Defensive Lineman: Devonte Fields (TCU)—Lord have mercy on future
Big 12 quarterbacks; this true freshman was second in the league in sacks with
nine. Lord have mercy on future NFL quarterbacks.
Defensive Lineman: Meshak Williams (Kansas State)—At the other end
of the age spectrum is Wildcat senior Meshak Williams
who tallied 9.5 quarterback hits to go along with 36 tackles, 12.5 tackles for
loss and three forced fumbles.
Kerry Hyder (Texas Tech)—This junior from
Austin is the best defensive tackle in the Big 12. Like all great DTs, Hyder has a high-revving motor. If he can pack on another
10 pounds, Hyder will play well at the next level.
Defensive Lineman: Cleyon Lang (Iowa State)—Jake McDonough got much
of the DT press for Iowa State, but Lang emerged from the shadows to have a
superlative season. Combined, Lang and McDonough was the best defensive tackle
tandem in the Big 12.
Linebacker: Eddie Lackey (Baylor)—The Bears finished the regular season with three
straight wins. The reason for this hot streak was a dramatically improved
defense. And Lackey catalyzed that improvement. He finished the season with 99
tackles, eight tackles for loss and four interceptions.
Linebacker: Joel Hasley (TCU)—Hasley was
a complete unknown before the season started, but after leading the
conference’s best run defense in tackles, he’s obscure no more. Fellow backer
Kenny Cain was almost Hasley’s equal.
Linebacker: Arthur Brown (Kansas State)—This transfer from Miami received much preseason
ink, and he lived up to it. Brown plays the run and the pass equally well.
Cornerback: Aaron Colvin (Oklahoma)—The Big 12 is loaded with premium cornerbacks, and
Colvin is one of the very best. His athleticism is beyond amazing.
Cornerback: Jason Verrett (TCU)—Junior college transfer Verrett turned into arguably the Big 12’s most feared
cornerback. The very definition of a “lock-down corner,” Verrett
led the conference with six interceptions.
Safety: Cody Davis
(Texas Tech)—There may not have been a better tackler in the Big 12
than Davis. Without his tough, sure tackling in the open field, the Red Raider
defense would have been a mess.
Safety: Tony Jefferson (Oklahoma)—The Sooners consistently produce the best
secondary talent in college football, and Jefferson is a prime example. He
plays like a linebacker and was second in the Big 12 with 113 tackles.
Punter: Kirby Van Der
Kamp (Iowa State)—Van Der Camp didn’t have an eye-popping yards per
punt average, but nobody in America was better at nailing the coffin corner and
getting great hang time. He has a deft foot.
Kicker: Quinn Sharp
(Oklahoma State)—Sharp has a big-league leg. When his focus is on, he
is money from well beyond 50 yards.
Kick Returner: Tyler Lockett (Kansas State)—The football playing Locketts
are a fleet of rockets, and Tyler is the latest in the family arsenal. His 33
yards per return was untouchable.
Punt Returner: Justin Brown (Oklahoma)—Returning punts is a lost art, but it’s one Justin Brown has mastered. His 13.6 yards per
return was easily the best in the conference.