Power Rankings: Big 12 defensive players

Photo by Emily DeShazer | The Collegian Sophomore quarterback Daniel Sams stiff arms West Virginia sophomore safety Karl Joseph on Saturday Oct. 26 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

No. 1: K-State DE Ryan Mueller (Last week: 1)

It’s hard to base too much off of one week of play, because K-State’s Ryan Mueller did not have an overly exciting opening week. The defensive end only accumulated two tackles and one tackle for loss. That’s not a bad game by any means, but just not one that the best defensive player in the Big 12 should consistently perform upon. If he has another week of play like this, it’s feasible to drop Mueller in the power rankings.

No. 2: Oklahoma LB Eric Striker (Last week: 2)

Oklahoma’s Eric Striker is similar to Mueller in the sense that week one was not his best game. The line backer only had one assisted tackle and a half of a sack. His team was up 31-3 at halftime, so it’s hard to fault him for lack of production. The Sooners allowed 245 yards to Louisiana Tech, but only 54 yards on the ground. Oklahoma’s defensive effort keeps Striker in the second spot.

No. 3: West Virginia S Karl Joseph (Last week: Not Ranked)

Our first big mover in the power rankings had a monster game against the Alabama, racking up 18 total tackles. West Virginia safety Karl Joseph 18 tackles, tying for most in the country during the first week of play. He was a solid player for West Virginia last year, earning All-Big 12 honors at defensive back. Joseph is not your typical safety that plays in coverage, he likes to attack the ball. While he’s not a large man at 5 feet 10 inches and roughly 200 pounds, he gets the job done.

No. 4: Texas DE Cedric Reed (Last week: 3)

Though Texas defensive end Cedric Reed did not individually dominate against North Texas, his defensive counterparts did. The Longhorns allowed their opponent to move the ball only 94 yards, including just 15 yards through the air. It’s impossible to have that stifling of defense without all 11 players contributing.

No. 5: TCU S Sam Carter (Last week: 4)

TCU’s defense overpowered the Samford Bulldogs on Saturday. Safety Sam Carter had seven total tackles and his defense allowed only 56 passing yards. While they were playing an FCS team, it’s still impressive to hold down an offense so well.


Five different Big 12 players had two sacks in Week 1 – Baylor’s Shawn Oakman, K-State’s Elijah Lee, Oklahoma State’s Emmanuel Ogbah, Texas’ Hassan Ridgeway, and TCU’s Mike Tuaua. They are all tied for fourth in the nation. Tuaua had 3.5 total tackles for loss, tying him for second in the country.

Two Big 12 players broke up three passes in their opening games – K-State’s Morgan Burns and Texas Tech’s Tevin Madison. They are tied for the top spot in the nation within that category.