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Preseason All Big 12 Team: Defense

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Preseason All-Big 12 Team Defense

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The Big 12 is known more for its high octane offenses than its defensive prowess, especially in the past few years. Despite being known more of an offensive focused conference, the Big 12 conference has some serious playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.

Some of these playmakers are younger guys that are full of talent and are expected to really show up this year but most are veterans who have proved themselves already and are trying to finish their careers on a good note. From big defensive tackles to run stopping linebackers to cover corner backs, these players are ready to give their teams defenses a boost and guide their teams to a Big 12 championship.

Even if your team has a great offense, having playmakers on defense is still an essential part of building a championship caliber team. These playmakers can cause turnovers by forcing fumbles, intercepting passes and disrupting quarterbacks. The players on this list do just that and will have a chance to prove themselves on the field for another year.

Some Big 12 coaches have historically based their program around building a solid defense and running the ball like Mack Brown, Gary Patterson, Paul Rhodes and Bill Snyder. Some of these players may compete for postseason defensive awards if they live up to their hype in the 2013 season. Without a doubt, each player on this list will have a chance to lead their team and have a big part in deciding how well they do during this college football season.

Below are my picks for the best defensive players in the Big 12 for the 2013 college football season.

Weston Wilson is a college football writer for Follow him on Twitter: westonw90

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Defensive Ends: Devonte Fields & Jackson Jeffcoat

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Despite having to miss his first two games, including a tough game against the Louisiana State Tigers, Devonte Fields will still be one of the toughest defenders to cover this season. Fields will need to be the anchor for the Texas Christian Horned Frogs for them to make a run at the Big 12 conference title.

Texas Longhorn defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat will have a similar role for the Longhorns and could be a very disruptive player this year for opposing Big 12 offenses. Jeffcoat will be a senior in 2013 and had a good season before being injured half way through the 2012 season. If he stays healthy this year, he could help the Longhorns back to national prominence.

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Ty Zimmerman & Daytawion Lowe

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Senior safety Ty Zimmerman was a huge reason why the Kansas State Wildcats won the Big 12 title and made a BCS bowl appearance in 2012. Zimmerman had 39 solo tackles and five interceptions last year and could have a good shot at topping those numbers in 2013.

Senior safety Daytawion Lowe had a breakout year for the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2012. Lowe had 55 solo tackles, one sack and two interceptions last year, which could be argued as the conferences best overall defensive stats.

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Jordan Hicks, Bryce Hager, Shaun Lewis & Isiah Bruce

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Senior linebacker Jordan Hicks should be one of the key leaders to the Texas Longhorns defense in 2013. Hicks was injured early in the 2012 season, but is very talented and showed that he is a force to be reckoned with in the three games that he did play last year

Junior linebacker Bryce Hager put together a very impressive 67 solo tackles and four sacks last year, a solo tackle number that leads the conference. Hager is a bright spot on a Baylor Bears defense that has really struggled the last few years. He will be key to the improvement of the Bears defense in 2013.

Senior linebacker Shaun Lewis was all over the field for the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2012. Lewis really helped stop the run and had 43 solo tackles and 2.5 sacks last year. Lewis will be looked at as a senior leader of the Cowboys defense this fall and will depend on him on their quest for another Big 12 championship.

Senior linebacker Corey Nelson didn't have quite the numbers that the other three linebackers on this list had, but he has just as much if not more talent as any on this list. I expect Nelson to put up much better numbers than his 23 solo tackles and one sack from 2012 as he has the size and speed to be a stand out defensive player for the Oklahoma Sooners in 2013

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Defensive Tackles: Kerry Hyder & Chucky Hunter

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Texas Tech defensive end/defensive tackle Kerry Hyder had a breakout year last year for the Red Raiders. The 6-foot-2, 281-pound senior had 5.5 sacks and 41 solo tackles during the 2012 season and showed his potential leading to the 2013 season. Look for Hyder to be a stand out DE/DT in 2013 and improve his numbers even more.

Junior Chucky Hunter really had a great sophomore year last year for the Texas Christian Horned Frogs. Hunter had 3.5 sacks and 22 solo tackles in 2012. The junior has good size at 6-foot-1, 305 pounds and is a very talented player who can break through the offensive line with a low base.

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Cornerbacks: Jason Verrett & Quandre Diggs

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There's no question that Senior cornerback Jason Verrett was the best cornerback in the Big 12 in 2012. Verrett had 44 solo tackles and six interceptions for the Texas Christian Horned Frogs last year and helped the Frogs remain a bowl team. Verrett will look to back up the preseason hype that the Horned Frogs are receiving for the 2013 season with his strong play during his last year in college.

Junior cornerback Quandre Diggs helped the Texas Longhorns get back on track in 2012 with a nine-win season and a strong bowl performance. Diggs had 37 solo tackles, one sack and four interceptions despite the Longhorns having a less than stellar defense last year. Diggs was a bright spot in an otherwise struggling defense last year, but should be one of many playmakers for the Longhorns defense in 2013.