Big 12 Football: Top 5 Candidates to win Defensive Player of the Year

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Aug 30, 2014; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Eric Striker (19) during the game against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Ranking the top five candidates to walk away as the winner of the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for the 2015 college football season.

There’s a new sheriff in the Big 12 where TCU and Baylor are running the show while Oklahoma and Texas look to regain their footing in the conference.

ALSO READ: Top 5 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Candidates

The Horned Frogs have long been one of the better defensive programs under head coach Gary Patterson and their move to the Big 12 hasn’t changed that fact.

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TCU linebacker Paul Dawson won the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Award last year, one year after TCU cornerback Jason Verrett was the co-winner with Texas’ Jackson Jeffcoat. But winning for a third year in a row could prove difficult for TCU with this year’s group of candidates.

This could be the best group of pass rushers in the conference since Ndamukong Suh and Brian Orakpo won the award in 2009 and 2008 with 12 and 11.5 sacks, respectively. Four of the top five candidates had at least nine sacks last year and were among the Big 12 leaders in tackles for loss.

But it’s not just limited to the sack artists with a cornerback returning after making six interceptions, which would have tied 2006 co-winner Aaron Ross as the most by any Defensive Player of the Year winner since the program’s inception in 1996.

After reading through the list of candidates, please leave your reactions and opinions in the comments section and chime in on our social media accounts to continue the conversation.

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