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2013 Top 25 player countdown: No. 24

No. 24: Jack Tyler, LB, Virginia Tech

Previous ranking: 17

Making the case for Tyler: Virginia Tech boasted the ACC's second-best scoring and total defense, and the Hokies ranked fourth nationally in total defense (11th in scoring). Tyler was a huge reason for this, as the redshirt senior led the team with 100 total tackles, including 11 for loss. He started all 13 games and added 4.5 sacks, one pass break-up, one pass defended, one forced fumble and 12 quarterback hurries. His 7.7 tackles per game were good for 10th in the conference.

Tyler earned second-team All-ACC honors from the coaches for his accomplishments. And, perhaps most amazing of all, he began his Hokies career out of Oakton (Va.) High as a walk-on, which would explain why he was a semifinalist this year for the Burlsworth Trophy, which is given to the nation's most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on. The Touchdown Club of Richmond also named the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Tyler as the state's top linebacker in 2013.

The countdown: