ACC Top 25 players: Five who just missed the cut

Sheldon Rankins led a Louisville defense that ranked No. 14 nationally against the run, finishing with six sacks and 13 tackles for loss in 2015. AP Photo/Chuck Burton

It is never easy to narrow down the best players in the ACC into the final Top 25 player ranking. Inevitably, elite players miss the cut every single year.

Here is a look at the top five players who just missed out.

Sheldon Rankins, DE, Louisville: Rankins was the anchor of the Louisville defensive line, finishing second on the team with 13 tackles for loss and six sacks. Louisville ranked No. 14 in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 3.3 yards per carry, and Rankins is a big reason.

Justin Simmons, S, Boston College: Simmons was a big reason BC ended up as one of the best defenses in the country. He finished the year with five interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, while also recovering three fumbles. His 67 tackles ranked third on the team. His best performance came in a loss to Notre Dame, in which he forced three turnovers.

Joe Thuney, OT, NC State: The stalwart on the NC State offensive line, the Wolfpack would not be nearly as effective as a running team without him. A first-team All-ACC selection, and an All-American in one publication, Thuney didn't give up a sack in ACC play this season. In fact, he played every snap in ACC play except one -- a kneel-down to end the Wake Forest game.

Mike Rose, DE, NC State: Rose finished with 10.5 sacks this season (8.5 in ACC play) to tie for fifth in the league, and had 15 tackles for loss to lead the Pack. His seven quarterback hurries also led his team. Rose ended up making second-team All-ACC and was a bright spot on a defense that was inconsistent all year.

Ryan Switzer, WR/PR, North Carolina: Switzer was the coaches' choice to make the All-ACC team as a return specialist after he returned two punts for touchdowns this season and finished second in the ACC with a 13.7-yard average. Switzer also led the Tar Heels with six touchdown receptions and tied for the team lead in receptions (55), for 697 yards.