Unknown names could fill the Big 12 pass-rushing void

Big 12 quarterbacks spent the past two seasons looking over their shoulder for Eric Striker, Emmanuel Ogbah, Pete Robertson and Shawn Oakman, when those four combined for 75 sacks.

All four players are gone now, leaving a pass-rushing void in the conference. Some talented pass-rushers return, though, including Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis and West Virginia defensive end Noble Nwachukwu. Yet there are some relatively unknown names who return and are known for their pass-rush skills. Here's a look at five pass-rushers who could become a quarterback's nightmare this fall.

DE Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas: The Houston, Texas native played in every game as a true freshman and showed signs he may be the most talented player on the entire Jayhawks roster. Armstrong Jr. had 3.5 sacks, five tackles for loss and four pass breakups during his debut season. He made quite the impression as a true freshman, recording a sack against South Dakota State on his first collegiate snap. Armstrong Jr. was at his best against some of the Big 12's best, managing a pair of sacks against Oklahoma and a season-high four tackles against Oklahoma State. This season, Armstrong should be even better as a sophomore who has a better feel for what it will take to star in the Big 12. The key will be his ability to overcome the added attention he should draw.

DE Gary Moore, Texas Tech: The Red Raiders will be hopeful Moore can step into the shoes of Robertson, who had 18 sacks during the past two seasons. Moore only started one game (against West Virginia) as a sophomore and didn't finish with eye-popping numbers, but recorded two sacks against Iowa State. As David Gibbs looks to fix the Red Raider defense, Moore could be a key component. Originally signed as a receiver, Moore has the athleticism to develop into a pass-rushing terror for Texas Tech. It's all potential now, but the Red Raiders will hope Moore can turn that potential into production during his junior season.

LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma: There's a real chance people nationwide would already know Okoronwko's name -- even if they couldn't spell it -- before this fall if Striker and Devante Bond hadn't been mainstays in the Sooners' defense. Even with Striker and Bond on the roster, Oklahoma still found ways to give Okoronkwo some limited opportunities to display his pass-rush skills as a sophomore. This season, he appears ready to step in as a primary pass-rusher and potential leader on the defense. Okoronkwo fits in well with an Oklahoma defense that features significant speed and athleticism but he will need to take advantage of the opportunity to have a bigger role in 2016.

DE Jarrell Owens, Oklahoma State: The Cowboys need to replace the pass-rushing prowess of Ogbah and Jimmy Bean and Owens could be one of the players Oklahoma State will count on this fall. As a redshirt freshman, Owens earned a spot in the defensive end rotation, finishing with three sacks, including sacks against TCU and Texas Tech in two of the Cowboys' most important wins of the season. This year Owens should be asked to take on a bigger role as one of the best pass-rushers on the team. No single player can replace Ogbah but Owens has shown glimpses of special pass-rushing skills that could be valuable in 2016.

DE Tanner Wood, Kansas State: Wood could be poised to have the biggest breakout season of anyone on this list thanks to the proven talent around him. Willis is one of the Big 12's best defenders while Elijah Lee can become a major pass-rushing threat in a pinch to give K-State's defense a lethal potential group of pass-rushers. After recording a pair of sacks as a sophomore, Wood could make offenses pay for focusing on Willis and Lee while becoming a key member of the Wildcats' defense.