Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 23

Our countdown of the Big 12's top-25 players continues today. The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing a new member of the list every day.

Here's a quick rundown on my criteria for this list.

No. 23: Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M

2011 numbers: Carried the ball 198 times for 1,045 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also caught 31 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns.

Most recent ranking: Gray was ranked No. 9 in our preseason list of the top 25 players.

Making the case for Gray: Texas A&M needed Gray, and once again, Gray stepped up, despite missing the final two games of the season with an injury. Christine Michael suffered a torn ACL, and in the two games after the injury, Gray rushed 39 times for 312 yards and five touchdowns, his best portion of the season. The Big 12's leading returning rusher predictably split carries with Michael early in the season, but answered the call when he inherited the load for the Aggies.

A stress fracture in his shoulder kept him out of a painful loss to Texas and a bowl win over Northwestern, but he rushed for 90 yards in seven games and topped 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season. Well done, sir.