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%%