Here we go! To work our way through the summer we’re back to our Big 12 position rankings. With these posts we give our opinions on each of the offensive and defensive position groups and rank them from first to worst. We only defend our top three and bottom two in the rankings and while we’re sure to say something that’s out of this world crazy it’s also a great way to get football conversations going. So, enjoy and make sure to sound off with your opinions in the comments section below.
This time around the Heartland Sports writers give their take on the defensive backs across the conference, ranking them from first to worst. Then they are asked to defend their top three and bottom two rankings.
The consensus rankings below come from a points system. A first place selection is worth 10 points, second place is 9 points, and they continue in descending order with tenth place equaling 1 point.
|Heartland Sports Consensus Defensive Back Rankings|
|5. Iowa State||17|
|6. Oklahoma State||16|
|6. Kansas State||16|
|8. Texas Tech||12|
|10. West Virginia||7|
Unanimity – Maybe it’s the transfer portal. Maybe it’s the players who moved on to the NFL. Maybe we just don’t know what we’re talking about. Regardless, we didn’t all agree on a single team ranking when it came to the defensive backs.
Almost Agreed – We came pretty close with Oklahoma State and Kansas. Matt was way lower on the Cowboys and way higher on the Jayhawks than Craig and Zack were.
All Over The Place – We’re pretty much all over this place with this entire position group.
Individual Thoughts And Rankings
1. TCU – The Horned Frogs had one of the better secondaries in the Big 12 a year ago. However, I think they will be even better in 2022. TCU is returning two-time First Team All-Big 12 Tre’vius Hodges-Tomlinson. He will be accompanied by an experienced crew of Keontae Jenkins, Kee’yon Stewart and Noah Daniels. The Horned Frogs have a lot to figure out this year, but they seem pretty set in the secondary.
2. Texas – I might be the only one to put Texas this high. I think with the amount of experience returning from last years roster the Longhorns will be pretty solid in pass coverage. Jerrin Thompson had an incredible sophomore season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have an even better year in 2022. Texas also returns Jahdae Barron, Kitan Crawford and Jamier Johnson.
3. Oklahoma – Oklahoma is another secondary group that is returning a lot of key players from a year ago. I know “defensive culture” is about to change for the Sooners but that’s not why they are in my top three. This is a solid group of Justin Broiles, D.J. Graham, Key Lawrence, Woodi Washington, and Billy Bowman that finished 4th in the Big 12 in interceptions last season.
4. Oklahoma State
6. Iowa State
7. West Virginia
8. Texas Tech
9. Kansas State – I went back and forth here between Kansas State and Texas Tech for the 8th and 9th spot. In the end I went with Kansas State because they lost a lot more from their roster last season. Ekow Boye-Doe will be faced with the task of leading pretty much an entire new secondary group.
10. Kansas – This one is pretty self explanatory isn’t it? The Jayhawks finished last in interceptions and pass deflections last season. They are returning four players from their 2-deep depth chart. But, it won’t be enough to keep them from being the worst secondary in the Big 12 once again.
1. Baylor | The Bears are reigning Big 12 Champions, and a big part of their successful campaign last season was due to their defense getting better as the season went on. Al Walcott is the clear leader for Baylor in the secondary, and he ended the season on a high-note with a 96-yard interception for a return against Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl.
2. Texas | The Longhorns were in the middle of the pack last year when it came to stopping the pass, but they return a lot of depth, and if they want to get “back” in any shape or form, the secondary is going to have to play a big role in a pass-heavy conference like the Big 12.
3. TCU | The Horned Frogs did not have a great pass defense last season, but Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson was a bright spot, finishing the season as a First-Team All-Big 12 selection for the second consecutive year. With quite a bit of experience returning, I anticipate TCU will be a much better team this year.
4. Oklahoma State
6. Texas Tech
7. Kansas State
8. Iowa State
9. West Virginia | The Mountaineers were a pretty solid pass defense team last season, but they lost a lot of guys and likely to start a number of transfers. They could easily move up this list by the end of the season, but it could be a rough path getting there.
10. Kansas | The Jayhawks have not been good, let alone NOT bad, in what seems like forever, and a big part of that is the awful defense. The secondary in particular is still pretty young, and that is going to be tough to overcome.
1. Kansas State | The Wildcats have one of the most experienced cornerback duos among the Big 12 schools that finished in the top half of the defensive passing statistics. Starting cornerbacks Ekow Boye-Doe and Julius Brents return for their senior seasons but KSU will need to find answers for graduated safeties Russ Yeast and Jahron McPherson.
2. Iowa State | The Cyclones led the Big 12 in pass defense in 2021 but there will be plenty of new faces on the back end of the defense this fall. They got a huge boost with the return of Anthony Johnson Jr. at one of the corner positions. His decision to put the NFL on hold helps bring some continuity to a defensive secondary that lost safety Isheem Young and corner Datrone Young to the transfer portal.
3. Baylor | The defending Big 12 champs will need to find a replacement for corners Kalon Barnes and Raleigh Texada, along with safety JT Woods who have moved on to the NFL. The good news is that Christian Morgan is back in the Bears secondary and will assume the role as the leader of this group.
7. Texas Tech
9. Oklahoma State | The Cowboys are starting over in the secondary this fall. They lost both corners from 2021 with Jarrick Bernard-Converse transferring to LSU and Christian Holmes getting drafted by Washington in the NFL. The safety positions suffered attrition as well with Tanner McCalister heading to Ohio State and Kolby Harvell-Peel also trying to land a gig in the NFL.
10. West Virginia | We see the transfer portal striking again with corners Nicktroy Fortune and Daryl Porter Jr making the decision to depart Morgantown. Couple those departures with the graduation of safeties Alonzo Addae and Sean Mahone and suddenly the Mountaineers are back to square one in terms of experience in the secondary.
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