Revised 2011 Top 25 countdown: No. 6

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
10:30
AM ET
Six players remain in the Top 25 countdown of the best players in the Big East for 2011.

Up today: Derek Wolfe, DT, Cincinnati

Making the case: Wolfe went from good player to outstanding player throughout the course of his senior season, becoming one of the top tackles in the nation en route to Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year honors. He finished ranked No. 4 in the country in tackles for loss with 21.5, and just outside the Top 10 with 9.5 sacks. One of the biggest improvements the Bearcats made as a defense was up front, and Wolfe was a huge reason why.

In several interviews last year, Wolfe said he felt he was able to get off blocks quicker because he improved the positioning of his hands. Taking boxing last summer helped specifically in that area. Wolfe also was better conditioned, and immensely helped because of the added depth on the line. All of that added up to a season to remember, along with being honored with one of the top awards in the Big East.

"Whenever you work hard something is going to come back for you," Wolfe said. "That's what I always preach to people. I did everything I possibly could to make myself better each and every day."

Preseason ranking: No. 21.

The countdown:

No. 25 Ryne Giddins, DE, USF

No. 24 Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia

No. 23 Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers

No. 22 Antwon Bailey, RB, Syracuse

No. 21 Lyle McCombs, RB, UConn

No. 20 Dexter Heyman, LB, Louisville

No. 19 Hakeem Smith, S, Louisville

No. 18 Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers

No. 17 Aaron Donald, DE, Pitt

No. 16 Trevardo Williams, DE, UConn

No. 15 Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse

No. 14 Julian Miller, DE, West Virginia

No. 13 Bruce Irvin, DE West Virginia

No. 12 Najee Goode, LB, West Virginia

No. 11 Kendall Reyes, DT, UConn

No. 10 JK Schaffer, LB, Cincinnati

No. 9 Zach Collaros, QB, Cincinnati

No. 8 Ray Graham, RB, Pitt

No. 7 Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia

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