2015 Big 12 unsung hero: West Virginia CB Terrell Chestnut

The Big 12 was full of unsung heroes in 2015.

While some players earned headlines and all-conference honors, others played a critical role in their team’s season. With the aim of recognizing those overshadowed contributors, we are going to take a closer look at one unsung hero per Big 12 team this week.

On Thursday, we conclude the series with West Virginia.

Senior cornerback Terrell Chestnut

2015 stats: Chestnut had 35 tackles including one tackle for loss, nine pass breakups, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Main contribution: The senior entered the year as the relatively unknown fifth starter in a secondary headlined by Karl Joseph and Daryl Worley while supplemented by Dravon Askew-Henry and K.J. Dillon. Yet there were times when Chestnut was the most productive defensive back on the squad. Time and again Chestnut showed up in big games, including strong performances against Oklahoma State and Maryland. He helped make West Virginia’s secondary among the Big 12’s best, even with Joseph lost to injury during the first half of the season. Chestnut essentially ensured there was no weak link in the group.

Best performances: Chestnut had seven tackles, five passes defensed and one interception against Oklahoma State. ... He had two tackles including one tackle for loss and one interception against Maryland.

Signature moment: Chestnut’s first five minutes against Kansas will be remembered as his stamp on a solid senior season. He forced a fumble on Kansas’ first drive, resulting in a Mountaineers touchdown, then returned a interception 32 yards for another score on the Jayhawks' next drive.

Other candidates: Wide receiver Daikiel Shorts; linebacker Jared Barber; defensive tackle Kyle Rose.