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Thursday, January 31, 2013
Big East 2012 Top 25 countdown: No. 18

By Matt Fortuna

The eighth day of our countdown brings us to our first player from Rutgers, which clinched a share of its first Big East title in 2012.

No. 18, Scott Vallone, NT, Rutgers

Making the case: Vallone started all 51 games of his college career, capping his Rutgers tenure off with a team-best 12.5 tackles for loss on the nation's No. 4 and the Big East's No. 1 scoring defense (14.2 ppg). The senior had 52 total tackles, three sacks, three pass break-ups, nine quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery. Vallone earned first-team All-Big East honors from both the conference and from ESPN.com for his efforts, one of four Scarlet Knights defensive players to be recognized as first-teamers from the conference. Rutgers finished the season 10th nationally in total D and sixth in rushing D, and Vallone was a big reason for that.

Preseason ranking: 19

The countdown

No. 19 Jerome Smith, RB, Syracuse

No. 20 Devin Street, WR, Pitt

No. 21 DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville

No. 22 Matt Brown, RB, Temple

No. 23 Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

No. 24 Tyler Matakevich, LB, Temple

No. 25 Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt