Big East preseason top 25 countdown: No. 1

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
2:00
PM ET
Drum roll, please!

We have come to the end of the Big East preseason top 25 countdown, where I have tried my best to predict who will end up as the top league players at the end of the season. Without further adieu, here is my choice for No. 1.

No. 1 Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers

Twitter handle: @Khas_Greene20

Making the case: Khaseem Greene was a revelation last season. I think everybody across the league would tell you that, even Rutgers fans. When former coach Greg Schiano called Greene into his office last spring and told him he was moving from safety to outside linebacker, Greene was lukewarm to the move, to say the least. But after a week of practice, Greene began to understand why Schiano made the switch.

As he got better at the position, he realized he could make a much bigger impact at linebacker. Boy, did he ever. Greene led the Big East with a career-high 141 tackles, to rank No. 12 in the nation, while adding 14.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He nearly doubled his tackle total from 2010, en route to Co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors.

When asked to reflect on the move Schiano made, Greene said, "I actually didn't want to move to linebacker, and coach had the ultimate vision and he knew, he saw something in me that I didn't see in myself. After that first week of practice, I started to see what coach saw and it worked out for the better. ... I really grew into that position and I really began to love it."

Greene spent the offseason rehabbing his broken ankle, but has participated in preseason camp and is completely healthy. With that injury behind him, I think Greene is the most complete player in the entire Big East, with the credentials to back that up. He leads all Big East players with four watch list appearances (Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Nagurski Trophy).

But he can be better. Just ask coach Kyle Flood.

"Now that he has another year in the system at the position, we really should see improvements," Flood said.

The countdown

No. 2 Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt

No. 3 Ray Graham, RB, Pitt

No. 4 B.J. Daniels, QB, USF

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

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