 games at left guard and earned freshmen All-American honors after logging 72 knockdowns. He had 88 the next season, but had to move to center after Ben Habern suffered an injury. In the middle of fall camp the next season, Ikard made the move from guard to center again after Habern retired from the game because of injuries.

He was one of the Big 12's best as a junior and earned an All-Big 12 first-team nod. Oh, and he's an Academic All-American, too. He's a converted tight end who has added about 50 pounds since signing with the Sooners, and now holds together the middle of the Sooners' line at 6-foot-3 and 298 pounds. He's done everything Oklahoma's needed him to do, and he's excelled at it all. Now, he's one of the Big 12's best overall talents.

The rest of the list: