Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big East [Print without images]

Tuesday, August 28, 2012
2012 Big East top 25 countdown: No. 4

By Andrea Adelson

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.

The countdown

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