Counting Down the Big 12's Top Players

One-by-one, counts down the Big 12's top players. At No. 22 is Oklahoma State safety Markelle Martin.

22) Markelle Martin, senior S, Oklahoma State

Go through the checklist for high-level safeties, and athleticism, nastiness and intelligence might be the qualities most often mentioned. If that's the case, Martin aces every test.

Athleticism? Martin is a safety who has been clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has a 37-inch vertical leap. Nastiness? Martin is considered the hardest hitter on the Cowboys' roster, and one of the biggest hitters in the Big 12. Intelligence? Martin won Oklahoma State's Nate Fleming Award for his academic performance.

And so, it should come as no surprise that Martin serves as one of the Big 12's top safeties. Entering his third year as a starter, Martin has improved every year he's been on campus. He played in 11 games as a true freshman, making four tackles and breaking up four passes, before starting 11 games as a sophomore. That year, he made 45 tackles, including one for loss, and broke up 11 passes.

But he made an even bigger leap as a junior, finishing with 55 tackles, 47 of which were solo stops, two for loss and made the first three interceptions of his career, while breaking up 10 throws. Along the way, he won Defensive Player of the Game honors for the 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl for making four tackles, returning an interception 62 yards for a touchdown and breaking up two more passes.

That junior season, and the way he closed it, is one of the big reasons Martin is considered one of the league's top players in the defensive backfield, and somebody poised for a huge senior year.

2010 Stats: 55 tackles, two tackles for loss, three interceptions, 10 passes broken up

No.23: Missouri DL Brad Madison

No. 24: Missouri WR T.J. Moe

No. 25: Texas Tech OL Mickey Okafor

No. 26: Missouri TE Michael Egnew

No. 27: Texas A&M CB Coryell Judie

No. 28: Texas DB Kenny Vaccaro

No. 29: Oklahoma DE/LB Ronnell Lewis

No. 30: Texas A&M RB Christine Michael

No. 31: Kansas OL Jeremiah Hatch

No. 32: Texas Tech OL Lonnie Edwards

No. 33: Missouri DE Jacquies Smith

No. 34: Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills

No. 35: Texas WR Mike Davis

No. 36: Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat

No. 37: Kansas State DB David Garrett

No. 38: Oklahoma OL Gabe Ikard

No. 39: Texas Tech RB Eric Stephens

No. 40: Baylor OL Philip Blake

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: %%MATCH_36%% CB %%MATCH_31%%

No. 47: Kansas State S %%MATCH_35%%

No. 48: Baylor DE/LB %%MATCH_33%%

No. 49: Kansas State DE %%MATCH_32%%

No. 50: Kansas DE %%MATCH_34%%

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