In today’s mailbag, we discuss the Top 25 Big 12 player countdown, underrated Big 12 players, viable Big 12 Heisman candidates and the outlooks for many of the league’s teams.

I took Twitter questions for this mailbag. But you can always submit a mailbag entry the traditional way by clicking here.

On to the 'bag:

Chris in Edmond, Oklahoma, writes: I'm really surprised to that Tyreek Hill was the only player on the Top 25 ranking from Oklahoma State. Desmond Roland only started for half of last season and still led the league in TDs. I'm also surprised not to see James Castleman or Kevin Peterson on this list. Other candidates with very strong possibilities: Jhajuan Seales, Ryan Simmons and Jimmy Bean. I expect Oklahoma State to have a year similar to 2010 and the end of year awards/player rankings to reflect the talent on this roster.

Jake Trotter: Who knows, Chris, you might be right. I remember many people picked that 2010 team to finish sixth in the Big 12 South. Instead, they won 11 games. All the guys you mentioned are good players. But there are a lot of good players in the league. Hill, to me, is the most likely to be great, which is why he cracked the list. There’s a reason why Mike Gundy is saying he wants to get Hill the ball 20 times, at the least, per game. It would not surprise me at all if Peterson or Seales had All-Big 12 caliber seasons. But I think Hill could be special.


Bob in Oklahoma City writes: How is Bryce Petty No. 1 in your top 25? He’s a system QB.

Trotter: Yeah, a system quarterback who’s also going to be a first-round pick next spring.


Nealyo in Olathe, Kansas, writes: Can Kansas be considered a sleeper team? With an improved line (which still needs improvement) and a few new position players, do they have the ability to shock-and-awe a few conference wins?

Trotter: With nine starters back defensively and some viable options (finally) at wide receiver, I think Kansas will be improved. But I’m not ready to call the Jayhawks a sleeper. After all, they have only one victory in their last 30 Big 12 games.

We also took Twitter questions for today’s mailbag…

Trotter: There are a few candidates for this, including the Big 12 co-favorites. Oklahoma has to go to Iowa State the week before hosting Baylor. The Sooners could get caught looking ahead. Baylor, meanwhile, has to go to Ames the week before traveling to Texas. The Bears could get caught looking ahead, too. I also think Texas Tech could be ripe Nov. 15. The Red Raiders' November woes have been well-documented. But Tech will be coming off back-to-back home games against Texas and Oklahoma. They'll also have the tilt with Baylor at Cowboys Stadium the following week. Will they have anything left in the emotional well for the Cyclones? Iowa State is going to upset someone in Ames this year. I'm just not sure who.

Trotter: Right now, there is no backup plan. Blake Bell is at tight end, Baker Mayfield is in ineligible and the young quarterbacks don't look ready yet. If Knight struggles, so will the Sooners. But I'd be more worried about Knight getting nicked up then him not playing well.

Trotter: Definitely the Mountaineers. They have the most talent of the three. The schedule is West Virginia's biggest problem. The Mountaineers could be better and still only go 5-7. That's how tough this schedule is. But if they can survive the September portion of the schedule, this is a team that could get back to bowl eligibility.

Trotter: The ceiling is a Big 12 title. Even with last week's player purge, Texas has no real weaknesses elsewhere. If David Ash is healthy and consistently plays like one of the three best quarterbacks in the league, then the Longhorns could contend with Oklahoma, Baylor and Kansas State for the Big 12 crown. But, as the last couple of years have shown, that is one big if.

Trotter: Top 60 seems a little optimistic, considering Tech ranked 85th last year. Oklahoma State had the best defense in the Big 12 last season, and only ranked 53rd nationally. That's just the result of running an up-tempo offense that forces your defense to defend a lot of plays on the other side. The key for Tech will be getting stops in the red zone and forcing turnovers, to give its potent offense short fields.

Trotter: The defensive line is going to be really good. Shawn Oakman is a budding superstar and Andrew Billings is right behind him. Bryce Hager is also one of the best linebackers in the league. The Bears feel good about their cornerbacks and safeties, but those guys haven't played a lot yet. They also don't have a thumper like Ahmad Dixon. But if the D-line proves to be as good as Art Briles thinks it will be, there might not be as much fall-off defensively as everyone is expecting. We'll see.

Trotter: The league is deep at wide receiver. Everyone knows about Tyler Lockett and Antwan Goodley. But keep an eye on the likes Oklahoma State's Jhajuan Seales, Baylor's Corey Coleman and Texas Tech's Reginald Davis. Those three guys have the potential to break out with big seasons.

Trotter: Don't sleep on incoming freshman Steven Parker.

Trotter: Petty, and probably Knight (because of the playoff potential) and Lockett (because he returns kicks, too).
This week ESPN.com took on the monumental task of ranking the top 100 players in college football into the 2014 season. The rankings were done based on the expected contributions of each player for the 2014 season, regardless of position.

Today brings the final unveiling with Nos. 20-1. And the Big 12’s top returning player placed close to the top:

No. 7: Baylor QB Bryce Petty

Petty is very deserving of a place among the top 10 players, and he’s slated alongside impressive company, just behind Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon, and one spot ahead of Alabama wideout Amari Cooper.

Though he’s seventh overall, Petty is the fourth quarterback behind Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Braxton Miller. I would have slotted Petty ahead of Miller, but the voting was very close between the two.

Petty is on the short list of Heisman Trophy contenders going into the season. If he somehow improves on his amazing 2013 passing stat line of 4,340 yards, 33 touchdowns and only three interceptions – and leads Baylor back into Big 12 title and playoff contention – he will be a factor in the Heisman race.

I hope everyone enjoyed the top 100 this week as well as our unveiling of the top 25 players in the Big 12.

Pretty soon, we'll be talking about actual games again.

Big 12 lunchtime links

August, 1, 2014
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Baylor receiver Clay Fuller's wedding proposal was pretty soild.
Sam Eguavoen is entering unfamiliar territory.

The Texas Tech linebacker will have the same defensive coordinator for the first time in his Red Raiders career as Matt Wallerstedt returns to run the defense for the second straight season under Kliff Kingsbury. The continuity on that side of the ball is one reason Kingsbury believes his defense can reach higher heights in 2014.

"That's big for them," Kingsbury said. "Two years having the same defensive staff in place with the same terminology. I can tell this spring they weren't thinking as much. They were actually flying around with the football."

A key member of Tech's defense since his freshman season, Eguavoen started five games for Chad Glasgow as a true freshman in 2011 and 10 games for Art Kaufman as a sophomore in 2012 before starting all 13 games after Wallerstedt arrived alongside Kingsbury a year ago. It will be the first time since 2009 that the Red Raiders program returns the same defensive coordinator.

"It helps a lot, we all have the scheme down," said Eguavoen, who enters the year with 152 career tackles. "Just because I'm a senior does not mean I know the defense better than someone who was a freshman last year. I was new to that defense just like he was."

The senior insists that with the continuity comes the removal of any excuses for his returning teammates on the defensive side of the football. Even though Tech loses defensive tackle Kerry Hyder, linebacker Will Smith and safety Tre Porter, who joined him in the top four in tackles for Tech last season, Eguavoen expects the Red Raider defense to be as good or better in 2014.

"People talk about we have key losses but it's really like we haven't lost anybody," Eguavoen insists. "Because those young guys were learning the scheme at the same time those guys were. They're coming into this season knowing twice as much as those seniors knew about the defense, so I have full confidence in the people behind me, to the left and right of me."

Tech's defense had plenty of struggles in 2013, finishing in the bottom half of the Big 12 in points allowed (30.5, seventh), total yards allowed (418.5, seventh) and rushing yards allowed (201.5, ninth). But Eguavoen believes the defense's performance in Tech's 37-23 win over Arizona State in the National University Holiday Bowl can be a spring board for this year's unit.

"If we just pop on the game tape of the bowl game, that just showed what we're really capable of," he said. "That's the expectation this season, we've increased our standards. Incoming freshmen, juco guys, they all know what we expect of them."

Top Big 12 players: Nos. 5-1

August, 1, 2014
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With the season just a month away, we’ve used this week to rank the top 25 players in the Big 12.

You can click here to see the previous four installments.

Today, we wrap up the series with who we think the top five players in the league will be in 2014:

5. Cedric Reed, DE, Texas: Overshadowed by his Big 12 defensive player of the year teammate in 2013, Reed had almost as productive a season as Jackson Jeffcoat. Reed was third in the Big 12 with 10 sacks, fourth with 19 tackles for loss and tied for first with five forced fumbles. With Jeffcoat gone, Reed takes over as the centerpiece of coach Charlie Strong’s defense. He bring as much speed off the corner as any defensive end in the league and could play himself into the first round of the NFL draft with another big season.

4. Eric Striker, LB, Oklahoma: He’s the Lawrence Taylor of the Big 12. Striker still needs to refine other parts of his game, but when it comes to rushing the passer off the blitz, there’s no one better in the country. Everyone remembers his three sacks in the Allstate Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, including the game-clinching forced fumble that led to an exclamation-point touchdown. But Striker had a penchant for creating big plays all season. On the first possession at Notre Dame, Striker slammed into quarterback Tommy Rees, knocking the ball into the air and into the arms of linebacker Corey Nelson, who gave the Sooners a quick 7-0 lead on the way to a 35-21 victory. Reed, Shawn Oakman and Ryan Mueller are all double-digit sack contenders, but Striker could be the odds-on favorite to win the Big 12’s sack crown in 2014.

3. Antwan Goodley, WR, Baylor: Goodley was arguably the league’s most improved player in 2013. He exploded right along with the Baylor offense, hauling in 1,339 receiving yards and a Big 12-best 13 touchdown catches. The big-play deep threat also led the nation with five receptions of 60 yards or more. Goodley won’t sneak up on anyone this season, but that doesn’t mean anyone will be able to contain him. The Bears have plenty of other weapons in the passing game and one of the nation’s top quarterbacks to get him the ball in Bryce Petty. Goodley has a legitimate chance to join Justin Blackmon and Michael Crabtree as the third Big 12 wideout to win Biletnikoff Award.

2. Tyler Lockett, WR, Kansas State: One of Goodley’s prime competitors for the Biletnikoff Award figures to be Lockett. Prone to utterly unconscious performances in big games, Lockett combined for 35 receptions, 631 yards and six touchdowns in the three games against Texas, Oklahoma and Michigan last season. He’ll have a prime opportunity to show the nation what he can do in September, when defending SEC champion Auburn visits Manhattan, Kansas, for a Thursday night clash. Lockett is on pace to break every school career receiving record held by his father, Kevin Lockett. Tyler Lockett will square off against Goodley in the final week of the regular season in a showdown featuring two of the best wideouts to come through the Big 12.

1. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor: The Dairy Queens in Salem, Oregon, might not appreciate Petty, but we do here, as slotting Petty No. 1 was the easiest decision we made while putting together this top-25 player ranking. In his first season as a starting quarterback, Petty totaled 46 touchdowns and threw just three interceptions while earning Big 12 offensive player of the year honors. It will be difficult for Petty to replicate such gaudy numbers, but with a year of experience behind him operating Art Briles' offense, Petty should be even sharper in 2014. If he is, he’ll have a chance to become the second Baylor quarterback to capture the Heisman Trophy in the past four seasons.

That’s it for our top 25 player ranking. Did we get it right? Send your thoughts to the Big 12 mailbag.
Oklahoma was the lone Big 12 team to receive a first-place vote in the preseason Amway Coaches Poll, which was released on Thursday. The Sooners are the conference’s highest ranked team at No. 3 with Baylor, Kansas State and Texas joining OU as Big 12 representatives in the poll. Florida State, the defending national champion, is ranked No. 1.

Here’s the actual rank for each Big 12 team and a couple of quick thoughts on the ranking:

No. 3 Oklahoma (1382 points, 3 first-place votes): The momentum from OU’s Allstate Sugar Bowl win over Alabama continues but the Sooners still find themselves looking up at No. 2 Alabama in this preseason ranking. If OU, particularly quarterback Trevor Knight, plays like it did against the Crimson Tide, there’s no reason to think the Sooners can’t fulfill this ranking or higher. If not, they’ll likely find themselves outside of the top 10 at some point this season.

No. 10 Baylor (965 points): The Bears could be ranked even higher after a stellar 2013 campaign but memories of Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles making big plays against BU’s defense have cast a shadow that’s made people forget the Bears' 11-1 regular season and first Big 12 title. With Bryce Petty at the helm, Baylor has the ability to rise to the top of this poll. But it won’t happen until some untested players step up on defense.

No. 21: Kansas State (257 points): The Wildcats enter the season with plenty of respect after a strong end to the 2013 season and their first bowl win in 11 years. Quarterback Jake Waters and receiver Tyler Lockett are one of college football’s top quarterback-receiver duos and defensive end Ryan Mueller is disruptive and productive. A playmaker emerging at running back could be the key to K-State rising higher than No. 21 this season.

No. 24: Texas (143 points): The Longhorns are an interesting case. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Charlie Strong’s team rise into the top 10, but it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see UT fall out of the rankings altogether. UCLA provides a tough early-season test but also an opportunity for the Longhorns to send a Strong message to the nation.

NR/RV Oklahoma State (56 points): It wouldn’t be the first time the Cowboys entered the season with muted expectations then rose up the Big 12 standings and national polls. A date with No. 1 Florida State to start the season will be the first opportunity for Mike Gundy’s squad to show the world they’re being underestimated yet again.

NR/RV TCU (54 points): Gary Patterson’s squad is nipping at the heels of OSU despite a 4-8 season a year ago. We can always count on the Horned Frogs to play good defense, so TCU’s new offense would likely be the key reason if it finds itself as a consistent member of this Top 25 this season.

NR/RV Texas Tech (8 points): The Red Raiders’ National University Holiday Bowl win was an impressive finish to the 2013 season. The Sooners got all the attention but Tech and Davis Webb had a performance second to none in the Red Raiders' win over Arizona State. Webb will have to carry that stellar display into this season and get some help from a defense which is replacing several key playmakers if Tech expects to break into the Top 25 in Kliff Kingsbury's second season.
Nick Harwell brings something to Kansas' offense that no other receiver on the roster can match: proven, consistent production.

[+] EnlargeNick Harwell
AP Photo/Orlin WagnerMiami (Ohio) transfer Nick Harwell is expected to open up Charlie Weis' offense at Kansas.
The Miami (Ohio) transfer has the ability to kick-start KU's offense this fall, as a proven go-to guy for an offense in dire need of additional playmakers.

"He will bring leadership, a guy that is consistent and someone we can count on," tight end Jimmay Mundine said. "He was their go-to guy [at Miami] and they could count on him to be that. Every time."

The numbers speak for themselves.

During the past three seasons, KU receivers have combined for 229 receptions for 2,759 yards and nine touchdowns. While suiting up for Miami from 2010-12, Harwell had 229 career receptions for 3,166 yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons. That included 97 receptions for 1,425 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore.

Harwell should bring a level of consistency to the Jayhawks' passing game that Charlie Weis has been searching for since he arrived in Lawrence, Kansas, before the 2012 season.

"He's going to open it up for everybody," Mundine said. "If you put him 1-on-1, he can beat anybody. We need that consistency, leadership and the thought that he will be there for us."

Harwell's playmaking ability could create more space for Mundine, receiver/running back Tony Pierson and quarterback Montell Cozart in KU's new offense. If the Jayhawks' spring game is any indication, offensive coordinator John Reagan will make it a point to put the ball in the hands of the explosive Harwell.

"Anytime you can plug in a No. 1 wide receiver that's already been playing, played three years already as a starter with big production, it puts a whole different composition to your wide receiver position," Weis said. "Adding a valuable senior leader like Nick, with his athleticism, just makes everyone around him play better."

After off-the-field troubles forced Harwell to transfer to KU before the 2013 season, linebacker Ben Heeney got to see first-hand just how talented he was during Harwell's time on the scout team. The Jayhawks' first-team defense had to deal with Harwell every day during his 2013 season on the sideline, so those defenders could have the best understanding of the type of impact Harwell could have on KU's offense.

"Every time he touches the ball, something special happens," Heeney said. "He's got the speed and playmaking ability. He's going to be special for us this year."
This week, ESPN.com has been ranking the top 100 players in college football going into the 2014 season. The rankings were done based on the expected contributions of each player for the 2014 season, regardless of position.

Today, the unveiling continued with Nos. 40-21.

Here is the lone Big 12 player who made the fourth installment:

No. 30: Baylor WR Antwan Goodley

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty seems to get all the national headlines. But Goodley is a pretty good player, too. Despite splitting touches with a host of other playmakers, Goodley finished the 2013 season with 71 catches, 1,339 receiving yards and a Big 12-best 13 touchdowns. Goodley was the only receiver in the country that had five catches of at least 60 yards.

With Lache Seastrunk and Tevin Reese gone, Goodley will have a little more pressure to carry the playmaking load. But the Bears still boast plenty of firepower elsewhere in Corey Coleman, Shock Linwood and Levi Norwood. Plus, Goodley will still be hauling in passes from one of the preeminent quarterbacks in the country.

Make sure to check back Friday to find out who our top 20 players are.

Coming Friday: Nos. 20-1.

Big 12 lunchtime links

July, 31, 2014
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I would have expected a higher number than five here, Kliff.
The unfortunate part of our Top 25 ranking of the Big 12’s best players is that only 25 players can make the cut.

We’re down to the unveiling of the final five players, which will come out Friday morning. You can review who has made the list so far by clicking here.

But what about the players who narrowly didn't make the list?

SportsNation

Who has the biggest gripe being left out of our top 25 ranking of the Big 12's best players?

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    32%
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    16%
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    18%
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    18%
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    16%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,719)

When putting this ranking together, we gathered a strong case for a dozen other players who didn’t make it -- standouts like Oklahoma receiver Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma offensive tackle Daryl Williams, TCU cornerback Kevin White, West Virginia safety Karl Joseph, Texas center Dominic Espinosa and Kansas wideout Nick Harwell, who once finished second in the country in receiving at Miami (Ohio).

But there were five players specifically who were the most difficult to leave out, including two of the league’s top returning running backs.

Malcolm Brown was previously known as Johnathan Gray's wing man in the Texas backfield. But Brown proved he could handle a starring role after Gray suffered a season-ending Achilles injury Nov. 9. Brown stepped in and rushed for 128, 131 and 130 yards in the Longhorns’ final three games. Gray, who did make our top 25 list, is back from the Achilles tear. But Brown will still be a big part of the Texas offense.

Baylor’s Shock Linwood also started out last season in a backup role. But when Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin both suffered injuries against Oklahoma, Linwood stepped in and the offense didn’t miss a beat. He rushed for 182 yards against the Sooners, then 187 the following week against Texas Tech. Despite being Baylor’s third-team running back, Linwood finished sixth in the Big 12 in rushing. With Seastrunk and Martin gone, Linwood will step into the starting lineup full time this season.

The other notable omissions from our top 25 reside in the trenches.

Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips was on his way to an All-Big 12 type of campaign before suffering a season-ending back injury. Phillips is healthy again and might be the best player on one of the nation’s deepest and most disruptive defensive lines.

On the other side of the ball, West Virginia guard Quinton Spain and Kansas State tackle Cody Whitehair were on my preseason All-Big 12 ballot. Spain has 26 career starts and might be the best guard in the league after Texas Tech’s Le'Raven Clark. Whitehair is also a two-year starter and earned second-team All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore last year. Whitehair has moved to left tackle, where he’ll be protecting the blind side of quarterback Jake Waters.

Now, we put the question to you in our weekly Big 12 poll.

Who has the biggest gripe being left out of our Big 12 Top 25 player rankings?

Top Big 12 players: Nos. 10-6

July, 31, 2014
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With the season just a month away, we’re taking this week to rank the top 25 players in the Big 12.

This is a ranking of who we think the best 25 players will be over the course of the 2014 season.

You can click here to see the previous three installments.

Today, we continue the series with Nos. 10-6:

10. Le'Raven Clark, OG, Texas Tech: Clark was a freshman All-American tackle two years ago and a first-team All-Big 12 performer last season as the anchor of the Texas Tech offensive line. With the addition of junior-college tackle Dominique Robertson, Clark is moving inside to guard, a more natural position for his 315-pound frame. Clark already has proven to be a terrific pass-blocker, but he could also become a road-grader in the run game in his new spot.

9. Spencer Drango, OT, Baylor: Sometimes you don’t realize what you’ve got until it’s gone. Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty found out the hard way just how valuable his left tackle is when Drango suffered a season-ending back injury in early November. With Drango protecting his blindside, Petty was sacked only eight times through the Bears’ first nine games. With Drango sidelined, Petty was sacked nine times in Baylor’s last four games -- two of which the Bears lost as their high-powered offense sputtered down the stretch. The good news for Petty, and Baylor, is that Drango is healthy again and ready to help keep one of the nation’s most lethal quarterbacks upright.

8. Charles Tapper, DE, Oklahoma: One offensive lineman at Big 12 media days noted that Tapper was the most difficult defender to block in the Big 12. The 6-foot-4, 281-pound junior runs like a linebacker with the strength of a defensive tackle. He was the only defensive underclassman to be named first-team All-Big 12 last season, and considering he’s only started 12 games in his career, he figures only to get better playing alongside one of the most talented and deepest defensive lines in the country.

7. Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor: Coach Art Briles has been effusive in his praise of Oakman, whom he called “unblockable” during the spring. The 6-foot-9, 275-pound outspoken defensive end could be an unstoppable force this season in the Big 12. Despite being a part-time player in 2013, Oakman still finished sixth in the league with 12.5 tackles for loss. The switch just now appears to have flipped for Oakman this offseason, which is a frightening proposition for Big 12 quarterbacks not named Bryce Petty.

6. Ryan Mueller, DE, Kansas State: Mueller doesn’t have the length or the athleticism that Tapper and Oakman do. But the former unrecruited walk-on finds a way to make plays. In 2013, Mueller finished with 11.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss, both of which were second in the league only to Jackson Jeffcoat, the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Mueller forced four fumbles, too. There are players, and then there are playmakers. Mueller fits the latter.

Coming Friday: Nos. 5-1 ...

Best cross-conference recruiting battles 

July, 31, 2014
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Some recruits get attention from all over the country. Whether it’s their prowess or proximity to multiple teams, top prospects will have schools from multiple conferences pursuing them. ESPN.com’s conference recruiting reporters look at five players in the recently updated ESPN 300 who have different conferences after them and have recruiting battles that could carry throughout the fall.

NOTE: For battles with multiple teams, reporters chose reported leaders or best fits.

The Oklahoma Sooners reported for the start of fall camp Wednesday. And this year, the Sooners went digital with their playbooks, passing out iPads to the players before their first practice Thursday.



The playbook for Oklahoma kicker Michael Hunnicutt, however, came loaded with just one play.



Hunnicutt, who will vie to become the first All-American kicker in Oklahoma history, knows how to kick the ball through the uprights. He went 24 of 27 on field goals last season.

Of course, that's not all Hunnicutt can do. He scored a touchdown off a fake field goal in the upset win at Oklahoma State that catapulted the Sooners to the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

Hunnicutt did not divulge on Twitter whether his iPad also included another fake play.
There's not much more Tyler Lockett can accomplish at Kansas State.

[+] EnlargeTyler Lockett
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesKansas State receiver Tyler Lockett is determined not to coast during his senior campaign.
The Big 12's most versatile receiver has won a Big 12 title, earned all-conference honors at receiver and returner and held his own against future NFL cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Justin Gilbert.

Lockett heads into his senior season with 143 receptions for 2,195 yards and 18 touchdowns along with a 31.1-yard kick return average and four kick returns for touchdowns during his first three seasons. But he's thinking more about what he can do in the future than what he has done in the past while wearing a Kansas State Wildcats uniform.

"If you feel like you've arrived, feel you're that guy, you have to have a reality check," Lockett said. "How did I get here? I got here by my faith, I got here by my hard work, so stay true to those things, don't lose sight of the stuff that was there as you were making your way up, like family, when family has been there the whole time."

Even though it's unlikely he would have been a Day 1 selection, he could have considered making the jump to the NFL after his junior season. Yet the Tulsa, Oklahoma, native didn't think twice about returning to K-State.

"I felt like God still had more [at Kansas State] for me," Lockett said. "I wanted to graduate, I want to beat my dad's record, I have the chance to pass everything I know to the other receivers and be able to work on certain things to get ready for the next step."

Kevin Lockett sits atop K-State's record book in career receptions, receiving yardage and receiving touchdowns with 217 receptions for 3,032 yards and 26 scores while playing for Bill Snyder in the mid-1990s. Heading into the 2014 season, Tyler needs 74 receptions for 837 receiving yards and eight touchdowns to pass his father in those categories.

Even though he's already secured a reputation as one of college football's top receivers, Lockett talks of his continued hunger to excel this fall regardless of the opponent. He understands opponents will be looking to make a name for themselves against him, much like he did against more well-known names during his first few seasons.

"I look forward to every game," he said. "Because if you sleep on a team, that could be the one person that destroys your confidence. Every game means a lot to me because if I don't show up, I'm going to get embarrassed."

Lockett hasn't been embarrassed often during his Wildcats career. In fact it's been opponents who wished their friends and family hadn't been watching when facing Lockett. As a junior, he destroyed Texas with 13 receptions for 237 yards and did the same to Oklahoma with 12 receptions for 278 yards and three touchdowns. The 2013 campaign was his breakout season at receiver, with 81 receptions for 1,262 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing KSU's game against Baylor and the majority of the Wildcats' loss to Oklahoma State.

But according to Lockett, he's accomplished nothing.

"I look at this year and I haven't done anything yet," Lockett said. "Everything hasn't all clicked [at one time], one year it's receiver, one year it's special teams, let's put it all together. Let's do something nobody expects to happen."
ESPN.com has taken on the monumental task of ranking the top 100 players in college football going into the 2014 season. The rankings were done based on the expected contributions of each player for the 2014 season, regardless of position.

The first 40 players have already been released. Today, the unveiling continued with Nos. 60-41.

Here are the Big 12 players that made the third installment:

No. 42: TCU DE Devonte Fields

No. 49: Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett

No. 52: Oklahoma LB Eric Striker

Striker and Lockett are two of the most explosive players in the Big 12.

Lockett was virtually unstoppable at times last season, hauling in 237 receiving yards against Texas and 278 against Oklahoma. He also capped off a tremendous season with three touchdown receptions in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Michigan. With Jake Waters settled in at quarterback, Lockett could put up even bigger numbers in 2014, which is a scary thought for Big 12 defenses.

Speaking of scary, Striker figures to be one of the most feared pass rushers in the country after a breakout sophomore campaign. He sacked Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron three times in the Allstate Sugar Bowl and forced the game-clinching fumble late in the game.

It would have been a crime had Lockett or Striker been left off the top 100.

It will be interesting to see if Fields sees the field at all this season. The voting for the top 100 players was done before Fields was arrested on allegations of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. TCU has since “separated” from Fields, pending the outcome of the case. For that reason, we actually didn’t include Fields in our top 25 ranking of Big 12 players.

By the way, this national list, which was compiled by the entire ESPN.com college football team, won’t necessarily line up with our top 25 ranking of Big 12 players, which was compiled exclusively by Brandon Chatmon, Max Olson, and myself.

Make sure to track the top 100 rankings the remainder of the week, as there will be Big 12 players in the final two parts, as well.

Coming Thursday: Nos. 40-21.

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