48) Tevin Elliot, sophomore DE/LB, Baylor
The last in a three defensive end streak just goes to show how stacked the league is with pass rushers entering the 2011 season. The reasoning is simple: the Big 12 offenses sent scoreboards spinning with high-octane passing games, so every conference team started loading up on disruptive edge players who could get to the quarterback and implode said passing games.
Elliot showed his vast potential in his redshirt freshman season, dominating the early season to earn midseason first-team All-Big 12 honors from the Columbia Tribune. But as many freshmen do, he hit a wall, and finished as honorable mention All-Big 12.
Still, that early season was a boon for his overall numbers, with Elliot finishing with 36 tackles, nine for loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles. He even earned his first career start on the offensive side of the ball, lining up at inside receiver for the first play against TCU, his only offensive play of the season.
At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, Elliot is built more like a 3-4 edge rusher than a defensive end, and he isn't especially strong against the run. But thanks to his quickness and athleticism, Elliot is plenty capable of rushing the passer, as he did in his first defensive start against Kansas, totaling three tackles, two sacks two passes broken up, a forced fumble and a hurry.
If Elliot can create the same sort of early momentum this year, and carry it through, he might end up with double-digit sacks as early as this season.
2010 Stats: 36 tackles, nine for loss, five sacks, two forced fumbles, two passes broken up.
No. 49: Kansas State DE Brandon Harold
No. 50: Kansas DE Toben Opurum