No. 1: TCU LB Paul Dawson
(Last ranking: 1)
Dawson was incredible in his final true road game at Texas. His disruptive play produced 10 tackles, two of them for loss, a quarterback hurry and an interception. The team around him was good as well. The Longhorns only managed 90 rushing yards and 10 points in the game.
Dawson is first in the Big 12 in fumble recoveries, second in tackles for loss and tackles and oddly enough, third in interceptions. His all-around play has led the Horned Frogs to tremendous success.
TCU has one last hurdle, albeit a small one, before their possible College Football Playoff appearance. They will host Iowa State for senior day, and Dawson has a chance dominate. The Cyclones’ offense is less-than-stellar, which means Dawson could put up huge numbers.
No. 2: Baylor DE Shawn Oakman
(Last ranking: 3)
Kneeing another player in the face didn’t stop Oakman from moving up in the power rankings this week. The big man had another nice game, racking up five tackles, three of them for loss, a sack and two pass break ups.
Oakman still ranks first in the conference in tackles for loss and second in sacks. Without him, Baylor very well could be looking at more than just one loss on their resume.
The Bears’ last challenge will be the second-toughest they have faced: K-State. The Wildcats’ offense moves the ball well through the air, which is where Baylor has shown its biggest weakness. Oakman must get to the quarterback for his team to be successful on Saturday.
No. 3: Kansas LB Ben Heeney
(Last ranking: 2)
Unfortunately for Heeney, his career ended on a down performance. He had just six tackles and had one tackle for loss. He has a good chance of having a NFL career due to a fantastic career for the Jayhawks. He finished on top of the conference in tackles per game. He also was eighth in tackles for loss this season.
No. 4: Oklahoma State LB Emmanuel Ogbah
(Last ranking: 4)
Ogbah and the Cowboys are coming off of a bye week, but he is still ranked highly in the Big 12 in multiple categories. He is tied for the conference lead in sacks and is third in tackles for loss.
Oklahoma State has one final game and they have the opportunity to become bowl eligible against their in-state rival. The Sooners’ biggest threat is on the ground, so Ogbah will have to dip into the other side of his skill set to help his team win this contest.
No. 5: K-State LB Jonathan Truman
(Last ranking: 5)
Truman and his cohorts stifled the Jayhawks on the ground in their last game. He accumulated only six tackles, but the group that he leads allowed just 58 yards on the ground. They did well defending their rival through the air as well, allowing Michael Cummings to throw for just 139 yards.
Truman’s continued production has him ranked third in the conference in tackles. K-State allows both the fewest yards and points per game among Big 12 teams.
K-State has a daunting task ahead of them in their final game of the regular season. Baylor scores 49.8 points per game, which is most in the nation. The Bears are better in Waco, Texas then they are on the road, making the feat even more difficult for the Wildcats. Truman will have to fly all over the field and play his best game of the season to slow down their dangerous opponent.
Austin Earl is a sophomore in fishing, biology and wildlife conservation.