Top 25 players in the Big 12: No. 7

With signing day quickly approaching, it’s time to close the chapter on the 2013 season. We’re counting down the top 25 players in the Big 12 in 2013 with a list collaboratively selected by Jake Trotter, Brandon Chatmon and Max Olson. We continue the postseason countdown with the No. 7 player in the Big 12.

No. 7: Gabe Ikard, C, Oklahoma

Previous ranking: Ikard was No. 4 in the blog’s preseason list of the Big 12’s top 25 players.

Making the case for Ikard: The Sooners’ senior made his strongest case behind closed doors, in the halls of the Switzer Center, OU’s football complex. Then he went onto the field and more than held his own, earning All-Big 12 first-team honors for the third-straight season.

Ikard was the anchor of an OU offensive line that paved the way for the Sooners to average 223.9 rushing yards per game and provided a consistent on-field voice for an offense that saw three different quarterbacks take snaps in 2013.

Ikard brought intelligence, durability and competitiveness to the offensive line along with his leadership, which helped the Sooners win 11 games, including a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama. The offensive line was the foundation of the Sooners’ success and Ikard was the foundation of it.

OU would not have found a way to win 11 games and earn a BCS bowl berth without Ikard anchoring the middle of its offensive front and bringing strong leadership to the locker room.

The rest of the list: