As every week goes by, we see who is stepping up on the defensive side of the ball in the Big 12. Here is a look at the top 10 defensive players so far this season.
1. Emmanuel Ogbah, defensive end, Oklahoma State (1)
Ogbah had another good game on Saturday as he led the defense, which only gave up 14 points to UTSA, and he had a sack in the game. He tacked on four more tackles, which brings his season total to 13. He and the Cowboys will travel to Texas to take on the Longhorns on Saturday.
2. Karl Joseph, safety, West Virginia (3)
Although he had a week off, Joseph passed Dale Pierson for the second spot. He appears to be the best safety in the Big 12 and has 11 tackles in two games this season. The Mountaineers will need him to step as they host Maryland Saturday.
3. Dale Pierson, defensive end, Iowa State (2)
Pierson and the Cyclones had a disappointing week as they lost to Toledo, and Pierson didn’t have his best stuff. He only had three tackles in the game, all of which were assisted. He will need to step up; otherwise, it could be a long season for Iowa State.
4. Shawn Oakman, defensive end, Baylor (4)
Shawn Oakman was a beast in his lone game this season, which was against Lamar. Oakman had six tackles including a sack. I can only see Oakman moving up the leaderboard, but since this past week Baylor had a bye week, that will have to wait.
5. Andrew Billings, defensive tackle, Baylor (5)
Just like Oakman, Billings will climb the ladder on this leaderboard during the year. He has eight tackles this season in just two games, and the Bears host Rice this Saturday. Billings will be key in this game, and I expect him to step up and do his part.
6. Eric Striker, linebacker, Oklahoma (7)
Striker was dominant on Saturday as he had five tackles against Tulsa. This makes 16 total tackles for him on the season, and it shows why he is one of the top defensive players in the Big 12.
7. Marquel Bryant, defensive end, Kansas State (6)
Bryant and the Wildcats struggled this past Saturday in a win versus Louisiana Tech. Bryant only had two tackles in the triple overtime win. He will have to step up next week in order to stay on the leaderboard after only having one tackle against UTSA on Sept. 12.
8. Zack Sanchez, cornerback, Oklahoma (8)
Sanchez has had a great start to the season as he has 14 tackles on the year. He had a good game against Tulsa with five tackles, three of which were solo. He will be looked toward as a leader for the Sooners’ defense this season.
9. Nick Kwiatkoski, linebacker, West Virginia (10)
Kwiatkoski had a huge weekend when he added seven tackles against Liberty to his season total. The week before, he had seven tackles en route to a 44-0 win over Georgia Southern. He will probably be moving up the leaderboard in the coming weeks.
10. Travis Britz, defensive tackle, Kansas State (9)
Britz had two tackles in a win versus Louisiana Tech on Saturday. He has 10 tackles and two sacks on the year. The Wildcats take this week off before starting Big 12 play on Oct. 3 against Oklahoma State.