Counting Down the Big 12's Top Players

One-by-one, we count down the Big 12's top 50 players. At No. 15 is Oklahoma defensive weapon Tony Jefferson.

15) Tony Jefferson, sophomore DB, Oklahoma

Destructive. That's the adjective most defensive coordinators look for in a hybrid player. Can a linebacker/defensive end detonate an opposing offense via his ability to get to the quarterback? And can a linebacker/defensive back hybrid destroy a spread's ability to operate by snuffing out the run game and covering key playmakers out of the slot?

The latter role is one filled perfectly by Jefferson, arguably the best underclassman defensive player in the league. The versatile athlete has been called everything from a linebacker to a nickel back to a safety, and he switches between those hats seamlessly.

He was a devastating tackler in the running game, making 65 tackles, including seven for loss. He had two sacks and two interceptions against the pass, breaking up seven other passes. But perhaps most importantly, his versatility allowed the Sooners to utilize him in a variety of ways against a variety of Big 12 offenses.

Blessed with speed, athleticism and aggressiveness, Jefferson is the ultimate three-down player, somebody who can hop in the box and deliver a blow or lock down one of the Big 12's top slot receivers in pass coverage. And the better part: he showed all of that skill as a true freshman, and there's plenty of room to grow.

The Sooners bring back a number of talented players on defense, including several top-notch linebackers an an athletic and deep secondary. That should allow Jefferson to do just what he does best: play the answers guy and fill in wherever he's needed.

2010 Stats: 65 tackles, seven for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, seven passes broken up, one fumble recovery

No. 16: Texas LB Emmanuel Acho

No. 17: Oklahoma DB Demontre Hurst

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 %%MATCH_42%%

No. 39: Texas Tech RB %%MATCH_39%%

No. 40: Baylor OL Philip Blake

No. 41: Missouri LB %%MATCH_38%%

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_35%% State CB %%MATCH_36%%

No. 47: Kansas State S %%MATCH_41%%

No. 48: Baylor DE/LB %%MATCH_40%%

No. 49: Kansas State DE %%MATCH_37%%

No. 50: Kansas DE Toben Opurum

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