Top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 4

With signing day quickly approaching, it’s time to close the chapter on the 2013 season. We’re counting down the top 25 players in the Big 12 in 2013 over the next few days with a list collaboratively selected by Jake Trotter, Brandon Chatmon and Max Olson. We continue the postseason countdown with the No. 4 player in the Big 12.

No. 4: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Previous ranking: Gilbert was No. 22 in the blog’s preseason list of the Big 12’s top 25 players.

Making the case for Gilbert: He took his game to another level as a senior, earning All-American honors as arguably the Big 12’s top defender. Gilbert’s coverage skills and playmaking ability changed games, and his interception returns for touchdowns against Iowa State and Texas were momentum-changing plays in those victories. Gilbert’s speed, acceleration and ball skills made it unwise for Big 12 quarterbacks to throw his way.

Overall, Gilbert allowed OSU’s defense to be creative knowing he could take an opposing receiver out of the game. And his kick-return prowess was second to none. He finished with 42 tackles, seven interceptions, seven passes broken up and two interception returns for touchdown along with his 25.17 yards per kick return which included one touchdown.

Gilbert finally realized the promise he showed during his first three years in Stillwater, Okla., and became an elite cornerback who impacted games with his unique talent and playmaking skills.

The rest of the list: