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11 Sooners Ranked on Athlon’s Top 50 Big 12 Players


July is coming to a close, and the preseason coverage is still going strong. Athlon put together

a list of the 50 best players in the Big 12 Conference

. The criteria for the player’s ranking was fair: career performance, NFL Draft stock, 2012 projections, your position’s important, and how important you are to the team.

The Sooners took up over 1/5 of the list, which featured 11 Sooners. Though, you may be surprised who Athlon thinks is the best player on the team based on their criteria, as well as where the first Sooner pops up on the list.

The top player in the conference is none other than West Virginia’s Geno Smith. He hasn’t played a down in the Big 12 yet, but his big BCS Bowl win last season has the media in love with Smith. I’ll admit he’s a great player, but let’s not be so quick to crown him as the king of the Big 12.

Coming in no. 2? Not Landry. Nope, Jackson Jeffcoat, defensive end for the Texas Longhorns, was ranked second by Athlon. After Jeffcoat it goes K-State’s Collin Klein, Oklahoma State’s Joseph Randle, WVU’s Tavon Austin, and Texas’ Alex Okafor. It isn’t until no. 7 that a Sooner showed up on Athlon’s Top 50 players in the conference.

And once again, no, it wasn’t Landry. It was….Tony Jefferson? Now don’t get me wrong, Jefferson is undoubtedly one of the best players on the team and is one of the most athletic guys in the nation. However, call me crazy, but I tend to think your starting quarterback is a bit more important than a converted safety. However, it seems like Athlon puts a lot of weight in to defensive players.

Three linebackers later, Landry Jones’ name finally appears at no. 11. Once again, the media has it fresh in their mind that Landry “struggled” in 2011. It’s not really important that it takes a receiver to catch a ball or an offensive line to give you time in the pocket. It’s ALL Landry’s fault for OU’s problems in 2011. End of story.

Regardless of the ongoing anti-Landry campaign, nine other Sooners were recognized by Athlon. Gabe Ikard wasn’t too far behind Jones, coming in at no. 14 as an offensive lineman. Down to no. 22 and no. 23, Trey Millard beat out Kenny Stills as the two are back-to-back Sooners on the list. Though, two other Sooners were back-to-back three spots down with Demontre Hurst at 27, and Ben Habern at 28.

Rounding out the list of Sooners were all defensive players. Tom Wort at 34, Corey Nelson at 35, David King at 37, and Aaron Colvin at 45.

Not too shabby for Oklahoma. Second to the Sooners are Texas with ten players on the list, and Oklahoma State added seven. Do you agree with the list or did Athlon get it wrong?