Yesterday the Rivals.com Big 12 Network kicked off our defensive positional rankings with a top five poll at defensive tackle.
The next position we'll focus on is defensive end. And unlike any other position, defensive end doesn't have a clear cut conference favorite. In fact all of five of the players that cracked our list received at least one first place vote.
Kansas State's Scott Edmonds edged out Oklahoma's Larry Birdine for top honors in the conference, as both players received three first place votes.
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Edmonds has been one of the top pass rushers in the Big 12 over the past two seasons, totaling 13 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss over that period.
Birdine totaled seven sacks, and 11 tackles for loss, despite the fact he never started a game in 2004. He'll be a full time starter in 2005 and had a very solid spring for the Sooners.
Finishing third, with two first place votes was Texas's Tim Crowder. Last season Crowder started all 12 games at left defensive end, and was an honorable mention All-Big 12 pick by The Associated Press.
He led the Longhorns with 4.5 sacks and 22 QB pressures in 2004. He also registered 47 tackles, 10 TFLs, four pass deflections, one caused fumble and one recovered fumble.
Nebraska's Adam Carriker and Texas A&M's Jason Jack finished fourth and fifth respectively with one first place vote each.
Carriker is probably the best overall lineman for Nebraska. Last season he hurt his ankle in the Southern Mississippi game, but he still finished with 36 tackles, 7 TFL's, 3 sacks and 7 QB hurries.
Jack earned Freshman All-American and honorable mention All-Big 12 honors after starting 11 of 12 games at defensive end for the Aggies last season. He finished with 48 tackles, six TFL's, two sacks and two pass break-ups.
Other defensive ends that were nominated, but didn't crack the top five were Red Bryant (Texas A&M), Jay Moore (Nebraska), Keyunta Dawson (Texas Tech), Xzavie Jackson (Missouri) and Charlton Keith (Kansas).
We accepted nominations from all Big 12 schools for our listing of the top five players at each position. Ten schools returned their ballots to vote for our final selections. Five points were awarded for a first place vote and one for a fifth place vote. Below are the results from our defensive end poll.
The Final Vote
1. Scott Edmonds, Kansas State – 28 pts
2. Larry Birdine, Oklahoma – 26 pts
3. Tim Crowder, Texas – 24 pts
4. Adam Carriker, Nebraska – 19 pts
5. Jason Jack Texas, A&M – 13 pts
Over the next two weeks, the Rivals.com Big 12 Network will rank the top five players at running back, wide receiver, tight end, defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback and safety.