When you start to look at the safety position across the Big 12 Conference, the league lost a lot of playmakers from 2009, but the cupboard is far from bare. There are several top playmaking safeties returning in 2010. As Huskeronline.com continues our "Ranking the Big 12" series, today we breakdown the league's top safeties.
Texas junior safety Blake Gideon was a key part of the Longhorns success on defense a year ago. The Horns led the country with 25 interceptions and they were tied for the national lead with 37 forced turnovers. Gideon had 62 tackles, two tackles for loss, six interceptions and five pass break-ups as a sophomore and he's considered the top returning safety in the conference heading into 2010.
2. Quinton Carter, Oklahoma, 6-1, 193, Sr.
Oklahoma safety Quinton Carter was a second team All-Big 12 selection by the coaches in 2009. He was OU's starting free safety and finished second overall for the Sooners with 80 tackles. Carter finished 2009 with a total of four interceptions and he'll be looked to as one of the leaders for Oklahoma's defense in 2010.
3. Tysyn Hartman , Kansas State, 6-3, 206, Jr.
The official Kansas State website refers to Tysyn Hartman as a very intelligent player who's primed for a big season in 2010. As a sophomore Hartman was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection. Hartman finished 2009 with a total of 54 tackles and 11 pass break-ups. Look for him to do big things again for the Wildcats in 2010.
4. David Sims, Iowa State, 5-9, 209, Sr.
Iowa State senior safety David Sims was named the Big 12 Conference's defensive newcomer of the year as a junior. The 5-foot-9, 209 pound Sims led ISU with five interceptions, including a huge goal line pick that helped seal the Cyclones victory over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl. Sims was originally an Oklahoma recruit out of high school and came to Ames via Butte Community College.
5. Dejon Gomes, Nebraska, 6-0, 200, Sr.
Nebraska senior Dejon Gomes is a hybrid player of sorts for Bo Pelini's defense. Gomes will play safety for the Huskers in their base peso package, but he'll have the ability to move back to his natural position of dime corner where he thrived for the Huskers a year ago. Gomes finished with four interceptions and three forced fumble in his first season at NU. The California native has developed a reputation as one of the better playmakers in the secondary across the conference.