Thursday, August 30, 2012
2012 Big East top 25 countdown: No. 2
By Andrea Adelson
We are almost at the end of our preseason countdown of the players I think are going to be the Top 25 guys in the league when the season ends.
You smart cookies out there surely have figured out the top 2.
No. 2 Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt
Making the case: Donald is the most complete defensive lineman returning to the Big East, and I believe he will be even better this year for several reasons. First, I think he is much better suited for the 4-3 scheme the Panthers are going back to this season under Dave Huxtable, who has had success at developing defensive linemen.
Second, he will spend all of his time playing inside, where he feels much more comfortable. Last season was the first time Donald had ever played defensive end. He estimates that he split his time evenly between playing inside and outside last year, but most of his 11 sacks came when he lined up inside.
"It was nice to be able to move around from inside to outside, but I think I'm more of an inside guy," he told me during Big East media day.
As a follow up, I asked if that meant having even bigger sack numbers this year. The soft-spoken Donald answered with one word: "Hopefully."
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