By Mike Casazza
Calvin Barnett has come a long way, but it looks like he'll keep going. He was the best prep player in Oklahoma in 2009 and is perhaps the best defensive lineman in the Big 12 entering the 2013 season.
Barnett was a U.S. Army All-American as a high school senior in Tulsa, but played two seasons in junior college. They were productive, though, with a national title in 2010 and disruptive play in 2011 that led him to Oklahoma State.
He's been surging for a few years now and last season his impact performance earned him the Big 12 award for the defensive newcomer of the year. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound Barnett has slimmed down and has a good mix of size, strength and quickness inside, so much so that he was recruited by some schools as a center. He used his tools to pick up 30 tackles (24 solo stops) and a team-high eight tackles for a loss while starting every game at defensive tackle in 2012.
There will be one challenge next season, though it's one he's used to. Oklahoma State fired defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Bill Young in the offseason and replaced him as a position coach with former Kansas State assistant Joe Bob Clements. Barnett will go from his senior season of high school through his senior season of college without having the same position coach in consecutive seasons.