- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Time to move on in our preseason countdown of the top 25 players in the Big East.
If you need a quick refresher, I am projecting the best of the best in the league for this upcoming season, and I am including freshmen and transfers.
No. 4 B.J. Daniels, QB, USF
Making the case: For those of you who have followed the blog throughout the summer, I have made it pretty clear that I think Daniels is going to have the best year of all quarterbacks in the Big East. I know that makes me somewhat of an outlier, especially given the history. But I have faith that Daniels is going to put everything together in his fourth year as a starter.
Why? Well, if you take a look at his numbers from last season, you will see that he hit career highs for completions (215), attempts (365), passing yards (2,604), completion percentage (58.9 percent) and total offense (3,205) and career lows for interceptions (seven) and sacks (14). Daniels needs 2,884 yards of total offense to become the Big East career leader in the category. Those are notes coach Skip Holtz makes sure he tells folks when they ask about Daniels. This is what he said to me after last season ended:
"B.J. finished second in the league in total offense. … When you look at the program, we were better off than we were a year ago. B.J. is a much better quarterback than he was a year ago. He did a much better job of protecting the football and running the offense, showed maturity and poise. I couldn't be more excited about what he did."
He goes into this season with an extraordinary level of depth at the skill positions, and he will be more comfortable with his receivers. That will help. So will being in this offensive scheme for another season. We have constantly complimented Daniels for his athleticism and his potential. Now is the time he puts everything together.
No. 5 Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
No. 6 Trevardo Williams, DE, UConn
No. 7 Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers
No. 8 Hakeem Smith, S, Louisville
No. 9 Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
No. 10 Lyle McCombs, RB, UConn
No. 11 Ryne Giddins, DE, USF
No. 12 Montel Harris, RB, Temple
No. 13 DeDe Lattimore, LB, USF
No. 14 Sio Moore, LB, UConn
No. 15 Walter Stewart, DE, Cincinnati
No. 16 Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers
No. 17 Mario Benavides, C, Louisville
No. 18 Jarred Holley, S, Pitt
No. 19 Scott Vallone, NT, Rutgers
No. 20 Ryan Griffin, TE, UConn
No. 21 Adrian Bushell, CB, Louisville
No. 22 Alec Lemon, WR, Syracuse
No. 23 Steve Beauharnais, LB, Rutgers
No. 24 Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn
No. 25 Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse