Ranking the Big 12's best players: No. 23

The official list of the Big 12's top 25 players is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing the list day-by-day here on the blog. Here's a refresher on my exact criteria.

No. 23: Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma

2010 numbers: Made 96 tackles and intercepted four passes. He made 2.5 tackles for loss, broke up six passes and recovered a fumble.

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

Making the case for Carter: If this list was based on off-the-field accomplishments, Carter would be college football's No. 1. His work with his non-profit foundation, SOUL (Serving Others through Unity and Leadership) in Norman, Okla., and his hometown of Las Vegas helped him earn the Wooden Award, equivalent to the Heisman Trophy open to all of college athletics. On the field, though, Carter put in an All-American-caliber season and retained his status as one of the Big 12's hardest hitters, a true enforcer on the back line of the defense. With apologies to Nebraska's versatile defensive backs, he was the best safety in the Big 12 in 2010, and the Sooners will be pressed to fill his void next year now that the two-year starter is headed for the NFL. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder was everywhere for Oklahoma's defense, and even when he wasn't making plays on the ball, any receiver looking for a pass deep or over the middle was well-served to know where Carter was located.

The rest of the list:

  • No. 24: Tim Barnes, C, Missouri

  • No. 25: Lyle Leong, WR, Texas Tech