No. 1: TCU LB Paul Dawson
(Last week: 1)
The two best defensive players in the Big 12 finally got to compete on the same field last weekend. Dawson played better than his counterpart, Heeney. While TCU looked shaky, Dawson was still rock solid. He racked up 10 tackles with two of them for loss, along with a sack. He also broke up two passes in the contest.
Dawson remains second in the conference in tackles and tackles for loss. He seems to always be in the right place at the right time, which allows him to force turnovers. He is tied for the conference lead in fumbles, and tied for fifth in interceptions.
The Horned Frogs will get a breather with a bye week before taking on Texas and Oklahoma State to finish the season.
No. 2: Kansas LB Ben Heeney
(Last week: 2)
Heeney put up his standard performance on Saturday against TCU. He led his team with 11 tackles in the game.
It seems ridiculous to call 11 tackles just an average game, but for Heeney it is. He averages 11.2 stops per game, which is the best in the Big 12. He had no tackles for loss against the Horned Frogs, but is still tied for fifth in the conference in that category.
Kansas will face off against Oklahoma next. The Sooners have a deadly rushing attack, which will give Heeney ample opportunities to make big plays for the Jayhawks. He will have to make just about every play that he can for Kansas to have a chance of winning the game.
No. 3: Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah
(Last week: Unranked)
Ogbah had a fantastic game against Florida State to open the season and has not let up. He is quietly leading the conference in sacks and tackles for loss this season. The disruptive defensive end is only a sophomore and continues to improve as his career progresses, which should be scary for Big 12 foes.
Ogbah had another solid game last weekend against Texas. He only had four tackles, but two of them were for a loss. He also added a sack, quarterback hurry and a forced fumble to his stat line.
Oklahoma State will have to try and stop Baylor’s potent offense on Saturday. Ogbah needs to have a huge day if his team wants to have a chance at pulling the upset.
No. 4: Baylor DE Shawn Oakman
(Last week: 3)
The Bears were idle last weekend and will host Oklahoma State on Saturday. Oakman has the opportunity to have a humongous game against a very bad Cowboy offensive line. Oklahoma State has given up the most sacks this season. Oakman is tied for third in the conference in sacks and tackles for loss. Look for him to have an incredibly productive outing in this game.
No. 5: K-State LB Jonathan Truman
(Last week: 4)
Truman and his unit had a week to lick their wounds after allowing a season high in points and rushing yards against TCU.
The Wildcats will try to bounce back against West Virginia in Morgantown on Thursday night. The Mountaineers’ offense is built on moving the ball through the air, but they have a good rushing attack as well. In fact, it is the fourth best in the Big 12.
Truman is still third in the conference in tackles per game. He will need to be a force to hold down the dangerous West Virginia offense.