As we creep to the halfway point of the season, here is the leaderboard for best Big 12 defensive players.
1. Emmanuel Ogbah, defensive end, Oklahoma State (1)
The Cowboys have jumped out to a 5-0 start, which has started on the defensive side. Ogbah had six tackles this past Saturday and had one sack. He leads many defensive statistical categories and won’t be moving on my leaderboard anytime soon.
2. Karl Joseph, safety, West Virginia (2)
Joseph was solid again with an interception in Saturday’s game against Oklahoma. He now has more interceptions than games played. He’s also recorded five total tackles and a sack in the loss to the Sooners. The bad news for him and West Virginia is that he is out for the rest of the season and finding someone to replace him won’t be easy.
3. Dominque Alexander, linebacker, Oklahoma (NR)
In probably the biggest jump of all-time, Alexander has gone from unnoticed to being in the top three very quickly. I have had my eyes on him for a while after he has two double-digit tackle games this season. He solidified his spot on the list after eight tackles and half a sack on Saturday against West Virginia. Don’t worry Alexander, you’re here to stay.
4. Dale Pierson, defensive end, Iowa State (4)
Pierson had a bad game this past Saturday as he only recorded three tackles and one sack in the game, but I believe he will get it back together this Saturday against Texas Tech. He is on a thin rope, however, so he better show up to make sure he doesn’t drop on my list.
5. Shawn Oakman, defensive end, Baylor (3)
Oakman struggled this past weekend against the Red Raiders of Texas Tech when he only had three tackles in the game. This is why he moved down two spots on my list this week, but he will have a chance to regain his spot as Baylor takes on Kansas, which is starting a true freshman at quarterback this week.
6. Eric Striker, linebacker, Oklahoma (6)
Striker is on the verge of making a jump in my poll as he had a 13 tackle game against the Mountaineers this past Saturday and along with that had two sacks in the winning effort. I expect no different from him this Saturday when Oklahoma takes on a struggling Texas Longhorns team that is 1-4 on the season.
7. Andrew Billings, defensive tackle, Baylor (5)
Billings had a day he will want to forget after failing to record a sack in a win over Texas Tech. There may be a drop in his future if he continues to not produce on the field.
8. Zack Sanchez, cornerback, Oklahoma (7)
As the rest of the Sooners had this past Saturday, Sanchez had a field day against the Mountaineers. He had eight tackles and half a sack. He will have a great day again this Saturday when the Sooners take on Texas.
9. Nick Kwiatkoski, linebacker, West Virginia (9)
Kwiatkoski had 11 tackles and one sack in a loss against Oklahoma, but has a good chance of moving up the leaderboard in the coming weeks.
10. Jordan Sterns, safety, Oklahoma State (NR)
Sterns has been very impressive lately including a six tackle performance on Saturday against the Wildcats. He has 31 tackles in his past three games and should be moving up the leaderboard quickly. The Cowboys travel to West Virginia to take on the Mountaineers on Saturday.