After taking a look at the offensive side of the ball last week, this week I dive into defense as I reveal my picks for the preseason All-Big 12 defensive team and give a little insight on one or two players at each position.
Shawn Oakman (Baylor): If you’ve followed Big 12 football, you’ve seen the memes and you know of Shawn Oakman’s giant-like physique that he imposes upon poor, mere mortal offense lines. Oakman is a bad, bad dude; he was just getting started when he put up 11 sacks last season and led the Big 12 in tackles for loss with 19.
Emmanuel Ogbah (Oklahoma State)
Charles Tapper (Oklahoma)
James McFarland (TCU)
Travis Britz (K-State): The senior was having a season to remember until it was cut short 10 games into the season after a nasty ankle injury took him out of the West Virginia game and the season. More offensive linemen will have tape on Travis Britz and he won’t have someone like Ryan Mueller to suck up a lot of the attention so he can cause as much mayhem as he did last year. But, if he comes back all strong and healthy, never say never.
Pete Robertson (Texas Tech): Probably the most underrated, not talked about, returning sack leader in the Big 12. The senior recorded 12 sacks and was top 10 in tackles for loss. Even with all of that, Tech’s defense was not great finding themselves at or near the bottom of almost all of the defensive categories. Even with all of that, however, attention must be paid to at least one Red Raider who’s getting it done on defensive.
Eric Striker (Oklahoma)
Nick Kwiatkowski (West Virginia)
Chris Hackett (TCU): The Horned Frogs have always been built from the defense up but with a shiny, high powered offense led by a Heisman candidate, some might forget about TCU’s bedrock. Chris Hackett led the Big 12 in interceptions and interception yards as a junior. The Frogs will need him to be big next season to cash in on their hopes of a playoff bid.
Danzel McDaniel Sr. (K-State)
Karl Joesph (West Virginia)
Nigel Tribune (Iowa State)
Dante Barnett (K-State): The leader of the most stacked unit on either side of the ball for the Wildcats. Dante Barnett has come a long way from filling in for a injured Ty Zimmerman in K-State’s heartbreaking loss to Baylor in 2012. The senior is poised for a huge season as the “quarterback” of the Wildcat defense.
Nicholas O’Toole (West Virginia): Everything runs a little differently over in Morgantown, and that’s not limited to their punters. Nicholas O’Toole has one of the strongest legs in the league and the biggest mustache that’s been sported in Big 12 possibly since the old Big Eight days.
Timothy Everson is a sophomore in journalism.