At the top of the league the Big 12 is thick with talent at linebacker but from the midway point on down the conference is reloading which leaves a ton of question marks. As we move through our position rankings we'll discover that the Sooners are the kings of the conference when it comes to talent and depth at linebacker. Here's how we rank the Big 12 from first to worst at the position.
1. Oklahoma - An embarrassment of riches is available for the Sooners at a position that was recently thought to be a weak spot on the defense. Junior Dominique Alexander is the Big 12's leading returning tackler after recording 107 stops in 2014. Senior Eric Striker led the team with 9 sacks and junior Jordan Evans completes the trifecta of returning starters. Oklahoma also gets Frank Shannon back after serving a suspension in 2014. The junior led OU in tackles in 2013 with 92.
2. Oklahoma State - Senior Ryan Simmons has racked up 189 tackles during his career and junior Seth Jacobs was the Cactus Bowl defensive MVP. O-State will look to JUCO transfer Jordan Burton to fill the other starting position.
3. West Virginia - After leading the Mountaineers in tackles for the last two seasons, senior Nick Kwiatkoski is moving from the middle to the strong side. Jared Barber returns after missing the 2014 season with an ACL injury and returning starter Edward Muldrow is trying to hold off Shaq Petteway who is pushing for the start.
4. Baylor - Sophomore Taylor Young led the Bears with 92 tackles in 2014 and will be joined by senior Grant Campbell who steps in for the departed Bryce Hagar.
5. Kansas State - Junior Charmeachealle Moore is returning after missing last season due to injury and former defensive end Elijah Lee will move into a starting spot at linebacker to join the team's lone returning starter at the position, Will Davis.
6. TCU - Junior Sammy Douglas will transition from being a special teams player to starting at linebacker and will be joined by a trio of freshmen competing to get on the field.
7. Texas Tech - Junior Kris Williams joins seniors Micah Awe and Sam Atoe as a new trio of starters for the Red Raiders.
8. Texas - The Longhorns suffered a key loss with the departure of Jordan Hicks. Seniors Dalton Santos and Peter Jinkens will step in as full-time starters this fall.
9. Kansas - The Jayhawks return just three starters on defense with one of them being junior linebacker Courtney Arnick. South Carolina transfer Marcquis Roberts will try to earn his spot in Lawrence.
10. Iowa State - The Cyclones are hoping that Luke Knott can return healthy from a hip injury and are putting stock in JUCO transfer Jarnor "Jay" Jones.