Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 3

Our official list of the Big 12's top 25 players entering the 2012 season marches on. Here's more on my criteria for who makes it, who doesn't and who lands where.

The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we'll be revealing one player a day leading up to the season.

We're now in the top 10, so these picks might get a little ugly. Got a beef? Let's squash it. Send your complaints here.

Next up on the list:

No. 3: Tavon Austin, WR/KR/PR, West Virginia

2011 numbers: Caught 101 passes for 1,186 yards and eight touchdowns. Rushed 16 times for 182 yards and a touchdown. Returned 36 kicks for 938 yards (avg. 26.06 yards) and two touchdowns. Returned 19 punts for 268 yards (avg. 14.11 yards).

Most recent ranking: Austin was (obviously) unranked in our postseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Austin: There's nothing quite like the feeling any college football fan gets when an explosive player gets a touch in the open field. Anything could happen, and you just might be getting ready to see something special. You want that feeling? Watch Austin as often as possible.

Last year, Baylor's Robert Griffin III held that title, but this year, there's absolutely zero doubt about the most explosive player in the Big 12. Austin is in a perfect role in an offense perfect for his skill set with a quarterback that can perfectly utilize him. Dana Holgorsen's offense is all about getting the ball out fast and getting it into the hands of players who can make plays after the catch.

That's Austin, even if he's only 5-foot-9 and 171 pounds. He's equal parts shifty and speedy, and will give Big 12 defenses fits just like he did in the Big East last year. Holgorsen's called Austin a "special" player all offseason, and it's been awhile since the Big 12 has seen a player who's as talented with his skill set.

If he stays healthy, he'll be a huge part of a special season in Morgantown.

The rest of the list: