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Top 25 player countdown: No. 14

(Note: This list was created before Brian Kelly suspended Tommy Rees and Carlo Calabrese.)

No. 14. Tommy Rees, QB

2011 numbers: Rees started 12 of 13 games last season, throwing for 2,871 yards, 20 touchdowns and four interceptions. He was 8-4 as a starter, and is 12-4 as a starter for his career.

Making the case for Rees: Rees is the only quarterback on Notre Dame's roster with starting experience. For as much frustration the fan base has had with the junior, Rees has displayed an uncanny ability to bounce back from mistakes and recover from big hits. (Look no further than his final drive at Michigan last year.) Without seeing much action in fall camp, Rees has taken on a coaching-type role with the younger signal-callers, who have said that Rees aspires to be a coach someday. No one will argue that he is the most athletic of the Irish's quarterbacks, but Rees knows the playbook better than any of the others. If he is unable to climb back atop the depth chart following his Week 1 suspension against Navy -- and the odds don't look to be in his favor right now -- he would be more than an ideal reserve, someone with experience entering during emergency situations, and someone the offense would not have a difficult time adjusting to.