Big 12 defensive power rankings: Week 2

Then-sophomore linebacker Elijah Lee claps during the football game against Iowa State University on Nov. 21, 2015, in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (File Photo by Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

Only one week has been played, but that doesn’t mean we can’t rank the best players on the defensive side of the ball.

1. Reggan Northrup, sophomore LB, Iowa State

Despite a 25-20 loss this past weekend to Northern Iowa, my standout defensive player in the first week is Northrup. He had 13 total tackles, seven of those solo, and he also recorded a sack. I expect big things from him this season, although Iowa State might struggle.

2. Elijah Lee, junior LB, Kansas State

In a game where the offense was lacking, Lee and the rest of the Wildcat defense kept them in the game. Lee had 12 tackles in the 13-26 loss at Stanford on Friday night. Lee will be a crucial part of the K-State defense this season.

3. Kamari Cotton-Moya, junior DB, Iowa State

Another player from Ames, Iowa, makes the top 10 as Cotton-Moya provided 11 tackles in the loss to the Panthers on Saturday. The Iowa State defense is going to be good this year, and it will keep them in a lot of games in the Big 12.

4. Will Johnson, junior DB, Oklahoma

It was a tough weekend on the defensive end for the Sooners as Houston torched them in a 33-23 loss on Saturday. Johnson, however, had 10 tackles for Oklahoma, with seven solo tackles. Johnson and the Sooners will need to step up as their schedule gets even tougher when they take on Ohio State in a few weeks.

5. Travin Howard, junior LB, TCU

The Horned Frogs defense gave up 41 points to South Dakota State this weekend, but Howard was key in the win. Howard had 10 tackles for TCU and will play a major role for the Horned Frogs this year.

6. Taylor Young, junior LB, Baylor

Young had only six tackles in a 55-7 win over Northwestern State, but three and a half of those came for a loss. The Baylor defense was not really tested in this one, but once the Big 12 slate begins, it will be a grind and interesting to see how they stack up.

7. Bazie Bates IV, senior S, Kansas

I mean Kansas won a game so that means someone has to crack the top 10. Bates had an interception in the win over Rhode Island and had two pass deflections. Bates will need to step up for Kansas to have a decent season, but only time will tell if the Jayhawks can beat a legitimate opponent.

8. Jordan Willis, senior DE, Kansas State

Willis forced a big fumble this past Friday in the loss to Stanford. Along with that, he had five tackles, with three of those being solo ones. Lee and Willis will be leaders for the Wildcats this season and will face Florida Atlantic Sept. 17 for the Wildcats’ home opener.

9. Antonio Crawford, senior CB, West Virginia

It was a good opening weekend win for the Mountaineers as they beat Missouri 26-11. Crawford was a key part in the win as he had eight tackles, all of them solo. Crawford also had a pass deflection in the winning effort.

10. Chris Nelson, sophomore DT, Texas

The Longhorns have to get some love after a 50-47 win over Notre Dame on Sunday. Nelson had eight tackles in the win for the Longhorns. Texas is being seen as a dark horse now in the Big 12, and Nelson will play a big role on the defensive end for the Longhorns to be successful this season.