Big 12's top 25 players: Nos. 20-16

LB Elijah Lee was second-team All-Big 12 after posting 80 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions as a sophomore. Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

As fall camps open across the Big 12 this week, it's time to rank the conference's top 25 players entering the 2016 season. The exercise began Monday with Nos. 25-21.

This process requires much deliberation and never gets easier. Several talented players just missed the cut and could prove to be among the league's best by the end of the season.

Up next on the preseason list are Nos. 20-16.

20. Jordan Sterns, S, Oklahoma State

In 2014, he was the first OSU underclassmen in 18 years to post more than 100 tackles. He followed that breakout season with another 108 last year. Sterns earned the Leslie O'Neal Award as the outstanding defensive player at Oklahoma State while starting every game for a second consecutive season. A standout on special teams and in the secondary, he contributed a season-high 16 tackles in the Cowboys' November loss to Baylor. A season like the last two would rank Sterns among the top 10 tacklers in program history.

19. Elijah Lee, LB, Kansas State: The former defensive end flashed his potential in 2014 as a true freshman, recording 4.5 sacks. Last year, Lee started every game and led the Wildcats with 80 tackles to earn second-team all-league honors from the Big 12 coaches -- making Lee the first K-State freshman or sophomore to earn first- or second-team all-conference recognition since Mark Simoneau in 1998. Lee's three interceptions in 2015 were the most by a Kansas State linebacker since 2002.

18. Steven Parker, S, Oklahoma: A second-team All-Big 12 pick by ESPN.com last season as a sophomore, Parker is a versatile player in the secondary, starting eight games at strong safety, three at free safety and two at nickelback. His 60 tackles, including four behind the line of scrimmage with 1.5 sacks, improved on his numbers in 2014, when Parker was named the Big 12 defensive freshman of the year by league coaches. A former four-star recruit out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, he turned down Alabama and Ohio State, among others. With 10 career pass breakups, he's looking for his first interception as a Sooner.

17. KaVontae Turpin, WR, TCU: An electrifying piece of the Horned Frogs' high-powered offense as a true freshman last year, he earned five starts and ranked second to All-American Josh Doctson with 649 receiving yards and eight touchdowns on 45 catches. Turpin was a threat on kickoff returns and scored from 49 yards against Kansas on a punt return. He also completed one of two passes. Against Texas, he caught four touchdowns, the most by a freshman in league history, to earn co-Big 12 offensive player of the week and also topped 100 receiving yards in TCU's first loss of the year in Week 10 at Oklahoma State.

16. Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma: The son of "Zeus," a former 10-year NFL tackle by the same name, the younger Brown followed a redshirt season to step into the Sooners' lineup in 2015. One of 10 freshmen in OU history to start a game at tackle, he started all 13 on the left side for a College Football Playoff qualifier. At 6-foot-8 and 340 pounds, he is the perfect protector for Oklahoma's most valuable asset -- Heisman Trophy candidate Baker Mayfield. Brown was named second-team All-Big 12 and will be needed as a sophomore to anchor a young offensive line.