As the Big 12 Conference ramps up its 25th football season, it’s a good time to look back through the league’s illustrious history and identify the best football players ever to suit up.
It was a daunting task to rank players from 14 schools over 24 seasons. Some schools, of course, didn’t participate in all 24 years.
Rather than select an all-time All-Big 12 team — we’ll endeavor to pull that off after the 25th season has concluded — publishers from SI affiliates who currently cover the Big 12 were asked to vote on their top 25 players.
Players were judged on both their college careers and their professional football exploits. National awards, championships and individual achievement were all considered.
In all, nearly 50 players received votes. Only 10 players were unanimous selections.
With that, the countdown continues with No. 16, one of the league’s elite cover men:
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Not many defensive backs could lay claim to a spot as one of the Big 12’s 25 best players.
But Kansas State cornerback Terence Newman isn’t like other Big 12 defensive backs.
Newman was one of the league’s elite cover men from 1999 to 2002 for the Wildcats during Bill Snyder’s heyday in Manhattan.
Newman tormented Big 12 quarterbacks with 10 career interceptions, five of which came his unforgettable senior season in 2002, when he earned accolades as Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, consensus All-America and took home the Jim Thorpe Award as college football’s top top defensive back.
Newman also scored touchdowns on three punt returns and one kickoff return, and averaged 26 yards on kickoffs and 15 yards on punts.
Newman, from Salina, KS, was the fifth overall pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2003 NFL Draft.
He played nine seasons in Dallas and made the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009, and later played three seasons in Cincinnati and three in Minnesota.
Newman played 15 NFL seasons and finished his career with 42 interceptions, 70 passes defensed, 879 tackles and 17 total fumbles.
- No. 17: Jeremy Maclin
- No. 18-21 (tie): Sam Bradford, Ryan Broyles, CeeDee Lamb, DeMarco Murray
- No. 22-23 (tie): Rashaun Woods, Earl Thomas
- No. 24: Tavon Austin
- No. 25 (tie): Robert Griffin III, Patrick Mahomes & Jason White
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