Counting Down the Big 12's Top Players

Day-by-day, we're counting down the Big 12's best players. Today, at No. 42, it's Texas defensive lineman Alex Okafor.

42) Alex Okafor, junior DL, Texas

Sometimes, home is truly where the heart is. And if the spring was any indication, Okafor's heart is fully into his move back to his home at defensive end.

Make no mistake: Okafor earned strong reviews from several defensive coaches following his sophomore season at defensive tackle. Okafor started eight games and made 30 tackles, four in the backfield and had 2.5 sacks, along with 12 hurries, second-best on the team. That he was able to supply that kind of pressure from the interior is certainly unique.

But Okafor entered the 40 Acres as a five-star defensive end prospect from Pflugerville, and it's there that he'll likely finish his career. He showed more glimpses into his massive potential with a huge spring game. There aren't many ends that are more physically imposing than the 6-foot-5, 262-pounder, and he still has the kind of burst off the edge that can give offensive tackles fits.

In filling in for All-Big 12'er Sam Acho, Okafor has huge shoes to step into, but Okafor is arguably more physically gifted, and coaches said they were proud of his motor in the spring. He'll definitely be one to watch in 2011.

2010 Stats: 30 tackles, four tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 12 hurries, one forced fumble

No. 43: Texas A&M DL Tony Jerod-Eddie

No. 44: Kansas RB James Sims

No. 45: Texas Tech S Cody Davis

No. 46: Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson

No. 47: Kansas State S Ty Zimmerman

No. 48: Baylor DE/LB Tevin Elliot

No. 49: Kansas State DE Brandon Harold

No. 50: Kansas DE Toben Opurum

Horns Digest Top Stories