Counting Down the Big 12's Top Players

One-by-one, we're counting down the Big 12's top players. Checking in at No. 40 is Baylor center Philip Blake.

40) Philip Blake, senior OL, Baylor

One of three Big 12 centers on the Rimington Award Watch List, Blake anchors a Baylor line that returns four starters from last year's squad that went bowling.

Like Baylor offensive line standout Danny Watkins, who went early in April's NFL Draft, Blake hails from Canada, calling Toronto home. But he was actually discovered in Tyler, Texas, where he played junior college ball. It was there that he earned second-team All-SWJCFC honors and the attention of the Baylor coaching staff.

Coaches often talk about loving players with tackle-like agility on the interior line, and Blake fits that description to a T. He started at right tackle in all 12 games of his sophomore season, earning 76 knockdowns and grading out at 82 percent.

Then came Blake's junior year, where he moved to center, again starting every game of the season. Despite playing for spread passing guru Art Briles, Blake helped to pave the way for a rushing attack that ranked third in the Big 12 and 24th nationally in rushing with 194.6 yards per game and fourth in the league in sacks allowed. Despite playing a new spot, the 6-foot-2, 315-pound lineman had 82 knockdowns and received a coach's grade of 81 percent or higher in 11 of the Bears' 13 games, including a season-high 88 percent in three different contests.

Now, the only question is what happens next. Blake is sure to earn some NFL interest, but he's projected as the No. 1 overall prospect for the 2010 CFL Canadian Draft by the CFL's Scouting Bureau.

2010 Stats: 82 knockdowns

No. 41: Missouri LB Zaviar Gooden

No. 42: Texas DL Alex Okafor

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

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