Big 12's top 5 returning DBs’s Big 12 reporters continue their look at the top five returning players from every position with a look at defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties).

The reporters were asked to rank the top five with five points going to the No. 1 spot, four to No. 2, three to No. 3, and so on.

TCU’s Sam Carter and TexasQuandre Diggs ran away with the top two spots but the rest of the vote was highly competitive. Five players received second-place votes, six players picked up third-place votes, and seven players garnered fourth-place votes.

Here are the results:

1. Sam Carter, Sr., TCU: 36 points (five first-place votes)

TCU defensive backs coach Kenny Perry has his work cut out for him trying to find a replacement for All-American CB Jason Verrett, who was selected by San Diego in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Having Carter back for his senior season will make life much, much easier.

A two-time second-team All-Big 12 selection, Carter tied for second in the Big 12 with five interceptions. Incredibly versatile, he tied for second on the team with four sacks and had 7.5 tackles-for-loss.

He’s the unquestioned leader of TCU’s defense and one of the top defensive backs in the country.

Sam Carter

2013 stats:

49 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 5 INTs, 2 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble

2. Quandre Diggs, Sr., Texas: 26 points (three first-place votes)

Diggs is spearheading Texas’ efforts of turning around its program, and with good reason: his teammates listen to him. They do because he makes plays – lots of them. He has 32 career pass breakups and eight interceptions, which are both the most on the current roster.

A two-time All-Big 12 selection, Diggs will see time at cornerback, nickel, and possibly safety as the Longhorns try to bounce back from one of their worst defensive seasons in school history.

Quandre Diggs

2013 stats:

58 tackles, 4 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 1 QB pressure, 10 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

3. Zach Sanchez, Soph., Oklahoma: 14 points

There weren’t many freshmen in the country that made their presence known more last season than Sanchez, who started all 13 games at cornerback for the Sooners.

He returned an interception 43 yards, broke up a pass, and made three tackles in OU’s Sugar Bowl win against Alabama. He also returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown against Kansas State.

Zach Sanchez

2013 stats:

46 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 2 INTs, 13 pass breakups

4. Kevin Peterson, Jr., Oklahoma State: 10 points

Peterson is quickly emerging as one of the top defensive backs in the conference and one of the anchors of the Cowboys’ defense.

He started in 11 games last season where he finished with 24 tackles (20 solo) and six pass breakups.

Peterson, who originally committed to OU, has also proved to be a big-game player made evident by his season-high six tackles in OSU’s win over No. 3 Baylor.

Kevin Peterson

2013 stats:

24 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 INT

5. Isaiah Johnson, Jr., Kansas: 8 points

There weren’t many bright spots for the Jayhawks last season but Johnson was definitely one of them.

He was named the 2013 Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year by the coaches after starting all 12 games at safety, tallying 73 tackles, and picking off five passes.

What makes that even more impressive is he was just two years removed from an injury that cost him his entire freshman season at Western Carolina.

Isaiah Johnson

2013 stats:

73 tackles, 3 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 5 INTs

Other DBs receiving votes:

Karl Joseph, WVU, 6 points; Dante Barnett, KSU, 5; Daryl Worley, WVU, 4; Kevin White, TCU, 3; JaCorey Shepherd, KU, 2; Chris Hackett, TCU, 2; Corry O’Meally, TCU, 1.


Jeremy Clark, HornedFrogBlitz; Trey Scott, AllCyclones; Bob Przybylo, SoonersIllustrated; Terry Tush, GoPokes; Kevin Kinder, BlueGoldNews; Derek Young,; Greg Powers,; William Wilkerson, HornsDigest.

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