One-by-one, LonghornDigest.com counts down the Big 12's top players. At No. 17 is emerging cover corner Demontre Hurst of Oklahoma.
17) Demontre Hurst, junior DB, Oklahoma
When it looked like Jamell Fleming wasn't going to qualify, the Sooners were somewhat worried. But they weren't anxious, thanks in large part to the other cornerback they had returning.
No, Hurst might not have the interception numbers that Fleming had a year ago, but a big part of that came because Hurst wasn't tested as often. And that didn't stop Hurst from factoring into the turnover game, forcing three fumbles. He also returned his lone interception 49 yards and broke up 11 passes.
Hurst wasn't as highly regarded as some other defensive backs in his class, but he played immediately as a freshman and seized the starting spot opposite Fleming as a sophomore. He brought a steadiness to that spot, and carried that over with a strong spring that saw him emerge as a potential shutdown cornerback in Fleming's absence.
Now, with Fleming's return, the Sooners have the making of the Big 12's best cornerback duo, one well-suited to cope with the Big 12's passing attacks. And while Fleming might continue to be the playmaker, don't sleep on the impact provide by Hurst, a security blanket on his side of the field.
2010 Stats: 50 tackles, four tackles for loss, one interception returned for 49 yards, three forced fumbles, 11 passes broken up
No. 18: Baylor WR Kendall Wright
No. 19: Oklahoma OL Ben Habern
No. 20: Oklahoma State OL Lane Taylor
No. 21: Iowa State LB Jake Knott
No.22: Oklahoma State S Markelle Martin
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 %%MATCH_43%%
No. 45: Texas Tech S Cody Davis
No. 46: %%MATCH_37%% State CB %%MATCH_38%%
No. 47: Kansas State S %%MATCH_42%%
No. 48: Baylor DE/LB %%MATCH_40%%
No. 49: Kansas State DE %%MATCH_39%%
No. 50: Kansas DE %%MATCH_41%%