No 1: Texas DT Malcom Brown (Last week: 1)
Even after a bye week, Brown leads the Big 12 in tackles for loss and is tied for the lead in sacks. He ranks fourth in the nation in tackles for loss per game and is tied for 14th in sacks per game.
Brown and the Longhorns will travel to Lawrence this week to take on Kansas. Texas’ defense has not been a great unit this season, but neither has the Jayhawks’ offense. Brown has a great chance at getting to the quarterback as his opponent has allowed six sacks in their three games this season.
No. 2: TCU LB Paul Dawson (Last week: 2)
Dawson and his team were on a bye week, but he took over the lead for tackles per game for the conference. He has the sixth most tackles for loss in the nation with four, while his 12 tackles per game are tied for the ninth most in the nation.
The Horned Frogs face SMU this week. Saying the Mustangs’ season has gone terribly wrong is an understatement and they sit at 0-3. They have averaged only four points per game and 29.3 rushing yards per game. They have only scored one touchdown through three games and allowed 21 sacks total. With all these factors put together, Dawson has the opportunity to have a huge game on Saturday.
No. 3: Kansas LB Ben Heeney (Last week: 4)
Heeney is the lone player on this list who actually played last Saturday. He helped the Jayhawks earn a victory over Central Michigan with seven tackles and two tackles for loss. He also forced a fumble and had a quarterback hurry. His 25.5 tackles this season are the second-most in the Big 12.
The Jayhawks and Heeney face Texas next, as mentioned above. The Longhorns average just 123.7 rushing yards, which is 101st in the nation. They also produce 20.7 points per game and it falls at 107th in the country. After a good performance last week, Kansas has the opportunity to stifle another offense.
No. 4: Iowa State LB Cory Morrissey (Last week: 3)
The Cyclones and Morrissey were idle in Week 4. Morrissey is still tied with Brown in sacks per game. He is also fifth in the conference in tackles for loss per game, with 1.5.
Iowa State will need Morrissey to be at the top of his game on Saturday when they face No. 7 Baylor. The Bears are elite on the offensive side of the ball. They average 59.3 points per game, which is the most in the country. Their offense has averaged 5.1 yards per rushing attempt and 11.14 yards per passing attempt. Morrissey will have to be incredibly disruptive for his team to be competitive against Baylor.
No. 5: TCU S Sam Carter (Last week: 5)
TCU’s defense has given up the least amount of yards per game in the Big 12 through four weeks. They also lead the conference in pass defense and Carter is a big part of the unit’s success.
The Horned Frog’s next opponent struggles moving the ball through the air. SMU averages 8.41 yards per completion, which is second worst in nation. With an offense this bad, Carter could have a field day on Saturday.