Top 10 players of the season: No. 6

The No. 6 player on our countdown of the top 10 players of the season was one that gave much-needed experience to a secondary severely lacking in it. In the meantime, he also did enough to earn honorable mention all-conference honors.

Going into the season, Gary Pinkel had high expectations for senior cornerback Michael Harden. After two consistent years, Pinkel thought Harden should have been a first-team All-Big 12 defender.

Harden didn't quite meet those expectations, finishing as an honorable mention on the All-Big 12 team, but he did give experience to a secondary severely lacking in it.

Harden started the season out well, with four pass breakups in the season opener against Illinois, and he finished the season with a team-high 13 deflections. He also had one of the best defensive plays of the season, a diving interception in the Tigers' rout of Eastern Illinois.

But what Harden brought more than anything to the Tigers was his sound play on the corner, covering most teams' best receivers. While Pinkel shuffled Calvin Washington, A.J. Kincade and Terrence Curry at the other corner, Harden was a staple on his side all season. He finished fourth on the team in tackles with 75, and he had four tackles for loss as he improved his ability on the blitz.

The Independence Bowl will be Harden's last game as a Tiger, and he will clearly be missed for everything he brought to the team. And he finds his place on our countdown at No. 6.

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